'I listen to a bizarre variety of songs'

Multi-faceted performer

'I listen to a bizarre variety of songs'

She’s still in her twenties but already has a career that most people her age would envy. Popular Bollywood playback singer Monali Thakur not only has hits like Sawaar Loon from Lootera and Zara Zara Touch Me from ‘Race’ to her name; the young diva will soon make her Bollywood acting debut in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Lakshmi, which explores the subject of human trafficking. 

Following this, she will be seen in Abbas Tyrewala’s romantic comedy ‘Mango’.On her recent visit to Bangalore to perform at ‘Alive India In Concert’, she tells Metrolife about how acting happened by chance. 

“I just discovered that I really enjoy acting as well. But I’ve always believed that I’m a performer. I’m the happiest person on this planet when I’m on stage and in front of the microphone. So I’m thankful to a lot of people and god that I got the opportunity to do all the things I wanted to,” says Monali.

Her future music projects include singing for both the films she’ll be acting in. “In both Lakshmi and ‘Mango’, I’m singing and acting. In fact, ‘Mango’ has one of my best songs till date. It’s the first time I’m singing blues so I’m very excited. There are also songs for films I’ve not acted in. They’ve all been very different to work on,” she notes. Coming from a musical family, her taste in music ranges from Hindustani classical music, in which she was trained, to ambient rock. “I listen to a bizarre variety of songs – starting from old Bollywood melodies to recent bands that have come out. I love classical music and bands like ‘Sigur Rós’, ‘Snow Patrol’ and ‘Coldplay’,” she reveals.

 Monali’s no stranger to televised music shows either, having gone from being one of the finalists in ‘Indian Idol 2’ to being a part of ‘Coke Studio 2’. “I wanted to get introduced to the independent music scene, which is why I did ‘Coke Studio’ with Karsh Kale. I enjoyed it a lot because that’s where the musicians come up with magic. For now, I’m getting a taste of different kinds of music through different musicians, which is keeping me occupied. But I want to tour with songs I’ve written with my band this year,” shares Monali. 

Though she acknowledges that Bollywood has a lot more independent musicians changing the conventional sound, she also sees a great divide between the two. “What happens is that Bollywood sucks out the independence and creativity because it has so much money. So the independent scene doesn’t get the money or recognition that it deserves. This is beginning to change and I pray and hope that the change is faster than it is right now,” adds the 27-year-old, who will be collaborating with Salim-Sulaiman soon.

On her visit to Bangalore, she says, “I’m so excited to be here because I’ve heard from people that the Bangalore crowd is interested in the right kind of music. That’s what makes it all the more exciting — to just see how the crowd reacts.”

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