Striking the right musical note

Sharmilee Supriyo doesn’t remember how old she was when her father gave her an important advice, but those words have left a deep impression on her. “He had said ‘mind is everything and if you can control your mind, you can do everything’,” she recollects.

This line stayed with her, but it was only a few months back Mumbai-based Sharmilee realised how, subconsciously, she was drawing inspiration from these words to overcome the gloom of sharing a long distance relationship with her best friend and father, Babul Supriyo who is now the Minister for Urban Development and has shifted to Delhi.

“I share a close bond with my father and he is extremely special to me. Ever since he became a minister, I don’t get to see him that often. I miss him and feel sad, but then his suggestion comes to my mind and I feel emotionally strong,” Sharmilee tells Metrolife.

The test for any relationship begins with sincere efforts to communicate and the father-daughter duo has ensured the communication lines remain open. “She calls me every day at 11:30 am before leaving for school and at 5:30 pm when she is back. I make sure that I take her calls and we chat,” Babul tells Metrolife.

“In fact the distance has brought us closer. But I constantly remind myself that there are so many fathers who are busy and there will be someone busier than me. So I had to make her understand that ‘daddy has to work hard so that life is good for you’,” he says.

Admitting he has given Sharmilee complete freedom and encourages her “naughtiness”, but when they go out for formal functions where her father is a “celebrity”, he has taught her how not to be swayed away by attention and “practice restrain.”

“She needs to be a little scared of me, otherwise we are great friends,” he says. Singing might have taken a backseat for the 44-year-old singer-turned-politician, but as a minister he is actively using the soft power of music to reach out to a wider audience. A recent example of this is the new Swachh Bharat song which is penned by Prasoon Joshi and sung my multiple singers, but it was Babul’s idea to bring them all together to sing for a cause. “One has to accept the power of music and Bollywood has its own power. So when you see icons saying things, people do listen,” he says.

So when the idea of singing a song I Wanna Fly, along with his daughter for the International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated on October 11, was proposed, Babul couldn’t say no as the project advocated a cause he strongly believes in.

“The song is very much in tune with the prime minister’s ‘selfie with daughter’ campaign. We have to break gender bias and we all need to make some extra efforts to change the perception of the society. No girl should be subjected to gender bias and I hope this song communicates that effectively,” he elucidates.

For Sharmilee, this song will give a great thrust to her singing career, but she fondly remembers how they were communicating through eyes while shooting for the song. “The bond that we share is coming out well in the video. That was the idea to show the strength of father-daughter relationship through the song and expressions.”

The little-known fact about this father-daughter duo is that they both love football and since they live 1,200 kms apart, it is the long phone calls they depend on to discuss the game in detail.

“We both love to watch football together. Now we can’t do that but we make sure that we discuss the game. It helps us to understand that distance really doesn’t matter,” says Sharmilee.

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