'Gulaabo was completely out of my comfort zone'

She was nominated under the ‘Best Playback Singer (Female)’ category for the for the 61st Britannia Filmfare Awards for Gulaabo (Shaandaar), but Anusha Mani says the song was completely out of her comfort zone and she was pretty sceptical about singing it.

“(Music composer) Amit Trivedi has a knack of casting the most interesting voices for a song, so I just went with his judgment. I personally enjoy more deeper, darker and slower numbers. But that is also my comfort zone. I think the challenge is to sing more songs like Gulaabo that get me out of my comfort,” the singer, who has also sung Lehrein, Tera Rasta Chhodoon Na and Zaras Dil Ko Thaam Lo, tells Metrolife.

She, however, adds that Gulaabo was an out and out fun experience. “I fell in love with the song the moment I heard it. I never thought I’d do something like this, but I feel blessed to have this song in my kitty.”

Raised in a typical conservative South Indian family, Mani grew up learning classical music and Bharatanatyam, which she was forced to learn as it was “compulsory”. However, over the years she developed a serious connection with music and started learning it more sincerely, even though she never intended to become a playback singer.

“Things started from doing small time shows, thanks to a college friend, and that led to singing chorus for plays and jingles and eventually to Bollywood,” she says. “I had done an album with Amit Trivedi many years ago which was never released. But that album played a very big role in getting me work. After hesitating a lot, I played the album to Shankar Mahadevan and he said he really loved my voice and that he would call me soon. Luckily, I was called the next day to record for Johnny Gaddar,” she adds.

And ever since, her journey has been “nothing, but beautiful”. “The good, the bad, the best, and the worst have been a catalyst is getting me where I am today. This industry has given me great songs, amazing friends, my husband and the pleasure of working with great composers,” she says.

The singer, who says its the “uniqueness you bring to the table” that makes one last in the industry, adds that if there was one song she would have loved to lend her voice to, it would be, Samjhawan.

But had she not been a singer, what would have been her calling in life?
“I always fret at the thought of an alternate career option. I would often feel I’d be useless if not for music. Although, I’ve always loved animals, so I think I would’ve done something in the lines of animal welfare. It’s my dream to build a massive animal shelter someday,” she says.

 

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