'Silence is music in itself'

'Silence is music in itself'

From battling with intense stage fright to sharing a dais with the likes of Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore, Wahida Rehman and Helen and garnering widespread acclaim, Samanvitha Sharma has come a long way. The former engineer is now a playback singer in the Kannada film industry. Her notable hits include ‘Male Banthu’ (Jessie), ‘Hey Kila Kila’ (Madamakki) and ‘Nanna Pedde Preetisu’ (Neer Dose’).

As an art entrepreneur, she also conducts several charity art and entertainment events through her organisation ‘Saama’. Gearing up for ‘Chitrahaar 2’, a fund-raiser musical evening happening at Chowdiah Memorial Hall today, Samanvitha talks to Rajitha Menon about the ups and downs of a life in music.

What made you give up engineering to pursue arts?
It wasn’t as if I wasn’t enjoying my software development career. But at one point, I realised that I was doing too many things and I had to quit a few things to make progress in others.

Challenges you have faced?
In our society, it is difficult to pursue the arts since it is regarded as a line of work that doesn’t pay much. I have faced many setbacks  but it has been a conscious decision to rise above all that.

Any favourite language or era when it comes to songs?
Not at all. I think music is universal.  It is beyond genre and era and language because music is a language by itself and breaks all barriers.

Favourite musicians?
My personal favourites are
A R Rahman, Ilayaraja, R D Burman and Ismail Durbar. And since I sing retro classics so often, the list also includes Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Rafi Saab, Kishore da and Hemant Kumar.

Your opinion about film music of today...
It has a lot of freedom and experimentation. Many people think that the music of today is ‘not up to the mark’ but I believe otherwise. I believe today’s music is different and more suited to present times.

Tell us a bit about ‘Saama’...
I founded ‘Saama’ in 2010 with the purpose of promoting art and entertainment. It has organised many workshops, stage performances and charity events since then. In June 2016, Saama pioneered ‘Chitrahaar’ and raised funds for the SRGVVK trust for education of children from the underprivileged sections and labour class.

One time you goofed up on stage?
Many times! During my initial years of performing, I used to have immense stage fear. I would literally shiver on stage. My notes would go haywire and I would blame myself no end. Then at one point I realised we can’t be perfect but we can work towards it.

What kind of songs do you listen to in your spare time?
In my spare time, I love silence. Silence is music in itself. It gives me space to reflect.

What is the one quality a singer must possess?
An ability to work hard and have patience to see the results. No politics please, just hard work.

Strange fan reactions...
Once a person came to me after a show and said he had been following me around for quite a while. He said he had an important question to ask me. I braced myself and said ‘sure’, expecting something serious and profound. He said ‘why didn’t you change your costume today like you do on other days?’

A celebrity who is fun to share the dais with?
I have shared the stage with many well-known names but my favourite is Zeenat Aman. The ease and grace with which she carried herself, together with an ability to acknowledge talent, makes her really special.

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