The garba songstress

Dandiya Queen Falguni Pathak ushers in Navratri with another Gujarati chartbuster...

Falguni Pathak

At 55, she blazes through with the zest and panache of a born-on-stage performer. Singer Falguni Pathak, who flaunts the moniker of ‘Dandiya Queen’, releases her upbeat offering for the Navratri season with her latest chartbuster ‘Radha Ne Shyam’, produced by Soni brothers of the iconic Soni School of Garba Dance fame.

Her latest

The authentic Gujarati song finds many takers, of course, and is fast burning up the livewires on Falguni Pathak’s YouTube channel, and on Gaana and Spotify. Prod her to share her experience of shooting for the number at the 22-year-old Soni School of Garba Dance in Mumbai and Falguni responds, “The best part about this song is the music. The beats are simply beautiful and foot-tapping, with the colourful decor, costumes, and brilliant choreography pouring in that level of energy into the number,” smiles Falguni, readying to make mega crowds go agog and move gracefully during the dandiya nights.

She’s folksy that way

It was her love for folk culture and art that made her pursue her passion for singing as a profession. “I consider myself lucky to have been able to make a profession out of my passion. It is God’s gift,” says Falguni.

Truly, it has been a meteoric rise for Falguni since she started out in 1997, performing with her troupe on stage from the point of view of giving the crowds value for their money by keeping the momentum up during the dandiya nights. “The love and affection of my audience have grown over the years and I feel truly blessed for that,” she confesses. Her immeasurable energy has been the focus of appreciation along with her melodious voice, right from the very start.

The youngest of five sisters, born and brought up in Vadodara, Falguni began to wield the mike at Navratri programmes in Mumbai (she performed first at the age of 9, and was admonished by her father) and soon set the stage and consequently dandiya nights afire with her magnetic presence. After international shows and tours, she began to cut her own albums and work on songs for films. She created ripples with her first, titled ‘Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi’ that earmarked her roaring debut in the Hindi film musicscape. Falguni’s solo releases have been thumping successes over the years right from ‘Maine Payal Hai Chankai’, ‘Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaaye’ to ‘Saawan Mein’, and now ‘Radha Ne Shyam’. But she still chooses to remain low profile, letting her garba raas music do the talking for her. “Honestly, I find it easier to sing than to give an interview,” she laughs, her usual laconic self.

A first time for everything

“This is the first time that I have officially appeared in a music video,” she says, flashing her signature smile. “The sheer talent and the energy on the sets made me simply go with the flow. Honestly, many years back, I used to spot the dynamic duo — Jigar Soni and Suhrad Soni — performing garba raas as I sang on stage. Rajul Mishra has come on board as the seasoned director and Shail Hada, the much-lauded music composer: I have collaborated with all of them to infuse that same energy into ‘Radha Ne Shyam’. People are loving the number and I strongly feel that this will be one of the best songs of my career.”

And of course, the mutual admiration runs thick with the audiences regaling her tune, and lining up for her upcoming performance in suburban Mumbai for the Navratri season. Avava de!

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