'It was really nice to sing Saree ke fall for Sonakshi'
The Saree ke fall track from the Shahid Kapoor-Sonakshi Sinha starrer R... Rajkumar is making waves.
So is the item song in the film, Kaddu katega.
Both numbers have been sung by Antara Mitra, an upcoming playback singer.
She has such songs like Bheegi si bhaagi si (Rajneeti) Kuke kuke (Life Partner), Sun soniye (Ajab Gazabb Love), Tera mera pyar (Action Replay), All the best (All The Best) to her credit.
Antara talks to Rajul Hegde about her journey from Indian Idol to R...Rajkumar.
How did Saree ka fall happen?
I was singing something else at the studio when Pritamda (Chakraborty, music composer) asked me to record this song as they needed it very urgently.
The only brief I got was that the director was Prabhu Dheva, someone who likes to shoot his songs in a fun and colourful way.
So I tried to keep the energy levels high. The song came out really well and everyone liked it.
Pritamda gives his singers freedom to explore. The song was recorded within half an hour. I sang it and forgot about it.
Recently, when I heard the song I came to know that they have picked up my song for the film.
When I met Prabhu Dheva Sir, he told me it suited Sonakshi’s voice amazingly.
Click Next to see more.
Image: Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha in R... Rajkumar
'Sonakshi is one of my favourite actresses'
How did you feel when you came to know that the song was picturised on Sonakshi?
I haven’t met her yet but it was really nice to sing for Sonakshi Sinha.
I’m very happy with the way the song has been picturised. She is one of the new generation actresses, good looking and a big star now. She is one of my favourite actresses.
The song has become quite popular in a short period. What kind of response have you got from the industry?
I have got a good response from the music fraternity. When they praise me, it’s rewarding. A few days ago, I performed in a college in West Bengal. The opening song was Saree ke fall sa. The crowd went ballistic.
It was a rocking event. Recently a flight to Kolkata was delayed so I went to the lounge for a cup of coffee. The duty manager was humming the song continuously! That made my day (smiles).
Image: Antara Mitra sings Saree Ke Fall
'My big break came with Rajneeti'
You sound different in Kaddu katega…
Yes. Pritamda told me to go as rustic as possible. I didn’t know whether I would do justice to this song but people have appreciated it.
It means I can be versatile.
So how has been your journey from Indian Idol to Rajneeti to R….Rajkumar?
I never thought that I would come to Mumbai to pursue my career in music. I went to Indian Idol auditions because I was bored of Shakespeare, sonnets etc and I needed some adventure in life. To my surprise, I got selected and everything changed.
Though I was trained under my father, I learnt Carnatic music from Shobhana Mukherjee. It was a task to convince my dad to let me move to Mumbai.
Eventually I shifted and started looking for a job. We were getting shows because of Indian Idol, which made my life easy here. One day, I met Pritamda and he started calling me for dummy scratches.
I didn't know anything about mike singing; it’s only because of Pritamda that I can sing on the studio mike. It’s a different ball game altogether because it needs a lot of wisdom to sing on a studio mike.
The entire credit goes to Pritamda. He is like my mentor.
So when did you get to sing your first Bollywood playback?
It took around three-four years to get into Bollywood playback. In the meantime, I was doing stage shows and sang for regional films (Oriya, Bengali, Rajasthani and Bhojpuri). The major break I got in playback was with Rajneeti.
Image: Antara Mitra sings Piya Tose Naina Lage Re, a song from Guide
'I am proud of whatever I've achieved'
Are you happy with the way your career is shaping up?
Yes. I don’t want to grab everything at one go. I come from the interiors of West Bengal, with no great financial backup and no godfather in this industry.
I am proud of whatever I have achieved. All this could happen because of my parents as I was a bright student and I could have gone into a more conventional profession like medicine but my parents supported me throughout.
You have mostly sung for Pritam Chakraborty. Why not for other music directors?
I think it’s all about one’s comfort zone. I am a little lazy and very bad at PR (public relations).
I've worked with other composers as well but one of the movies got canned. I want to thank Pritamda because he showed faith in me and gave me an opportunity to prove my versatility.
Is there anyone you want to work with apart from Pritamda?
I want to work with all the music directors but I have one wish: to sing a song set to Gulzarsaab’s romantic lyrics. When I was in Kolkata, I didn't know much about the lyrics but used to listen to a lot of music.
I started following Gulzarsaab after listening to the Saathiya album. I fell in love with the lyrics.
Image: Antara Mitra sings Bheegi Si Bhaagi Si, a song from Raajneeti
'Singers get paid well only if they have an exclusive contract with a music company'
How many shows do you do in a year? Do you get paid well?
On an average, three or four shows a month. Singers mostly survive on shows because you get a nominal amount or don’t get paid at all for recording the songs and that’s not enough to live in a place like Mumbai.
Singers get paid well only if they have an exclusive contract with a music company.
So the only way we earn money is through stage shows. The person who has more number of hit songs will charge more money for stage shows.
Will your fees go up after R….Rajkumar?
I still have to make a mark as a playback singer. There are so many singers in the industry. Everyday new talent comes in from different music reality shows. The competition is tough. You can’t expect to make big money after a couple of hit songs, you have to grow slowly.
What do you do when you are not singing?
I love reading love stories, romantic books. I prefer Bengali books over English. Sometimes I read Mills and Boon. My house is full of books.
Image: Antara Mitra sings Lambi Judaai, originally sung by late legendary folk singer Reshma
'I want to sing a dance number for Madhuri Dixit'
Is there any actress you want to sing for?
I have sung for Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Sonakshi Sinha and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Now, I want to sing a dance number for Madhuri Dixit and see her dance to my song.
I wanted to sing for her but lost hope when she got married and went to the US. Now that she has returned to films, I hope I get that opportunity.
You have acted in some TV serials. Will we see you in more shows?
Right now I have no plans. Acting needs time and I want to concentrate on my music career now. I don’t want to get overambitious and do everything.
Image: Ragini Dwivedi and Scarlett Wilson in the Kaddu Katega song in R... Rajkumar