KOCHI: There was a time when reality shows were a far cry from those on television today. Singers were judged on the quality of their music by an eminent panel of judges rather than SMS votes. At the children’s special ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’ on Zee TV in 1998, it was therefore natural that Sneha Pant was adjudged the best. A decade later, Sneha has carved a niche of her own in Bollywood. The singer was in the city recently for a recording.
Excerpts from an interview: I, me, myself Though I was born in Delhi, we shifted base to Mumbai where I met the late composer Kalyanji (of Kalyanji -Anandji fame).
He liked my voice and I was given an opportunity to sing at the ‘Kalyanji-Anandji Nite’ with many renowned singers. Winning the children’s special of Zee TV’s ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’ in 1998 familiarised me to the masses.
My guru, Kalyanji I became Kalyanji’s student when I was in Class VIII. It was one of the most beautiful phases of my life. I would come back from school and rush to his class. We had to write an article on value education in the class.
It might sound absurd but the practice taught me to become a better human being. He also exposed me to professional singing on stage through the show ‘Little Wonders’.
Foray into Bollywood When my mentor Kalyanji passed away, I was left with no place to go. By then I had only two achievements in my kitty _ one that I was Kalyanji’s student and another that I had won Zee’s ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’. Music director Anu Malik recorded Aye dil, dil ki duniya mein with me in Yaadein to use it as a dummy song. But Subhash Ghai liked my voice and retained it in the film.
Thus started my Bollywood journey. It is difficult to stay afloat in Bollywood but I’ve been lucky to work with many amazing composers including Rajesh Roshan, Sajid Wajid, Ismail Darbar, Himesh Reshamiya, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Aadesh Shrivastava and Anu Malik. I’ve also sung in a fair number of Indian languages.
The remix queen At a time when remix songs were a rage, I sang in as many as 500 remixes! The public simply lapped them up.
Saiyan dil mein aana re, Chod do aanchal zamana kya kahega, Kabhi aar kabhi paar (for which she won the MTV Immies Award in 2004), Yaara sili sili, O haseena zulphonwali and Tumse oh haseena are a few of them.
My fave composer Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. They are cool to work with.
My hobbies I love watching movies in theatres.
Every day, I hunt for the movie page in the newspapers to find out which movie is being screened where! I also like watching comedy shows on television.
Voice care? Nah! There was a time when I used to take extreme care of my voice. But from experience, I learnt that the more care you take, the more miserable you feel! All I do is avoid cold water and curd for dinner.
I don’t sing at dandiyas either. Once I did and ended up with a bad throat. So I learnt my lesson _ be choosy and go for songs and shows where I’m not required to shout.
The songs of Asha Bhonsle, Lata Mangeshkar, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam and Shankar Mahadevan. Among my contemporaries, I like Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal. Singing apart, I do anchoring. I was the co-anchor with Annu Kapoor for the musical show ‘Aao Jhoomein Gayen’ in Sabe TV and am anchoring ‘Vaar Parivaar’ on Sony.
What brings me here Am here to record a song composed by Sunny Viswanath for a crossover film.
I’m also starring in the video with Hollywood stunt director Hunt O’ Holliday.
Upcoming projects Tere hi liye with Himesh Reshamiya in Mr Fraud, Jaan le lo in Aisi Deewangi, Tere saare hi in Monopoly, a song each in Taaqat and Guzarish’ and a couple of songs in yet to be titled films.
Ambition To sing for A R Rahman. I couldn’t ask for more!