Taking us back to the retro days of cinema is the trending album of the Netflix movie, Qala. Directed by Anvita Dutt and composed by Amit Trivedi, the film’s story and songs have earned a place in our minds and hearts. Especially the song Ghodey Pe Sawaar has taken over the internet by storm.
Wondering who sent us back to the golden days of music with her mesmerizing voice? It’s none other than 24-year-old Sireesha Bhagavatula.
From revealing that everyone in the studio got emotional while listening to her live singing to Sireesha’s interaction with musical maestros MM Keeravani and AR Rahman, here’s an excerpt from Indiatimes’ exclusive conversation with Qala’s singer Sireesha Bhagavatula. Read on!
Sireesha who became a household name by entertaining audiences in Indian Idol 12 reflects back on her journey of participating in reality shows.
She tells us, ‘I started singing in reality shows when I was 8 years old. At that time I was too young to decode anything. Later when I participated in a Telugu reality show I started understanding what stage fear is and how to present myself. As I kept participating in more shows until I reached Indian Idol, I experienced various changes over time that ended up as worthy learnings for me.’
When asked how she deals with a common perception that reality show contestants don’t end up becoming playback singers for movies, she said, “If your voice reaches people’s hearts and to music directors, you’ll find your way anyways. We have successful examples of this like Shreya Ghoshal ma’am who came from a reality show and became an icon in the music industry.”
From singing a scratch for AR Rahman to bagging a song in Mani Ratnam’s PS1, Sireesha calls her experience with the veteran musical maestro – ‘surreal’.
She shared, ‘For every artist, it’s a dream come true to sing for AR Rahman sir. Initially, I got an opportunity to sing a scratch and then I ended up singing six songs for him including the song in PS1. I am grateful that I met him, sang his Telugu and Tamil compositions and received his precious guidance.’
Success comes alongside struggle. Reacting to this Sireesha told us, “More than any physical or financial struggle, I felt drained mentally on odd days. For example, I participated in several reality shows but didn’t win anything. I saw a phase where I used to self-doubt, like why is this not happening should I leave singing and do a job, all these thoughts came to my mind. I felt low on several occasions and even missed several opportunities. I remember I used to travel and someone called me for a recording and I couldn’t attempt that. All these things really affected me. After a point I felt, if it was meant for me it’ll come. I just need to be patient and do my work.”
Talking about her interaction with the Golden Globes Award winner MM Keeravani, Sireesha recalled having first met him as the judge on a Telugu reality show. ‘Sir’s inputs were precious and the way Keeravani sir analyzed songs was just amazing. Sir is a very out-of-the-box thinker. I got so much to learn while being a participant in his show’, she said.
‘I was blessed to have met him once or twice again during recordings and received his blessings. I wished him on winning the Golden Globe Award and I felt happy that despite being busy with so many things, he reverted with a Thank You. I felt that was very kind of Keeravani sir.’
After Anushka Sharma and Tripti Dimri, Madhuri Dixit has now recreated the trending song on her reels.
An ecstatic Sireesha said, ‘Oh, my god! One of my friends sent that to me and I went crazy. She’s my mom’s favourite. The moment I sent the reel to my mother, she started screaming out of happiness. It all felt so good because even if tomorrow I become a big singer, I may or may not get an opportunity to do playback for Madhuri ma’am so I was happy that it happened through reels’.
Sireesha also shared how this Amit Trivedi album fell in her kitty and became a life-changing opportunity.
She said, ‘When I recorded the song, I never knew it’ll be the song’s final voice. Amid so many amazing singers in the industry sending their scratches, my voice being considered was my winning moment. I recorded the song live with so many musicians and it made it to people’s hearts, this opportunity wasn’t an easy cake.”
Do you know Anvita Dutt and Tripti Dimri got emotional on hearing Sireesha sing ‘Phero Na Najariya’ live?
‘I remember when I finished singing this song live, the entire crew gave me a standing ovation. I think Anvita ma’am and Tripti had tears in their eyes. I still couldn’t believe it happened. The entire team was there throughout and was so supportive. All of their input made the song so much better,’ Sireesha revealed.
Sireesha found Qala’s story relatable when Anvita Dutt briefed her during the re-recording of background scores.
The singer shared, ‘When Anvita ma’am gave me excerpts from Qala’s story, it was so relatable for me. Not because of the mother-daughter sequence but because even I want to prove myself in the industry just like Tripti wished on-screen. As this was my first playback in Bollywood so I was able to connect the dots.’
Sireesha further revealed that the female version of Qala’s Shauq song will release soon at the request of lyricist Varun Grover who told her, ‘you have to do a female version of Shauq. I want to listen to this.’ Sireesha has a few Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Gujarati songs in her kitty to release soon.
‘I’m keeping my arms open for anything and everything that comes my way. I’m open to singing in all genres and languages. I feel I have a long way to go and hence my journey to learn and grow shall continue.’