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Melody kid



Shreya Goshal ... striking the right notes. Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

EATING FROM an ordinary plate the food dished out of the ordinary degchi and kadai, in a little corner of Pragati Maidan, this young girl in blue jeans and black, funky short top, looks like a school girl taking time off to have quick bite before attending the class. But soon she is seen signing autographs - to many schoolgirls whispering to each other, `I want to be a singer like her.' Little does Shreya Goshal know that she has created magic with her voice after "Devdas" and now "Jism". She is 18 and still under protective umbrella of her father Biswajit Goshal, a nuclear scientist based in Mumbai, who accompanies her everywhere, carrying her red shawl.

She is in Delhi for the shooting of Mukesh Bhatt's film "Saaya" in which a bhajan is shot on her. She has sung three songs in the film. She is still not able to come to terms with the glamour that is enveloping her - lights, camera, action, interviews and autographs. She coyly says, "It s amazing. The success of `Devdas' has proved to be boon to me. And now `Jism' has given me a good platform."

She was 16 when Sanjay Leela Bhansali chose her for singing in "Devdas". He had seen her in Zee TV's "Sa Re Ga Ma" programme where he was a judge. And she has bagged the best singer Screen Award for the same recently. "For a short time, I also got tutored under Kalyanji." How come? "He saw me in Sa Re Ga Ma's kids programme and said that I have loads of potential," chuckles Shreya.

And this recognition came to her after years of training in classical music. "My training began from the age of six. I am still learning," she says. And also singing in many films -- in "Tujhe Meri Kasam" she sang "three peppy, rebellious numbers, three soft, romantic ones with lots of nakhras in Farah Khan's "Main Hoon Na" as a debut director, with Sanjeev Darshan I sing one sufiana kalam, some with Anu Malik. In two-three months, some of my films will hit the screen," she seems visibly happy. To come to this level, Shreya also had to compromise with her studies. She is a second year student of Arts in South Indian Education Society - SIES College in Mumbai now. "I was a science student till 12th standard. I would have taken up medicine as a career if not for music. But when my career started taking shape in music, I left science for arts. I never wanted either my studies or music to get affected," she is concerned.

She has her own views about new music. "Most of today's songs are technology-based. I feel that Indian music industry is growing wiser these days. They are trying to revive the magic of good old music in their ventures." And she has her films for a proof while fondly recalling "Chalo, Tumko Lekar Chalen" song from "Jism". As for album, she has her own set of principles - no economy on clothes, no vulgar songs. This progeny of a good singer mother and a sister to an 11-year-old brother has spread wings in South and West Bengal too. "I have sung in a couple of Bengali films, two Telugu and five Tamil films," she reveals.

"I write songs in Hindi", she admits coyly adding, "they say I catch right accent." And she catches many hearts too!

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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