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Love, among other things

Raageshwari wants to do a great deal more. Singing, dancing, anchoring, running a dance school for children... And yes, falling in love too



Raageshwari: staying power that is fuelled by grit and determination — Photo: R.V. Moorthy

HER MUSICIAN-FATHER, no doubt with big dreams and ambitions for his daughter, named her after the queen of ragas — Raageshwari. Whether she has lived up to her formidable name is debatable, though there is no mistaking her multi-faceted talent, be it in anchoring, singing, performing, or VJ-ing.

The perky performer was in Bangalore over the Valentines weekend to do a charity show, hosted by SS Channel. The proceeds went towards providing anti-retroviral drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women.

"I love performing in Bangalore," she exclaims. Bangalore holds a special place in her heart since her first ever concert was here, in 1997. Also, her debut album, Duniya, had the largest number of takers in Bangalore compared to other Indian cities.

Rags, as she is popularly known, shot to fame with her film debut in the comic caper Aankhen that starred Govinda and Chunky Pandey in 1993. This was followed by a small role in Main Khiladi Tu Anadi. From the big screen, she jumped onto the boob tube, joining the VJ bandwagon hosting Channel V's BPL Oye, and later, MTV's 123, and Bar Bar Dekho.

She also dabbled in music and has three albums to her credit — Duniya, Pyaar ka Rang, and Y2K, of which her debut album was the most successful. Her albums are a family affair with national award-winning father, Trilok Loomba, composing the music, and brother Rishabh directing her videos.

She went through a bad phase for seven to eight months in 2000, when she was diagnosed with Bell's palsy, a condition characterised by facial paralysis. "For a few months, I could not move my face, talk, or sing. My family and friends really helped me then." The resilient lady took up fitness training and became a certified aerobics instructor. "It's only when you start hurting that the process of healing starts," she says. Slowly, she went back to hosting events, conducting TV shows, and giving concerts. She hosted the Zee Teen Queen Contest in Dubai, Kuch Kehti Hai Yeh Dhun on Sony TV, and One-on-one With Raageshwari on Ten Sports.

So what does she enjoy doing the most? Singing, dancing, performing, or anchoring? "I enjoy doing everything, but I love performing live because it's so challenging."

Her forthcoming self-titled album is due in a couple of months. Isn't it difficult to release an album after a four-year hiatus? Not really. "I believe in original music and clean videos. Today it is very easy to remix old music. It's very sad that these artistes don't credit original musicians like R.D. Burman." Only talent keeps you going in the long run, she says, referring to the current crop of skimpily clad singers and mediocre popstars. Her album will have easy listening numbers, fusion music, and also a special song for underprivileged children.

She has a soft corner for children, which is one of the reasons she supports charity shows for them. "My best friends are children. Their concerns and conversations are so different. It is sad that children these days don't indulge in any outdoors activities. Their lives are restricted to indoors and they lack good entertainment." If she can have her way, she would like to open a dance school, a fitness studio, and a creativity school for children.

Her future plans also include falling in love! "It's been such a long time since I dated and I want to make my life complete."

PRIYA SRINIVAS

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