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What a lass!

Vasundhara Das swept Mangaloreans off their feet

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

Vasundhara Das: `It is for an individual to make the best use of opportunities.'

THIS GREEN-eyed beauty, queen of many a hits such as "Shakalaka Baby", "It's the Time to Disco', and "Oo Re Chori" may have walked out of director Ajit Sinha's film Adaa: Will Kill You. But when she stepped on the stage to perform at Mangalore, she just waltzed right into the hearts of many of her fans here.

Despite her success as an actoress, singing continues to be Vasundhara Das's first love. During her maiden visit to the coastal city, she performed with an equally talented singer Mano at the Seagrams Imperial Blue Super Hit show. .

Asked if she had any target audience in mind while composing music for her albums, she comes up a straightforward answer: "Music is a universal language. It can cross all known boundaries. Recently, when I performed at Kottayam and sang a Spanish number, the crowd there was lapping it all up."

Vasundhara Das is, of course, very happy with the huge crowds who turn up for her show. "The more the merrier," she says. "There are a lot of people out there who are still not fully exposed to the world of music. It may so happen that at least a few of them would begin to evince interest in music after seeing my show."

A teenage heartthrob, Vasundhara believes that youngsters are "like sponge. They just seem to absorb everything that you give them. It is our responsibility as singers to give them something good. Music is one vehicle where we can give them, the best of what we feel, and hopefully, they too reciprocate to our feelings."

Here, Vasundhara does not fail to mention the opportunities received by her at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, her alma mater. "The college gives its students a holistic vision of life. It is for an individual to make the best use of opportunities. I am just one of the many famous personalities to have come out of this institution."

Interestingly, if one thought that she was inspired by any of the singers from her time from India or one of the more niche music loving worlds, guess again. She says: "Aziza Mustaffa Zadeh from Azerbaijan is one singer who has very few limits when it comes to music. She has very little linguistic or stylistic boundaries tying her to one place," she notes. Not surprisingly for a person who appears to be fiercely independent, Vasundhara has an interesting theory about plagiarism that is seen as a constant curse of music world. "It just is not right to be seen copying others. One has to be original in all that they do. With all the available technology, why even bother to copy."

Her views on criticism or praise to her work are just as balanced. She considers her mother and her partner Roberto as her best critics. "There is explicit transparency in what they have to say about me. I take it in the right perspective for otherwise I would just be arrogant, which would lead to me remaining stagnant in my career."

While all the talk centered round her music career, it was by sheer chance that the conversation drifted towards her other passion - films. "I am very much looking forward to a film Patthar Bejuban, which is about two women. I play the role of a Superintendent of Police." Vasundhara, however, rues that this film, which deals with the travails of two women - one a protector of law and the other its victim - is held up because of a lack of funds.

"This film is nearly 80 per cent through. However, it has just run out of funds. It is a wonderful film and I hope it sees the light of day and not remain in the cans."

For someone seen as quite successful for her young age, Vasundhara's message to the youth is "believe in yourself". Though a thorough Iyengar girl, she is quite comfy with quite a few Indian and Latin American languages. Well it's definitely time to disco, but anyone for the more elegant Flamenco? Or maybe a Samba from Das?

JAIDEEP SHENOY

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