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Interviews |  02 Mar 2018 14:01 |  By RnMTeam

Singing is my first love, then everything else: Priyanka Barve

MUMBAI: To be born into a musical family and to nurture a musical dream is obvious. Priyanka Barve was born as a granddaughter to the legendary vocalists Pandit Padmakar Barve and Smt Malati Pande- Barve. Grandfather an erudite classical vocalist and grandmother one of the most renowned playback singers of her times, Priyanka responded to music when she was of only 3 or 4-year-old.

“I have a recording of myself, where I have sung the entire thaat with correct surs and I was only 3-4 years old,” shares the prolific artiste.

But sooner she realised that she had a flair for Sugam sangeet or playback singing more than classical. “It fascinated me to no end that my voice is used for someone else. I was very inspired knowing my grandmother’s journey as a playback singer too,” Priyanka expresses.

The dream to be a playback singer was not far-fetched for her, as when she was only in ninth standard, she sang for a Marathi movie called Devraai. “But my first official song was for the movie Ajintha for Kaushal Inamdar, and pictured on Sonalee Kulkarni,” adds Priyanka.

Moving on, she was always a known name in Marathi Music industry when a Marathi label giant Sagarika approached her for a single. “The song Prem La was a turning point in my life. I got noticed because of that song. What also made me happy was to appear in the video, it opened many doors for me.”

She had explored live shows, playback singing, appearing on screen and then was her turn to be a part of revolution initiated by young maestro Rahul Deshpande, to bring back Sangeet Natak era. “Rahul dada was looking out for a girl who could act and sing. At the same time, I had just won Best singer/actress title in a local competition and that’s how he heard of me. That’s how I got into Sangeet natak. He was very patient with me as I was hardly 21-22. I would rehearse the same taan for good 5-6 hours till I got it right. It was a great learning experience,” gushes the singer/actress.

She went on to become the lead in three major Marathi musicals Sangeet Nataks Saunshya Kalhol, Sangeet Manapamaan, Sangeet Soubhrada. All three plays had created history in the yore and did the same now too.

Just when she thought she is settling in this zone, a new life-changing experience awaited her. Feroz Abbas Khan’s Mughal-E-Azam was waiting for its Anarkali.  “My friend Sanjay Dawra is friends with the casting director of the play Mukesh Chhabra. They suggested my name to Feroze sir. When I went there for an audition sort, I had zero ideas about the scale the play was to be done. Considering the time commitment and also unfamiliar Hindi environment I was very indecisive about it and hence didn’t respond to them for almost a month. This, however, changed once Sanjay called me and explained the magnitude of the opportunity. Also, when I was told that Manish Malhotra would be doing the costumes I almost fainted.”

She essays the iconic role of Anarkali, once portrayed by none other than Madhubala. She sings dances and acts live on stage for this NCPA and Shapoorji-Pallonji magnum opus. “But I had never watched Mughla-E-Azam the movie,” she confesses. The play has completed 100 shows in Mumbai and Delhi together with a total of seven seasons.

It was also a dream come true, “When I was 21, I used to tour a lot abroad for live shows and had seen Broadway shows. I used to always wonder if I could be a part of it, and I got a chance of a lifetime to be a part of such amazing Broadway,” she shares.

Going out of her comfort zone of Marathi industry has only taught her good things. “Outside Marathi Industry, I have seen a lot of discipline and professionalism. Also, I feel artiste in Marathi Industry underestimate themselves, despite being so talented. We need to learn how to showcase our talent, as we are no less,” she points out.

“But Marathi industry is like family, everyone knows everyone. Maybe that’s the reason sometimes we take each other for granted,” she says.

Not only is she born into a musical family, she is married into one too. Married to young and upcoming Sarod player Sarang Kulkarni, the husband-wife duo has started a project called Priyarang. “Both of us perform for others, but to showcase our own creative thoughts we started Priyarang.” Their first outing Mahaganpathim was an instant hit on social media.

Of the future plans, Priyanka shares, "I open to act in the film too, but I need the correct role. But I am not sure of daily soaps, as its more of a job. Singing is my first love, then everything else. No compromise there." 

Definitely, a moment of pride for Maharashtrian industry, that a girl of the same origin is a name to reckon with.