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Interviews |  06 Jun 2018 13:53 |  By Minal Metkari

I had never thought of singing classical professionally: Aarya Ambekar

Aarya Ambekar, who rose to fame after becoming one of the finalists of Sa Re Ga Ma Li’l Champs in 2009, has come a long way in her singing career. It was Aarya’s grandmother, a classical vocalist, who discovered her singing calibre.  As an adult, the 23-year-old has not only sung but has also bagged many awards for her popular Marathi songs like Hrudayat Vaje Something and more. Trained in Hindustani classical music, Aarya has also managed to make classical as well as semi-classical singing popular among youth through her concert, Sahel Re Ek Sawai Swaranubhav along with Prathamesh Laghate, a Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs (2009) finalist.

In an exclusive chat with Radioandmusic, Aaarya, who has graduated in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, talks about her classical singing journey, contribution of her mother in her singing career and playback singing in Marathi films. Excerpts.

You became a known face post Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs. What importance does this show hold in your singing career?

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs has been the greatest help for me in deciding my career. This is because until it happened, all of my focus was on becoming a doctor like my father. But, after this show, I chose singing as my career.

How did classical singing happen to you?

It was because of my mom, Shruti Ambekar that I started learning classical singing from a very small age. My mom, who is also my Guru, is a disciple of Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande of Jaipur Atrauli Gharana. In my singing career, today, whatever I’m, it is because of my mother. I was very reluctant to learn classical music when I was small, but my mom would still teach me classical music while bearing my tantrums.

Do you also have a degree in classical singing?

I gave my first music exam when I was six. There is a specific syllabus we have to learn in classical music. I have learnt a lot of ragas. Besides, I recently completed my Sangeeta Visharad, a three year course equivalent to Bachelors in Music. Also, currently I’m doing my masters in Hindustani classical music from SNDT University, Pune.

How did your innings of professional classical singing begin?

Actually, I’m a playback singer and I had never thought of singing classical professionally even in my dreams, until Sahela Re Ek Sawai Swaranubhav happened. This programme actually gave me a professional chance to sing compositions of legends of classical music, Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar, along with Prathamesh Laghate.

Who is your favourite classical singer?

In classical music it has always been Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande. I have been listening to her songs since childhood. In fact, this was the reason for me having agreed to sing in Sahela Re Ek Sawai Swaranubhav.

You have done playback singing for Marathi films. Can you tell us more about the songs and the movies that you have sung for?

I have done playback singing for Marathi films like Balgandharva, Rama Madhav, Yoddha, Kali, and Ti Saddhya Kay Karte. Balgandharva was my first classical playback singing debut, where I sang a bandish, Raag Komal Rishabh Asawari for young Balgandharva. For Rama Madhav, I feel blessed to have sung for Anand Modak, who was a noted composer. With Kali I got a chance to work with music composer Shrinivas Khale. I sang the song Umalun Yein Kali for the film. Until the film Kali, Shrinivas had worked with 99 singers and he told me that I was the 100th singer to have worked with him.

Your Marathi song, Hrudayat Vaje Something from the film, Ti Saddhya Kay Karte was a hit and has received many accolades. Can you tell us about it?

Yes, my song Hrudayat Vaje Something from the Marathi film, Ti Saddhya Kay Karte had not only become popular but had also received a lot of awards like Zee Talkies Maharashtracha Favourite Kon, City Cine Award by Radio City, Majja Digital Award and Zee Chitra Gaurav Award respectively. Besides, I had also sung two other songs, Jara Jara Tipur Chandane and Kitida Navyane Tula Aathavave for the film, of which Jara Jara Tipur Chandane had received various nominations and a Mirchi Music Award.

You have also acted in Ti Saddhya Kay Karte. Tell us more about it.

Ti Saddhya Kay Karte was my acting debut in Marathi film industry. I have not only received many awards for my playback singing for the film but also for my acting.

What are your upcoming projects?

I have given my voice to three Marathi films, for which I’ve worked with music composers - Dr. Saleel Kulkarni, Nilesh Mohri and Narendra Bhide respectively.

There is a trend of singers releasing their independent singles these days, are you also planning for one?

Yes, I have a Marathi single coming soon.

Is this your debut Marathi single?

No, it is not my debut single. I had actually debuted in 2016 with two singles, namely Alavar Maze Man Baware in Marathi and Kaare Se in Hindi. While the music composer of my Marathi single was Khalil Abhyankar, the Hindi single had compositions of Devendra Bhune.

Do you also do live shows apart from ‘Sahela Re Ek Sawai Swaranubhav’?

Yes, I have been performing light music based shows for about nine to ten years now.

Any plans to sing for Bollywood films?

I’m in talks, but nothing is confirmed yet, but I do wish to sing in Bollywood.

When it comes to Bollywood, who is your favourite singer from the tinsel town?

My favourite Bollywood singers are Shreya Ghoshal and Asha Bhosle.