By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Nov 5 (IANS) Have you heard the startling new singing talent evident in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Saawariya"? There's Shail Hada doing the title song, and Parthiv Gohil crooning "Yoon Shabnami", as though they are seasoned stalwarts of the singing world.
It cannot be a coincidence. But the old order of singers in the industry seems to be dissolving and a brand new order seems to be emerging.
"And the best part of their talent is the originality," said composer-director Vishal Bharadwaj, who used to dabble in quite a lot of new voices like Kay Kay and Rekha Bharadwaj when he was actively composing music. "I find none of the new singers imitates the singing greats, namely, Lata-ji (Mangeshkar), Asha-ji (Bhosle), Mukesh, (Mohammad) Rafi saab and Kishore Kumar. That's a very encouraging sign," he told IANS.
The change started with Kay Kay Menon, Shaan and Shreya Ghosal, who came in at the turn of the millennium. These singers didn't imitate the legendary voices but forged their own path.
Now we have singers like Shail, Arnab Mukherjee, Himani Kapoor and Vinit Singh -- all young with no trace of the singing legends.
Arnab said: "I've sung the popular 'Vaada raha' song in 'Khakee' for Akshay Kumar. For an upcoming singer it's very important to sing for a popular leading man. That's the only way he gets noticed initially."
Vinit, a finalist of Zee TV's talent show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge", who's being trained by composer Himesh Reshammiya, has already sung a song for the popular composer. "Yes," said Vinit, "I've sung the song for Zayed Khan in 'Rocky'."
All of 17, Vinit is already dreaming of singing for the established heroes.
Barely a couple of months in Mumbai, Himani, again a "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" finalist, recorded a thumri for composer Aadesh Shrivastav in Kalpana Lajmi's "Chingaari".
Lajmi can't get over what she heard. She said: "The minute she opened her mouth, I knew Himani had arrived. What confidence, poise... and an absolutely original voice."
Now she has recorded yet another song, this time for Reshammiya.
"It's very rare to see a singer achieve such distinction at the age of 17. Himani seems to have goddess Saraswati's blessings straight in her throat," said Shrivastav appreciatively.
TV has also given the industry other notable warblers. Sony TV's "Indian Idol" winner Abhijeet Sawant and finalist Rahul Vaidya and Amit Sanna, "Fame Gurukul" winners Rooprekha and Qazi Tauqeer also seem destined for the big time.
Will this bubbly breed of singers achieve the success of the previous generations?
Shrivastav is quite hopeful and said: "I'd say they have it in them to make it even bigger than some of our most established playback singers. Besides the josh and the junoon, they have the sur and range. That's what makes the upcoming generation of singers so special."