Shreya Ghoshal, a name that touched the zenith of musical ingeniousness at a very young age. She climbed through the ladder of success only at 16 when she lent her voice in ‘Devdas’ for Aishwariya Rai. She still rules the charts and is the most popular and preferred playback singer of Bollywood today. In a career span of only 15 years, she has set such milestones that are evidently difficult to break.
Shreya Ghoshal was born on the 12th of March 1984 at Baharampur, West Bengal. Little Shreya later shifted to Rawatbhata of Kota in Rajasthan, where she spent most of her childhood. Her father, Biswajit Ghoshal, was a scientist at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and mother, Sharmishtha Ghoshal, was a teacher who happened to be the first music teacher for Shreya as well. Shreya Ghoshal learnt her first musical notes from her mother.
Shreya often says that if not a singer she might would have followed her father’s footsteps to become an astraunaut or a genetic engineer. As a child she used to sit with her father for various experiments. The father-daughter duo had an unnerving time while experimenting with electronic boards.
The Winner At Sa Re Ga Ma:
In 1996, at the age of 12 she took part in the singing reality show Sa Re Ga Ma on Zee TV. She won the contest and won the hearts of a million viewers who were left spellbound by her performance. Sanjay Leela Bhansali too noticed her on television screen at the time and made a mental note to make her his Paaro’s voice later while filming ‘Devdas’.
After her stupendous win in the reality show, Kalyanji asked her father to shift his base to Mumbai, as only that would boost the singing career of Shreya. Her father applied for a transfer at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai and shifted along with his family to the city of dreams. In Mumbai, Shreya was initially guided and trained by Kalyanji for almost 18 months.
Devdas : The Big Break
After four years when ‘Devdas’ was about to go on floors, Sanjay Leela Bhansali remembered Shreya Ghoshal and started his hunt for the young singer. Problem aroused when he could not even remember her name properly. Bhansali contacted the director of Sa Re Ga Ma, Gajendra Singh and described the little young girl who won the show four years ago. His search ended there as Gajendra Singh recognised Shreya and helped Bhansali to reach her.
Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka
Na Maine Bujhne Diya
‘Devdas’ happened to her when she was only 16. ‘Bairi Piya’, ‘Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka’ and ‘Dola Re Dola’ by her went on to top the charts and she became the new singing sensation of the country.
During her voice test in front of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she was asked to sing any song of her choice. She sang Lata Mangeshkar’s tracks so flawlessly that Bhansali finalised her selection in one go. Shreya Ghoshal, until now, considers Sanjay Leela Bhansali to be her Godfather who not only gave her the first break but also helped her throughout during her crawling days in Bollywood. During the recording of ‘Devdas’, Shreya often used to land up at the studio with books to study during the breaks as she had her examinations knocking at the doorstep.
Association with Anu Malik:
Suna Suna Lamha Lamha
Meri Raahein Tanha Tanha
In the year of 2003 and 2004, she gave out a bunch of hits under the guidance of Anu Malik. ‘Har Taraf’ and ‘Aye Meri Zindagi’ from ‘Saaya’, ‘Chanchan’ from ‘Munnabhai MBBS’, ‘Pyar Bhara Geet Koi’ from ‘LOC Kargil’, ‘Suna Suna Lamha Lamha’ from ‘Krishna Cottage’, ‘Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha’ and ‘Gori Gori’ from ‘Main Hoon Na’, ‘Agar Tum Mil Jaao Zamaana Chod Denge Hum’ are some of the super hit tracks dished out by the duo.
Shreya Ghoshal has lent her voice to several regional cinema as well. She has sung in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati and even Bhojpuri. Less commercialisation in the regional industries appeal her more to contribute there as she is able to explore the genres more. Originally trained in Bengali, she went on to learn to render in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and almost all the regional languages. Her first Telugu song was for the film ‘Okkadu’ under music director Mani Sharma.
Technically, Shreya Ghoshal sang in Tamil before her breakthrough in the Hindi music industry. Karthik Raja heard her while she was practicing riyaaz during Sa Re Ga Ma and made her sing alaps for his compositions.
Influences and Hits:
She draws heavy influence from Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Noor Jehan and Geeta Dutt. She also admires Madan Mohan and R. D. Burman as her favourite music directors. Her renditions surely are paving way for her to become a legend of equal stature. Her nerves only make her nervous when she sings for the maestro Ilaiyaraaja. Among foreign musicians, she desires to work with Norah Jones and Beyonce.
Shreya’s fan following is also increasing and growing at a rapid speed. She has a large group of fans in Twitter who term themselves as ‘SG Family’ and their reverence for Shreya only seems to be increasing day by day.
Piyu Bole, Piya Bole, Kya Yeh Bole Jaanu Naa
Jiya Dole Haule Haule, Kyun Yeh Dole Jaanu Naa
The song from ‘Parineeta’ went on to become the biggest chartbuster of 2005. Composer Shantanu Moitra, known for using less music to bring the magic of voices more, used Shreya’s voice in the best possible way and the simple melody of the song touched the chord of the audiences. ‘Kasto Mazza’ and ‘Soona Mann Ka Aangan’ are the other two hits from the same movie. ‘Zoobi Doobi’ from ’3 Idiots’ is also another major hit composed by Shantanu Moitra and rendered by Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam.
Her first playback for A. R. Rahman was for the film ‘Guru’. ‘Barso Re Megha’ was an instant hit where she rendered again for Aishwariya Rai after ‘Devdas’.
Shreya Ghoshal’s classical brilliance speaks for her through the song ‘Mere Dholna Sun, Mere Pyar Ki Dhun’ composed by Pritam for ‘Bhool Bhulaiya’. Her stint with ‘Yeh Ishq Haye, Baithe Bithaaye Jannat Dikhaaye’ from ‘Jab We Met’ for Pritam again was a surprising number depicting her versatility. ‘Teri Ore’ from ‘Singh Is King’ was another major hit by Pritam and Shreya in 2008.
She also delivered hits for Vishal Shekhar. ‘Om Shanti Om’ and ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’ are major hit soundtracks composed by Vishal Shekhar and rendered by Shreya Ghoshal. Even with Salim Sulaiman she gave out marvelling tracks like ‘Is Pal Main Hun’ and ‘Ishq Hua Hi Hua’ from ‘Aaja Nachle’ and also ‘Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai’ from ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’.
If you want to get a feel of 70s music then also Shreya Ghoshal is all set for that. Her ‘Ooh La La’ with Bappi Lahiri for ‘Dirty Picture’ and ‘Dhoom Tana’ with Abhijeet from ‘Om Shanti Om’ are perfect examples of music with the 70s feel.
Shreya Ghoshal has always been very particular about the lyrics of her songs. She has so far avoided or altered lyrics of songs that appeared to her as inappropriate or distasteful. Her songs are as elegant as the singer herself.
She is a legend in making and probably the only singer in Bollywood at the current stage, who can render and carry out a song of any genre. She has received four National Awards in the youngest possible age and the state of Ohio in the United States celebrates ‘The Shreya Ghoshal Day’ on every 26th June.