She wants to learn instrumental music as well after conquering the vocal category. That’s the classical singer Brinda Roy Chowdhury for you. Having had her Taalim on various forms of music like Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrulgeeti, Atulprasadi, Rajanikanto, Geet and pure classical from Ms. Krishna Dasgupta, she was also trained in Hindusthani Classical music by Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra in Delhi. They spotted her when she won the All India Music competition organized by Sangam Kala Group in Delhi since they had judged the event. Later she won the competition for three consecutive years in both film and non-film category. Currently, she is learning from Ramanuj Dasgupta in Kolkata. She also won Zee’s TVS Sa Re Ga Ma in 1999.
Born in New Delhi, Brinda graduated in Chemistry from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. She has derived her inspiration from her father. She gives him the credit discovering her musical talent and she considers him highly responsible for all the little or big musical achievements. Even today, when she sings or achieves anything in music, she knows that he is the happiest. She considers her mother is her first ‘guru’. Her mother was herself trained in classical and light music. She adds, “She was a brilliant singer in her youth but with family responsibilities, her music had taken a back-seat. But she made sure that I do it sincerely and she has always guided me with my singing, selection of songs and knows my strength and weaknesses throughout.”
Brinda’s sister, Dhriti, a post graduate in classical music, inspired her to take up music. She adds about her sister, “She made me keen and interested in music. I was just 3 or 4 years old when she would practice ‘tarana’, ‘bandish’ etc. and I would silently observe her and pick them up. One day I started singing them and my parents and relatives were surprised that the singing was flawless. It was then; that my father had taken to me to Ms. Krishna Dasgupta for learning music. I was 5 years old then.”
Brinda married a very good friend of hers of 5 years, Saswata Ray in 2010. Regarding him, she says, “He has been the most loving, caring and supportive husband. And I am very lucky to have him in my life.”
Childhood: Brinda was a very quiet and disciplined child. She reminisces, “Actually, both of us were much disciplined as our mother has always been very careful of the way we were brought up. I have never given too much trouble to anybody and was loved by everyone. Sometimes I would try to get a little stubborn but that would be rectified by my mom very quickly! My teachers in school were all in love with me and I have had the good fortune to get their blessings and love all the time. I would be invited to sing, give solo performances at many places in Delhi all round the year and I would manage my studies and singing together. I won several music competitions that would be held at various pandals during the Durga Puja and I appeared on Doordarshan, radio program of AIR in and around 1991-92 which gave me a lot of recognition in Delhi. I was just 8 or 9 years old then. I was also a recipient of CCRT (Govt. of India) scholarship holder in music till the age of 18. Since then, the journey has continued and I enjoy performing on stage as well as in the studios. Singing was the first thing that happened to me after I started learning things around as a child. My mother says that singing happened first and after that I started talking. So from the time I’m into singing I feel happy, content and very peaceful! It’s the only thing I should be doing.”
Bollywood Beckoning: When she was 12, she sang for a film called Dance of the Wind, directed by Mr. Rajan Khosa and its music was given by Shubha Mudgal ji. The folk song was Na ko tara, kou na raat… The movie went to a lot of film festivals and bagged many international awards. Later in her college days, she sang for a couple of Punjabi and Bhojpuri movies. But she emphasizes, “I am yet to get my big Bollywood break. I am still waiting for it.”
Problems Faced by Newcomers: The main problem in music field today is that people, who can make stars are themselves not too enlightened in music, according to her. In her opinion, “Be it the TV channel people or the program organizers, music company owners or a film or a TV producer. And these are the people who decide who will sing or who will be given the chance to make an album or do TV shows. The music directors (except a few) do not have much say in this regard. So how does a new and deserving singer make his/her entry? But I am sure, if one has to become successful, he/she will make it irrespective of all the odds. I believe in destiny.”
Importance of Godfather: She opines that the success story of each and every individual artist is different. She adds, “But I think there is one such person, who brings an artist on the right track and after that the singer does not have to look back. To me, he is a godfather. He is also someone who has been in the profession for long, knows every bit of it and has his confidence in you. That itself is very inspiring, encouraging and of course very important to get through.”
Future Projects: She became an empanelled vocalist of ICCR, Govt. Of India in 2008 and she is also planning some shows abroad. She says, “I am also planning an album which will have some of my favourite yesteryears’ Hindi and Bengali movies songs. 2007 and 2009 saw Prime Music And Cozmik Harmony (music companies of Kolkata) releasing two solo albums of mine consisting of new Bengali modern songs, namely, Jhirijhiri and Meghe Meghe. It had great reviews and response, especially among the Bengalis in Delhi. I look forward to perform playback in Bangla and Hindi films. I want to give a direction to all the hard work, teaching and blessings that my music gurus and parents have given me. Also, it is important that people who have learnt and practiced for so many years should be tried in the studios now. It is nice to have a good voice and sing professionally but besides that, knowledge and learning experience of years shall always have an edge over.”
This article was first published in Eve’s Times and has been reproduced here with the permission of the editor Swati Amar.