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Interview Team : Kaushik L M

Saindhavi is among the youngest playback singers in the Tamil music industry, which is ruled by a number of talented singers. Married to hotshot composer G.V.Prakash, Saindhavi has rendered more than 750 songs over the past decade in which she has been active as a singer. She has sung in all the Southern languages and continues to bag great offers with all the composers. In this frank and candid conversation with Behindwoods, we follow Saindhavi talking us through her career, her husband and her future plans.

How has the journey been so far?

It feels good ! I feel blessed that I have sustained for so long. Deva Sir first spotted me when I was in my 10th and I sang 3 numbers for him but they sadly didn't release. I recorded for Anniyan when I was in my 11th and the album released when I was in my 12th. I was working all along to hone my skills and better my capabilities as a singer. I was delighted to see my name on Anniyan’s album cover and my friends and family were also thrilled to inform me the same. I initially thought they were pranking me but it turned out to be true.

How do you approach any given recording?

I treat every song as if it is my first and in that way, there is no scope for becoming casual or over-confident. That's when I can deliver my best and hence I have no regrets with respect to any tune, as I always give my best.

You have worked with most of the composers. Do tell us what are their USPs and unique traits

Everyone is unique and you can learn so much from every composer. Their working styles are different. For example Deva Sir has a different style when compared to Rahman Sir or Harris Sir. 
I have worked the maximum with Mani Sharma Sir and he is one who places total trust on his singers. He has given me many fast numbers and I have had many recording sessions with him.  
Vidyasagar Sir gives us time to learn the song and then only proceeds with the recording. I didn't even know that I was supposed to carry a recorder when I first went to sing for Vidyasagar Sir. 
Recordings with Raja Sir generally last for half a day minimum and sometimes they go on for the entire day, starting from 7 in the morning. His assistant teaches the song to us and Raja Sir sometimes drops in during the recording.

Your journey has been peppered with many awards and accolades. Talk us through them and also the song that pushed you to the next level.

This year, I have been conferred with the Ritz and Siima Awards and last year, I received the Vijay Music Award and also awards from Big FM and Mirchi. The last two to three years have been really good from an awards perspective. 
Coming to the song that really pushed me to the next level and makes me feel special, I would say Vizhigalil from Deiva Thirumagal. The way it was picturized and the way the movie turned out were extra special. Till then, I was mostly singing fast numbers and people were taken aback by the soft quality in my voice. It was a huge break for me and I got so many calls and messages from people I knew and people I didn't know, and this was a complete revelation for me.

You seem to reserve your best for husband G.V.Prakash

Actually I am scared to sing for him as he is a perfectionist and doesn't settle for anything less than the best. He is very particular, sets very high expectations and is frank in his views. I always feel a bit jittery while singing for him. 
Right from our early days, GV was sure that he wouldn't recommend my voice just because I was special to him. He wanted me to earn my worth and prove my talent. Aaruyire in Madrasapattinam was widely noted and director Vijay was then adamant that I sing for Deiva Thirumagal as well. 
In the same way Selvaraghavan Sir wanted me to sing for Mayakkam Enna and Pirai Thedum was the first song that I sang together with GV. One song led to the other and hit numbers such as Yaaro Ivan and Yaar Indha Salaiyoram happened. I don't know the exact reason why we click as a team but I guess people love our work. 
GV knows my strengths and weaknesses as a singer and he'll call me only if he really believes that the song will suit me. Sometimes, he'll go even against the director's request if he is confident that a particular song won't suit me.

Your favorite traits in GV, as a composer, singer and as a person

As a composer, he knows what exactly he wants and he is not clueless for one moment. It is very difficult to satisfy and convince him. He always delivers his best and also extracts the best out of singers. I also admire his home work and his extensive usage of live instruments, particularly for period movies such as Paradesi. 
As a singer, he is aware of his strengths and picks only the songs which suit him. When he knows that other singers would do a better job, he happily lets them sing. Examples are Pookal Pookum Tharunam and Hey Baby, when he exactly knew what he wanted from his singers for that particular genre. 
As a person, he is very caring and protective. He is humble at the same time frank and forthright in his views, without hurting the other person. He doesn't give false hopes to anyone and is never artificial.

Do you two discuss work at home as professionals, and how involved are you in his other endeavors such as acting and production?

We don't have any needless work discussions at home but we make sure that we pass valid feedback and criticism of one another's work. We give each other our creative spaces and there are no interference and needless suggestions. 
I am not creatively involved in any of his productions but I support him in whatever he does. The volume of work that he does is huge and I don't nag and trouble him needlessly. I have full faith in him and don't object to his choices. 
With respect to his acting, I do help him in his gym preparation, personal grooming sessions and in maintaining his diet.

Any conditions from your side to GV - the actor, when it comes to onscreen romance?

I have requested him to avoid kissing scenes and other intimate scenes. Since Pencil is a movie set in a high school, I don't think there would be such scenes.

Your other creative pursuits

I read a lot but I don't know if I have it in me to write scripts. I am also into carnatic singing and devotional singing big time. Till now, I have been a part of about 150 devotional albums and I have also collaborated on contemporary non-film albums, with the likes of Anil Srinivasan and Nivas Prasanna. Kannamma is one such album which I recently produced and this album was replete with 8 of Bharathiyar's love songs.

About your plans for the upcoming December - January Margazhi Carnatic season in Chennai

This year I would be performing about 12 concerts around Chennai and I have lined up some thematic presentations. I do a lot of research for my thematic presentations to understand the meaning of each song. There would be a small narration before each song. 
I work really hard and do not accept other recordings unless they are really important, as I need to take care of my voice. I make sure that I don't mix any other commitments during this season and my full focus is on Carnatic music for these months. I am really excited about the coming season.
Behindwoods wishes Saindhavi a very happening future in whichever sphere of music she ventures out to.


Tags : Saindhavi


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