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In tune with the trend

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

Up and coming singer Rita is happy with the way her career is shaping up.



MAKING FORAYS: Rita.

“I 'm excited about ‘Sura,'” begins Rita, the young play back singer who made ears perk up to her ‘Allegra' and ‘Mambo Maamiya' numbers in ‘Kandaswamy.' Rita has a string of strains lined up, besides Vijay's next release.

‘Sura' will have her duet with Karthik and a number with Janani Madan. “The second one is more Janani's song because she has sung most of it,” says Rita and adds: “Mani Sharma is the composer. He's more like a godfather to me.” Thanks to him, she has given quite a few hits in Telugu too!

You can hear her singing a Dhina composition, in ‘Guru Sishyan,' releasing today. Selvaganesh has used her voice for the yet-to-be-released ‘Drohi,' and she has also sung for ‘Bhavani IPS,' Sneha's next.

Popular refrains

Quite a few of Rita's hits have been composed by Devi Sriprasad. Besides ‘Kandaswamy,' she has turned up trumps with songs such as ‘…. Jalsa' and ‘Vaada Maapillai' (‘Villu'). “Devi Sriprasad experimented with my range of voice and gave me a free hand to come up with humming in the BGMs,” she remembers. Among her songs for Yuvan Shankar Raja ‘Oru Naalaikkul' in ‘Yaaradi Nee Mohini' topped the popularity charts.

Also Ilaiyaraja has used her voice for a couple of songs in ‘Mayilu,' which is still in the making. Stage shows with the maestro have been exhilarating experiences for Rita. “Travelling to several parts of the world and the country with his group has been rewarding. Initially I was terrified about singing on stage, but now I've got used to it,” she says. Her first song before an audience was ‘Raakkamma Kaiya Thattu,' with SPB. Did he comment about her singing? “Not a word,” is her candid reply.

‘Rettaisuzhi' which should also be out soon, has Rita rendering voice to two numbers. “Karthik Raja is unbelievably talented. He can make even folksy and fast paced songs sound melodious,” she smiles.

Rita entered the arena through the backing vocals route, with Harris Jayaraj's ‘Kannum Kannum Nokia' (‘Anniyan'), while her debut number was for Imman's ‘Aanai.'

Avenues are aplenty for talented singers today, and popular playback singers double up as constituents of the backing vocals group. So you don't find any strong demarcation between chorus and lead singing.

“I've been a part of A.R. Rahman's backing vocals for several songs. But I'm still to sing a solo or duet for him,” says Rita.

Trained under Sharada Sundararaman (DKP's disciple) in Carnatic music and Krishnanand in Hindustani (at present Rita is a student of Sriram Parasuram), she says her base is Carnatic. “When I'm given a tune, instinctively I interpret and recognise it only as a raga and as swaras. I'm equally at ease in Western too, thanks to the cultural meets I participated when in college,” says this Fine Arts degree holder form Stella Maris. “My mom, sis and I have done the same course in the same college,” she laughs. Mother Lalitha Thyagarajan is an accomplished veena player and sister Poppy (“That's what we call her!”) has also sung in a couple of films.

Telugu hits

It was a dream debut for Rita in Telugu when she crooned ‘I want a Spiderman,' for Mani Sharma for the Chiranjeevi starrer, ‘Stalin.' Though her first Telugu recording was for ‘Sathyam Shivam Sundaram,' it was ‘Stalin' that came out earlier. Just as she sang with Vikram for ‘Kandaswamy,' she has also sung a duet with Junior NTR for ‘Adhurs.' ‘Syeata' with Charmi as heroine is one of Rita's recent assignments.

“I like the work culture in film music singing. It takes about two to three hours to learn, rehearse and record a song. I've also found some good friends among singers here,” she says.

Ask her about the most favourite number she has sung till date, “It's tough to pick out just one,” she says. But her ring tone coos ‘Allegra.'

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