The Indian singer you’ll love listening to (and looking at)
Shashaa started singing at the age of five, and never imaged she would have a career as a Bollywood Playback singer, singing the old Hindi melodies of Mohd. Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar over a local radio channel, Radio Rim Jhim, in the well-received show ‘Aapki Pasand, Aapki Zubaani’, hosted by Vancouver’s beloved radio host, Rockin’ Rakesh.
How was our city’s very own Shashaa Tirupati, popularly known as Reecha, to know she would one day be giving voice to megastar Deepika Padukone in a Rajnikanth and Deepika Padukone starrer film! But, what comes even beyond that, in her own words, as the “greatest blessing of Bappa (Lord Ganesha) she could have asked for in this lifetime” and what she considers her ‘big break’ in Bollywood after having sung for over 15 films, lies in the fact that she has sung a solo song in the film for Academy Award – Oscar Recipient, A.R. RAHMAN, her childhood idol, inspiration and the sole reason for her singing. The song is called Vaada Vaada (Female) for the film Kochadaiyaan.
It was back in 2007 when Vancouver’s first Red FM Idol was selected for one of India’s biggest television singing reality shows, Zee TV SaReGaMaPa, when Shashaa (Reecha) had decided to move to Mumbai to create a niche for herself in singing for Hindi film songs, commonly known as playback singing. Post reality show she stepped into the competitively creative realm of advertising. Having lent her voice to actors including Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Hema Malini and Amrut Maghera, she established herself over the next couple of years as a much sought after jingle singer and voice-over artist with over 500 advertisements to her credit. After having sung for some of the biggest international brands, her first opportunity as a bollywood playback singer came with Director Priyadarshan’s film Bumm Bumm Bole, starring Darsheel Safary. Following Bumm Bumm Bole, Shashaa’s discography grew with films including Turning 30, Be Careful, Hostel, Boys Toh Boys Hain, Yeh Stupid Pyar, Jo Hum Chahein, and Karle Pyar Karle to name a few. She had the opportunity to sing for famed Tamil music director GV Prakash Kumar, who also happens to be the nephew of Oscar Winner AR Rahman. The song, called “Oday Oday” from the film Raja Rani, topped Tamil charts, and the film proved to be one of the greatest blockbuster hits of 2013 and all- time. Other regional films with songs credited to her name include Nimirnthu Nil (Tamil), Aiwain Raula Pai Gaya (Punjabi), Tere Ishq Nachaya (Punjabi), Jandapai Kapiraju (Telugu), Pipani (Marathi), Powder (Unreleased, Marathi), and Coffee Aani Barach Kaahi (Releasing July 2014, Marathi).
But what is the story behind Shashaa’s “big break” with AR Rahman? It started with auditions for MTV Coke Studio Season 3 where “Sir”, as she respectfully calls the Mozart of Madras, was in search of a group of female singers for his Hindustani Choir on the episode. She auditioned for the slot and bagged a position on the choir. A month after the telecast and raving reviews of the AR Rahman Episode, she received a call one fine morning from Panchathan Studio, Chennai: she was asked to come down south for a song the maestro wanted to try her voice for. That song was “Vaada Vaada”.
“It was a dream of an experience… How it all happened has still not sunk in. Sir knows exactly what he wants, and his judgment is beyond commendation. Rahman Sir and the entire team at Panchathan made the entire experience very comfortable and they’ve made me sing and sound better than I could ever have imagined doing on my own!
As far as my song Vaada Vaada is concerned, this song means to me what defined Rahman Sir to me when I was growing up, as it was HIS music that taught me what I should really be listening to. It takes me to the AR Rahman I’ve worshipped for almost two decades, be it with Roja, Bombay, Taal, or Guru, to name a small handful. Now its Vaada Vaada and Kochadaiyaan.”
Shashaa is currently touring and performing with AR RAHMAN in his world tour RAHMANISHQ. As of now we wish her the very best for her soulful song sung with pure divinity in Kochadaiyaan, and another dozen songs with the maestro to come!