She used to doze off at the time of riyaz but is now of the busiest playback singers in Kolkata. In an exclusive to RBN, Somlata Acharya Choudhury talks about her formative years.
The beginning: Could have been three of four then. I used to learn music from an auntie like any typical Bengali household. More than learning how to sing, I was interested in playing with a few other kids of my age who attended the classes. At home, my mother used to force me to practice. The regular practice was more of a torture to me. Half an hour into it and I would doze off.
The singing part: I couldn’t pronounce the words correctly but managed to pick up the tune quickly. After all who wouldn’t want to listen to a kid singing in half-syllables. There was an old harmonium in our house and I often fiddled with it. With many people wanting me to sing I was confident that I could do without the riyaz.
The home environment: Everybody was supportive of my singing. While there was a fixed timetable for my riyaz, there was nothing as such for my studies. My father had strict instructions for my mother not to force me to study, though it wasn’t the same for didi who was taking music lessons from the same auntie.
The later years: When I was 13, I started taking lessons from Pt Biresh Roy. He was above 70 then. I learned patdeep, todi, bhairavi and other ragas. Panditji was very strict with riyaz. By then had developed a keen interest in music and missing practice, even for a day, made me feel guilty. Guruji is no more today. While lending my voice to each film from Cross Connection to Ranjana Ami Aar Asbona, I always remembered of him.