In 1995, singer Sunitha Upadrashta came to Hyderabad from Guntur to record a live programme for Doordarshan. She stayed back for the holidays and soon started getting offers for cassette and studio recordings. Thus began her musical journey of the past 24 years in this city.
Since then, there has been no looking back and Sunitha has sung for more than 85 South Indian films, including the popular Chivaraku Migiledi from the Telugu hit film Mahanati.
She has also sung under well-known music directors like Ilayaraja, M.M. Keeravani, Mani Sharma and Koti apart from winning many National and State awards for best female playback singing.
In fact, Sunitha’s recent show at Shilpakala Vedika before a packed audience screaming for more, was in the presence of luminaries like playback singers S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Chitra, lyricist Chandra Bose, music director R.P. Patnaik and actress Renu Desai. “My journey started when I was just six-years-old and music has been growing along with me. Every time I did a recording or had a successful performance, the joy would be immense, and I would forget all the difficulties that I had to encounter along the way. It’s something like the joy of a mother seeing her child for the first time,” says Sunitha, who feels that singing for films is not an easy job.
“It’s very important to understand the ‘song situation’ and bring in the emotions that are being enacted. The present day younger generation of musicians need to understand the lyrics and get their language diction right,” she says, adding, “One must understand and enjoy a song before it’s rendered. Also, while there is a scope for improvement or customisation while recording songs in a studio, the same is not possible in a live show, where one must have singing talent along with good interactive and communication skills to be successful.”
The singer has a word of caution for young upcoming musicians. “Cinema has a mass following in India. Every young aspiring playback singer needs to seek advice if their voice is good enough for films. There is lot of competition out there and the number of films have come down. However, they must never get disappointed and continue their musical journey. If not in cinema, they should check out other alternatives on how to use their voice,” she says, revealing that she is dubbing for actress Nayanthara in upcoming film, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy.
As for her future plans, Sunitha says, “I will be launching an independent music label to produce motivational and lullaby songs (Laali Patalu). Interestingly, while Sunitha has sung in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada, she has developed a deep interest in Hindi ghazals and confirms that it won’t be long before she renders them on public platforms.
“I have discovered a passion for Hindi ghazals and listen to Jagjit Singh, Asha Bhosle and Mehdi Hassan. Music gives me an opportunity for self-satisfaction. I am developing my singing skills of Hindustani music and dream of performing a full-fledged classical music concert in the city someday,” she says.