After making a mark with a Tamil music reality contest on television, city girl Maalavika Sundar has now made it into this season’s Indian Idol. Although she won’t reveal the position she is holding in the country’s most famous singing show, she shares with us the whole experience.
However, there is more to this young singer other than the talents shows. For starters, she is one of the regulars at Margazhi concerts every season, and she has recently turned into a playback singer with Karthi’s Komban.
Maalavika’s journey with Carnatic music started when she was just two and a half years old — “When I was just two, I started singing along MS Subbulakshmi ma’am’s Hanuman Chalisa and other classics that my family kept listening to. My parents decided to get me into classical music, and I was very blessed to have Srimathi Padmavathi Ananthagopalan — younger sister of Lalgudi Jayaraman sir — as my guru.”
From then on, Carnatic music played a substantial part in Maalvika’s life and even her academic career was built around her passion for music. “My father had to move to Delhi when I was in the ninth grade. I refused to go with my family. By then my connection with my guru was at an emotional level, and I considered her my paati. So, I wanted to stay back in Chennai and pursue singing. After that, my gurukula vasam started,” she shares.
Super Singer turned out to be a game changer for her. “Film music was a totally different ball game for me. Until then, my preconceived notion was that Carnatic music was the hardest. But film singing was hard too, in terms of bringing out the emotions. Till then, I used to learn a song based on the sangathis and their shifts. But, for films I had to capture the expressions. So, I had to change my learning process.”
Nevertheless, she feels her training in classical music renders her an advantage in playback singing — “Because of my classical background, I understand the ragas on which a song is based.” She has so far crooned for songs in Komban, Kaaval, Pencil, and Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru. She has also worked with Dharan Kumar for a film, which is yet to release.
When asked if her aspiration for music is because she has been associated with it since childhood, she says, “I was put into music at an age when I was not even aware of anything. So, I grew up with it. Later on, I realised the value of it and recognised how vital it has been to my life. I am glad.”...