Rahul Sipligunj was at his gym doing his regular workout. He was expecting the Golden Globe awards to be announced around 10 AM IST. “But much to my surprise the results were announced around 7 AM. ‘What!’ I said. I was thrilled to bits,” recalls Rahul, adding that his mobile phone has been ringing incessantly since then.
Composer MM Keeravani won the Golden Globe award for Best Original Composition for the Naatu Naatu song from the film RRR recently. The song was shot on Ram Charan and Jr NTR. Rahul, who sang the song along with Kalabhairava (Keeravani’s son), describes winning the Golden Globe as the “best moment in life.”
“I never expected the award! I don’t know how many times it happens, but to see the song I crooned winning a Golden Globe is my greatest achievement. It was beyond words. I haven’t won any major award so far, but getting the Golden Globe is incredible,” says Rahul with a big smile.
The singer is ecstatic over the fact that Keeravani mentioned his name at the award ceremony. “Imagine a gully boy’s name being mentioned on a global platform,” he says with pride.
While Rahul feels Keeravani’s magic worked wonders for the song, he believes that his vocals suit mass and energetic numbers. “I am known here for singing mass and peppy songs. I am called for independent mass tracks. And Keeravani garu believed my vocals suit the song,” he says. He adds that the fast beat, unique composition, Chandrabose’s magic lyrics and Prem Rakshit’s brilliant choreography worked big time for the energetic number.
Naatu Naatu back story
After his stupendous Telugu Bigg Boss victory (Season 3), Rahul Sipligunj was back to playback singing and exploring opportunities as an independent musician. And then, one afternoon, he got a call from composer MM Keeravani (under whom he started his career as a track singer over a decade ago).
When Rahul went to the studio, he was given a track (Naatu Naatu) to sing.
“When I was singing the lyrics for the first time, I didn't know which film it was for. We have recorded the track a few times since then,” says Rahul. Impressed with the singing, Keeravani later asked Rahul to record the song alongside Kalabhairava.
“After a few days, when I learnt that the song was for RRR, I was very nervous,” he admits, but adds that he wanted to take up the challenge and prove his mettle.
Rahul acknowledges that it was a great challenge to sing for star heroes (Ram Charan and Jr NTR) who are brilliant dancers. “It’s not easy to sing for such stars and that too an energetic number. But at the same time, it was a great opportunity given by Keeravani Sir. He believed in me and I wanted to live up to the expectations,” he shares.
Rahul recorded the song in two hours! And Keeravani was so struck by the vocals that he asked Rahul to sing in Tamil, and then in Kannada and finally for the Hindi version too. “If I look back, I feel it all just happened so organically. It’s such a great opportunity that I got to record the song in multiple languages. I feel blessed. I am grateful to Keeravani garu and I can’t thank him enough,” says Rahul.
Rahul did the playback singing for Ram Charan while Kalabhairava crooned for Jr NTR. Interestingly, they did not record the song together. Rahul did the playback first and later Kalabhairava recorded his version. “But Kalabhairava helped me get my vocals right with synchronisation at certain points. He made a few corrections too. After the recording, he complimented me, saying that I had done a great job,” says Rahul.
From being a chorus singer to track singer and the main singer, Rahul says his journey has been a roller coaster ride. Even though Rahul had earlier crooned several songs, he feels the admiration and laurels Naatu Naatu brought are his biggest achievement.
Pacha Bottesina from Baahubali 1 was a superhit number. The song was sung by Karthik. However, before Karthik, Rahul’s name was discussed; in fact, Rahul even sang the track for the song in 2014. “Keeravani garu liked my voice, but I couldn’t get through. So I missed out on the opportunity to sing in Rajamouli Sir’s film then,” recalls Rahul, who is glad that he eventually got the chance to sing Naatu Naatu in RRR.
Rahul feels singers should adopt the nature and behaviour of the on screen characters to get the feel right.
Asked how he is handling his new-found fame, he replies that his parents and upbringing keep him grounded, but adds that when the Golden Globe award was announced, it was an emotional moment for his family too, as they supported him throughout his career. He also says that the Golden Globe recognition has made him more responsible about his career.
“I have sung several mass numbers after Naatu Naatu, but after this award there’s more responsibility. I will be careful in choosing my work. Since I am also evolving as a singer, I want to focus more on independent music whilst balancing playback singing,” he says, signing off....