Never wanted to be biggest playback singer: Sona Mohapatra

New Delhi: Sona Mohapatra left a corporate job over a decade ago to be a musician. She now has a film of her own. She says she has never seen herself just as a singer and definitely not as somebody who wanted to be the biggest playback singer.

Also, no two days are the same for her.

“I wake up everyday so excited. I feel like I am a three-year-old. I cannot believe the blessed life that I have,” Sona told IANS.

She believes that people are living in very interesting times right now.

“Nobody needs to be restricted as an artiste. I have never seen myself just as a singer and definitely not somebody who wanted to be the biggest playback singer. I always saw myself as an artiste, (as) somebody who will express herself in different ways, be a storyteller,” she shared.

She finds films a powerful medium where “so many of my interests came together, be it travelling or love for Indian folk music or exploring more about the kind of artistes across the centuries in India who have inspired me like Kabir, Mirabai, Amir Khusro, at the same time tied in this very contemporary milieu of where I inhabitate”.

“I live in fancy five stars (hotels) as a pop star. I get two lakh people showing up at my concerts, I get trolled, I get acid attack threats, I am morphed onto porn sites – all of that exciting stuff alongside the fact that India is such a generous and beautiful country,” she added.

Along with her, Deepti Gupta, the director of her documentary “Shut Up Sona”, has love for the country’s roots.

“We made this journey of three years, 300 hours of footage, and in terms of a genre, I think it’s first of its kind,” said Sona.

The film’s premiere at a Mumbai film festival last year was a significant event for her.

“As an artiste, I wanted to start with my own country. That’s where I wanted an impact. This whole idea of going abroad and taking validation ‘we have won so many laurels that’s why you should watch us’, was something like no, we should be celebrated at home,” she said.

“People were laughing so much through the film. People in India have this misconception about documentaries that it’s very serious, a niche thing and everything is very slow. Mine is a ‘masaledar’ documentary. It’s a total fun ride and it made a lot of people emotional too. So I felt there must be something honest and true in it,” she added about the film that the Delhi audience also got to watch at the Asian Women’s Film Festival on Thursday.

“Shut Up Sona”, which was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, revolves around her journey as a rock star, her brand of music, love for her country’s roots and culture and how she has become symbol of hope of a larger movement.

Sona feels glad that she got to express herself in another medium.

“I had no one telling me that ‘iska gaana nikaldo’ (remove her song) , ‘iski awaz bhaari hai’ (her voice is heavy). I hope many more artistes, women take charge of the narrative and tell their stories. There should be much more of a feminine perspective in mainstream,” said Sona.

“We need to see more of us in the open and not just by being the pretty face or waiting for a break or waiting for somebody else to give us an opportunity. I thought the opportunities for me were drying up. No one was giving me the next opportunity. I said ‘okay either I start believing that I am not talented enough and sit down at home or I make my own journey happen’. That’s the reason why I said ‘let’s just make a film’,” said the artiste, known for songs such as “Bolo na” and “Ambarsariya”.


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