CHENNAI: Ever since the audio of Ponniyin Selvan - I released last month, the song Alaikadal has been acing the charts alongside Ponni Nadhi, crooned by the Mozart of Madras AR Rahman himself. However, after the Mani Ratnam’s film’s release last week, the significance of Alaikadal and the relevance of the song to the film have made it one of the timeless songs. The voice behind it, singer Antara Nandy, is being showered with compliments including that of how her voice resembles the legendary Shreya Ghoshal. And this is only her playback debut. “It really is a dream debut to say the least. I myself was waiting to see it on the big screen and how Mani sir has placed it in the film. Alaikadal isn’t like any other duet or a song where one can just record and leave. It talks about Poonkuzhali’s longing for love and for this I need to understand what the character is going through. Being an outsider to Tamil, it was initially challenging for me,” she begins.
Antara who records scratch tracks for Rahman was in for a surprise when she realised that she will be singing the original track for the film. “Rahman sir walked in to the studio and said that we will be recording a song post dinner. I thought it is going to be a track number. But sir surprised me saying that I will be the singer of this solo number. I was pleasantly surprised. He surprised me further by saying that I would also be singing the Hindi, Kannada and Telugu versions as well, she opens up.
The singer takes us through the process and says that she had to put in efforts to get the emotions right. “I sat with lyricist Ilango Krishnan and learnt word by word to emote well. He taught me the meaning behind each word and Rahman sir made me feel comfortable and made the process much easier. He guided me through the song and made it feel like it was a cakewalk for me,” she says with a smile. Antara opens up that she knew that the song has made it to the final list in the album only a few days before the audio launch. “I was told that the song has been finalised and will have to fly down to Chennai for the event. It all feels surreal. This is the result of several years of hardwork and have been working towards it along with my sister Ankita with the backing of our parents. From being a part of a reality show to making cover versions of songs on social media, the journey has been great. From now on, there are a few originals I have made and I will be focusing on putting them out,” she says.
On her upcoming projects, she says, “I have recorded a few more songs but I really do not know in which film they would feature in unless I get to know. But fingers crossed I hope there would be a song in PS - II as well.”