Tell me something about the song you recorded for producer Manju Gautamji?
It’s a Gaurav-Geet composed for Hindi Diwas by Music Director Udbhav Sir, who sang some wonderful songs for Yash Chopra’s Mohabbatein as the playback singer. It’s a beautiful song and a very catchy composition from the pen of Devmani Pandey. Udbhavji did my best as a singer on the song and I am very grateful to Keshav Raiji for suggesting my name to Udbhavji.
Did you sing the song after many rehearsals?
Udbhavji sent me the track after explaining to me on the phone what the melody would be and gave me a free hand as a singer and only fine-tuned where he felt it wasn’t taking shape.
What drew you to choose singing?
Music has flowed in my veins since I was a child. In fact, when I was just two years and nine months old, I started singing publicly on stage. My father, music director Shri Krishna Chandratre, has always composed music, while my grandfather Bhanudas Chandratre Kalvalkar is a kirtankaar. It was my father who trained me in music. Besides both, I was trained in music by Shalini Naik and Late Prabhakar Pandit. I am also trained in western classical music.
How did you come to your film break as a playback singer?
It was Abhijit Joshi, the music director of the film Jayjaykaar, who called me and asked me to sing for his film. It was a popular motivational song. To date, I have sung in a number of Marathi films, more specifically about 20 films, the most prominent of which is JayJaykaar, directed by Shantanu Rode. For the Marathi film, Patil, for whom I had also composed the song as music director, was the programmer with my partner Uday Salvi. We both also arrange songs. In the credits you can read my name as Sonali-Uday.
Have you also sung in Hindi in films?
Yes sir. I sang an Aarti song with Shankar Mahadevan for the Ajay Devgn-Sonakshi Sinha Starer Bhuj: The Pride of India directed by Abhsihek Dudhaiya for music director Amar Mohile. Incidentally, it was the first time that I had the opportunity to sing for an experienced music director like Amar Mohile.
How did you manage not to circle yourself as a singer who can only sing a certain genre of songs?
Aside from my USP being to date, I’ve sung for different music directors with different styles, I don’t believe in being committed to any particular genre or groove. To date, I have sung songs for films and albums in Marathi, Hindi, Rajasthani and Gujarati.
Who is your inspiration as a playback singer?
My inspiration as a playback singer has always been Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale, whom I worship as my goddesses. It is my dream to meet her one day.
Who are your other favorite playback singers?
I like the texture of the songs by Shreya Ghosal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Arjit Singh, Shankar Mahadevan, Kailash Kher, Javed Ali and Divya Kumar and they are my favorites. In fact, I’m lucky enough to be able to compose a song for Javed Ali as well.
OK. Who are your favorite music directors in films?
My favorite music directors to this day are AR Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Salim Suleiman and Ajay-Atul. I also like Meet Brothers, MM Krem, Preetam, although I haven’t sung for them yet. I also like Baapi and Tutul, for whom I sang Lisa for the film.
In your opinion, what is your strength as a singer?
I would like to call myself a versatile singer, because if you listen to me sing an item number, you don’t notice that I can also sing songs that are based on classical or western music
How do you keep yourself in perfect musical shape as a playback singer?
I don’t mind working hard. In fact, I commute from Pune, where I stay to Mumbai at least four times a week to do my job.
What is your upcoming project as music director?
For Apeksha Films and Music, as music director and singer, my new Hindi-romantic Sufi song that I sang with Javed Ali and also a couple of Marathi songs. As Music Director Duo Sonali-Uday, my upcoming film is Dil Dosti Deewangi, for which I also sang songs.
What is music to you?
For me, music is ubiquitous in every aspect of my life that I can’t live without at all. The style of music can vary from place to place and from person to person, but it will always be there.