Vinod Rathod takes to Rabindrasangeet

Vinod Rathod

Vinod Rathod

That music lies in his genes and runs in the family is everybody’s knowledge. And vocalist Vinod Rathod did prove his mettle in music right from the nascent stage of his career. But what is this Deewana, Baazigar, Chal Mere Bhai, Mission Kashmir, Munnabhai M.B.B.S., Lage Raho Munna Bhai singer doing these days?

Ascertaining a spiritual change in himself, the crooner of super-duper hit Bollywood numbers has had a tryst with Tagore music earlier this year. And the album titled Ami Chini Go Chini is already out in the market, garnering critical appreciation from staunch Rabindra sangeet aficionados.
Having sung eight soulful melodies of the bard in chaste Bengali and keeping the tune, rhythm and beat alive and true to its origin, was no mean task for this artiste from outside Bengal.
“I know am a non-Bengali artiste and the first reaction from the unflinching devotees of Gurudev could have been cynical with a big frown on their foreheads. But, I want to thank those who have unconditionally supported me and stood behind me to train me in perfecting my diction and understanding the essence and deeper meaning of the songs’ lyrics and compositions. I hope it appeals to more of discreet listeners and patrons alike,” shares the singer humbly.
Well, already topping the chartbusters’ list of the first-10 great albums currently doing the rounds in the Bengali music circuit, it seems the album is reaping rewards with a strong, positive buzz building around it.
“It’s like achieving some salvation and a new-found admirable status as a singer. If earlier, I was singing for actors and their characters in films or barely emoting the given situations of a movie-plot, now am singing solely for myself to my heart’s content and my own satisfaction. This does add an extra impetus to one’s power and control over his/her own voice to lend justice to such pure and pristine compositions,” says the singer.
Having sung in various regional languages like Rajasthani, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Bengali, Bhojpuri and even the ethereally poetic Persian, Rathod really doesn’t need to prove a point. But having won millions of hearts in Bengal, is it now time for him to conquer its adjacent state Odisha?
“Yeah, I’ve sung for five-six Oriya films which have already released. Two blockbuster movies Barunga Toka followed by its sequel Rongila Toka, which is still running in theatres, are massive grossers at the box-office. I feel like I am blessed by Jagannathji of Puri and the fraternity of the friendly Oriya film industry,” he gushes with excitement.
Coming up in his kitty from the Bollywood boulevard is a film called Bhaskar Kaduskar where he has sung five-six tracks, composed by the National Award winning music director, Ismail Darbar. Besides that, he is again lending his vocals to Vidu Vinod Chopra’s third instalment from the cult Munnabhai series — Munnabhai Chale Amerika, which is under production. Also on the anvil are a couple of other projects, which he declined to divulge at the moment.
Talking of the current Bollywood music scene, Rathod says, “It’s good to see a fresh crop of composers yield some quirky, innovative music. Some have even chipped in their signature strains out of a standard scale of seven notes. You see, I am open to experimental concepts. There’s no harm in it. But one should not let the quality suffer and hammer away its weight and impact from one’s musical repertoire.”
Dedicated in his approach with a practised voice, his skills are automatically reflected in his renditions. A die-hard fan of Kishore Kumar, Rathod confesses that he follows his idol to the tee in his gayaki (singing style). For the same punch, energy, exuberance, depth and a hint of yodelling are conspicuously spotted in his singing, whether in a recording studio or on stage. Inevitably, these trademark traits remind the audience of the yesteryear iconic singer.
Rathod is also poised to kickstart a Hindi album titled Is Mausam Mein, the singer calls the project his baby for single-handedly shaping it up. From writing the lyrics, composing the tunes to singing the tracks, the versatile vocalist has painstakingly multitasked on the album. “This is a sincere shraddhanjali (tribute) to my ultimate role-model Kishoreda. He is my master and mentor. I’m like Ekalavya and he is my guiding guru, Dronach-arya. I talk to him whenever I need an inspiration to grasp a complex song. I start thinking how he would treat this song and pull it off with his proficiency. And like a muse he indeed bails me out of a crisis,” he fondly reminisces. “There are 10 songs of different genres with different flavours in the album and I’ve purposely maintained the aura of Kishoreda in this humble reverence. Melody is the mainstay of music. I’ve kept that in mind too while scoring for this album. It serves as the central peg of a string of thematically intertwined numbers from the album’s playlist,” he says.
It was pre-planned to record a song on Saturday, October 13, which marked the genius’ 25th death anniversary this year.
“I’m determined to retain the tone and quality of the haunting melodies of the 1940s-50s’ black-n-white era of Hindi film classics.
Let’s see how things pan out,” he says.

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