Sona Mohapatra, who has crafted her own identity as a singer in the Indian music scene, believes it is pointless to be a part of a system that is not fair.
Mohapatra, who has been one of the most vocal voices from the Indian music industry, said she prefers to perform at concerts and shows rather than singing songs for Bollywood films as it lacks creativity.
“There isn’t great creativity happening in film music. It is a great time for musicians. I am happy doing concerts, where one or two lakh people show up. I am able to make an impact in a much larger way.
“I see myself as a performing artiste and not just being a playback singer. I have had some big hits in the last ten years but that has not been the benchmark of success. Being in charge of my own destiny and doing things in an uncompromised way, gives me a much bigger thrill than being part of a system, which according to me not always follows a fair play,” the singer told PTI in an interview.
Sona Mohapatra said Bollywood music industry has become more male-driven in recent years.
“Today, in romantic duets, women don’t get more than four lines to sing. I was seeing so much of that, the fact that we don’t get enough songs. Eight out of 100 songs in the mainstream have a female voice. In the whole scenario of shrinking opportunities, you can either sit and complain or create your own opportunities.”
Hailing singing legend Lata Mangeshkar for setting an example by securing copyright for her songs, Sona Mohapatra said today there aren’t such strong female voices in the music industry.
“In the past, Lata Mangeshkar stood for things. She was on top of her game and took a call that she should get copyrights and that set the right precedent. It is not my job to wonder why the super successful ones, who have already made it, don’t feel the reason to talk.
“I can’t blame a Shreya (Ghoshal) or Sunidhi (Chauhan) as they don’t speak for anything beyond their own projects. They are big, they have thousands of songs to their credit, so they are comfortable. The others who don’t have that much work think maybe they will displease others so they don’t speak,” she said.
Sona Mohapatra recently featured in documentary film Shut Up Sona and she said the decision stems from the lack of “opportunities for her as a female singer”.
“There aren’t so many opportunities for the female artiste. The best thing is to find another creative expression, something which is powerful,” she said.
Shut Up Sona traces her journey as a musician, her struggle for equality and fairness and her love for her country and it’s culture. “It is not a protest film. It started off with the idea of bringing together all my interest as an artiste and to create another expression of creativity. Be it travel or my love for root music or activism or what I stand for all of this comes together. It was exhausting and challenging but not painful.”
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