You are touted as the Dandiya Queen and are synonymous with Navratri celebrations in the city. Do you still feel nervous before the Navratri fortnight in spite of singing since so many years?
I experience mixed feelings. There is a lot of excitement but, at the same time, I feel nervous, too. Every year, after the fortnight’s shows are well received, I start mulling over the audience’s reaction to the work I put in for the next year. Will they come? Will they like our music? Which new songs should we incorporate? Even now, these things are constantly running through my mind.
Reportedly, this year Mangal Entertainment and 3rd Rock Multimedia have signed you for Rs 1.6 crore for Navratri. Is that correct?
Yes. That’s correct.
Why did you split with your long-time organisers, Sankalp Entertainment?
I worked with Sankalp for several years but this isn’t the first time I have chosen to collaborate with different organisers. I have worked with Zee in the past, for instance. A couple of years ago, I sang in Ankleshwar. Mangal Entertainment and 3rd Rock Multimedia approached me last year, too, but things didn’t work out then. This year, we sealed much in advance, in April.
Now that you will be with new event organisers, can we expect something new from your dandiya performances too?
This year, the organisers have been very innovative with set designs. They have also planned newer ways of the way I will enter the sets.
Apparently, you will make a red carpet-like entry. Which songs will you belt out during dandiya this year?
Honestly, I don’t have the details of my entry yet. There will be an array of traditional Gujarati songs like every year. The audience does occasionally enjoy Bollywood songs but seasoned dandiya players always prefer dancing to traditional Gujarati songs.
Which is the one song which always has the audience grooving?
‘Indhana vinva gayee thi’ makes the audience rock.
Nilesh Thakkar sang with you at Goregaon’s Sankalp Dandiya Utsav for around 15 years. Do you see yourself collaborating with him again?
Why not? If he approaches us early on, I will definitely sing with him.
What keeps you busy the rest of the year?
I do many shows round the year but because I am media-shy, pata nahi lagta logon ko (people don’t come to know about
Your music album ‘Maine Payal Jo Chhankayi’ was quite popular. But you haven’t released an album in a long time. Can we look forward to new music albums from you?
Yes, I am planning to release my new music album during Navratri this year. The album has been recorded but I have to shoot for the videos. We’ll do that soon.
Nowadays, singers are omnipresent on music reality shows on TV. Have you ever been approached to judge or host them?
No, I have not been approached to host or judge as yet. I definitely like to watch these shows, and there are some really good singers out there, too. However, I won’t agree to host one because I am not a very good speaker. But if I am offered to be on the panel of judges, I would
What genre of music do you listen to other than garba and folk music?
I really like listening to old Hindi movie songs in my free time or when I am driving. I enjoy retro music a lot, too.
On Facebook, people usually write: Single or Married or Complicated as their ‘Relationship’ status. What would you write?
Sorry, I didn’t understand your question. Could you rephrase it?
If you had a Facebook account, what would your relationship status be?
Single! Jo hoon wohi likhoon, na (I must write it the way it is)!
Is marriage on the cards?
I don’t think so. I am enjoying my life the way it is, being single. No marriage for me right now.
Be it on stage or off it, one always sees you clad in a shirt and trousers/jeans. Have you ever contemplated wearing a traditional dandiya dress — a ghagra choli, for instance?
I have never worn a ghagra choli in my life. I have never even worn a salwar kameez, ghagra choli toh bahut door ki baat hai (ghagra choli is a far cry). I am not used to it.
How did this style become your sartorial signature?
Even as a child, I would wear the school uniform only because I had to. Otherwise, I was always comfortable in my shirts, pants and jeans. I never considered wearing anything else. When I was growing up, my sisters always dressed me up in shirts and trousers. Now I feel this is my costume; yehi dress hai mera (this is the way I dress). I don’t think I will ever wear a