Queen of Dandiya loves King of Pop

Such is the power of her voice that she performs for nine nightsduring Navratri but is still recognised all across India and the world over. With her angelic, sweet voice, Falguni Pathak has won several hearts and her Navratri performances in the city are one of the most awaited events throughout the year.

Pics/Sameer Markande

One recalls how in 2010, when she chose to skip performing in the city, devout fans headed to Ankleshwar in Gujarat where she was performing with ‘Falguni come back’ placards in hand.

Though full of energy on stage, Pathak is very shy in person and takes a while to share her thoughts, “I am an average singer,” she says. With Navratri barely a fortnight away, Pathak, crowned as the Dandiya Queen by the public, gets into chatty mode and tells us about her love for food, music and, of course, Dandiya!

You are performing at a new venue this year. Will we see a few experimentation with your music as well?
Like every year, there will be a mix of Hindi and Punjabi songs with Gujarati Folk songs as we have a mix of Gujarati and non-Gujarati speaking crowds. But I feel one can enjoy dandiya to the fullest on Gujarati Folk songs, and I will be concentrating more on it. You will see that in the crowd, even though some people can’t follow the lyrics, they enjoy it. I do too.

So, do you have a favourite?
Well, there are so many songs. But I really like Indhna Vinva.

Apart from Gujarati Folk, what music do you to listen to?
I love old Hindi film songs and even Soft Rock. I like Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson and John Lennon.

Any songs from the current Bollywood movies?
I enjoyed the soundtrack of Kai Po Che, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Aashiqui 2.

So, will your performance this year include songs from any of these movies?
I will let that be a surprise.

For how long do you practise before Navratri?
We start at 10 in the morning and go on till seven in the evening.

Did you always want to be a singer?
I have been singing since I was four. In fact, my first public performance was at the age of nine on the navy ship, INS Udaygiri, on August 15. I sang Laila O Laila from the film Qurbani as part of an orchestra.

Your music albums were very popular in the 1990s. Why haven’t we seen a new one?
Times have changed; people download everything from the Internet. Music companies do not see cutting an album as profitable today. Hence, there is very little interest, but if anyone approaches me, I don’t mind.

Apart from Navratri you tour across the world for the rest of the year. Which is the most unlikely place where you found fans?
Once, while in Nepal, the fan following in the country surprised and in fact, shocked me!

Do you like the travel involved?
I enjoy travelling. Goa and London are two of my favourite places b

With so many places that you crisscross, do you also enjoy the different cuisines on offer?
I am a foodie. I like eating Italian, Mexican, Gujarati and South Indian food. Due to health reasons I don’t eat Chinese food. Also, I am a vegetarian.

You make a statement with your elaborate jackets. Do you have a favourite designer?
For performances, you obviously have to look the part. Since the past few years I have had Amy Billimoria and Arun Hirani design my outfits. I am not a very fussy dresser. Though I like the colour navy blue, so you will spot me in that colour at least once.

What do you prefer to do in your free time?
I really like watching crime serials.

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