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I will never forget the appreciation from legendary A R Rehman: Anjali Gaikwad

Thursday, November 09, 2017
By Raju Vemekar

11-year-old Anjali Gaikwad, co-winner at the 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs' soulfully belted out a medley of popular songs including 'Deewani Mastani'(Bajirao Mastani), 'Jhalla Wallah' (Ishaqzaade), and 'Main Kolhapur Se Aayi Hu' (Anjaam) and astounded the judges and viewers alike with her energy and finesse, endearing herself to everyone's heart. The show was judged by Neha Kakkar, Himesh Reshammiya and Javed Ali, with an extensive jury of 30 talented members. After nine months of hard training and fierce competition, the winners were declared. In the grand finale held at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Anjali and Shreyan Bhattacharya from West Bengal were declared 'joint-winners'. The show was hosted by singer Aditya Udit Narayan. This 'two-contestants' win can be marked as the first time a reality show has had two on-par winners taking home the finale cash prizes of Rs 5 lakh each. Charming Anjali, aided by her father Angad K Gaikwad, spoke exclusively to The Afternoon D&C. Excerpts:

You have won this national level contest. How do you feel?
I feel great. I got a return for my intense practice for the many months together.

How did you practice?
I am studying in seventh standard (Marathi medium) in Anand Vidyalaya, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. I have been taking lessons in classical music right from the age of five and I have regularly been doing riyaaz, to hone my vocal skills.

How did you build up confidence for this contest?
I am immensely thankful to Neha-ji, Himesh-ji and Javed-ji, the judges, who encouraged me to sing different type of songs to bring out the best in me. Their encouragement inspired confidence in me.

Who is your sangeet-guru?
My father Angad is my Guru who runs the Guruprasad Music School in Ahmednagar. Under his guidance, I also dabble in playing Tanpura and other musical instruments. My father had learnt music from a visually challenged music teacher Pt Shantaram Chigari of Latur. My mother Manisha and my 13 year old elder sister Nandini also encouraged me. In fact, talented Nandini was one of the singer-contestants in this show. But sadly, she could not make it to the grand finale.

What are your future plans?
I will continue to practice and maintain consistency. I will participate in stage shows as and when I get the opportunities. I am also keen to record playback songs if given a chance.

How did your master the Hindi pronunciations?
I tried to improve upon my pronunciations while singing so that they gel well. In any case along with Marathi, I am regularly listen to Hindi songs, which generally reach t a larger national audience.

Which genre of songs you like ?
I like Bhaavgeets, Bhajans and Laavni and of course Hindi film songs.

Who is your inspiration?
I admire Lata-didi and Asha-didi. I also love the songs of classical vocalist Kaushiki Chakrabarty and the noted Hindustani classical singer of Gwalior gharana Malini Rajurkar.

Did you receive appreciation from any of the eminent singer-musicians?
Yes. While recording a song for the film 'Sachin: A Billion Dreams', legendary music director-singer A R Rehman Sir appreciated my singing style, I was overjoyed. I will never forget those precious moments.

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