Now Reading
An Indian ‘Athena’: Odisha Singer Sona Mohapatra

An Indian ‘Athena’: Odisha Singer Sona Mohapatra

This piece of genius from Cuttack “engineers” – as she is wont to do, being a trained engineer herself – loves courting the truth, as she sees it. So what if is she is trolled?

God created singers… and singers. They sang. People applauded. Some did not applause. But no one had much more than bouquets or, a few rare brickbats.

And then!

God created Sona Mahapatra‑a singer who sang and could not care two hoots or hesitate to raise her middle finger to people who differed with her on issues.

And not just about how she sang,for she knows she is an engineer and a corporate topper who would not need to genuflect in front of anyone for the love of music, money or mercy in the cruel glamour world of music.

That is why some call her motormouth, and trolls love her and await her words, so that the trolls can get into issues juicier than Rafael or Migrant Labour, demonetisation or CAA.

Sona Mahapatra in a frame
A behind the scene capture from the documentary “Shut Up Sona”

A songwriter and composer whose hit Ambarsariya from the Bollywood film “Fukrey” made her a household name.

She may not be any of those predictable and traditional warblers one has always imagined Indian singers to be.

It’s just that her constant tendency to vent out her feelings and shoot her mouth at things she either cares for or gets riled about that gets her into trouble.

But ask her… she never feels in trouble, because as I just wrote above, and to repeat my own self: “for she knows she is an engineer and a corporate topper who would not need to genuflect in front of anyone for the love of music, money or mercy in the cruel glamour world of music”.

And that is the reason for her being in the news for all the wrong reasons. But she does not agree it is ‘wrong reasons’: that is her ‘right reason’!

There are hit numbers that go on to make stars out of talented singers.

The factors that go on to contribute to one’s accomplishment may be peripheral at times, or completely a passing frenzy that many a times, make nonentities rise up the ladder of success.

But a few years ago, when some Bollywood ditties in a very unconventional powerful voice began to hit the popularity charts it was certainly no fluke, besides giving the listeners tremendous value for money.

It also established its voice Sona Mohapatra as a household name.

And that’s just one of the many reasons why this Odisha born singer commands so much awe, respect, scare and love and adulation from her innumerable fans from across the country.

Poster of the documentary "Shut Up Sona" by Deepti Gupta
Poster of the documentary “Shut Up Sona” by Deepti Gupta

So much so, that it’s not surprising that a full two-hour long documentary titled “Shut Up Sona” by Deepti Gupta made viewers sit up and take note of this immensely gifted singer-woman.

And her rather unusual and even, quirky life.

That being the point, how many woman singers does one know of on whom a full documentary has been made?

Barring the likes of Hindustani classical singers like Siddheshwari Devi and Begum Akhtar, not many.

 

Musical Kalapahar?

The unconventional voice with a wide repertoire, and her being completely iconoclastic with an air of ‘I-don’t care-two-hoots’ attitude does get her into trouble.

But does she care? Far from it!

Has she always been the dare-me-not individualistic person?

“I grew up learning Hindustani classical music as a child but would always see my mother getting the shorter end of the stick in all household matters.

“Not that I am trying to project my father as a villain, but we have always had a patriarchal society where men call the shots and all the women, despite being educated and equal, or may be, bigger contributors to the family expenses, have always played subservient roles,” pat comes the answer.

“Yes, I have been some sort of a rebel right from my childhood, and always spoke my mind.”

“I will not subscribe to something that I don’t believe in,” she confirms, and Sona, who is often branded a feminist, makes it clear that she doesn’t believe in the intellectual form of feminism that easily labels people on the social media.

“For me, the idea of justice and being fair is the core, and however clichéd it may sound, but I always go for the underdog in this patriarchal world amid the social conditioning of our generation.”

 

Self Centrestage

So, for Sona, it’s her mind, and heart that take centrestage when she airs her views, notwithstanding trolls on the social media would make you believe otherwise.

For all those who have come in late, Sona isn’t a celebrated artist who takes advantage of her status to flaunt her popularity or run down others.

She has had a unique background in education that makes her aware of everything that takes place around her.

Having earned herself a B. Tech. degree from the College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar in Instrumentation & Electronics Engineering, as also an MBA degree from Symbiosis Centre for Management & HRD, Pune, she is alert and mindful of the socio economic political situation of the land she lives in.

But she refuses to act as a doormat in a society where women are still subjugated and don’t have a voice.

After having worked as the brand manager in Marico, where she handling brands like Parachute & Mediker amongst others, she gave it all up and landed in Mumbai to try her luck in films as a playback singer.

See Also
Basudhara - jo jon Premer

But only on her own terms.

She could afford not to be a supplicant!

Referring to the concert in Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s state, she stresses: “If I didn’t have any problem in a place where there are strong undercurrents of communal atmosphere and I got away by singing a genre in what is termed as anti-Hindu, why should I unnecessarily create a hullabaloo and get into a raging debate?”

“I wanted to be a performer and not merely show off my craft learning and riyaaz on stage.

“Having my innate love for our roots and folk music, besides my rigorous training in classical music, I want to bring my life’s experiences on stage and share with them.

“I also reinvent myself when I perform in other cities.

“For instance, if I am in a city like Kolkata, I would want to learn their music that often entails hours of practice and research to make a rapport with the audience there.

“In that sense I don’t just entertain; I engage with them entirely.”

 

Politically Apolitical

When she goes to Uttar Pradesh to perform and breaks into a Sufi song the crowd sings along. “That, for me, is validation of my music,” she proudly claims.

When asked about another performer’s harrowing experience of facing flak for dancing to a qawwali, she is quick to dispel any shred of controversy.

“I don’t like the polarisation and different camps emerging in the country.”

Referring to the concert in chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s state, she stresses: ”If I didn’t have any problem in a place where there are strong undercurrents of communal atmosphere and I got away by singing a genre in what is termed as anti-Hindu, why should I unnecessarily create hullabaloo and get into a raging debate only because another artist was treated differently?”

Not someone to crib about anything that she is not able to achieve, Sona would rather use her twitter handle to express what she feels very strongly about. And sure enough, her tweets result in her getting trolled mercilessly.

That for Sona, is getting developed into a wholesome artist.

Sona MohapatraShe makes you do a double take when she says:“I am quite an introvert, and not very social.” May be, that’s the reason she is very happy spending all her uninterrupted time creating more music.

Does she have any regrets?

“I haven’t had my way and probably will have a longer journey, and a few allies, but my life as a professional singer would be far more interesting, so what if it’s also challenging?” she trails off.

What's Your Reaction?
Excited
0
Happy
0
In Love
0
Not Sure
1
Silly
0
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top