Listening To AR Rahman’s Music Has Helped Me Through Tough Times: Sanah Moidutty, Film Companion

YouTube sensation Sanah Moidutty has made a name for herself since she was seven or eight, taking part in hundreds of stage shows and putting up renditions of popular numbers on her YouTube channel. She will soon be heard in Saran’s film with Araav, Market Raja MBBS. Excerpts from an interview with the young singer.

Your first stage show was at the age of seven…
Yes. And, I have a photographic memory of that day. I sang Falguni Pathak’s ‘Chudi Jo Khanki’ wearing a velvet top and skirt. My mother, also a singer, also sang that day.

By the time you turned 18, you had been part of 500-plus shows. And, you’ve been singing since you were a child. Did you have to give up anything to pursue your passion?
I’ve not really missed out on anything. I have always balanced studies and music. I’ve even done stage shows a day before my exams. I got used to multi-tasking early on. That said, I enjoyed my time in engineering college, thanks to a lot of friends and the fests and cultural events. My first YouTube cover also happened around then. My first playback opportunity came because of college. I took part in a talent hunt, and one of the judges gave me a chance in Always Kabhi Kabhi.

Listening To AR Rahman’s Music Has Helped Me Through Tough Times: Sanah Moidutty, Film Companion

When did you decide upon the idea of a YouTube channel?

After engineering, I got in touch with the band Sanam. They had started doing OSTs (Original Sound Track) and covers on YouTube. We later got together and created a platform where we could share our work widely. It helped.

Did life change after singing for AR Rahman in 24 and Mohenjo Daro?

I happened to share my music links with AR Rahman sir, and he called me after a while. The day I was in his studio, I went blank. I grew up listening to his music; it has helped me through tough times. It was surreal singing for him. Even now, I find it hard to believe that I worked with him. My parents were delighted.

How did you spend your first income from music?
My first professional show took place when I was eight or nine years old. I gave the money to my mom. It was an unforgettable moment to hold an envelope that had Rs 250 inside it.

You can sing in nine languages. Do you speak all of them?
I can sing in English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Bengali and Malayalam. I can speak English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam and a bit of Tamil.

Seeing the kind of work happening in Kerala, where your family hails from, do you someday see yourself working there?
Yes. Some astonishing composers are doing great work there, and I wish to collaborate with them one day.

venice film festival 2019


We hear you still learn music…
I trained in Carnatic classical for six years under Sundari Gopalakrishnan, in Hindustani classical music for seven years under Madhuvanti Pethe and in Western vocals from Samantha Edwards. I also briefly trained with Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab. Now, I’m learning advanced Hindustani classical. There’s never really an end to learning. I’m happy being a student.

If not a singer, what would you be?
Probably, a writer.

How do you handle the negativity on social media?
There are three kinds of people. One who will appreciate your talent and love you always. The other will provide constructive criticism. The third will pass remarks to kill time. As a creator, it is important to identify the source of feedback and verify intent. Nothing is really constant. They might troll or appreciate you today, and move on to someone tomorrow.

How is it being an outsider? Is it very hard to get opportunities?
I’ve done more YouTube videos than films. I just focus on setting aside perceptions and enjoying the art. The industry is definitely not a bad place, speaking from my experience. Everyone here works hard, and it has become an open, accessible, approachable, and transparent place. Everyone is getting opportunities.

Which song has been very difficult for you to sing to date?

Every song comes with its challenges, but ‘Shaama Meghame’ {from Adhipan, originally sung by Chitra, with music by Shyam} was intricate because it had a lot of sargam. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it a lot while recreating it for my channel.

Who do you want to work with in the future?
Shankar Mahadevan Sir, Salim Sulailman, Anirudh…

What’s your song in Market Raja MBBS like?

While I was in Chennai, I got in touch with Market Raja’s Music Director Simon K King, and recorded a song. Later, he shared it with director Saran and the team, and it got approved. I had a great time recording the song, and I hope everyone enjoys the melody track.



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