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Anusha Mani: My voice doesn’t sound the best for ‘item songs’ and that’s a good thing

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Singer Anusha Mani shot to fame with the song Dhokha (Johnny Gaddaar; 2007). She followed it up with chartbusters like Lehrein (Aisha; 2010) and Gulaabo (Shaandaar; 2016). But she hasn’t been singing Hindi film songs of late. “It’s not like I’m actively choosing not to work but the kind of songs coming my way isn’t exciting enough.We’re living in a world of remixes, remakes and recreations. It’s very disappointing to see original composers not getting their due credit. If I really come to think about it, the general quality of music has suffered quite a bit,” says the singer, who has been busy releasing indie music, including singles Saiyan More, Nafarmani andHua Mera.

Mani adds that she isn’t interested in recording dance numbers either, as they objectify women: “I think my voice doesn’t sound the best for ‘item songs’. In a way, that’s a good thing. Thankfully, I haven’t been approached for them else I would’ve been in an awkward space where I’d have to turn them down.”

Not the one to associate with socially regressive songs, the singer cut down her decade-long collaboration with a fairness cream brand she used to sing jingles for a couple of years ago: “I decided to take a stand and not be a part of it, because I didn’t resonate with racism and colourism [it stood for]. I knew I wasn’t directly impacting people as they wouldn’t know who is singing the jingle, but my conscience dictated this decision.”

Stressing on the need for greater awareness today, Mani adds, “Music is a strong medium that can impact people, lyrically. The word ‘gori’ is used so loosely as a reference to beauty. Back in the day, we didn’t have a context to a lot of things but we need to be conscious about these things today.”

Quiz her if public figures bear the responsibility to set a precedent in the society with their choices, and the Zara Dil Ko Thaam Lo (Don 2; 2011) singer says, “I don’t blame those who don’t necessarily take a stand maybe because they haven’t experienced something first-hand or they might feel that their voice isn’t powerful enough. For the longest time, I used to feel like I’m just another person, and how will it matter if I say or not say anything?”

She continues, “Having said that, the more number of people raise their voices, the louder the sound will be in the bigger scheme of things. Some people are willing to evolve and learn and do better. As for those who don’t, maybe they lack that awareness which I also did at some point. I don’t think it’s fair to judge anyone.”

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