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Northeast musicians make waves in Bollywood

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS

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She looks like any other girl of her age and people in Assam or Mumbai can hardly make out she is already a musical star.

Saswati Phukan from Assam is making waves in Mumbai's music industry by churning out popular Hindi remixes like "Kata Laga" or "Kaliyon Ka Chaman" that makes people break into a jig.

"People in Mumbai and other places still don't recognise me by face and only when I tell them I am Saswati, they begin to ask me if I was the one who belted out popular Hindi hit songs now being played on all TV channels," Saswati told IANS.

But then modest as she always is, Saswati is not overawed by the fame and success she has achieved in her not too long stint in Mumbai.

"The struggle is tough in Mumbai. But if one is talented, then there is no stopping you. Talent is given due respect and that is very important for a singer or a musician," she said.

Music has always been a passion for most people in the northeast and Saswati is among many others from the region who have made a foothold in Mumbai's competitive music industry.

"I know many musicians from Assam and Meghalaya playing for top music directors and many more technical experts working in the industry. Some of them are heroes in their own field and acknowledged by one and all in Mumbai," Saswati said.

Having lent her sonorous voice to several Hindi films, Saswati is today a singing sensation and has also travelled abroad for performances.

"I feel proud when I find people from the northeast making a mark and establishing themselves in the big Bollywood music industry," she said.

That musicians from the northeast have made a mark is proved by the success of another young guitarist from Assam, Kaushik, who recently performed at the New York International Music Festival at Madison Square Garden.

"We were allotted one slot, but then after seeing our performance, the crowd requested us to play three numbers," Kaushik said. "It is a dream come true."

And not far behind is another singing sensation from Assam, Zubeen Garg.

Zubeen has already scored music for at least 20 films, mostly Assamese, and one Hindi and Bengali movie as well.

"Talent is there and what we need is some exposure," Zubeen said.

In fact, Zubeen is an idol among Assamese youth for his popular romantic and folk albums.

"I have no doubt about the potentials and talent among northeastern musicians. They need a little more training to fine tune their skills," sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan said.


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