‘Indian Idol’ winner Revanth has Bollywood dreams

‘Indian Idol’ winner Revanth has Bollywood dreams |

“I will rock Bollywood very soon,” Indian Idol 9 winner Revanth says.

That may sound pompous, but the confidence seems genuine for a singer who has had to struggle through many adversities.

When he was trying to find a foothold as a singer in the Telugu film industry, he realised music directors in South India were more interested in hiring people who sang in other languages, especially those from Bollywood, the Mumbai-based Hindi film industry.

This “envy, pain and bitterness” put him on a path seeking instant recognition, says Revanth.

“When someone says I cannot do something, I take it as a challenge at least to try it. So these four months of risk [at Indian Idol] has borne fruit,” the singer says.

He says he got a mixed response for his decision to try his luck on the Indian reality show. “While my mother and other family members supported me, some in the singing fraternity ridiculed and derided me saying I would come back insulted,” he adds.

“I went ahead, but was a bit apprehensive. Thought I would feel myself lucky even if I made it to the Top 14 so… I would still get singing offers down South,” Revanth says.

He has lent his voice to about 200 songs, mainly in the chorus and by playing second fiddle. However, he was noticed for his songs in Baahubali: The Beginning, he says.

“As I don’t have a music background, I grabbed whatever offer came my way, without giving it a thought whether it was small or big. I dedicated all my time to music,” Revanth says recounting his days of struggle.

“Since I had been through worse during my growing up years, not being able to do what I wanted to due to financial constraints, I persisted amid rejection by several music directors,” he reminisces.

He got his first break in the film Vesavi Selavulu, but he considers Maryada Ramanna to be his first film as a singer. But Baahubali, which released in 2015, proved a turning point for him. “The following year I sang Andam Hindolam along with Chitra madam in Supreme,” he says proudly of the opportunity to sing with the multi-lingual star.

Revanth’s talent was recognised with his songs in several movies including Badrinath, Rajanna, Dammu, Premakatha Chitram, Shirdi Saibaba, Dikkulu Choodaku Ramayy and Mukund, some of which were duets with Shreya Ghoshal.

“I will always be grateful to music directors MM Keeravani, Mani Sharma, Chakri, Tamann, Devisri Prasad, RP Patnaik, Anup Rubens and Ramachari. I got a chance to work with all of them either by way of recordings or on live shows,” Revanth says.

Revanth, who hails from Srikakulam and grew up in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, lost his father even before he was born. “My mother was eight months pregnant when my dad died in an accident,” he says.

He says he liked to listen to songs from his childhood and sing. “My mother always supported me in pursuing my passion,” Revanth says.

The singer participated in school competitions where he was encouraged by his teachers. “I was not particular about winning, I was more enthusiastic about participating,” he adds.

Revanth moved to Hyderabad after school to pursue his interest in music. He regrets not having learnt any classical music due to his circumstances.

He tried his luck in Telugu reality shows Saptaswaralu, Super Singer 5 and Super Singer 7 without much success. But the team he mentored won the Super Singer 8 award.

“After making a mark for myself on Super Singer I have performed extensively overseas, including the Gulf [countries], Australia and UK. I may have performed more than 25 times in the US alone,” he says.

“At this point I was reflecting on what I was doing as it is said a singer’s career span is just five or six years these days as new singers keep joining the industry. Though everyone started praising me as a rock star, I didn’t let that go to my head and wanted to do something which would give me a firm foothold as a playback singer. That’s when I decided to give it a try at Indian Idol 9,” Revanth says.

In Mumbai, he was able to taste the success that had eluded him in the Telugu industry. Despite not knowing Hindi well, he sang Bollywood songs with ease throughout the season. “Though I don’t speak or understand much Hindi, I was confident that I had the skill and courage to perform on any platform. At the back of my mind I had a fear that what would happen to my career in the Telugu film industry if I failed at [the] Indian Idol competition.”

But his performance ensured success, defeating Hyderabad-based Rohit and Punjab’s Khusa Baksh in the finale.

Asked about how he felt after reaching the final round, Revanth said: “I thought I had never won any singing contest, what if I win Indian Idol? I was also weighing what others with training in music have and what I lack, but my voice is my advantage. I have the confidence of performing anywhere. I may be scared of going on stage, but once I am in here nobody can stop me. I always go ahead thinking this is my first and last performance and through God’s grace I could move on.”

“In the beginning, the judges thought my lack of Hindi is a disadvantage. On the contrary, I thought not knowing the language was my strength.

“But later, I started getting super support from the judges Anu Malik, Farah [Khan], Sonu Nigam, anchors and the crew members.

“They egged me on saying language shouldn’t [be] a barrier and that since I took the bold step of competing in Indian Idol I should not look back. I started getting compliments… but I [kept] cool and worked my way through winning the hearts of all,” he says.

“Winning such a competition is quite tough because up to Top 8 it is in judges’ hand, after that it is 50:50 and after Top 3 it entirely depends on viewers’ voting. I thought I would have a slim chance with North Indians’ vote for Hindi-speaking contestants. Of course, I thought Telugu people would vote for me. But I got tremendous support from all over the country and not just from the South,” he adds.

“What gave me hope was that Arjit Singh got eliminated at the Top 8 or Top 6 round yet he has become popular as a playback singer. On the contrary, many winners have failed to make it big as singers. That gave me hope that exposure as an Indian Idol contestant is enough if one had talent.”

On receiving the trophy from Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Revant said: “More than winning the title, I was thrilled to have received it from Sachin because I have only seen him play on TV. Here I was seeing him [in the] flesh handing over the trophy to me. My mother who has not gone beyond the borders of the Telugu states has for the first time stepped onto the stage as I was being honoured.”

“My mother always advises me not to forget my roots and to stay grounded if I have to succeed in life. Coincidentally Sachin also advised me the same, which he himself got from his father.”

Revanth says he doesn’t want to rest on his laurels. “I sincerely believe this is my beginning to do much better as a singer, and I want to make a mark myself in Bollywood as well with better grip on [Hindi] language.”

He has already landed a singing assignment for the reality show Sabse Bada Kalakar and Anu Malik, Farah Khan and Vishal Dadlani have offered to work with him.

He says he received encouragement from all the actors who came on the show. “Alia Bhatt, Kangana Raut, Shahid Kapur, Varun Dhavan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kapil Sharma, Shilpa Shetty, Vidya Balan and Vishal Shekar all encouraged me saying I have a good voice which is suitable for all leading heroes.”

“Singing on the stage itself is difficult but here I was also dancing with the stars,” he said about the celebrities

“People ask me where I would settle down after winning Indian Idol. To them I would like to say I will settle down where ever there is music,” he says.

With titles of ‘rock star’ and ‘hero’ thrown at him, does he nurse an ambition to become an actor?

“I got some acting offers in the past, too. But I want to become a hero in singing and not in acting, as there’s so much to achieve as a singer,” Revanth says.

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