Interview: Janiva Roy on her new film Khushboo (2013)

By Barshali Banerjee

Janiva Roy

Her melodious voice playing with musical notes has been enchanting music lovers since she started humming. With elegant beauty and the voice of a nightingale she is unique among today's Indian singers.

She is the only lady Ghazal singer from India today, whose performances across the globe continue to enthrall her fans world-wide. Ghazal is her favorite genre and it lives deep within her. WBRi correspondent Barshali Banerjee caught up with lovely Janiva Roy at a recent concert and chatted with her about her music, films and more.

From Rumpa Roy to Janiva Roy how did the journey mold your life?

Janiva RoyIt is God who bestowed his blessings on me.  Since just 12 years of age I have been performing in stage with my parents Bapi Roy and Shikha Roy. While performing in stage one day a Father of a renowned Church was present there over and mesmerized by my performance. After that he called me and gifted me with the lovely name Janiva, which was inspired from the small and wonderful city Geneva. I think it is his blessing to me that made the world to know a little person like me that I consider.

Being a Bengali yourself and trained in Indian classical music, Rabindrasangeet and other Bengali modern melody, how did you feel your inclination for Ghazals?

I hail from such a musical ambience where I grew with listening to my own mother who used to sing Ghazals with the popular singer like Omprakash Bindre. I could not pay heed to my studies. Instead I felt an unseen bonding between Ghazal and I. The alfaaz of Ghazals would attract me like anything. As since my childhood I developed my ears by listening to the maestros in Ghazals like Mahedi Hasan saab, Begum Akhtar ji, and Jagjit Sing ji I decide to devote myself to Ghazals.

Aarsh was your first Ghazal album. How was the response to it?

Aarsh, which was my first Ghazal album released in the year 2003. Dr. Jamil Haydar Sad wrote the lyrics for the album and Naushad Ali put music on that. They were very   scared that whether I could pronounce the tough accent like Urdu. But as I was learning Urdu language vey minutely I got the confidence to do it. The album got released and everyone praised me a lot for my first footstep in Ghazals singing. I could not imagine that the first Ghazal album would get so much fame and love from the music lovers. After that Mere SApney, Ehsaas Payaar Ka released and also bring success for me.

After getting fame from Ghazal singing somehow you started considering yourself as ‘Lady Jagjit Sing’. Is it true?

It is partially true but I did not consider myself as Lady Jagjit Sing’, the media and people considered me like that. As I was a blind admirer of Ghazal maestro, he was my idol. I devote my every song to him. No one can ever take his place in life. One of the most memorable moments for me was when at GIMA Global Musical Awards he selected my Ghazals as one of the jury with Lata ji . After that Ghazals are running into my veins. I felt crying when heard the news of his death. No one can take his place but as a follower I would until my last breath try to retain my stand in Ghazal singing as a female Ghazal singer. I idolize him as my Guru.

Besides singing, you also do act in Bengali, and other regional films. But we do not find you so much in the silver screen? What is the reason behind this?

I can act as well with singing. But acting is not my first priority to me. If I would get any role that narrates a singer’s life, only then I would do such role. There was a film named released this year namely ‘A Shudhu Aamar Gan,’ where I played a character of a singer and essayed the story of her life. I have sung all the songs in this film which was directed by Shankar Roy.

In your first movie Mala Bodol you acted was opposite to Tollywood Superstar Prosenjit. How was the experience?

It was like a miracle to me. I have never expected such thing would happen in my life. I was supposed to sing all the songs for the film. But suddenly the director offered me the lead role opposite. As a co star Prosenjit is awesome and supportive. I was only a novice amongst the cast and crew of the film then. I would thank to my singing that helped me to get the offer. In that film my first playback break was with Kumar Sanu, which was another exciting thing for me.

In spite of having good sense in music and training in Indian classical ang Ghazal, why your fans do not find you adjudging any musical reality show?

I do not think myself appropriate for judging any show. Beacause there are so many people who are better than me to adjudge reality show. Moreover I do not like those who want publicity by doing this.

Is there any film in your pipeline?

Yes. Right now I am shooting for Khooshbu - a bi-lingual film under direction of Nehal Dutt. There I will be portraying a role of a Baiji named Khooshbu. The story revolves around Khooshbu, her romances, affairs, Mujras. There is an influence of Umrao Jaan in this film. I have sung the songs, including a beautiful Ghazal. Pt. Tanmoy Bose has composed  music for this film. It will be releasing around summer of 2013.

Is there any director whom you dream to work with in Bollywood?

Not such anyone in film but if possible I would love to work with music director A.R Rahman. Also I want to portray a singer-actor character in any good Tamil movie if I get offer.

Do you regret for anything in your life?

I could not learn Indian Classical music with proficiency because I started performing in stage from a very early stage. I could not sing with Jagjit Sing. So for these two reasons  I regret in my life.

Do you want to convey any message for the youth who want to mark their position in music industry?

Learn music from heart. Music is a deepest ocean, make yourself plunge into it. Work hard, struggle, love music, one day music will also love you.