Chinmayi and her husky voice which took us by storm
u r blessed with a very very beautiful voice. Your voice is as beautiful as Samantha...even more... :) I can say only one line....Ye Maaya Chesaave. . .
Messages such as this, signed by a certain gentleman named Saikumar Reddy, have become a regular fixture in Chinmayi’s daily routine. Yet another fan going by the name JK was admittedly so smitten by her voice that he saw Ye Maaya Chesave fourteen times!
The voice of Samantha’s character in the film is reeling in the reverie. “On an average, everyday I get two or three mails from people saying how they loved my voice in Ye Maya Chesave. I am overwhelmed by the fan mail I have received, especially from Andhra. I have never been appreciated so much for a dubbing job. “I mean who’d watch a movie fourteen times for whatever reason? No wonder they love their cinema,” Chinmayi wonders.
However, the biggest compliment according to her came from the Tamil side of things. “A lot of people thought Trisha dubbed herself. I’d say that was the best,” admits Chinmayi. Come to think of it, we like our leading ladies sounding (sometimes even behaving) like thirteen – fourteen year olds. In the mix, a husky female voice is more of an exception. Small wonder Chinmayi had her apprehensions when she was first asked to dub. The call came from Rahman’s studio, and they were looking for a new voice for Bhumika in Sillunu Oru Kadhal.
“I do not have that typical ting-a-ling-shining-bell-voice that is associated with our leading ladies and was surprised when I was asked to audition,” she shares. She’s dubbed for 17 films in all since then. Her vocation of choice though is singing. It was A R Rahman again who spotted the spark in her. She made her debut singing the title song in Kannathil Muthamittal, and clearly took the industry by storm. A brilliant composition, she couldn’t have asked for a better debut.
In came 2002 and it seemed she’d come a long way from her TV debut as a singer in Saptaswarangal. Chinmayi has dabbled in TV, radio and web and films, and in multiple languages at that. Her ascent though has not been easy to say the least. “A lot of times, it has been very difficult. The competition is so cut-throat, you better be prepared for it. There’s a lot of bull s*** that goes on,” Chinmayi lashes out.
But surely it must have helped to have a mentor like AR Rahman? Speaking of mentors, they can also be detrimental to a singer’s career. Chinmayi, however begs to differ. “A R Rahman has played a primordial part in my success. But ultimately it is all about what the artiste brings to the table. It doesn’t matter even if you are mentored by Celine Dion or Mariah Carrey.” Does that mean that at the end of the day, whatever the artiste is worth is all his/her making? “At any point of the day!” she exclaims.
Chinmayi says that her mother has undoubtedly been the biggest influence in her life. “My mother has been my friend, philosopher and guide. My guru! I owe everything to her,” she implores. Coming from a musically inclined family, her formal training started when she was three and a half years old. “In families with a legacy of music, kids start training from the time they can speak,” she explains. She has trained in carnatic and Hindustani music. Chinmayi also happens to be a trained Odissi dancer.
“It all boils down to having the right parent,” contends Chinmayi. Parent? “I really do not like to talk much about my father,” she says candidly. We learn later that her father left the family when she was a little over a year and since then her mother was the anchor in her life.
The 25-year-old is also the head of a translation company, Blue Elephant, something that she started in the second year of college. “It was established as a via-media between the translation and corporate worlds. We have been doing quite well and plan to open branches in Bengaluru and Hyderabad soon,” she explains.
And her talents don’t stop just there. Chinmayi is also an accomplished linguist. She can speak Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, German and French, besides English. “I am familiar with Hindi as well, having been born and grown up in Mumbai for eight years,” she supplies. And the list does not end here either. She’s also doing a certificate course in alternate healing therapies, past life regression in particular. “Considering the state of the world we live in, I think we need all the healing we can get,” she quips.
With so much to do, does that leave her with anytime to smell the flowers? “It looks a lot more exhaustive than it actually is. I do get my free time. I watch a lot of movies and read as well. The Himalayas have been romanticised a lot, what with white water rafting and the likes. I’m planning to make a trip there sometime this year,” she shares.
Doesn’t a man feature in that long list of things she’d love to, well, do? It comes as no surprise when she says, “I have never been romantically involved in my life.” She does have plans though. “I do intend to fall in love and have children like any other girl. Life’s treated me well with whatever I have pursued so far. I’m hoping god would have planned something on that front as well.” That heady voice of hers still rings, long after the sentence has finished.