Talking to the tunes of Bornali Kalita – An exclusive interview

In an interview with the versatile singer Barnali Kalita

Bornali Kalita – one of the most famous singer in the region. She is an inspiration for many and her amiable voice mesmerizes every listener. She has sung more than 5000 songs in many different languages and also made her presence in the Bollywood. She has travelled across the world and spreading the Assamese euphoria wherever she went. Bornali Kalita is the queen of Bihu songs and everything she has learned and earned is just because of her true dedication, love for music and hard work.

Hello Bornali, Creativica welcomes you!

Thank you!

A known face in the Assamese film and Music industry over the years. How does it affect your moral and nature, how do you carry this tag?

I have been in this industry for over 17 years and my first recording was done in the year 1994, but the album didn’t get released due to certain reasons. After 4 years, my first album got released. I had a wonderful journey since then with many ups and downs in the career, which is obvious. I feel very happy and proud to being a part of this industry and the love you people give me is my strength for everything and accordingly, I also feel very responsible; I mean to this industry, to my culture, to my motherland, and now my responsibilities have turned much stronger and this make me even more disciplined.  

Please tell us a little more about your journey so far in this music industry, as we are very interested to know about your school and college days.

(Giggle) I was born in Namrup and I did my schooling there. After pursuing my H.S. from Cotton College, I did my degree from Handique Girls College and M.A. from Cotton College again.

After coming to Guwahati, it was a never ending journey; as I mentioned before that I feel responsible for what I’m doing.  

How will you distinguish the ethnic folk culture of Assam from the whole world as an artist?

(Giggle) Well, I don’t want to make any commitment on that because I’m still a learner and trying to give my career a higher aspect.

Do you think, nowadays in Assam, respect for an artist is missing from our society?

In my opinion, there are two reasons for this situation; nowadays people are too much wild in terms of enjoying music. The friendly environment to enjoy live music concerts is missing somewhere. A good crowd of good people always encourage us to give our best performance. But in the other hand, we artists also have some responsibilities while we act in the public. I’ve so many fans which follow my every act. And if I’m not concerned about my behaviors and act that I make publicly, they will obviously be followed by my fans and this can be really harmful to our society. So this is basically the two sides of a same coin. Both the audience and artist should respect each other in the terms of making a good enjoyable musical environment.

Bornali during live shows

Can you share some trivia on how many songs you have recorded and also tell our readers in how many languages you have sung till date?

I have recorded total of 5700 songs till now. I have sung in many different languages from Northeast like Karbi, Boro, Mising, Nepali, Tiwa, Deori, Arunachali, Nagamese, Bengali and our very own Assamese of course (laughs).

Do you think that a singer from this part of the region needs to move outside of Northeast to build his/her career in a better way?

If we talk about singing then I would say, yes one should have to go outside of Northeast to build a good career as we lack facilities and opportunities here. My guru Rukha Baruah was a student from Shantiniketan, Kolkata, who taught me singing. Nowadays, singing has become a profession, and in my opinion, before a singer proceeds in the professionalism, I think he/she needs a proper training to survive in this competitive field.

You have worked with many renowned singers. For the upcoming young singers, is there anything lacking that you see or you would advise them as a senior?

Lacking…! In terms of dedication which is lacking nowadays and I find it more often. Most of them are engaged to cheap professionalism and runs after earning money and fame, but for earning fame, the dedication is very important. A few singers from Assam are only concerned about performing on stage and their interests tilt on fame and money. So basically this is not the music, music isn’t cheap.

Any upcoming projects in the coming days?

Well, I’m working on a Bihu album Hasotaki, another one is Hira Doi, where I worked with Zubeen da. I’m also working on a Hindi album called Meera – Maan Ki Batein; it’s already been three years now and all the production works are done except the promotions. In this album, I’ve worked with Kalyan da, Saket Singh, Sheetal, Manash Robin & Bhupesh Saikia.

Are you planning playback in Bollywood?

When I was in Mumbai, I’d work in many projects of Bollywood. The projects include some films as well as a documentary film named City of Dreams. I’m also working on a Hindi album which I’ve mentioned already and it will be released nationwide.

You’re a charming lady, why didn’t you try out acting; people of Assam would love to see you as an actress (Giggle)!

(Laugh) I did acting years back, there was an academy named Podatik in Namrup. We did many shows in many places during that time. Our director and script writer was Kukhal Krishna Debo Goswami, who was a very good dramatist. But during my college days, I got interested into singing and decided to be a singer. By the way, I did a cameo in Zubeen da’s upcoming film Gane Ki Aane.

Thank you so much Bornali for your precious time. Creativica wishes you all the best!

It’s a pleasure talking to Creativica. Good wishes to the team. Thank you.

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Prasenjit Deb

Freelance photographer, writer and a student of mass communication. Writer & Interviewer at Creativica.

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