Rashmi Rekha Das, OP
Swetalisha Subhadarshini is the new star in town. Be it reality shows, cultural functions or singing competitions, 11-year-old Swetalisha mesmerizes both judges and audiences with her soulful voice. Her talent received a shot in the arm when she won the Akshaya Idol in 2016 and this provided her with the much needed exposure. The young singer with over 50 stage performances to her credit sat down for a chat with Orissa POST.
The daughter of journalist Shashiranjan Mallick and government official Priyadarshini Mohanty, Swetalisha started singing when she was only three. Shashiranjan says, “I am a singer though not a professional one. Occasionally, I sing on stage and regale audiences. She may have inherited her love for music from me. She was hardly three, when she showed a strong interest in music. She used to sing difficult classical songs without pausing for breath. Seeing her deep interest in music, we let her learn Hindustani classical music under the tutelage of Amrutanshu Patnaik and Satyaranjan Mohanty. Since then, she has won many prizes in school, district and state level competitions. Her major achievement is winning the Akshaya Idol. Akshaya Mohanty is a legendary singer of our state, as you know. Every year, a local outfit ‘Smruti Re Ama Akshaya’ holds a state-level singing competition to commemorate the legendary singer’s birth anniversary. There were many senior contestants, but Swetalisha won the trophy and was awarded by celebrated Odia actor Prasant Nanda. It was a special moment for us to cherish forever.”
He continues: “That’s not all. She bagged the first prize for three consecutive years at the cluster level singing competition organised by Kendriya Vidyalaya.”
A Class VI student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Swetalisha has many special memories of her participation in reality shows such as Prathama Swara and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa aired on Prathana and Zee Sarthak, respectively. She says, “Eminent singer Gita Das, who was one of the judges of the reality show Prathama Swara used to call me ‘Mausi’ or ‘Nani’ (aunty) because of my style of talking. One of my topnotch performances in the show took the judges by surprise. I was deeply engrossed in singing the devotional number ‘Aaha Mo Kalia Suna’ without paying attention to the audience. When I ended, the judges and contestants were on their feet cheering. As I belong to the Ranipatna — which means Queen’s Abode — region of Balasore, all the judges said, ‘You have honoured the name of your village by singing like a queen. Besides, my rendition of a few romantic songs like ‘Aji Akashe Ki Ranga Lagila’ and ‘To Akhi Re Mu’ in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs won the hearts of the jury members. But I felt blessed when I received the Akshaya Idol from Prasant Nanda. Akshaya Mohanty’s family also liked my performance in the final round in which I sang one of his famous tracks ‘Boita re Bhari Anichhu.’The audiences kept asking for an encore.”