She has been part of film industry since 2002, but it was Gautham Menon’s Ye Maya Chesave which made her a household name. Chinmayi is on a roll these days and she opens up about her career in a candid chat with Postnoon.
Here’s something that you might not know about Chinmayi. She makes incredible cupcakes. But that’s just one facet of this singer, dubbing artiste and entrepreneur. Her resume will put most B-school grads to shame and for someone who’s in her mid-20s she’s on a song to say the least. The surprising part, however, is that her original voice is far from the husky tone which is quite a sensation among Telugu movie buffs. Maybe it’s her Telugu diction which has become her USP. “Telugu is partly my mother-tongue. In fact, I had taken Telugu as my second language in school,” Chinmayi says. She’s a polyglot and can speak Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, English and even German quite fluently. “I had learnt German just for the heck of it and after sometime some companies approached me for translation services. There were offers from Hyderabad as well, so I decided to establish a company, Blue Elephant, to address the need,” she adds. Today her company has more than 3000 translators and interpreters and Chinmayi was in her early 20s when she founded the company.
She might be a successful entrepreneur, but Chinmayi says that music will always be her top priority. “My mother introduced me to Hindustani & Carnatic music at a very young age and I have invested more than 90% of my life so far in learning the craft. Whatever I do in life, singing will always be my top priority,” she adds. She made her singing debut in Mani Rathnam’s Amrutha (Kannathil Muthamittal in Tamil) with the song Ye Devi Varamu, composed by A R Rahman. There has been no looking back ever since for her and she has sung for Rahman, Harris Jayaraj and Yuvan Shankar Raja in the past.
We wonder if she finds it strange that the audience in AP adore her for her husky voice while dubbing for top actresses. “Oh…yes! I find it quite ironic that I am being recognized for something which happened out of the blue,” Chinmayi says. In the past few months, she had dubbed for Samantha, Kajal and Trisha. In fact, she has won the Nandi Award for Best Dubbing Artist for her work in Gautham Menon’s Ye Maya Chesave where she dubbed for Samantha. Quiz her about the compliments she has received so far, she says, “People ask me to record their name so that they can have it as their ringtone!” Talk about falling head over heels over someone’s voice!
2011 is turning out to be a great year for her. In May she was selected for FORTUNE/US State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership Program and she one of the three women from India to take part in the program. “I think they found my profile as a successful entrepreneur and celebrity to be quite interesting. It was a great experience and I must thank my mentors Susan & Joan of American Express for the opportunity,” she adds. Recently, she launched an app on her name and she’s reportedly the first singer in the world to have an app across all iOS devices. “I am planning to launch the app for Andriod too. Things should get even better as I am planning to collaborate with local musicians to come up with exclusive content for the app,” she exclaims.
With so many things happening in her life, we ask her how she manages her time. The constant travelling between cities, studios and the time she spends on Twitter, Facebook surely must be taking a toll! “On the contrary, I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s not everyday that I dub for characters like Jessi in Ye Maya Chesave. Such roles, where the actress is in almost every other frame, are hard to find. As far as singing is concerned, the recording hardly takes an hour,” she corrects. Spending a lot of time on Twitter has helped her in reaching out to over 40,000 people but she has had her share of bad experiences, like several other celebrities. “Look, I am not the bubbly girl who would put smileys for every random thing. I am quite a straightforward person and I am always willing to learn new things. But people take everything too seriously and sometimes they don’t understand my tongue-in-cheek remarks. It does get very irritating at times but I have learnt to deal with such people.”
From singing to presenting TV shows, she has done almost everything in entertainment section, except for acting. So are we going to see her act in films too? “I lead a comfortable life as a singer and I pity the actresses who work so hard,” she says on a lighter vein. “The point is that there are already several actresses who are looking for good work. I am not a new face and there’s no reason why I must act in films. Some of my colleagues have taken up acting as well but it’s not necessary that I follow suit just because someone else is doing it,” she signs off.
(This was my first article for Postnoon. Published on October 31, 2011)