The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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An Aggie in Bollywood


Photo by Nikita Redkar

Chaitra Ambadipudi, computer science graduate student, was a playback singer in a blockbuster Bollywood movie.

Jigar Patel, life and arts reporter, sits down with Chaitra Ambadipudi, a computer science graduate student, about her experiences as a playback singer in a blockbuster Bollywood movie.
THE BATTALION: Tell us about your stint with the Indian film industry.
Ambadipudi: So I started off with Telugu movies, known as “Tollywood” in India. I had started learning music when I was in fifth, after which I luckily got a chance to sing for a movie. I was not actually planning on singing for movies. We just knew a director and I just passed on a CD in which I had recorded four songs or so. Eventually they really liked it and the wanted me to sing for the heroine of the movie. That is how it started and I have been there for 10 to 12 years now.
THE BATTALION: How did you start singing for Bollywood movies?
Ambadipudi: I sang for a music director called Keeravani. He is a Telugu music director. I recorded around six to seven songs for him in Telugu and he also happens to work in Bollywood with a lot of directors. He did the movie “Jism,” if you remember. Because we had collaborated earlier, he chose my voice for a Hindi [Bollywood] movie as well. The song was “Kaun Mera” from the movie called “Special 26.” The song was really well received by many people I knew.
THE BATTALION: When did you start singing western music?
Ambadipudi: Yes, that is more of a personal interest of mine. That started off when I was in engineering and getting to know different kinds of music. I knew I could sing western music pretty well. So that is when I started picking out songs from Adele. I also tried to rap. There was this song called “Look At Me Now,” which is sung by Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne. It was kind of a challenge to me because the Busta Rhymes part is like a tongue twister, so I really wanted to get that.
THE BATTALION: How did you find time to pursue music while also pursuing a career in the field of computer science?
Ambadipudi: I actually found a lot of time to pursue music, even when I was in Microsoft, because the environment there was very supportive. Everybody, from the managers to their managers, people who knew I could sing were really interested in what I had to sing. They actually included me in many of the events of the organization.
THE BATTALION: What subjects within the field of computer science do you research?
Ambadipudi: I am a thesis student here. I am interested in databases and data mining and I haven’t started my actual research work here. I will start that next semester, but luckily I have found a job [as a graduate research assistantship], which is also kind of related to that. Not exactly, but closely. It is a branch called bioinformatics, which involves a lot of statistics and data handling.
THE BATTALION: Are there any offers currently from the film industry?
Ambadipudi: Currently it is on hold. I did receive calls from a few directors, but after I told them that I am here now, they couldn’t [continue with their offers]. I would have to go and sing there [India], because the studios here are really expensive and they wouldn’t be able to afford recording here, and obviously the music director cannot be present directly, which is not favorable. So they want me to go back to India and sing, which is not possible.
THE BATTALION: Will you be pursuing work in both music and computer science in the future?
Ambadipudi: I would like to continue both of them. Definitely.

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