Vatsala Mehra – The Washington Housewife Sets a New Trend, Star & Style, G.B, November 4-17, 1988
Vatsala Mehra. To ghazal lovers, the name is not an unfamiliar one. Though her voice has been much heard – so far about eight cassettes of hers have been released (‘Gufta Gu’, ‘Shama Khana -2’, ‘Khazana’, ‘Hasrat’, etc), Vatsala is now going to be a pioneer in the field of video ghazal cassettes.
Yes, so far it was only audio, now it’s video. The reputed Garwares are releasing a sixty minute video cassette with eight ghazals by Vatsala Mehra.
Before meeting Vatsala we were pretty sure the lady was wasting her time, and that the cassette would be a flop. But after seeing the cassette and meeting the singer, who oozes self-confidence, we had to revise our opinion.
Said Vatsala, “It’s not at all a risk and the Garwares know it. They have spent a lot on the publicity of this cassette. They know it’s going to be a sure fire hit. The fact that Mr. Chowla himself (vice president of Garwares) is going to back me means he knows he’s going to make money out of it. He has recognised a winning horse!”
The idea of releasing a video music cassette has been in Vatsala’s mind for a long time. “At many of my shows, my fans would come to me and tell me how they wished they could watch me on video.”
So when Mr. Chowla who had read reports about Vatsala in a newspaper, approached her with his proposal, she accepted with the greatest alacrity.
Since her cassette will have an international market, Vatsala has chosen songs that are popular in different parts of the country. There’s one song ‘Teri Surat.’ which is going to win her a lot of acclaim. Vatsala revealed, “It’s popular everywhere. So much so that peoples say, ‘agar aap hundred katl karenge to bhi maaf ho jayegi’, after hearing you sing that song.”
Vatsala’s own words, “Confidence is the name of the game, and of course talent. During the past three years I have realised my worth. Now nobody can shake my confidence. Earlier I used to feel nervous because I used to encounter male singers on shows who would try to play dirty on stage by using foul methods – getting the musicians to play a wrong note and all of that. But later I saw that the audience wanted to hear more of me than the others. That’s when I realised I was good. Now I go on shows only with my own musicians, nobody else’s.”
In fact that’s the reason why she missed an opportunity of performing with her favourite singer Ghulam Ali. “I was not allowed to take my own musicians, so I opted out. Ghulam Ali may be fantastic, no doubt about that, but I am talented too!”
Vatsala reminds a few of Begum Akhtar, because like her, she too has a bass voice, but Vatsala insists she has never tried to imitate her. “Because for me individuality is very important.”
Believe it or not, Vatsala, who got married at the age of eighteen and went to settle in Washington, makes it a point to come to India every year for four months to learn music. “I have a wonderful man as my husband. He knows I’d wither away without music, so he sends me to India frequently. I used to sing since I was eight years old. Music is in my blood. My father is a Sitar player, my brother a singer. And thank God, my husband knows to appreciate good music.”
She added, “I always wanted to have an identity of my own. I didn’t want to be just a wife and a mother. So I am happy that today I am known as Vatsala Mehra!”