Odisha discovers its ‘Ranu Mondal’

Shyamhari Chakra

Teenaged tribal talent Namita Meleka from the non-descript Chintaguda village of Koraput district has turned a singing sensation overnight with celebrated Ollywood actress Varsha Priyadarshini as her mentor.

Namita recorded her first song for a music video on Sunday at Cuttack in presence of popular music composer Prem Anand and veteran lyricist Bijay Malla apart from Varsha Priyadarshini.

The devotional song – Ninunna, Jiuti Jeeban, Kalia dhana, Ranka ratana – penned by Bijay Malla on Lord Jagannath is in Kui and Odia languages. Kui has been Namita’s mother tongue.

The music video would be released on Varsha’s YouTube channel, stated Prem Anand, the music composer.

“Finally, little sister Namita’s dream has come true…much thanks to our dearest media brothers and sisters who explored her talent and brought it to everybody’s knowledge,” Tweeted the actress.

The 15-year-old girl, one of the seven daughters of a poor tribal farmer, has been a self-taught singer. “I have learnt singing from Radio initially and from television later on”, she revealed.

“There was no electricity in our village when I was a kid. But there was radio. I loved listening to the songs broadcast over the radio and used to sing the numbers I loved. Some years later, when I started staying in the high school hostel, television helped me”, she shared.

It was Namita’s teachers in her high school who encouraged her to be a singer. One of them posted videos of her singing that gained her instant exposure to the outside world as a singing sensation on internet.

One such post on the social media – that went viral – attracted attention of Varsha Priyadarshini who came forward to help and highlight the talent.

“What a magical voice she has! God gifted talent. Talent should not be hidden. I would like to be a small part in her journey to help her to achieve her dreams and be set an example for all the young talents who wish to fulfil their own dreams”, the immensely popular actress had Tweeted.

“It felt like being in the heaven when I received a call from Varsha didi who promised to see me as a singer. I had never imagined that I would be meeting her in person someday. It is for her that I could reach Cuttack for the first time from my village in far off Koraput,” said the immensely excited girl as she got a hug from the actress in the studio.

“The girl has got talent. She is articulate and has self-confidence as well. She has a future”, observed Prem Anand.