Fairytales do come true sometimes. Tumpa Kumari from Ranchi, who recently garnered national fame for the viral video that featured her rendition of 'Sun Raha Hai Na Tu', would probably agree.
After all, the visually-challenged 16-year-old — whose note-perfect cover of the Aashiqui 2 song even impressed Shreya Ghoshal, its original singer — is now going to get the kind of guidance people can only dream of. A 'support group' of sorts — comprising veteran singer and Padma Shri awardee Hariharan, renowned chef Sanjeev Kapoor, supermodel Ujjwala Raut, Ravi Saxena (managing director of a leading kitchenware brand), and Vinod G. Nair (managing director of a well-known public relations agency) — will ensure that Kumari moves to Mumbai (which is in the process of happening) and gets all the care and guidance she needs to realise her dream of becoming a successful playback singer.
Hariharan related the story of how this took place in an emailed statement to HuffPost India, by saying:
"Tumpa’s video [in which she is] singing ‘Sun Raha Hai Na Tu’ was sent to me by my dear friend Vinod G. Nair of Clea PR and he suggested that I should listen to her and give my opinion. When I heard her, I found that her voice has that unique and rare quality of ‘calling’ — a voice that demands your immediate attention and compels you to listen to it. This is a very rare quality and one amongst thousands of singers has this quality.
So when Vinod asked me if I would be interested in helping her carve a career for herself by training her, I immediately agreed. I feel that if she can be trained on the technical aspects of singing and yet retains the soulfulness and calling quality, then she can become a very successful and great artist. Vinod then traced out her whereabouts and roped in our mutual friends Sanjeev Kapoor as well as Ravi Saxena of Wonderchef, who has agreed to fund her entire training and move to Mumbai.
With such support and committed people coming together, the decision was a foregone conclusion and I am really very excited about this whole opportunity. Music is what has made me and given me a life, and I see this as a God-given opportunity to give back to the field. Over the years when I was a struggling artist, many gurus and people helped me and supported me. This time, I have the chance to do the same for someone deserving."
(From left) Veteran singer Hariharan with Tumpa Kumari and renowned chef Sanjeev Kapoor at the former's studio in Powai, Mumbai.
Kumari has been singing since the age of 3 with no real formal training barring a few music classes. An orphan who spent her early years with relatives, she has two sisters. One of them, Meenu, has been working since the age of 14 to support them all. Last year, Meenu admitted Tumpa into Ranchi's Brajkishore Netraheen Balika Vidyalaya, a school for visually-challenged girls. It is here that she truly got recognised for her singing schools when a student from a nearby management institution who teaches part-time at the college recorded a video of her singing and uploaded it to YouTube in early July.
Her musical training, under Hariharan, will consist of basic sur gyaan to technicalities of singing and performance and light music training with a classical flavour. While he will train her from time to time directly, her basic skills will be developed under the guidance of his chosen teachers and disciples, under his supervision, a couple of hours per day for at least two-three days a week. Every week to 10 days, Hariharan will train her directly, for about three to four hours.
Saxena will be chipping in by funding her formal education as well as by providing accommodation for her as well as Meenu. Nair and Kapoor will act as mentors and life-coaches, while Raut will groom her to face the world.