Folk songs have often formed an important part of Bollywood movies and some of them are memorable to the day. They are melodious, tug at your heart and often end up having repeat value. While folks songs from different regions have gained mass popularity, it is the original folk singer who somewhere down the line faded into oblivion. Rarely has Bollywood rallied around any folk artiste to give them mass coverage and publicity. Publicity or not, folk has managed to remain alive mainly due to the sincere efforts of the singers who have stayed true and honest to their art form. And one such singer happens to be Santosh Sawant aka Pawa (Marathi for flute) who faced many a struggle while aspiring to be accepted in mainstream Bollywood.
Not the one to be bogged down, Santosh cut an album with the help of T-series in 2010 called Voice of Heart. And now the singer is ready to launch his debut Hindi feature film project titled 'Jhamela' which will showcase the life of a folk singer. "The movie has been inspired from a part of my life, my struggles as a folk singer, the art form jhamela and other things. I hope to make folk music more popular through this music. And I shall first show it at renowned international film festivals before showcasing it in India," reveals Santosh.
Hailing from Ratnagiri, Santosh who is an engineer by qualification, gained name and fame for being the foremost exponent of Jhamela - a folk song that throws light on the complexities and tragedies of life. Starting out with his own band, Santosh who is also the lead vocalist soon took Jhamela abroad and staged plays all over India and abroad. Says Santosh, "We use the traditional instruments like Harmonium and Dholki while staging our folk song and play. People love the simplicity associated with our songs which we use to denote the great complexities that human life deals with regularly."
While folk singing took Santosh far and wide, he soon discovered his passion for acting on one of his trips to London. Reveals Santosh, "The human mind seeks new challenges to evolve and mine demanded acting. I enrolled myself Hampstead acting academy to learn the finer nuances of acting."
With a degree of acting under his belt, Santosh returned back to India with renewed vigour. He tried his hand at Bollywood but unfortunately producers were not quite open to giving folk singers a chance. "Let's see is what everyone used to say whenever I approached them," says Santosh. Irked by Bollywood's shoddy treatment, folk singer to show his debut film abroad and not give Bollywood a chance to get his film first.
For the moment, Santosh's grouse against Bollywood is evident as he feels it's about time folk singers and their art form start getting their due. "Bollywood has reaped a lot of benefits from folk music but the artiste who lents his voice remains marginalised. I think Bollywood should stop neglecting folk singers."
Well, strong words from a folk performer, we say.