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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sisters. Singers. Sensations

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Sisters Mangli and Indravathi, well-known talents in Telugu music, shine individually and blend their voices seamlessly. From Mangli’s record-breaking folk to Indravathi’s peppy playback, their musical journey captivates hearts. WOW! caught up with them a few minutes before their live show in Hyderabad recently

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Mangli (originally Satyavathi) and her sister Indravathi Chauhan are formidable forces individually in the Telugu music circuit and when they come together, they are unbeatable. An accomplished folk singer since 2013, Mangli holds a degree in music and has been a familiar face on TV with her chatty new show such as Teen Maar Varthalu and Maatakari Mangli on Telangana news channels.
However, she burst onto the music scene with her record-breaking Telangana folk song Rela re rela re in 2017. She went on to become the voice for songs with a Telangana soul. As a playback singer, she tasted massive success rendering blockbusters such as Vaadu naidipe bandi (George Reddy), Saranga Dariya (Love Story) and Ramulo ramula (Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo) in over 30 films and over 50 independent singles for Bathukamma and Bonalu. Today, the 29-year-old has her own band – Sounds of Mangli – and performs as an independent artist  and a playback singer for Telugu and Kannada movies.

Her sister Indravathi, inspired by Mangli, has been a singing prodigy since 2007 and has won music reality shows such as Bol Baby Bol on Gemini TV. The 27-year-old playback singer, who also sang for George Reddy was handpicked by composer Devi Sri Prasad (DSP) for the special number Oo Antava in Pushpa: The Rise. With a peppy beat and catchy lyrics, and actor Samantha dancing to its tunes, the song went on to become one of the most-played numbers at social gatherings across the Telugu states. The duo performed live at Zomaland, a two-day food and music festival in Hyderabad in January. Mangli is flush with the success of her first visit to London, as part of the Oo Antava rockstar DSP London tour last month, regaling the Indian diaspora. Indravathi is excited about her songs in upcoming releases. Both of them sounded upbeat when they spoke to WOW!

How do you prepare for live shows like Zomaland or the London tour? Is it different when you are performing in your home ground Hyderabad?
Mangli: My band, Sounds of Mangli, and I are touring across India and the world most of the time. But Hyderabad is where my heart truly lies! After our performances, we take some time to unwind before getting back to work. Our jam sessions are done twice a week, and they are fun yet rigorous. For festivals like Zomaland, which are on a massive scale and attract a high footfall, we usually adhere to a rigorous routine.
Indravathi: I am a part of Sounds of Mangli, and we jam two times a week whenever we are back in Hyderabad. For Zomaland, we prepared for over a week, keeping in mind the reputation of the event and the expected turnout.

What work are you doing now? Are you coming up with your own albums?
Mangli: I am always working on new songs, not only Telangana folk, but also light, classical, and commercial numbers, which are a hit among the listeners.
Indravathi: I’ve sung for a couple of untitled films in Telugu and am planning a few of my independent singles, which I am sure will be hits.

What about other live shows, collab albums, and movie songs? Tell us about the exciting projects you are working on.
Mangli: We will be performing in Hyderabad, Goa and Bengaluru in
February. I will also be performing alongside Padma Bhushan Sudha Raghunathanji and Padma Shri Usha Uthupji for a fundraiser for underprivileged children at Chowdaiah Hall in Bengaluru. After that, we will be
headed to the US, Europe and Australia, followed by Singapore. I’m also excited about a few movies that I’ve sung for and my single for Mahashivaratri that I’ve sung and shot for in Kedarnath, which will be released in March.Indravathi: I am touring along with the band.

Which song has given you the utmost satisfaction as an artist and why?
Mangli: Rela re rela was the first independent song that helped me propel my singing career and made me the artist. It was released in 2017 for the Telangana Formation Day, and has garnered 26 million views so far on YouTube alone. It is dedicated to all the heroes who struggled for the formation of Telangana; I have sung and danced in the video. I’ve been getting from people all over has been indescribable and heartwarming. Wherever I go, the reception is phenomenal, and the love is unconditional. Oo Antava became the biggest part y anthem ever since the movie released. It has had 399 million views on YouTube.

Where do you hang out on your day off?
Mangli: I’m usually at work, building new ideas with the team for my songs/albums. I’m a family person, and I love to spend time with my parents and my siblings, with whom I share a very close bond.
Indravathi: I am pursuing B.A (MLS) at the moment, and I love going to college, where I spend my time with friends discussing academics, among other things. Most importantly, I spend time with my family, with whom I have a close-knit relationship.

What music or songs are you listening to currently?
Mangli: I’m into ghazals and qawwalis. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saab, Mehdi Hasan Saab, and Reshma Rathodji are at the top of my playlist.
Indravathi: These days, I’m in the mood for Carnatic classical music. MS Subbulakshmi Amma, Bombay Jayashree garu, and Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna garu’s songs are the ones topping the list currently.

Do you find social media and Insta reels as useful tools in your craft of singing, or is it extra pressure? Does it add to your success and fame?
Mangli: Social media and Insta reels add value to my craft of singing. They bring me closer to my fans, thus helping me create more content and shows.
Indravathi: Absolutely! I believe that whenever I’m not performing, social media is where I seek connections with my fans and keep them close to my heart.

How long do you practice? Where do you seek inspiration from?
Mangli: I practice whenever I get time from my busy schedule, but most of the time, I’m performing in concerts, and that itself keeps me going. My inspiration comes from new people that I meet and when I get to hear their stories, it really helps me stay grounded.
Indravathi: I practice once a week for a few hours, which helps me in improving further.

What is your lifetime goal as a singer/performer?
Mangli: To sing and perform for the one and only A.R. Rahman, sir.

Indravathi: I’d love to perform and sing for Anirudh Ravichander garu. I really love his music, which is not only adrenaline-pumping, but also mellifluous.

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