Singer Elizabeth Raju has made a remarkable debut with the film, ‘Bodyguard’
By Shevlin Sebastian
When you watch the song ‘Pular Manju’ in the film ‘Bodyguard’, the scene focuses on a lush green meadow and the flirtatious interplay between actors Dileep and Nayantara. But it does not take long before the song makes its impact: a duet sung by Karthik and Elizabeth Raju, with melodious music by Ousepachan.
It is a remarkable debut for Elizabeth. Ousepachan initially had not planned to give the main song, ‘Pular Manju’ to Elizabeth, but he liked her performance so much in another song, ‘Arikathayaro’, a duet with the Dubai-based singer Yasir, that he selected her. Both songs have soared up the popularity charts, getting lots of play in radio and music channels.
Elizabeth’s voice is clear, sweet, and soaring. Sometimes, especially in ‘Arikathayaro’, you feel you are on a roller coaster, listening to Elizabeth, going up and up, when she raises the pitch, and then you get the chance to get your breath back when she returns to a lower register.
“Elizabeth is a very talented singer,” says Ousepachan. “She sings with a lot of feeling. She knows how to improvise. She takes the song to her heart when she performs.”
So, did Elizabeth have an inkling that the songs in the film would do so well? She nods, and says, “The lyrics and the music were very good. People said my voice suited Nayantara.” It helped that the picturisation of the song was done so wonderfully, and the film did reasonably well at the box office. So, Elizabeth has impressed on her debut.
In fact, she has been impressing people right from her childhood. At the age of four, when she sang a hymn, her father, Michael Raju, a retired general manager of the Kerala State Warehousing Corporation, was so amazed he took her to the Kala Bhavan cultural academy.
They asked him to bring Elizabeth when she was older, but were taken aback when she started singing and gave her admission immediately. Elizabeth began learning Carnatic vocals. At the age of eleven, she sang for a Christian devotional album. This carried on, as she moved on to new teachers, including the late Principal Lalita Varma of the Tripunithara RLV College of Music. Later, Elizabeth went on to do her MA in music from the same college.
Today, she has sung more than 1500 devotional songs, taken part in numerous stage performances and won awards galore. In her home at Pullepady, on several glass shelves, there are row after row of trophies that she has won in her career. And it seems that Elizabeth has a bright future in playback singing, but she is not sure.
“It is very difficult to get a break, because there are so many talented singers, and fewer opportunities,” she says. It is only when somebody strongly recommends a singer that the music director will take the time out to hold a trial.
Ousepachan agrees. “There are a lot of talented singers today, and selection has become difficult,” he says.
So, it is an uncertain profession, but Elizabeth is keeping herself busy as a teacher of music at Sacred Heart School, Thevara. “I teach students of Class eight and nine,” she says. And times, indeed, have changed.
She says that out of a class of 45, there are about 20 good singers. “Among them, ten are excellent,” says Elizabeth. “This is because parents are ensuring that they are getting professional training. They feel there are a lot of opportunities for singers these days.”
Meanwhile, Elizabeth, who has recently married an IT professional, Revin George, says she will continue with her teaching, her Christian devotional songs, her concert performances, and hope that another break, like ‘Bodyguard’, will come her way one day.
(The New Indian Express, Kochi)