Falguni Pathak needs no introduction. Recently one of her iconic songs, Maine Payal Hai Chhankai, underwent a remake. People are clearly not happy with the remake because of the childhood memories associated with this song. Mind you, the song is more than 20 years old! On a personal level, even I’m pressed because I used to dance in front of my mirror to this song as a child.
These conversations made me realize how Falguni Pathak has been synonymous with Garba for almost three decades now. And the coming festive season made this thought even stronger.
Come Navratri and you are bound to listen to Falguni Pathak’s songs and see people dancing to her songs. If you are one of those lucky people who have had the chance to witness her live performances, then you’d agree that her music has the power to make people dance and enjoy themselves for hours at a stretch.
In an interview with Cinebuster, Falguni said, “I started singing when I was nine years old. As far as Navratri goes, I have had a very special association with this dear festival…I worked hard and was faithful to my work and always made sure to give happiness to my parents. God helped me and the rest fell in place.”
While most of her mainstream Hindi songs steer more towards romance – Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi, O Piya Leke Doli Aa, Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaye– she has tons of Garba and Dandiya songs under her sleeve. Dressed in her trademark style of a jacket, trousers and short hair, Falguni takes the centre stage with her band (Ta Thaiya) and sings a medley of songs that have the ability to bring out the best of Garba moves in people. Be it Kesariyo Rang or Indhana Winva, the hyper-pompous beats of her songs fit perfectly for Garba nights.
Falguni Pathak’s live concerts are jam-packed. She has performed live every Navratri. In an interview, she said, “I started performing during Navratri in 1987 and I’d performed every year since then, until 2020.”
It is reported that in 2010 when she performed with her band at Ankleshwar, Gujarat, 65,000 people attended the event every day of Navratri. The population of Ankleshwar, then, was 1,40,000. Such is her prowess!
What makes people sway to her tunes is her melody, the way she engages with her audience, her unending energy on stage, and her ability to bring something new every year and in every performance. She mixes traditional Gujarati songs with a touch of pop in a way no one could ever, making it perfect for an energetic Garba or Dandiya. This has made her one of the most sought-after singers for Navratri celebrations. Recently, she released a song before Navratri as a gift for her fans.
Falguni has been in making people dance to her tunes for decades now. The fact that even after so many years fans throng her live performances is simply astounding.
Falguni Pathak is truly the undisputed queen of Garba!