His Sufiana renditions have earned Rituraj Mohanty a huge fan following that propelled him to the top three slot in the singing reality show India’s Raw Star. Deeply inspired by maestros Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Rituraj in his trademark pagdi and long hair, began his journey in the show with the sole intention of being heard.
“I never thought of going to the top three neither did I dream of competing. I just wanted to sing. By the grace of God and people’s trust and love I have been successful in reaching where I am today,’’ says the singer who hails from Puri district. The last few years, since 2011, have been a testing time for Rituraj who has faced a lot of financial hardship. Despite odds, he stay put in Mumbai and tried his luck till he met producer Gajendra Singh who was planning the reality show India’s Raw Star.
“By then I had got a break in Bhootnath Returns but I also had to go through a tough digital audition round for this show,’’ he says. Truly, since rapper singer Yo Yo Honey Singh who has been mentoring the contestants on the show, had mentioned in one of the episodes that he had not approved Rituraj’s selection till he heard him live. “Honey has been very encouraging and is a tremendous support. In fact, he respects me for my singing,’’ explains Rituraj about his rapport with the popular singer. Besides, celebrities who have been gracing the show as guests, have been open in praising the singer as the best and he had also made many of them emotional with his renditions.
The singer who has been assured by music composer and singer Himesh Reshammiya to record him as a playback singer has been trained in Hindustani classical at Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya in Bhubaneswar.
But three years into the course, an accident pushed the singer into coma after which he stopped learning music. ‘’But I am regular with my riyaaz till date and its like a sadhana for me.’’ Rituraj, who had left home three years ago, met his parents, on the show.
With a few offers to sing in films coming his way, Rituraj recollects his association with musicmaker Ram Sampat.
“He is a godfather to me. He recorded a number with me and Aamir Khan liked it so much that he incorporated it in one episode of Satyameva Jayate,’’ says Rituraj with a sense of indebtedness. He had also had an opportunity to work with Javed Akhtar for a programme on Doordarshan.
Not worried about the tough fight in store for him in finals with Mohit and Darshan, Rituraj says the platform Star Plus has given me is immense.
“Reality shows make instant stars true, but how the stars continue to do the good job and keep impressing audience is what counts,’’ says the 26- year-old who plans to start learning music again as soon as the contest gets over.
Rituraj, who needs support in the form of votes (his voting number: 18008339007 ) will be performing at the finals with Kailash Kher on Sunday.