At the art of the matter
When I was four-years-old, my relatives asked me to recite a poem at a family function. But, I went on stage and sang a song instead. That is when my parents found out that I have a serious interest in music and I can sing well,” recalled Palak Muchhal.
That day proved to be a turning point in her life as Palak started learning music from Indore-based Vishwanath Ringe, Kamal Kamle and Dheeraj Masih. She also got an offer from Anandji (of Kalyanji-Anandji fame) who asked her to train in music from him in Mumbai.
“I have done several shows with Anandji and because he insisted, I would go twice or thrice a month to Mumbai to train with him and Satynarayan Mishraji,” Muchhal revealed.
Initially, Palak would mostly sing for blind students, but the Kargil War in 1999 changed that. Henceforth, she went door-to-door singing Ae mere watan ke logon and collected money from homes and shops. Her efforts helped her collect `25000 in just one week, an achievement which was covered by almost all news channels and newspapers.
“The response I got was so overwhelming that I decided to use my talent to help people,” Palak revealed adding that she met five-year-old Lokesh Kuril who needed financial assistance for his heart surgery and agreed not only to do a show for him but also set up a show at Rajwada fort, which helped her collect `55000, much beyond her expectations.
“People who were short on cash willingly gave up their silver rings. However, when a Banglore-based doctor agreed to operate on Lokesh free of cost, we used the money for other kids with similar health problems,” Palak elaborated.
Till date, Palak has helped collect `2.21 crores and has financially assisted heart surgeries of 539 ailing kids across the world. Her dedication to the cause has helped her win the National Child Award (2001), Samanvay Award (2001), Pogo Amazing Kid Award (2005), Rajiv Gandhi Award (2006), Shourya Puraskar (2009), Virangana Laxmibai Award (2011), besides getting a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for social work and getting a Paul Harris fellowship in the rotary club.
With a total of 1475 shows to her name, Palak has collected a whopping `20 lakh from a single show. But the young musician aims to be a sound engineer and singer and hopes to ensure that the 621 ailing kids who have registered themselves with her, get operated soon.
“I have learnt a total of 16 languages to spread my area of music so that I can approach more and more people for donations,” stressed Palak, who can sing in Tamil, Kannada, Sindhi, Malayam, Assami, Sanskrit, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Malay, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Kiswahili, besides Hindi and English.
The singer has not only managed her studies and charity shows but also has established herself in the Hindi music industry, by giving voice to more than 50 playback songs and television daily soaps. “I have sung with Sonu Nigam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam and Udit Narayan. From each of them I have learnt valuable lessons. I am thrilled that 33 of my film songs are
releasing this year!” she exclaims.
With national awards, fame and success already in her kitty at the age of 20, what’s there left to achieve? “I just want to keep helping children forever,” she concludes.
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