Life can provide surprises and how. When Zonobia Safar from Thiruvananthapuram quit her job at an IT company in March, she had no idea what would happen to her as a musician. But a few months later she found herself recording a song for Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam 2, the highly anticipated sequel to Jeethu Joseph’s 2013 film that premiered on Amazon Prime Video on February 19. ‘Ore Pakal’, written by Vinay Sasikumar, is the only song in the film and is composed by Anil Johnson, a regular in Jeethu’s films.
“It still hasn’t sunk to be part of such a big project. Thanks to the euphoria surrounding the film, I get compliments from all over the world. It’s overwhelming. My family is very proud, especially my parents because people call to congratulate them. This is the greatest happiness I could have given them, ”says Zonobia.
Previously working at IBS at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, the 31-year-old says she couldn’t have asked for a better break in the industry. Her portfolio includes songs like ‘Saare njangal’ in Dijo Jose Antony’s Queen (2018) and ‘Nimishame’ in Oru Caribbean Udayippu (2019) for Charu Hariharan; there was also an English song she sang for composer Kailas Menon in an Arabic movie. “In the midst of combining my job and family life, there wasn’t enough time to go to music. I also liked voice over. So I thought it was high time I gave myself the chance to do what I like before it’s too late, ”said the mother of two.
After quitting her job, she was fully engaged in providing voiceovers and narration for advertisements and corporate videos from her home studio. “I went stable and worked remotely during lockdown for clients in Kerala and for clients in Bengaluru, Mumbai and UAE. I also wanted to try my luck in movies. When I got the number from Anil, I called him up and sent my songs. But I never expected him to come back to me. When he contacted two weeks later to say he wanted to try my voice for the movie, my heart almost stopped beating! ” she laughs.
She was told that “the uncertainty in the lives of the characters” should be reflected in the song. But Zonobia says she had a hard time getting into the groove. “I was nervous and it took almost a day to finish the recording. After a while I had given up hope and felt low. That’s when Jeethu sir came in and cheered me up. The whole team put me at ease and all credit to Anil, sir, who pushed me to do my best ”, she says.
A huge fan of Adele, Jonita Gandhi and Swanand Kirkire, Zonobia hopes to work with AR Rahman, Shaan Rahman and Sushin Shyam one day. In the meantime, she also plans to brush up on her music lessons. “I was trained in Carnatic music during my school days, and although I signed up for Hindu music lessons a few years ago, I couldn’t continue the lessons,” she adds.