By Matters India Reporter
Ranaghat, August 29, 2019: Until recently, Ranu Mandal was singing for her livelihood at Ranaghat railway station of Nadia district in West Bengal. Now the 59-year-old woman has become a celebrity in social media.
The person who was instrumental for her overnight limelight in social media is Atindra Chakraborty, a 26-year old engineer and a native of Ranaghat. He had first heard Ranu singing a Mohammed Rafi number at Ranaghat station, and requested her to continue.
“This sudden incredible journey from railway platform to Bollywood is a blessing of Jesus and instrument of many good humans. Atindra is my Good Samaritan,” Ranu said in an interview with a local TV show recently.
“The credit goes to God for these blessings that have been bestowed upon me now,” she added.
Ranu was born in Krishnanagar, Nadia, but spent most of her childhood at her aunt’s place in Ranaghat after her mother’s death. She is a Catholic in Krishnanagar diocese, West Bengal.
Until Atindra, a commuter, came to her life, Ranu remained the “Lata of Ranaghat” only on the Platform No. 6 of Ranaghat railway station. The engineering student and his friend recorded a two-minute video of Ranu’s rendition of Lata Mangeshkar’s song ‘Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai’ from the 1972 film “Shor” (Noise). “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” is a classic song and was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. Lyrics are by Santosh Anand.
Atindra uploaded that video on his Facebook page and it went viral on social media. Soon Ranu’s life changed.
Atindra said he had noticed Ranu singing several songs during the day as her source of living. “In the hustle and bustle of daily life at the railway station, commuters had no time to take note of her,” he added.
Ranu, who suffers from bouts of panic attacks, has bagged her first singing project. She also receives numerous calls from many radio channels, film production houses, local clubs, and philanthropic organizations.
In August, Ranu recorded her first song for music producer Himesh Reshammiya in Mumbai accompanied by Atindra, her guardian, who arranged for her to have a voter’s identity card to fly to Mumbai by air.
Reshammiya is an Indian actor, music director, lyricist, composer, producer, singer, screenwriter and film distributor who predominantly works in Bollywood film industry.
Ranu also got offers to sing in some Indian TV shows such as Sony and Colours.
Speaking of Ranu’s overnight internet celebrity phenomenon, Atindra said he was able to identify the clear and poignant voice of Ranu as she sang several songs and decided to record one of them with his smartphone. Later it was liked by millions across India and Bangladesh.
“Ranu has a hidden and God-given talent for singing. We provided a space and platform for her. We are glad that has helped her. It is an incredible and beautiful journey,” Atindra said.
Atindra also said that the local government has agreed to offer a house with a plot to Ranu and monthly old-age pension provision.
Before Atindra made the short video, Tapan Das, a neighbor of Ranu, made a video of Ranu and uploaded it Facebook last October. Somehow, it failed to gain any notice in social media.
“There is time for everything.” Das said. “We are glad now that Ranu gets several offers from far and wide,” he added.
According to Das, from the time her video became an internet sensation, a sea of visitors is seen at Ranu’s house. Das helps her to arrange required documents so that she could open a bank account.
Recalling her past, Ranu said that during her 20s, she had worked with an orchestra owned by a local club and toured far and wide as she continued to sing from various films, such as 1973 hit “Bobby.” Though being a part of the orchestra, she earned some money; she gave it up later as she could not garner much support from her family especially for her singing.
Ranu is an ardent fan of Lata Mangeshkar, a singer who is often referred to as “India’s nightingale” for Lata’s four-decade reign over the Bollywood film music industry. Ranu has been passionate about singing as a child.
Fast forward, things happen for a reason and there is a time for everything, Ranu said.
With the recent fame, her biggest gain is that she is able to contact with her daughter Swati after 10 years or so, as both of them were not in good terms and no contact whatsoever. But that changed after the Ranu’s video surfaced and instantly went viral on social media.