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Watch: Social media helps Pritam, Shankar Mahadevan track down singers from viral videos

The talents of Santosh Gandharva, a street performer from Sikkim and Rakesh Unni. a Kerala labourer were recognised thanks to the internet.

The power of social media to birth new stars and uncover hidden talent was proven once again last week.

On June 18, Hindi film composer Pritam tweeted his appreciation for a Sikkimese street performer, a video of whom playing his composition Channa Mereya from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) on a sarangi, had been doing the rounds of the internet. He then requested his followers to help him find the artist. Less than two weeks later, on June 30, Gangtok-based Santosh Gandharva was in Pritam’s studio, performing another one of the Bollywood composer’s songs, Main Rang Sharbaton Ka from Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (2013).

Pritam and Santosh Gandharva.

Another budding artist was recognised after Shankar Mahadevan shared a video of a man singing Unnai Kaanadhu from Vishwaroopam (2013), which had been composed by Mahadevan along with his long-time collaborators Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa. Calling the video a “fruit of labour” on Instagram, Mahadevan sought help to trace the man.

On July 30, the singer in question, Rakesh Unni, who works in rubber plantations in Kerala, sang the same song for Kamal Haasan, the star of Vishwaroopam. The film’s sequel, Vishwaroopam 2, starring and directed by Haasan, will be released on August 10. Ghibran, the music composer for the sequel, has expressed interest in working with Unni, as has Mahadevan.

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