Life can spring surprises and how. When Thiruvananthapuram-based Zonobia Safar quit her job with an IT firm last March, she had no clue how things would pan out for her as a musician. But a few months later, she found herself recording a song for Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam 2, the much-anticipated sequel to Jeethu Joseph’s 2013 film which premières on Amazon Prime Video on February 19. ‘Ore Pakal’, written by Vinay Sasikumar, is the only song in the film and has been composed by Anil Johnson, a regular in Jeethu’s films.
“It has not still sunk in that I am part of such a big project. Thanks to the euphoria surrounding the movie, I am getting compliments from across the globe. It is overwhelming. My family is super proud, especially my parents because people are calling up to congratulate them. This is the biggest happiness I could have given them,” gushes Zonobia.
Previously employed with IBS at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, the 31-year-old says that she could not have asked for a better break in the industry. Her portfolio includes tracks like ‘Saare njangal’ in Dijo Jose Antony’s Queen (2018) and ‘Nimishame’ in Oru Caribbean Udayippu (2019) for Charu Hariharan; there also was an English song she sung for composer Kailas Menon in an Arabic movie. “Amidst balancing my job and family life there wasn’t enough time to pursue music. I also loved doing voice-over. So I thought it was high time I gave myself a chance to pursue what I love before it is too late,” says the mother of two.
After quitting her job, she was fully into doing voice-overs and narration for advertisements and corporate videos from her home studio. “I was going steady, working remotely during lockdown for clients across Kerala and for those in Bengaluru, Mumbai and the UAE. I wanted to try my luck in movies as well. When I got Anil sir’s number, I called him up and sent my songs. But I never expected him to get back to me. Two weeks later when he contacted saying he wanted to try my voice for the movie, my heart almost stopped beating!” she laughs.
She was told that “the uncertainty in the life of the characters” had to come out in the song. But Zonobia says she had a tough time getting into the groove. “I was nervous and it took almost a day to finish recording. After a point I had given up hope and was feeling low. That is when Jeethu sir came in and cheered me up. The entire team made me comfortable and all credit to Anil sir for pushing me to give 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 some day. Meanwhile, she also plans to brush up on her music lessons. “I was trained in Carnatic music during my school days, and even though I had enrolled for Hindustani music classes a few years back I couldn’t continue the classes,” she adds.