Tanvi Shah’s Allure: From Music & Lamps to Cycling & Charity


Enter the world of Tanvi Shah, whose love for music started at a young age. She is most renowned for her Grammy from the endearing film Slumdog Millionaire, but it wasn’t her drive for success nor her love of Hollywood that got her there. Although she started singing when she was 18, music wasn’t in the cards professionally for Tanvi, at least not initially.

Tanvi Shah from FB

She tells me over the phone from India while driving her car on a late July afternoon that while she always had an interest in music, she hailed from a family of jewelers, which drove her to study her real creative passion: ceramics. She has a love of design, sketching and ceramics — from lamp bases to her alcoholic lampshades.


Over a near ten year stretch, music has never been far away. Her first song was “Fanaa” for the movie Yuva and in India, she has been a popular playback singer for films, where she has sung in Arabic, Latin and Spanish.
Tanvi Shah from imdb

Tanvi has a running collaboration with AR Rahman and has sung a number of songs for him, including songs from Rang De Basanti, Jillunu Oru Kadhal, Slumdog Millionaire and more recently Delhi 6.  After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Tanvi was featured in Snoop Dogg’s song, Snoop Dogg Millionaire. Apart from the Grammy, she also received the BMI Award in 2009 in London for the same and also shares the World Soundtrack Award (2009) with Rahman and renowned lyricist Gulzar.

A multi-faceted and poised woman with a passion and hunger for the endless possibilities life beyond her twenties holds for her, she exudes it all.  The Tanvi I experienced during our chat was empathetic, refreshingly authentic and passionate. For her, life is not just about music and making movies.

It seems as if the original path which led her on a path to fame, accolades and awards is not the primary thing that drives her today. Her big thing right now is helping hte local Cancer Institute in India.  Tanvi says she has also been involved with the Eradicate Polio campaign as well. As for more music and film in her future? “Sure,” she says, “but I want to focus on giving back.”

“If you have the power to help people, you have to – it’s up to us to do that – it’s what makes you.”

When she’s not singing or making wine lamps out of lights out of pickled jars, she’s cycling.  She is working on getting cyclers together for weekly rides. She says, “people might spend 10,000 rupees in a pub, where they’re just wasting money.” They charge roughly 600 rupees and for that, the participant gets a bicycle and breakfast.

They put out a tweet and now have about 150 people or so show up at 4 am on Sunday mornings. As a “oh so not a morning person”, I did a little hiccup when I heard about the 4 am start. Bicycles are also a passion. In her office, her design table is propped up on a bicycle. Tanvi always finds a way to reuse things. She made her office with her bare hands. “No one wanted to help me,” she said, “so I built it myself.” Tanvi shares her bicycle stories and her passion for her charity work.

She would like to team up with larger entities and companies who have cancer institutes so they can collectively do something for these kids.  She says, “we have to focus on the future. If children with cancer can make it, they can move forward and do something with their lives.”

A fan came up to her at a performance and told her the story of an autistic boy who was having problems sleeping and now sleeps peacefully because of her voice.Says Tanvi with compassion in her voice, “This is my reward.  When someone comes and tells you that your voice heals, that’s the best Grammy of all.” Making a difference in the world and contributing is what its about for Tanvi today.

She adds, “You have to just wake up and take a step. Think about what you’re passionate about and ask yourself, – when are you going to wake up and do this? You have to wake up and make it happen.”

Photo credits: Movie Photo/Slumdog Millionaire: desktop.freewallpaper4.me. Black/white elegant shot from the imdb site, Pink Outfit in Malaysia from her FB page where she performed to an audience in Malaysia.  



Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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