Singing, dancing, acting, writing poems are all different faculties of fine arts. It is very rare to have all these qualities in one person, but Jiniya Chatterjee has all these and much more. This multifaceted young girl not only made her parents but also her college proud when in January 2019, she represented India as a delegate for the Harvard College in Asia Programme, an exchange conference that takes place between Harvard University (Boston, USA) and nine countries pan Asia. The theme of the conference was ‘Empowering Education through Global Leadership’, and this gave her a chance to understand the challenges that education faces today, and how those problems can be solved by developing oneself as a global citizen. She also showcased her talent in Indian classical dance and music and enthralled the audience.
The bespectacled soft-spoken lass also topped the TEDx Personality Contest organized by TEDx St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, in 2018. She was the youngest participant and winning the first prize helped her hone her personality skills to a great extent. She also bagged the first prize as well as the rolling trophy for her college in the inter-collegiate singing competition among 55 colleges in Mumbai. She made a hat-trick by winning a poetry writing competition organized by Tata Literature Live.
Jiniya is a trained Hindustani classical singer and has been learning music (Indian and Western) since she was 3, from her father, Dr Chandranath Chatterjee (disciple of Pt. Amarnath of the Indore Gharana), a singer and researcher. Her sense of rhyme scheme and recognizing particular sounds developed at a really young age, and was the beginning of her journey into the field of music.
“I started performing for the first time when I was just 5,” smiles the Mumbai-born girl. “My first singing performance was on Tara Music channel Kolkata TV. After that, I got good reviews and that led me to cut my first album with singer Sonu Nigam titled Om Namo Shree Siddhivinayak.”
From there it was no looking back; she bagged many awards at the interschool level and performed on All India Radio and Doordarshan (Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata). As a dancer, she won laurels at the Jaipur Durga Puja festival, and performed at the inaugural event of the Indian Music Group of St Xavier’s College — Aaroh, a classical music concert. At 12, she made her acting debut in a leading role in the bilingual film, An Unknown Island (Anjaan Dweep), and also sang in the film.
Though Jiniya showed an aptitude towards the Sciences post Std 10 and wanted to pursue medicine, her parents picked out her talents and abilities in the humanities, which proved to be fruitful. Her keen interest in art, history and culture, coupled with her ability to educate people helped her get into the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) as a docent for the exhibition India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, in collaboration with the National Museum, New Delhi, and the British Museum, London. Due to this experience, she got an opportunity to visit France, Italy and Vatican City, to explore the culture and life in these countries.
Jiniya happens to be a “millennium baby”, and the year 2018 turned out to be very fruitful for her when she released her first book of poems entitled Keep It Intact, a collection of 18 poems. She recently became the all-India topper of Sangeet Visharad (Bachelor of Music). Her dream is to make it big in Bollywood someday.
Jiniya wishes to do something that helps and inspires people in society. Celebrating her 19th birthday this month, she hopes that she will be able to put her talents to good use and make the world a happy place to live in.