Liora Itzhak, chosen to sing the national anthems of Israel and India to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wishes to re-live her Bollywood dream yet again.
Born in Israel to Indian immigrant parents from Mumbai, Liora had to abandon that dream in the 1990s due to “homesickness”.
She flew to India at the age of 15 to study Indian classical music at Sur Sarvadhan institute in Pune.
After learning Indian classical music with gurus like Padma Talwarkar, Pandit Suresh Talvarkar she also learned light bhajan and ghazal singing between 1991 and 1998
Liora’s Bollywood break came with an opportunity to sing in the movie Dil ka Doctor. She also sang along with renowned Indian singers like Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam during this period.
However, when her Bollywood career seemed to have just taken off, she felt very homesick having stayed away from her family for eight years. She declined some of the offers that came her way and decided to come back to Israel.
“I was 23 and terribly homesick having spent eight years away in difficult conditions from my parents and siblings. I love India but I just could not bear this separation anymore”, Liora told PTI.
Following the huge popularity recorded by what she calls her Israeli Bollywood number, Mala Mala, in 2016 which has made her a popular name in the Israeli musical industry, she aspires to once again live her abandoned Bollywood dream.
Liora’s other song, Tu Hai Mera Pyar Pehla, a fusion of Hindi and Hebrew words, in collaboration with famous singer Idan Raichel has made her a household name in Israel.
She was also selected by the Israeli President’s office in 2015 to sing at the banquet dinner hosted in honour of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Israel.
She will sing at the dinner hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in honour of Modi, who will be first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish state from July 4.