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Gulshan Grover: Have taken inspiration from Big B!

June 20, 2017

Gulshan Grover says Amitabh Bachchan is a living example of how you can be a hero as long as you want 

Mumbai:  Actor Gulshan Grover during the Lokmat Maharashtra Most Stylish Awards in Mumbai on Jan 31, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

After returning as the villain in recently released film Behen Hogi Teri, Gulshan Grover will be seen playing the hero in a web-series named after his iconic character Badman. In a candid chat, Bollywood’s favourite antagonist talks about receiving international acclaims and his journey so far. Excerpts from the interview…

Badman has been invited to be screened at the Moscow International Film Festival and London Indian Films. How does it feel?

I cannot tell you how excited I am.  It feels wonderful. It has just dawned upon me that a good content cannot be contained. In the film Badman the hero of the film is Gulshan Grover. This film which was meant for the internet for the digital audience has broken boundaries. The film is being screened in London at five different cinemas because of its popularity.

How did Badman happen?

It is India’s first mocumentary feature film. All the characters in the film are real. People are playing themselves where Gulshan Grover is a popular Bollywood actor known as Badman, Mahesh Bhatt is a well known director, Manisha Koirala is Bollywood’s popular actress who has recently defeated cancer and many others. Everybody played what they are. But the scenes are created so it is called mocumentary. It is India’s first mocumentary feature film.  This is also the first time iconic character played by an actor is the name of the film and the same actor has been chosen to play the hero of the film.

How has your journey on Bollywood been so far?

My journey has been tremendous and it is especially exciting now. If you look at the cinema around you, the characters of villains have disappeared. I had a film that released recently Behen Hogi Teri n which I played a villain and now I have a film named Badman in which I play the hero which is breaking boundaries internationally. I am at a very exciting and interesting stage of my career. I have learnt this from Amitabh Bachchan ji who taught us that that you can be a hero as long as you want. It doesn’t matter if your beards have turned white; it all depends on how good you are what you do. He changed it completely for all of us. Having taken inspiration from him I learnt that if you have it in you no changing scenario can affect you.

You have been part of many films, Bollywood, Hollywood and world cinema. But you have never been vocal about it.

Yes it is true that I have never been vocal about it. I see this happening now and I wish I had spoken about it earlier. I believe that there is nothing wrong in amplifying you achievements. But also, the time I started getting offers from Bollywood the situation was very different. Once I started doing Hollywood films, people used to say wo bhaag gaya (he ran away) while I was right there in India. People used to think that I won’t do Bollywood films once I start getting paid in dollars so I used to hide the fact that I have worked in Hollywood films so that I get work back home in India. There was so much negativity about people working in Hollywood that I did not make much noise about it.

There is a drastic change in the portrayal of villains in Bollywood films as compared to earlier times. What do you think about it?

I think it is interesting. Cinema tries to portray what is there in real life. When you look around yourself, there is no ugly looking gunda badmash type of people around you.  It is the sweet talker in you office and elsewhere who is the evil most of the time. This is how life is and if this is how life is then the cinema has to be like that too. Even the portrayal of hero for that matter has changed.

We don’t have such lager than life villains anymore. Has anyone been able to make even the slightest mark in the negative role in recent times?

Unfortunately there is none. There is nobody. And it is not the actors but the script is such. This is how the production and story has gone into. I am all excited about the new emerging avenues.

 

Gippy Grewal: Bohemia has a unique voice texture!

June 18, 2017

Gippy Grewal on his latest foot-tapping track, potentials of rapping in India and more

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Gippy Grewal’s latest peppy track, ‘Car Nachdi’ has recorded a million hits within a few days of it release. This song is his yet another successful collaboration with Bohemia. In a candid chat, he speaks about the inception of the song, his association with Bohemia and actors singing in movies. Excerpts…

How did ‘Car Nachdi’ happen?

It happened with much difficulty.  I had visited USA about two and a half years ago and there I saw some low riders that you don’t see it here so commonly. Then I had composed a song where I had used these cars. But I found this the concept of cars so amazing that I didn’t think it would be worth to use them in that song and that it required a special song. So I did not release the song that I had composed then. I wanted to use them in a video where those cars would be required in real sense. Then I came up with a concept where a boy is telling a girl that when he sees her, not only his hear but also his car dances for her.

This is your yet another hit with Bohemia. Tell us about your association with him.

I have known Bohemia for a long time now. Our first song came out in 2006-07. We come out with our track in every two years or so. The kind of voice texture that Bohemia has, not every kind of song suits him. When I came up with Car Nachdi, I thought with the kind of beats the song has, if it would have Bohemia’s rap in it, it would have an international appeal.  I approached him with the song. He liked it and agreed to do it.  I have worked with many rappers, but the kind of voice that Bohemia has, it is something different.

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What do you think about the popularity of rappers as compared to the regular Bollywood singers?

I believe that people who do good work do get recognised; be it Honey Singh or Badshah or Raftaar for that matter. We have number of movie singers but rappers we have only a handful of them. When more and more people will take up rapping, it also will gain popularity. For example, Bohemia is not a Bollywood singer. He has an altogether different zone of singing. And he is the best in what he does. Badshah was the first one to listen to the first line of the song ‘Car Nachdi’. He told me this is going to be a hit. So it is all about hard work. The ones who will work hard will grow.

You have been one person who has not only been a successful actor but also highly appreciated and accepted singer. However actors in bollywood have been at the receiving end for trying their hand in singing. What is your take on the same?

I think people appreciate what is good irrespective of anything. I have sung songs, acted in films and also directed films. Farhan Akhtar in Bollywood has been one fine example of someone who is not only known for his acting skills but also his singing. So I don’t see a problem with actors trying their hand at singing.

Vishal Mishra: Salman is a mentor and guide to me!

June 18, 2017

Vishal Mishra speaks about working with the actor for a Marathi song, actors making their foray into singing and more

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Vishal Mishra is currently riding high on his career. With his kitty full of projects, the composer-singer spills the beans on his upcoming projects, his desire to come up with singles and significance of singing reality shows. Excerpts from the interview…

Tell us something about the song, ‘Pyaar Ho’.
The song happened because of Sabbir sir’s vision. He was very clear about what kind of song he wanted for Tiger and Munna Michael because this is the only love ballad that we had and he inspired me to create this tune. It is a very feel good and romantic ballad which is sung and composed by me. Sunidhi Chouhan has sung the song with me. ‘Pyaar ho’ is very special to me.

How were you approached for Munna Michael?
I had met Sabbir sir during Baaghi and the interesting part is that I sang ‘Sab tera’ in the initial version of the song. Then later on Armaan Malik did a very good job with that. He liked my voice and he also heard some of my compositions and he became very fond of them. For this movie he called up and said he wanted me to do a song and then ‘Pyaar Ho’ happened.

You had Salman Khan and Iulia Vantur sing for you. How was your experience working with them?
Working with Salman or Iulia or anybody who is at the epitome of their talent is very learning. It feels wonderful to see how people who are at the top of their game are so humble. Salman is like a mentor and guide to me. I love him for everything. It is always a blessing to share a stage or a song or anything ever with him.

Was it difficult for Salman to mouth Marathi lyrics? How do you think he fared as a singer?
Surprisingly, I was expecting him to finish the recording in like two-three hours but he finished it in 45 minutes. His knowledge in Marathi is better than me for sure. Together we cracked it and Gacchi happened, I am glad that it did.

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You have composed about 14 songs for FU-Friendship Unlimited. Tell us about your experience working on those compositions.
It was a lifetime experience. Composing 14 songs and giving two years of your life is hard and creatively draining. Now when I look back at it, I feel very grateful that it happened. I believe any opportunity where you get to compose so much and learn so much is great.

You have been a participant and winner of a singing reality show. How much does a reality show help a budding singer?
Reality shows just gives you a platform and makes your struggle time a little less. It gives you a lot of confidence as you get used to singing in front of people. But otherwise I guess the struggle is same and it teaches you how to uphold yourself and how to go ahead with your career. For me it was a blessing at it gave me an opportunity to stay back in this city. All said and done, you have to do your hard work and you have to be good at what you do.

There are so many actors who are trying their hand in singing. What are your thoughts on the same?
I think it is very good for the industry. They all are very good at it. I feel it eventually helps Bollywood. Well, I am game. Hopefully, I will be part of songs where actors would be singing for me.

Do you think professional training in music is necessary in today’s age of digitalisation and technology?
I think basic training of anything is very necessary because it is important for you to know what you are doing. But then there is no substitute to hard work. One has to be prepared for all the opportunities that we get.

Do you have any acting aspirations?
Someday I want to be an actor in a movie that I direct and only I watch (laughs). No aspirations as such. I just want to concentrate on my music. I criticise my music the most and if I will be good at it, I will be very happy.

With singles making their comeback, do you have anything on the lines any time soon?
Nothing to be announced but I am working on like six songs that I always wanted to express. Hopefully it will be out by the end of the year. People will get to know what is there in my heart. While composing songs for movies you are given deadlines and you are under pressure. But it is beautiful in its own sense. But in singles it is all about you. So I would love to express myself through a single.

Amit Mishra: Everybody wants to sing for Salman Khan!

June 18, 2017

Amit Mishra speaks about his latest track ‘Radio’, working with Pritam and list of people he wants to sing for

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Amit Mishra, the voice behind the most talked about song, ‘Radio’, says appreciation for his songs is a great motivation for him and he feels blessed for getting so much love.

At a recent meet and greet session organised at the Hungama office in Mumbai, the singer spoke about how he bagged his chartbuster songs. “For ‘Bulleya’, it was a normal vocal audition. I got a call from the studio. I sang the mukhda of the song and then after a couple of weeks later, I went back to the studio for recording the song again. I recorded the song three times. It was a tough song but was a great experience. Similar thing happened with ‘Radio’ too. It is a fun song and we had a lot of fun singing that song as it had words that we use it in our daily lives. It was like a conversation. The song is really doing well. As an aspiring singer everybody wants to sing for Salman Khan. It was really an honour,” he said.

What makes the ‘Radio’ song different? ‘”Radio’ song has this typically desi approach. It is typical Bollywood masala song. I got a lot of calls from radio stations. They were happy that they have got a song of their own now. It is composed by one of the living legend Pritam Da,” he added.

Amit has worked with Pritam for the fourth time. Speaking about working with the best of music directors, he said, “I would say Pritam da has been the best because he has been the senior amongst the ones I have worked with. I got to work with the best of the best team with Pritam da. Music directors are my mentors. They have taught me many things; they have also reprimanded me many times. Everybody has their own take and perception on music and everybody has equally contributed in my life.”

Who tops the list of people he wants to sing for? “I would love to sing for Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn, Sushant Singh Rajput and the list goes on. But the question is which composer I would like to sing for. Because no matter on which actor your song gets featured, it is the composer who is the priority,” he added.

When asked what he enjoys the most, singing in studios or performing live, he averred, “I enjoy the studio sessions the most because we can do that any time of the day. But performing live also gives a different high. It has a commercial value. But my first love would be studios.”

About his upcoming projects, he added, “I am working on singles which will probably release in a month’s time. We are still working on it and looking forward to it. I would also be coming up with my individual music soon.”

Flora Saini:  I’m very familiar to Marathi!

June 16, 2017

Flora Saini speaks about her upcoming Marathi film Pari Hoon Main, her character and accent

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After showing off her acting stints in films down south and Bollywood, Flora Saini is all set to make her debut in Marathi films. The actress will be seen in Rohit Shilwant’s Parin Hoon Main.

Speaking about how she bagged the film, she said, “Pari Hoon Main came my way because the director of the film Rohit Shilvant had seen Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak and that’s how he approached me for the film and also the producers of Yogayatan films felt that for this role they need somebody who has got a lot of glamour because that’s what the role is all about, because that’s the only glamorous character in the film. So these are the two reasons why I was cast for it.”

Elaborating more about the film, she added, “The film is about a lower middle class family that has big aspiration and dreams about getting rich and it’s a story of their journey from being from a lower middle class family to rising up to fame and what all they go through and how life is a journey of ups and downs and in the end love is all that matters. So it’s a very beautiful relatable movie, a lot of people can relate to it. It’s a very different subject not like a regular run-of-the-mills kind of subject. It’s very touching and beautiful.”

The actress will be seen essaying the role of a glamorous actress in the film. “I play an actress in the film that’s why I’m all the time dolled up since it’s a role of an actress. It’s like she has her attitude, she liked being friendly and all but there’s this attitude of being a celebrity in her. It was fun playing this character because you do not usually get such roles,” she said.

Did she learn Marathi for the film or was well versed with the language? “I know a little bit of Marathi but I’m not very fluent with the language. I can speak Telugu now which I had absolutely no clue about being a Punjabi. Living in Mumbai, I’m very familiar to Marathi. It’s a little like Hindi. Not difficult to understand although I can’t speak much. But fortunately my role in the film does not require talking a lot of Marathi,” she added.

On being asked if it was difficult to understand and mouth Marathi accent, she averred, “Not very difficult actually, because staying in Bombay you’re so used to listening to people speak in Marathi language and so you can easily pick up the accent. Since I’m playing a very refined role in the film,  so I had that attitude,  I can get away with having a slang accent so it kind of helped me to have my first film role which didn’t need a lot of Marathi language or accent.”

 

Shamata Anchan: Would love to work with Imtiaz Ali!

June 13, 2017

Shamata Anchan speaks about her ongoing show Bin Kuch Kahe, her love for the director’s works and more

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After exploring all the aspects of modelling and doing various ads and print shoots, actress Shamata Anchan wants to keep no stones unturned in acting as well. Shamata Anchan was seen in Ashutosh Gowariker’s Everest as the main lead and is now seen in Bin Kuch Kahe. She has also played an extended cameo in an upcoming Hollywood film Heartbeats. In what seems to be a major step in her career Shamata will soon be making her big screen debut. Excerpts from the interview…

After your Everest stint, how did Bin Kuch Kahe come your way?

The casting directors had seen Everest and my character in it. They called me for an audition and I was selected.

How has your experience been working for Bin Kuch Kahe?

Bin Kuch Kahe is a different genre as compared to Everest. Everest was an adventure drama and this is a romantic comedy. Here I got to be another character. The scenes are also very light and there is no too much drama. It is lot of fun here with the entire cast and crew of Bin Kuch Kahe. We shot in Jaipur and bonded very well. The entire feel on the set is very nice.

How much do you personally relate to your character Myra Kohli?

Myra is a strong headed today’s girl. She is traditional yet modern. Not only me lot of girls would relate to Myra. She is also a family girl and I relate to her that way. Her relationship with her parents and siblings are very similar to what I have with my family members.

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How is Sameer Arora as a co-star?

Sameer is a very nice guy and I feel comfortable working with him. Especially, while doing intimate romantic scenes, it could be very awkward unless you know that person. We have a good time shooting and he is a good friend.

What do you think is most challenging aspect of being part of a television daily?

Ours is a finite show. We have shot in advance and I don’t have an experience of the daily show pressures. Even with Everest, we shot the whole series and then it came online. Bin Kuch Kahe also, we shot it about 70 per cent and then it came on air. There is no pressure. I have had a month’s of vacation and we still have a bank of episodes.

Do you wish to also explore the big screen? If yes, what kind of films do you wish to do?

I would like to explore any kind of medium that allows me to act; be it television, movie or web-series. As far the story is interesting and the character has relevance, I would do it. The television content and production values are changing. Both the serials that I did are very similar to movies, both by film directors. So I think the line between television and movies are blurring. As far as the story is good I am game for any kind of medium.

Who are the directors you wish to work with?

I would definitely like to work with Imtiaz Ali. I think he is a great story-teller and I relate to the kind of films he comes up with. Socha Na Tha was one of my favourite films of his. I would like to do something like that, simple yet real.

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You also have an extended cameo in upcoming Hollywood film Heartbeats. How were you approached for the same?

Nalini Rathnam is the casting director who has done casting for this film and Everest also. She is a great friend too. So she asked us and I thought it would be great so we did it for her.

Tell us something about your background.

I am a Manglorean but I have been born and brought up in Mumbai. I have lived here all my life. I have come from a family where there is nobody in the creative line like films or television. I took part in Miss India contest and won the south pageant. I did a few television commercials where I was discovered by Ashutosh Gowariker and that is how acting happened.

What are your views on the increasing trend of web-series? Would you like to try your hands there? Have you been approached for the same?

With a lot of competition around, I think there is also lots of scope for the actors today. I was approached for a web-series but I was unable to take it up as I had this show of mine running. I have no time at all. But once I am done with this, I would love to do a web-series, but of course with a good storyline.

Tell us something about your upcoming projects?

I have been bust with shows but I was approached for some other project too. But I cannot talk about it now. I am really excited though!

Rochak Kohli: Hook lines are true motivation to compose songs!

June 10, 2017

Rochak Kohli speaks composing his fun song in an upcoming comedy film, his take on actors singing songs in their film and more

Rochak Kohli, who made a striking debut in Bollywood with his song ‘Pani Da Rang’ in Vicky Donor, has a line-up of films ahead of him. In a candid chat, he speaks about his upcoming kick-ass song ‘Tashreef’ in Bank Chor, his association with Ayushmann Khurrana and his journey in Bollywood so far. Excerpts from the interview…

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Tell us something about the Tashreef song.

The song is extremely close to my heart. Actually, ‘Tashreef’ because the tune came when I was in the loo, sitting on the pot! That’s true! Well, the brief was to make a song for complete losers, and should be totally relatable with the audiences too. I was thrilled when a reviewer wrote: ‘Rochak has sung the song like a complete loser.’

With such a hook line in the song, how fun it was to compose the song?

Hook lines, most of the times are true motivation to compose and produce film music. It defines the entire scene in front of you and then it’s like painting a picture. In this case, we knew that we have a very innovative track, and each effort to complete it was in the same direction.

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What is it that goes in the writer’s and composer’s mind when you create a song?

I guess sticking to the brief is very important. The writer and the composer have to be on the same page, and should be very quick in responding to each other. The most important thing is that both needs to be extremely open and strict in moving on to another thought if one is not working.

Tell us about your background. How did always have an inclination towards music?

AR Rahman Sir’s ‘Dil se’ got my first cassette that I got from my pocket money, and that changed my life. I was introduced to music earlier by my mother through old classics and Ghazals, but never thought of making it my career. I did my LLB and even started practicing Law, when I decided to shift my career and try media. My interest in theatre and music got me a job in radio where I spent seven years which also got me to Mumbai from Chandigarh. I was working for 92.7 Big FM where I started as an RJ and was eventually heading National Programming. I learnt a lot in my corporate stint, won several national and international awards, and sharpened my knowledge of music.  ‘Pani Da Rang’ happened during this time. However, I started composing film music full time after 2013.

You had expressed your wishes of learning music some time ago.  Have you started with it already?

I ran from a piano class three times, but I am determined to learn it full time by this year. I guess learning is a constant process, it should never stop. As times are changing, we have to change our skills too.

You have had a long association with Ayushmann Khurrana. Tell us about it.

We have been buddies since school. AK (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a big star today, the whole world follows him, and he still shares the same bond with me.

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These days even actors are trying their hand in singing. What is your view on the same?

The industry gives everyone a fair chance, whether you are a new singer, or an actor who wants to sing. We are no ones to judge anyone. The audience writes it all in black and white. Having said that, we also need to understand that we work for a ‘commercial’ Industry, which depends highly on the Box-office. A song sung by an actor is a huge marketing asset, and creates a nice buzz around the film. It is great innovative too I would say.

From the actors who have tried their hand in singing, who do you think has a real potential?

I think Ayushmann has proved it already. I am also a fan to Parineeti Chopra’s voice. Farhan started the trend and still leads it. My all time favourite is Mr Amitabh Bachchan, who is beyond comparison. He was also generous enough to sing ‘Atrangi yaari’ for me.

How has your journey in Bollywood been so far?

It’s been full of challenges and that’s why it is very interesting. Each day I come to my studio with a new thought or tune in my head. The determination each day, to become a better musician than yesterday, keeps makes the journey worth it.

What’s next?

A couple of good film projects like Lukhnow Central, Kareeb Kareeb Single, untitled – Vinod Chopra Production’s upcoming film, and a few more scheduled to release between this year and the next year.

Randeep Hooda takes up environmental issue!

June 2, 2017

Randeep Hooda takes up to the social media to create awareness about an environmental issue

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Randeep Hooda is one amongst the actors who are active in social media not only to connect with their fans but to also spread awareness about certain social issues.  After his earlier post on social media and micro-blogging sites where he urged every individual to embrace peace and harmony, he is at it again with yet another message, this time an environmental one.

Reacting to a report in one of leading dailies which stated that 87 acres of the mangroves will be cut for a sewage plant in Mumbai, the actor expressed his utter disappointment and anger. He wrote on his micro-blogging site, he said, “This is utterly stupid… there is easily land available outside of the mangroves. They are needed all along the coastline and can’t be shifted.”

The actor even went to the extent of visiting the place himself which strengthened his earlier reaction to the reports. He posted, “Took a trip up the #Malad creek today finding solutions to the mess. Saw Pink Flamingoes and other birds #mangroves being cut never a solution.”

He also posted a video showing a flock of the pink beauties and added, “#PinkFlamingos for all who think that #Mangroves are not forest…cutting them for a waste plant is not an option @AfrozShah1 @PMOIndia.”

After this, Randeep went live on a social media and posted a series of videos showing the kind of waste that is being dumped in the major creeks of Mumbai including Versova, Malad and Lokhandwala creeks. He also urged people to take responsibility and not just sit and blame the Government.

In the last video, the actor says that the point of posting all those videos was to make people aware of these issues.  He also urges people to just stop liking and disliking posts and get into hateful debates. He also adds that tweets and retweets do not make any difference to the environment and that we need to go out there and do it ourself.

Randeep Hooda had recently spoken about religious insecurities in India through his social media account where he suggested that that the media (and social media of course) are responsible for spreading fear and insecurity amongst us all, irrespective of our religions, castes and other differences.

 

 

Hard Kaur: I am proud of what I have achieved!

May 27, 2017

Hard Kaur speaks about her upcoming happy party track titled, ‘Jhumka Gira’, the hip hop culture in Bollywood and her upcoming mixtape

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The queen of party songs and raptress Taran Kaur Dhillon, popularly known as Hard Kaur, is back to make you groove. This time, with a happy party track titled, ‘Jhumka Gira’. In a tête-à-tête, she talks about the song, her upcoming biggest Hip hop mixtape, being an inspiration to the female rappers and more… Excerpts from the interview…

Tell us something about the song ‘Jhumka Gira’.

It’s a peppy dance number with a dancehall and reggae flavour. I heard a couple of beats from Delhi based producer Mixsingh and after him getting all excited over me calling him, I asked him ‘So you got good beats why haven’t I heard more from you?’ To which he replied that it’s difficult to get collaborations as the budgets are too high for features. So I decided to do it for free as I felt he has talent. We came up with a great track. I wrote this with my homie Sonny Ravan and the superb video has been shot by TeamDG.

Is the song a remix/reprise of the old popular song ‘Jhumka Gira Re’?

No, this is not a remix at all, nowhere near the original. It’s a brand new track but happens to have the three words that may make you think it could be but it’s defiantly not a remix or a remake.

There are many reprises of old songs these days. Which amongst the recent ones are your favourite?

I’m not really a fan of remakes but one of them that I really like is ‘Humma Humma’ because of the way Jubin Nautiyal sang it. He absolutely nailed it and he executed it beautifully.

You have been missing from the picture for quite some time. What were you up to?

I haven’t been missing at all. I released ‘Aise Karte Hain Party’ last year and ‘Sherni’ on my label Future Records and ‘Lehra Tiranga’ this Jan 2017. In 2015, I was spending a lot of time with my family in UK as I lost one of my 12-year-old brothers to a car accident. I’ve been working since the age of 13 and I’m only human, I need time for life too. Whether you release two songs or 20, this is one of those questions that really annoy us artists.

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The hip hop culture is back with a bang and in full swing in India currently. What do you think of the music scenario today?

I think it’s amazing that the movement is blowing up by the day. I’ve been waiting all my life for this point where real Hip hop gets the attention and the respect it deserves. I’m dropping my mix tape which is going to be the biggest Hip hop Mixtape in Indian history which has over 30 artists featuring. So I’m super excited for the future of this and the upcoming artists.

From all the rappers we have in India today, who do you think is currently ruling the charts?

There are many rappers that have been releasing music; from Ikka to Pardhaan, Illa straight, Shahrule, Tony Sabastian and many many more. There are many good rappers putting tracks out, but a lot this work is done independently as the labels don’t really give much support.

There have been reports about you planning to quit the industry. Is it true? If yes, why so?

(Laugh) So in a recent interview, I was asked what’s next. Just like in this interview and I replied I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe I’ll have babies or retire or become a director. Only God knows, I can only keep making good music and helping new artists. And so that becomes the headlines.

You made a breakthrough by becoming the only woman rapper in India and you have been ruling all the while. Do you think women do not have that kind of potential or still have reservations when it comes to entering the male dominated space?

I think it’s not a question of potential but more about having guts. Yes it’s a male dominated industry and the boys will make your life hell but if you got the skills and master your art, you can do this. You just have to stay standing and fight your way through this. Greatness doesn’t come easy.

How has been your journey in music so far?

It’s been what it’s been. Most parts you feel amazing and on top of the world and you have your low stages. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and yes it’s been super tough but I’m thankful to God and my mother for always giving me the strength to keep on going. Thank you and God bless.

What next?

The Rising Mixtape in June 2017. Brace yourself there’s a storm coming!

Nikhita Gandhi: Rahman sir is an endless sea of talent!

May 27, 2017

Nikhita Gandhi speaks about her latest track ‘Raabta’, her learning stint with the musical legend and her journey in music so far

She is a dentist by profession, has sung quite a few songs in the South and has been a student of AR Rahman’s KM College of Music and Technology. Nikhita Gandhi is making her dream debut with the title track of Raabta starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon. In a candid interview she speaks about her Bollywood debut, her inclination towards music and more…

Nikhita

Tell us something about the title song of Raabta.

I think the most important thing I could say about it is irrespective of having sung it, I love that song, and there is this really happy addictive vibe about it. And it’s not just me; I get this same feedback from so many people! Having said that, to be the voice of it, I think adds a whole other high for me. I don’t think it has sunk in for me yet that something this huge has happened.

How did you bag the song?

I happened to be in Bombay for some other work when I got a call from Pritam Da’s studio. I went to the studio with the very nonchalant temperament that it’s just a dub, nothing permanent or serious. Little did I know then and boy was I wrong!

Did you know that the song is going to be picturised on Deepika Padukone?

When I was first briefed about the song they said Deepika might be the face of it. It’s a good thing that it worked out because she looks fantabulous.

raabta-song-deepika-padukhone-hot-images

Your debut Hindi song, in a film of this stature, to be picturised on one of the best actresses on Bollywood, how does it feel?

It feels unbelievable! So unbelievable that every time a friend sends me a video of them catching Raabta on their television, or it randomly plays on my iTunes ‘Today’s Hits’, I skip a beat and still wallow in my disbelief.

Are you a trained singer?

Yes. I’ve trained in Hindustani classical music since my childhood. Though, if I might add, I got a lot of inspiration in style from mostly listening to an array of music from Sufi to Rock to Jazz.

You are also a dentist by profession. Did you always have an inclination towards music?

I absolutely did! More therapeutic and recreational (say’s my practical brain). But it is an absolute joy to be able to pursue it professionally.

Nikhita-Gandhi

You have been a student of music legend AR Rahman. How is he as a mentor?

I had briefly done a short course in Western Classical at his institute while I was simultaneously doing my BDS in Chennai. The things I have learnt from Rahman Sir have been mostly at his studio during sessions. I have watched him compose songs from scratch, seen the way he operates, and it is so fascinating! He is an endless sea of talent, it would take me a lifetime to know even a fragment of what he does.

You have already made a mark down south by singing for some of the hit films of recent times. Do you find any difference in singing for the south industry and Bollywood?

There is of course the language. Singing in a language I do not speak or fully understand is a very exciting and challenging process, but I relish it. There is so much to learn about the beauty and intricacy of another language when you have to express it in song, and I think I feel quite blessed to have been accepted in the Industry in the South for doing so.

You have sung songs in Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and others. Are you well versed with the language? If not, how difficult is it to bring in the feel into the song without knowing the language?

Bengali of course, I know through and through, because I am a Calcutta girl, born and raised. Tamil and Telugu have been in my life since I moved to Chennai for college, and even though I can’t properly speak them, I really enjoy singing in them. I’ve gotten used to the pronunciations; even my friends from Chennai are impressed from time to time.  I don’t think bringing in the feel of the song is difficult because I feel the connect with the music and the emotion of the tune is quite free of language. For example, there have been cases where I have dubbed the same song in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, so in that case language has no barrier, because all that takes you through it is the feel!

What are the top three things in your bucket list right now?

Drop a single, meet and collaborate with as many musicians as I can and find a place to live in Bombay.

Who are the music directors you dream to work with?

Rahman Sir and Pritam da really set the bar high on that one. But jokes aside, there are so many fabulous music directors and composers I would absolutely love to work with. There’s Amit Trivedi who I have met and his music is so organic I would love to have a song with him. I’m also a huge admirer of Vishal Bhardwaj ji’s music. I also love the arrangements of Clinton Cerejo and musicality of Vishal Dadlani and would love to work with them.

What are your opinions on the actors and actresses singing in the movies lately?

I think it’s great! It gives me the confidence and encouragement to try acting.

Tell us something about your upcoming projects.

There is another song in the pipeline which would be releasing sometime in June.  Apart from film music, I do write my own music and am currently working on singles. Hope they see the light of day.