The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 24 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Colours of the self
Picture by Pabitra Das

Tell us about your new album Rangeele...

Rangeele has 11 songs, all of which are love songs. But more than romantic love, it’s about finding love within yourself. I like to think of it as the fourth stop in the journey that I started with Kailasa, the band I’ve formed with Naresh and Paresh.

What does it sound like?

We have evolved somewhat, but I’d rather leave it to the listeners to listen and decide. We have been travelling a lot and often travelling into the interiors in various places. We’ve met many people, been exposed to all kinds of art and culture. All these experiences have left an impression on us. And the result of that is Rangeele.

How come all 11 are love songs?

Well each is different. The first song is called Rangeele. It’s something you, me and everybody can relate to. Through the song I want to tell people that there are many colours inside you. There’s love inside you, you needn’t seek it only outside. There is an ocean of love inside you. We live our lives pretending and not being true to our selves. We wish people good morning not because we feel that way but because it’s done. The moral of the song is be true to ‘be real’.

Tu kya jaaney is about the moods of love. It has happiness, dedication, devotion and in the end, surrender. Yadaan teriyaan is about nostalgia. It’s a passionate song where while you long for and miss your beloved, in that sadness there is pleasure because there is hope. Babaji is my gift to my son. It was written when (wife) Sheetal was pregnant with Kabir.

So it isn’t just about romantic love but a sort of mystic idea of love…

l love is mystic. If there isn’t any mysticism, it’s not love but a calculation. It’s not love if it isn’t unconditional. It becomes a transaction where you say if you do this, I’ll do this for you. Aap kya hawaon ko tax dete hain (Do you pay tax to the wind)? Aap Nainital ke pahadiyon mein jao, hawaon aapke zulpho ko chhootein hain, woh aapse pyar karte hain. Kya woh aapko charge karte hain (When you go to visit the hills of Nainital and feel the wind caressing your hair, does the wind demand money for that)? No, they whisper ‘Come my daughter, you’ve been away too long. I’m with you now…’

You seem attached to nature…do you feel restricted by city life?

I don’t think negatively. That’s the best way to live. Wherever you are you stay in that unmaad, paagalpan aur khushi (madness and happiness) that you can see what you want to see. That way no matter where you are you will be able to see beauty.

Working with Amitabh Bachchan and your son Kabir… this album has many firsts!

Yes, in Dharti pe jannat ka nazara, Amitabhji sang my words. He came to our studio and sang my lyrics, and it felt amazing. I was on top of the world (smiles).

My son Kabir has participated in the song Samvaad (Hudkaan maan bitti). I’ve sort of rapped with Kabir in this song. That is why I called this song Samvaad. Because what is rap but a sort of dialogue? Kabir has a small line, he keeps interrupting saying ‘kuch bol rahein hain’. It sounds sarcastic, like the way you’d say someone stupid is saying something.

Did he enjoy it?

Oh he had a blast. He enjoys being in studios…hardum shor machaate rehta hai. So we thought we might as well put it to use.

Do you want him to take up music like you?

No no, it’s far too soon to tell [Kabir is two years old]. It’s not the time to think of all that. I just ask that he becomes a good human being. Whatever is his destiny will follow. I don’t believe in pressuring children to do anything. I think it should all happen naturally.

You’ve sung in so many languages. Which do you find the sweetest?

Each language has its own beauty. But the ones I love the most are Bengali and Punjabi. And Hindi to some extent.

How come you aren’t composing for films after Dasvidaniya?

There are offers but I travel so much. For film music you have to be dedicated. You have to be holed up and working in studios for months. We do so many live concerts and travel so much that we can’t take up every project. It’s not like I’m being choosy but it doesn’t go with my schedule right now.

How do you train your voice?

Maun mein rehta hoon. When I’m not recording or singing I have to stay quiet. Rest is the best medicine for one’s voice.

What are your next projects?

There’s one song in the upcoming Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai. There’s Tere Naal Love Ho Gya with Riteish Deshmukh. There are a couple of numbers for Shankar Ehsaan and Loy.

Malini Banerjee
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