The Nandy Sisters, whose mash-up of Manike Mage Hithe-Rowdy Baby went viral recently, will be in Kolkata for Durga Puja.
Antara, 21, and Ankita Nandy, 18, are originally from Assam. They grew up and studied in Kolkata and will be returning to their hometown after four years on October 10.
The sisters first shot to fame in 2016 with their rendition of Duma dum mast kalandar, sung only to the beat of cups. Recently, their super catchy mash-up of Manike Mage Hithe-Rowdy Baby created a buzz online.
My Kolkata caught up with the sisters to get to know them and their music better….
Reliving Durga Puja
We are coming to Kolkata after more than four years to relive the Durga Puja vibe. We grew up spending all our Pujas in our home in Narendrapur. Durga Puja used to be the highlight of our entire year. Adda, pandal hopping, cultural programmes, fashion shows, drawing competitions... we were like haldi powder, put into everything! We’re super excited to be back.
What Kolkata means to them
Chicken roll, Kolkata biryani, luchi-aloo dum, rosogulla, pithe puli… we’re just going to forget about the calories and tuck in! We have some interviews and brand endorsements lined up. We did not take up a live event because we were sceptical of the Covid situation.
How they became a ‘viral sensation’
We’ve been singing together since we were children. I (Ankita) grew up listening to her (Antara) singing at 5am every day; she was like my alarm clock. But we started putting out videos together in 2016, when Antara was in Class X. Our first viral video was Duma dum mast kalandar and we used cups for music. The point we were trying to make is that if you really want to make music, you don’t need a lot.
Coining the name - Nandy Sisters
When Sonu Nigam ji, Anoushka Shankar ji, Shankar Mahadevan Sir… these big people were sharing our videos, that was the first time we thought, ‘Maybe, we can become musicians!’ We were reading the comments on our first video and saw that people were calling us the Nandy Sisters. It wasn’t us who coined the name, it was our viewers. So we stuck with that.
The famous #BalconyConcerts
We had to stop uploading videos for a while because of school pressure. I (Antara) was learning Hindustani classical music in ITC Sangeet Research Academy and they were pretty strict as well. Then the lockdown happened in 2020. It was around the time of Bihu so mom wrapped us up in mekhela chadors and we picked up our ukuleles and sang a rendition of Phul Phulise Boxontot. It was very random, nothing special. We woke up the next morning with countless messages from friends and got to know that the education and health minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma (now chief minister of Assam) had shared the video on his social media platforms.
In the comments, people requested us to sing in Oriya, Tamil, Telegu… so with the help of our friends, we started learning songs in different languages. We named the series #BalconyConcerts and we just completed Episode 32. Around 15-20 songs went viral from this series. It was something we never, ever imagined.
Since we will be in Kolkata this Durga Puja, we worked on an elaborate project. It is a Sanskrit shlok called Ai Giri Nandini and we’ve pretty much grown up listening to it. We have released it today, on Mahalaya. We hope you like it!
The most viral song
Has to be Ghanan Ghanan in July 2020. It was the monsoons and there was news about floods and devastation. The message we tried to convey through the song was hope for things to get better.
The song that got the most publicity
We were hooked on to Manike Mage Hithe the day we heard it. The song was not really in our genre because most of the time, we stick to folk, classical or melody. We were like, if we hop on to this trend, how do we do it differently?
One evening, I (Antara) was just humming Manike Mage Hithe and Ankita and I didn’t even realise that we had switched to Rowdy Baby. And we were like, ‘Dude! How did we do this?’ because Manike is a very slow and peaceful song and Rowdy is full-on energetic.
So we sat down and tried to bridge the gap between the two songs, which was a challenge. Even after we shot the song, we put it out without any expectations. It went viral and the media attention it got was the most we’ve ever seen.
The producer of Manike Mage Hithe got in touch with us after he heard the mash-up and now we’re planning a project together. We’ve just started working on it and we’re really excited about the song!