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Plucks at the heartstrings

Jubin Nautiyal weaves love, pain and longing to deliver musical nuggets that are creating ripples around the world. The Telegraph finds out the story of the Raatan lambiyan singer

Pramita Ghosh | Published 12.12.21, 03:09 AM
Jubin Nautiyal in performance at the Westside Pavillion

Jubin Nautiyal in performance at the Westside Pavillion

Pabitra Das

If there is one name that has been making the right kind of noise in the music industry throughout the pandemic, it is Jubin Nautiyal. Previously known for his hits like Tujhe kitna chahe aur (Kabir Singh), The Humma song (OK Jaanu) and Zindagi kuch toh bata (Bajrangi Bhaijaan)... 2020 and 2021 was high of a different sort for the Indian singer who belted out back-to-back Bollywood and independent chart-topping hits like Raatan lambiyan, Lut gaye, Tum hi aana and Dil galti kar baitha. That aside, the “pahadi” singer was an active member from the music industry who went all out to help people during the pandemic. On his recent visit to Calcutta for An Evening with Jubin Nautiyal organised by Whats In D Name, in association with t2, we caught up with the singer to talk about music, his love for Calcutta and his music transcending borders.

Your music is being enjoyed around the world. We couldn’t stop watching the video of a Tanzanian duo (Kili and Neema) lip-sync to Raatan lambiyan on Instagram. How does that feel?


It’s beautiful, it’s an example of how powerful music can be. Music is one of those languages that connects other languages, across race or religion around the world. I think it’s the ek lauta language hai jo insaan se nahi, insaan ki aatma se baat karta hai. Aur, it is overwhelming to see people in Tanzania… the beautiful-looking duo… they are amazing and the chemistry is so good and how he lip-syncs and smiles while doing that. I am in touch with this boy and girl. They wrote to me via Instagram and we had a little chat and then I visited one of the shows that they were a part of and I surprised them. I think they need all the love… they are good human beings and unke aankhein bayan karti hai. So yes, I am quite happy that my music is making ripples (smiles) around the world.

Romantic songs suit your voice. Have you always wanted to explore this genre?

I think all genres of music have some kind of romance. It can be romance towards your country, girlfriend, wife, love towards your family… whenever love is there, music is there, so I think, by default, romance will definitely be a part of anything that I do. The only thing I have been particular about are lyrics. I always wanted to have songs that made sense eventually because beech mein ek daur aagaya tha when chhote chhote bachche kuch bhi gaa rahein the. Kuch bhi bol rahein the and that was not a good phase for music, I think. Kids didn’t even know what they were singing. Like, mere gaane aagar kids are singing, I think ma-baap khush honge gaane sunke.

There is dard in your voice… and as they say, pain in the voice comes from heartbreak. So, is there anything personal that inspires such an intonation?

Mujhe lagta hain jab tak insaan tees (30) saal ki umar cross karta hai, uska dil toot chuka hota hai, kuch log ka multiple times toot chuka hota hai. All art comes from emotions, like pain and all, and all artistes have to feel all the emotions to act it out and be able to put it out as an art. So, rahi hain sabke aapne aapne kahani… (smirks).

You rocked the year with Raatan lambiyan. Did you see that coming?

Honestly, kisi bhi gaane ke liye nahi lagta hain ki yeh gaana kuch kar dega. When we sing, we sing with so much love that we feel that yeh purey desh ko rokh dega. So definitely both the things... what you and I are talking about get validated here. Raatan lambiyan definitely had a major success graph and purey lockdown ka baad, shayad Shershah aisi film thi jo iss graph pe chali. Baat sirf Raatan lambiyan ki nahi hai but it’s about the entire album from the movie which is fabulous. The movie was on a very solid topic of Captain Vikram Batra; he has been a hero and the movie was very well executed. I think it’s been a team effort that brought the album where it is with a billion streams, which is unheard of in India.

Lately, a number of songs are getting recreated. What is your take on the subject?

Dekhiye, personally mujhe kuch galat nahi lagta iss mein. Kya hai ki ek generation thi jinhone great music enjoy kar rehe the. And, ek generation hai jo shayad uss music ko kabhi sunegi nahin. Artistes like me make this detour and remind young people that we had some great melodies back in the day, and I think that has really worked well. For example, I have a nephew... a seven-year-old, he would have never heard The Humma song, he would have never heard so many songs that we did. But today he knows the song and its lyrics.

Among the recreated songs which is your favourite?

I was really fascinated by the song Dil galti kar baitha hai… the hookline of the song is from Pakistan, a very Sufi space... abhi tak roots generate nahin ho payi ki composer kaun hai. But iss gaane mein itni depth hai ki puri duniye ek taraf and yeh gaana ek taraf. It’s quite special.

We are nearing the end of the year. What has been your personal highs and lows in 2021?

I think through my highs and lows I have only kept one thing in mind, and that is... for this and coming years... (pauses) that I have learnt to be humble about my highs and graceful during my lows and that’s how every year should be and jab tak woh insaan graceful hai and humble hai, I think life will be bright, full of sunshine.

You have collaborated with and featured many actors and singers in your tracks. What would be your dream collaboration?

Main thoda West ki taraf jana chahta hoon eventually. There are a couple of collaborations I am working on, something special and very out of the box, which is coming up very very soon. I am working with this international rapper and it’s amazing what we are going to come with.

Any actor you feel fits your voice perfectly?

I have a few names. I think Sidharth (Malhotra) carries my voice very well, Salman (Khan) carries my voice very well… Akshay paji (Kumar) does so very well. Yaar, yeh sab actors bahut khatarnak hote hain, and kuch karhi lete hai meri awaaz mein kuch na kuch. Hrithik (Roshan) is amazing! Woh jab Kaabil hoon gata hai, it’s unbelievable. It feels like he is singing it, which is so cool!

What makes you Mr Popular, a singer who has managed to get such a large fan base in a short time?

I am 31 and yes, I am successful, but it took me a while to reach where I am and the journey started very early.

Do you miss having a normal life, a life you would have had if you were not this popular?

Yes, I do honestly, a lot of it. But we are living in the time of corona(virus), so I wear a cap, put my mask on, shades on, and I go to random clubs and I am partying. So, next time if you see anybody wearing a cap, shades and a tall guy looking shady and dancing in a corner, that’s me! (Laughs)

Pabitra Das

You have had many hits. What are some of the milestone-worthy songs?

So many of them! I think Zindagi kuch to bata was a turning point in my life. Ek mulakat was a very, very big turning point. Tum hi ana… then lockdown happened and then Meri aashiqui was a major turning point in my independent career, Lut gaye and then today Raatan lambiyan is a global top song. Accha hain India ke songs globally itne bade bade hits laga rahein hain. Billboards maar rahein hain. And getting to be the face of that is great. I think Indians are ready to rock next year.

You have been to Calcutta before. What do you think of the city?

Dekhiye, haar jagah log concert dekhne aate hain but Calcutta mein log sunne aatein hai. Out here we have genuine music lovers jo sangeet sunte hain aankh bandh karke, which is very special. I have spent a lot of time in Calcutta without work. Yahan ki biryani bahut zaada famous hai, kitni baar yahan par pyatish-challish (35-40) kilo biryani jaati hain to Bombay. We have very big fan base for the biryani and music… and the smiles of beautiful, lovely girls (smiles).

His music, his feeling

Rataan lambiyan: It’s my present state of mind, how I am travelling and doing concerts every night. Sari raatein lambi hai aajkal.

Lut gaye: With this song I think of the entire nation because it literally stole everybody’s heart.

Tum hi ana: This was my arrival in the big league. I think my song titles have become mere life ke title.

Ankh lad jaave: Very romantic song; it reminds me of someone I am still looking for.

Last updated on 12.12.21, 03:09 AM

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