Congratulations on the song, how has the response been so far?
Shaan: This is Akriti’s project; Personally, I loved the song with the festive atmosphere. I am very happy that people love it.
Akriti: The idea for the song started many months ago and what time would be better for it than Durga puja! It is a very beautiful Hindi-Bengali song composed by Suvam Moitra and written by Manjoy Yadav. We have used a very popular old folk song along the lines ‘Komolaye Nito Korein Thomkiya Thomkiya’. The song has been finished in a very limited time. It really happened so fast that the moment we got it, we had to launch it. Most importantly, people personally text me and share their responses to the song. It just feels wonderful that the purpose of our song is being served, is meant to entertain people, and is something they can enjoy within the safety of their homes.
What was it like filming a post-pandemic?
Shaan: I think that when you do something with a lot of positivity, everything fits. Before starting the song, I had to travel to Kolkata for some projects there, so I had to juggle everything. We were also concerned about the Mumbai monsoon, but luckily it didn’t rain. Akriti even used a live band from Kolkata on the song and featured them in the video as well, which they deserved to be. You know, people say that the era of live music is over, that doing all these things together was risky too, but I think his heart was in the right place, so it all worked out.
Akriti: I think it’s about the right people coming together with the right energy and creating something beautiful. When it comes to a song, people talk about views. But more than views, these independent artists should reach the hearts of the audience … that’s more important.
Shaan: I would like to add that there is this concept of views on YouTube; the number of visits decides the fate of the song. There are many ways to get views, but the most important thing is that the song must reach people. Also, on occasion I have seen songs with 200-300 million views but no review, so it talks a lot; I think it is not important. Even my frat friends called me after hearing the song. Sonu nigam He said, ‘Hey, it’s an amazing song’ on Insta.
What about your Durga Puja plans for this year?
Akriti: There is no pandal happening in Mumbai …
If it weren’t for the pandemic …
Akriti: All artists usually travel during Navratri and Durga puja. If I’m at home, I go out with my non-Bengali friends, all in costume, and I eat delicious food at pandals. I am Bengali by heart. My home chef is Bengali so it’s going to be proper vegetarian Bengali food like mochar (banana flower) and all.
Shaan: For this year’s puja, I have done some works, one with Vikram Ghosh and one with Mahalaxmi Iyer, which will be released during the Durga puja, along with another Bengali song with composer Indrajeet Dasgupta. So even though I’m not in Calcutta this year, somehow these songs, along with ‘Thomkiya Thomkiya’ will keep my presence in the city.
Choose one: Navratri or Durga Puja?
Akriti: Why can’t we have both?
Shaan: Both of them! My wife is Punjabi-Gujrati so to impress her she used to play dandiya and they broke my fingers! (Laughter) Now that we are married we celebrate both Durga Puja and Navratri.
Akriti: I’m Punjabi and I can celebrate any festival from Eid to Pongal, especially through food!
Share a good memory of the making of the song …
Akriti: I had two looks in the video and Shaan had an early evening flight so she had to leave in the afternoon. We first thought about shooting his portions, but then he was out of sync with the whole plan. We were just thinking about how to make the day session feel like night. So we fix things by filming different scenes here and there. Later, we just change the location. Such instant decisions were also made during filming and they turned out well.
The song has revived an old folk song. How important do you think it is to keep reinventing it for the new generations?
Akriti: We, as musicians, have a responsibility with the content we publish. I may use my social media platforms irresponsibly with random abusive content or weird videos that can get me more views, but as artists, we have to use our art sensibly. For example, the type of music my sisters make is very different from what I do. I think music should be the extension of our personalities and we should bring back the things that deserve more light at this time. Our song could be a small step to clear this up.
Shaan: What Akriti said makes perfect sense! You can’t delete something once it’s there. You have been socially, morally and ethically responsible for everything we publish. It definitely has to be entertaining and fun, it can’t just be preaching; nobody likes it, including us. But if you do it on the edge of non-musical or nonsensical, you may get the views or the traction, but for the wrong reasons. It’s easy to become a meme, you get views, and people agree, but that’s not what we want.
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