Kuly, Manj and Surj, aka the musical group RDB (Rhythm Dhol Bass), combine a unique flavor of Punjabi beats and more to make some fabulous music! They describe their sound as “Bhangra, Hiphop, Bashment, Baseline, House, 2 Step, Rnb, DnB, and Old Skool Desi”. Also part of that killer sound is the fabulous singer Nindy Kaur, who is married to Manj. Besides their hit mainstream albums, RDB also made their entrance into the Bollywood music industry with “Rafta Rafta” from Namaste London. They have since gone on to work on several Bollywood films, including Akshay Kumar’s superhit Singh Is Kingg and most recently for the title song for the hit film Yamla Pagla Deewana. We got the chance to chat with both Nindy Kaur and RDB check out what they had to say.
When did you start singing for Bollwood Soundtracks?
It all started out with Aloo Chaat where I sang the title track and Booliyan.
Tell us about getting the first job for an Akshay Kumar movie.
Actually, it was very random. It was Akshay Kumar who actually rang my husband (Manj from RDB) while we were having a meal in a restaurant. He said that I want to do some stuff with you guys and he is Akshay Kumar from Bollywood. Manj said that Shah Rukh Khan called me yesterday and hung up the phone. He thought it was a prank call. Akshay rang back and said it’s really him and things just started from onwards there.
How was your experience performing with Akshay Kumar at the Toronto Film Festival?
It was just amazing and a fantastic experience because we did not only have Bollywood actors, but also people from Hollywood. We had Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and everyone else there, which was a massive experience for us. But it was a fantastic experience just being on stage with Mr Akshay Kumar.
How were you feeling while recording these songs for Bollywood films?
It did not hit me until the songs were released. I had friends and family saying OH MY GOD, you are singing for Bollywood films. That was when it really hit me. Before that, it was just like singing in the studio regularly. I didn’t know where it was going to go and didn’t know that it was going to blow up so much. Even with “Yamla Pagla Deewana”, people are telling me, wow, you have recorded with Sonu Nigam. It only hits me when somebody puts it across to me.
How did it feel to be part of a big film like Yamla Pagla Deewana and especially for the title track?
It felt quite nerve-wracking really, because you are doing a cover version of such a popular song. To redo something like that, is really nerve-wracking in the sense of how its audience going to take it. Are they going to turn around and say why did they try that or are they going to like it? So, I was very nervous until the song did come out.
How was your experience recording with Sonu Nigam?
Absolutely fantastic, but very scary because Sonu came with an entourage of 20 people and I just looked at my husband and said, ‘Oh My God, Do I have to do it in front of all these lot? But you know he made me feel very comfortable.
What did you particularly like about Yamla Pagla Deewana?
Anupam Kher was amazing and my favourite in the film. I could not stop laughing when he came on screen.
What do you need to be a successful playback singer?
I think, obviously the singing counts, but having the RDB brothers making such fantastic modern music, which has a western touch to it. I think that really puts the icing on the cake.
Yes, you do have to be a good singer but it’s the beat that people go crazy on.
Just have good music behind you and you will make it in Bollywood.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am going to continue singing for Bollywood movies and I have got a few things in the pipeline, which I can’t officially announce yet. I have also got my Album releasing at the end of April. We are going to wait for RDB Worldwide, and then I am going to drop my Album as well.
Was making music for Bollywood films something that you always wanted?
It was always on our agenda but it was a matter of natural progression. We wanted to make music for films but it got the push when Akshay Kumar came to us and said that he wants us to produce a track on one of his films.
You performed with Akshay at the IIFA Awards in Yorkshire, UK. Was that a perfect introduction for RDB to Bollywood?
The IIFA Awards was a real eye opener, in terms of all Bollywood connections. When we were there, we got to find out that a lot of these artists (Bollywood Stars) actually listen to our songs and were fans of RDB, right from the beginning.
How was your experience composing songs for films like Singh is King, Aloo Chaat and Khambakht Ishq ?
It was amazing and certainly exciting. Singh is King is special because we collaborated with Snoop Dogg. Kambakht Ishq was also a great experience and really quick. We did the song within 24 hours.
You seem to have that special Akshay Kumar connection. His film De Dana Dan featured a song called “Paisa Paisa”. It turned out to be the most popular song from the whole album. How does that feel?
It feels great. If our song is more popular than the others from the album, it does feel amazing. We are thankful to our fans who like our music.
“Paisa Paisa” was actually one of your hit songs with Manak-E which was remixed for De Dana Dan. Why did you revisit the song and change everything?
Yes, it was a huge success even before De Dana Dan. Akshay wanted the song for the film because it fits in so well with the story. As you might know, it’s all about money in the film, so Akshay wanted this particular song in the film. But we changed the song for the Indian audience. Our father rewrote the track but Manak-E still sang the track. Everyone like the song and it’s fully justifiable from what you hear right now.
How was it working with Sonu Nigam and the Deols for “Yamla Pagla Deewana” ?
It was a brilliant experience. We had to do something out of the box for the Bollywood audience, as they might not have liked the Bhangra and Dholl with the western beat. The Doels are great people and we enjoyed working with them. We didn’t get a chance to work with them on the music video, but there is a video of us and the Deols, which is a remix.
For Tanu Weds Manu, you again used one of your old songs called Saddi Gali. The song was introduced at the IIFA’s in Yorkshire where you performed it along Akshay. Why did you chose an old song instead of creating something new ?
Actually unlike Paisa and the other tracks, which we had to remodel, we haven’t remodelled this track too much. The film company was happy with the song as it is, with the original vocals. We licensed the original song to the music company and we have been happy with it and so have they been.
Which upcoming Bollywood soundtracks are you going to feature on?
We have got a few, but we can’t say anything at the moment.
We certainly have enjoyed the tunes of RDB and Nindy Kaur and can’t wait to hear more! Be sure to check out their newly released song ‘Saddi Gali’ for Tanu Weds Manu.
With contributions by Stacey Yount