Shraddha and Shweta Pandit on their songs of Satyagraha!

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shweta:shraddhaComing up on August 23rd is Prakash Jha’s political thriller Satyagraha, starring an incredible cast that includes Kareena Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, and Manoj Bajpayee. For the music of the film, Jha brought in the great duo of Salim and Sulaiman, who in turn brought in some incredible singers. Both Shweta and Shraddha Pandit are featured on the OST and what is so cool is that this is only the second time the gorgeous songstress sisters have sung in the same film. We caught up with them to ask about their songs in Satyagraha, working with Salim-Sulaiman and much more!

How does it feel to be the only 2 sisters in this generation to sing in the same film for different songs and actors?

SHRADDHA: It’s a blessing. People from musical backgrounds generally hope to have at least one child to pursue music seriously and make a career because it cannot be forced upon everyone. God has been very kind to let both of us be professionals since childhood and have individual musical careers in the same field at the same time. Also hearing your sibling and yourself sing on different actors in the same movie,  in a theatre hall, is an inexplainable experience!  Makes us very humble and thankful to composers Salim Sulaiman, who made it possible first with Ladies VS Ricky Bahl (‘Jigar Da Tukda’  & ‘Thug le’) and now Satyagraha (‘Raghupati Raghav’ & ‘Aiyo Ji’).

Shweta, tell us about your song. What was it like to sing on such an iconic song?

SHWETA: I still remember vividly, I was in school when “Raghupati Raghav” in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, was being recorded and Alka Yagnik was the lead singer and I was singing the kid’s choir in the same song for Jatin Lalit. Back then, working on this movie itself was the biggest thing and I would dream that I could be the lead singer of this song someday! But I smiled thinking, I don’t even know what the future has in store for me! Today after 15 years, I am singing for Kareena Kapoor and it’s the same song and I am her voice in the film! It’s truly nothing less than magic. I can now say that dreams do come true if you really believe in them. It takes time and hard work and loads of patience, but it happens!!

Shraddha, tell us about ‘Aiyo Ji’.

SHRADDHA: ‘Aiyoji’ is an extremely different approach of my singing capability which Salim Sulaiman have got it out of me. I have never sung a thumri based item song composition before for a movie and the production of this song is of international quality. It’s very classy and it’s shot on a Siberian girl and she looks beautiful.

How is it to work with Salim-Sulaiman?

SHRADDHA: I have always been following their work as a child and hoped to work with them someday and they have been believed in my talent and work from the start and told me that I deserved more opportunities. True to their word, they gave me songs in Heroine, Satyagraha, Jodi Breakers, Azaan, Love Breakups Zindagi, Shakal Pe Mat Jaa, Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies VS Ricky Bahl and many more.. currently finished Coke Studio with them and will also sing and write in their first Hollywood film Sold.  I even wrote songs (as lyricist) for Azaan, Shakal Pe Mat Jaa and Coke Studio and now Sold. I have been touring with them across the globe and done over 80 concerts with them.

SHWETA: Salim Sulaiman saw us singing together for the first time, when Shraddha and I were recording for Tabla Maestro and music legend Zakkir Hussain uncle for the National Award winning movie Saaz, we were 9-12 years old then. I think they still see us together as a major talent and hence thought of exploring that side to us in these movies. Salim first called me and made me sing all the songs of Yash Raj Film’s Neal n Nikki and ‘Halla Re’ is still a rage with youngsters. I did many ads and jingles with them as well and then they did the songs arrangement  for Shraddha’s debut album Teri Heer after which they really felt our potential was untapped by composers. They called us to sing ‘Thug Le’ (I sang for Anushka Sharma) and Shraddha sang ‘Jigar da Tukda’ (For Parineeti).

What are your thoughts on the movie?

SHRADDHA: Satyagraha looks like a very promising film and Prakash Jha is known to pick up current political and social issues in our country and that way a lot of ignorant citizens wake up to the corruption that’s been happening forever and try to put a stop to it. The social message is something I’m very appreciative of as a citizen of our country. Also the star cast is massive and I’m sure it’s going to capture the audience.

SHWETA: Prakash Jha is one of my favorite directors as he makes films with a great message and explores social issues with great enthusiasm. Satyagraha has a strong message for the society and his way of showing it is very realistic. I am happy that ‘Raghupati Raghav’ has the full cast in it as I always wanted to sing in a song that has Mr. Bachchan on-screen (since I can’t sing for him, haha) this song is just perfect and it gets me goosebumps as its always been a symbol of revolution and unity in our country so its a historic song. I am so happy with the Twitter/Facebook feedback as people are calling it an “anthem” now.

How do each of you approach each new song you sing?

SHRADDHA: Each song itself tells you how it wants to be presented, as an artist one should have the knack of cracking that code and making the song your own. It’s a very abstract phenomenon and cannot be explained in words really but the composer knows what to derive out of a singer and a singer should have the capacity to bring forth that vibe.

SHWETA: I agree with Shraddha. I have always believed that playback singers have to be versatile and i have pushed myself to deliver songs like ‘Naach’ (Bandhane Lagi), ‘Halla Re’ (Neal n Nikki), ‘Chorre ki baatein’ (Fightclub), ‘Do Dhaari Talwar’ (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), ‘Raghupati Raghav’ (Satyagraha) and now ‘Kaatilana’ (Zanjeer) –  all songs so different in temperaments, styes and so much variation.  I constantly work on this.

What will hear from each of you next?

SHRADDHA: Currently working on Coke studio this season with Salim Sulaiman as a Singer and lyric writer. Will be featuring on the show as well.
Also the Hollywood movie Sold where I have sung and also feature as a lyric writer for Salim Sulaiman, its a huge project and I’m very thrilled and honoured to work with this team.

SHWETA: Currently, my next song has just released ‘Kaatilana’ – from Zanjeer with Ram Charan, Priyanka Chopra & Sanjay Dutt. The film is directed by Apoorva Lakhia and its’ a solo track and I’ve tried to experiment with my singing. I am kinda thrilled with the results so hope people enjoy it. After that there’s Akshay Kumar’s Boss, which again will have a great song. Post that am on tour with AR Rahman sir and we are doing a road-tour across India for the first time in October, which is going to be very exciting. Apart from that I have loads of releases down south with Tamil and Telugu songs coming. My new tamil song for Yuvan Shankar is out on 15th August 2013. And I recently won the MAA Best Female Singer 2013 (Telugu) for MM Kreem ( Shirdi Sai) and Radio Mirchi Music Best Female Singer 2013 (Tamil) for Yuvan – Billa 2.. Have to thank my audiences/listeners there too for their ever growing love.

Check out ‘Raghupati Raghav’ & ‘Aiyo Ji’

Photo courtesy of HBPhotography

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