Multiple award winning singer and composer Sonam Kalra is trained in both Indian and Western traditions of music and is equally adept at both. She talks to The Daily Guardian about the Sufi Gospel Project, her initiative which brings together artists of different faiths, her musical journey, and how things have turned for worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for artistes. Excerpts:
Q. Your music for the Sufi Gospel Project brings a mix of languages and religions to your audience. How important is it to support a culture of “fusion” at a time like the present one?
A. I think it is extremely important at all times, to support a culture of fusion, because that is what it essentially means to be Indian. We have a history of being multi-faith and multicultural, and therein lies our strength. The music I create within The Sufi Gospel Project is a fusion of ideologies — poetry and prayer and music from seemingly disparate cultures, traditions and regions. And I say seemingly because the more I look at our differences the more I find through them our similarities. To say that each of us has our own truth and you can find that truth in a temple, a shrine, a church or a mosque but the most important thing to remember, is that each truth is just as valid. My music is about equality, the inclusion of all beings and of acceptance and to say that many different calls to God can and must exist in harmony. I often say this: That religion is not God and that God has no religion.
Q. While a lot of artists distance themselves from overt political gestures, you haven’t shied away from speaking out about things. Do you think it is essential for artists to have a social and political conscience and express it in their work?
A. I think if you have a voice, it is your duty to use it — wisely and judiciously — to speak out, to make a difference, for change and for the greater good of society. As an artist, I believe it is our moral responsibility to speak out in solidarity when there is suffering or pain, or when society needs to be reminded of something. For instance, when I did my version of Faiz’s “Hum Dekhenge”, it was not meant to be a political reaction. I created that piece in the hope of peace and out of the desire to speak for what I believe in when there was so much negativity around us. I blended Faiz’s words with Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Where the mind is without fear’ as a quiet appeal to the people of our country to remind them of our freedom.
Q. Your new song “Log Down” addresses the state of artists in the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdown. Tell us a bit more about that.
A. Artists have had absolutely no means of generating any income with very limited platforms for creative expression during the pandemic. The saddest part is that the arts have been listed not only as non-essential but also low on the list of non-essential items. I find that quite appalling to be honest, and would like to ask the people who made this list to try and live without art for even one day — to not listen to music or chants in the morning, to not watch anything on TV, to not read a book, and to not wear the fabrics woven by our craftspeople. India has such a wealth of incredible art and craft and it is very disheartening to see that artists have got no support.
So, I wrote the “Log Down” song because so many artists are struggling to make ends meet. And also because I was bemused by the number of people who would call artists including myself, to perform for free, completely ignoring the fact that we as artists also have families to feed and need a means of an income to survive.
Q. Is it true that you produced “Log Down” without leaving your home?
A. Yes, I recorded the audio at home, shot it at home, edited it, produced it, did the costumes, everything! In fact, it was shot in one take so there are no cuts and it didn’t need editing. I shot it on my phone with no one behind the camera — I just put it on a tripod and recorded it. For the music, I reached out to a couple of musicians who sent me their parts over email and another musician friend, Saptak Chatterjee, produced it for me. My dholak player, Tarit Pal, came to my house only for the shoot and was wearing a mask the whole time. Even the dogs in the video are mine and played their supporting roles very well.
Q. How do you see concerts and live musical performances happening post-Covid?
A. While a lot of concerts are happening online, the joy of engaging with a live audience is unparalleled. The relationship of love and the energy that fills an arena or even a small room is something artists and audiences are craving for at this point. So I do believe they will happen and when they do, they will be really special. I think for a while, event organisers will need to be creative in the way they present an artist or event, making sure they follow the norms of social distancing and safety, but they will figure out a way to make it happen. In some parts of the world, there are already drive-in concerts where the audience sit in their cars while watching a band perform on stage so I do see it happening, and hopefully soon!
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ANGELINA JOLIE REIGNITES REUNION RUMOURS WITH EX-HUSBAND
WASHINGTON: after the Bennifer reunion, seems like a new reunion couple is going to make headlines soon as Oscar-winning actor angelina Jolie was spotted leaving her ex-husband Jonny Lee Miller’s apartment on Friday night. Page Six reported on Saturday that on the night of Friday, June 11, Angelina Jolie was clicked entering and exiting an apartment complex in Brooklyn, New York, where her first ex-husband Jonny Lee Miller resides. The 46-year-old star was clad in a long tan trench coat and face mask. in the pictures, she is seen entering the entrance of the building carrying a Louis Vuitton purse and a bottle of Peter Michael wine, which typically cost a couple of hundred dollars. Page Six reported that Jolie left the uSD 3 million home of her ex after three hours, around 10:30 p.m.
PREITY ZINTA HAPPY TO SEE PEOPLE GETTING BACK TO NORMAL
MUMBAI: Actor Preity Zinta on Sunday expressed happiness on seeing people resuming to their pre-pandemic routines. Preity is currently staying with her husband Gene Goodenough in the USA, where half of all adults are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Taking to Instagram, Preity shared a video of people hanging out with each other.
“Feels awesome to see people out and about enjoying each other’s company after months of being locked in their homes. Of course it helps that most of the people have been vaccinated ! Here’s to life getting back to normal and people enjoying the simple things in life,” she wrote.
Reacting to the video, actor Diana Penty commented: “Pheww…normalcy.” Preity had taken a social media break for a while. Only a few days ago, she ended her digital detox. “Best way to come back after a digital detox — a throwback picture from a few days ago when we went out to dinner after 18 months. The only thing constant in life is Change and here’s to embracing it while trying to social distance #Ting,” Preity had written.
SHAH RUKH RESPONDS TO HIDDLESTON’S APPRECIATION FOR HIM
MUMBAI: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Friday, responded to actor Tom Hiddleston’s recent appreciation for him while promoting the Marvel Cinematic universe show ‘Loki’, during which the latter gushed about the former.
Thanking Tom, the actor tweeted, “You are kind, God of Mischief… hope there’s no mischief behind this claim though. Lots of love Tom and can’t wait to binge Loki!!! Starting now- Ep 1!”
‘Loki’, which recently premiered on an OTT platform and has had MCu fans going gaga over it. in the promotional video posted on June 8, Tom seemed to be an avid SRK fan while playing the Word association game.
In it, he took Shah Rukh’s name when asked about his first thought on india. Later, when he was asked about bollywood, he asked back, “am i allowed to say Shah Rukh Khan again? Shah Rukh Khan again!”
The 40-year-old actor also revealed that he had a special connection with the city of Chennai. “My akka (elder sister) lives there. She used to live there. and i have been there a few times. Chennai is great,” Hiddleston said in the video.Though a huge global icon himself Tom is clearly one of Shah Rukh’s admirers since bollywood’s King Khan has a huge fan base all across the world.
In india, the first episode of ‘Loki’ was released on Wednesday. along with Tom, the show also stars Owen Wilson and follows the adventures of Loki after he was set loose during the events of the time heist in ‘Avengers: Endgame’.
AKSHAY KUMAR RECALLS DEFEATING ‘ THE UNDERTAKER’ IN REEL LIFE
MUMBAI: Akshay Kumar shared a memory of him defeating ‘The Undertaker’ in ‘Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi’. For the unversed, Akshay fought the doppelganger of the popular veteran American wrestler Mark William Calaway, popularly known as The Undertaker, in the film. Many people assumed that the real Undertaker had made his Bollywood debut opposite Akshay but it was wrester Brian Lee who essayed The Undertaker’s role. Akshay shared a hilarious meme on Instagram.
“Raise your hand if you have defeated The Undertaker,” the meme read. The meme has images of Akshay along with popular wrestlers, including Triple H and Brock Lesnar. “A hilarious note to mark 25 years to the release of #KhiladiyonKaKhiladi tomorrow! A fun fact though: it was wrestler Brian Lee who played The Undertaker in film,” Akshay quipped.
MOST DESIRABLE BOLLYWOOD ACTORS TODAY
ADITYA ROY KAPUR
Known to be Bollywood’s favourite boy, Aditya Roy Kapur has never really failed to surprise us with his films and most importantly, physical transformations that he undergoes for each character. After being hailed as the new big action star post the success of ‘Malang’, Aditya is now gearing up for the highly anticipated ‘Om’. Over the years, Roy Kapur has won hearts with different shades of acting in his journey including comedy, romance, drama and action. Being in the industry for over 11 years now, the good looking and talented actor continues to receive the same amount of love from fans all across.
Hailed as an action movie star who’s as effortless when it comes to romancing his leading lady in a film, Tiger Shroff has delivered back to back hits ever since his big debut with ‘Heropanti’ in 2014. Having an exciting lineup of films, Tiger will be next seen in
‘Heropanti 2’, ‘Rambo’ and ‘Ganpath Part I’. Over the years, Tiger has earned himself a huge fan base, thanks to his acting talent and that droolworthy chiseled body.
Think cool, smart, funny, talented and a favourite of the masses, and the first name that really strikes in is that of Varun Dhawan. Rightly called the wholesome packed of entertainment, Varun Dhawan is undoubtedly one of the most loved movie stars in the industry today. Last seen in ‘Coolie No. 1’, the actor never fails to surprise us with his power-packed performances.
Hailing from the first film family of Bollywood, Ranbir Kapoor is Kapoor Khandaan’s gift to the Hindi film industry. The supremely talented actor has time and again wowed the audiences and the critics with his natural yet class apart acting chops. Next to be seen in the highly anticipated Ayan Mukerji directorial ‘Brahmastra’ alongside megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Alia Bhatt, Ranbir yet again earned himself a Filmfare Award for his breakthrough performance in his last release ‘Sanju’. Said to be director’s favourite, this Kapoor lad has his own ways of charming us with his incredible talent and to die for looks.
KANGANA BACK TO HER HORSEBACK RIDING SESSION
MUMBAI: It must be a productive Sunday for actor Kangana Ranaut as she started her day with horseback riding. Taking to Instagram, Kangana shared a video of her riding a horse in Mumbai. She can be seen sporting an orange polo shirt with black pants. “Today morning horseback riding,” she captioned the clip. Netizens are quite impressed to see Kangana’s horse-riding skills. “Very nice…you are so good at it,” a user commented. “Woah…awesome,” another one wrote. Kangana had learned horseback riding a few years ago. In fact, in the film ‘Manikarnika- The Queen of Jhansi’, she did her own stunts which involved horseback riding. Speaking of Kangana’s upcoming movie projects, she will be next seen in ‘Thalaivi’, which is based on Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa. She also has ‘Tejas’ and ‘Dhaakad’ in her kitty. ‘Manikarnika Returns: The Legend Of Didda’ is also in pipeline.
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