Anupam Roy Fans

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Anupam Roy and Shahana Bajpaie's Interview In Ebela: English Translation

image source

This interview with Anupam Roy and Shahana Bajpaie was originally published in the e-paper Ebela (I'm assuming it's an e-paper though) and you can read the original here

Also, I have not heard anything by the lovely lady, but if any of you has any special favorite or recommendation, do let me know and I would love to hear...especially a 'different' kind of Rabindra sangeet :)

For now, here's a quick English translation of the same, to the best of my abilities...for any mistakes, please do not hesitate to drop me a comment here...

Seeing them together, you could obviously think 'cute couple.' But the fact is, they are both in awe of each others talent! And a lot of friendship too. Though Anupam Roy is now back in Calcutta from Bengalore, he still travels abroad often on various tours. And Shahana's travels are London today and Calcutta tomorrow. Here, they talk about Durga Puja albums and the story of coming home, along with Antara Majumdar (from the paper)

Q: Anupam - even though you are now a resident of Calcutta again, do you manage to spend your Puja here, given your tours and all? Shahana - how emotionally difficult or nostalgic is it for you to spend your Puja outside Calcutta?

Anupam: While staying in Bangalore for six years, I used to take a leave to visit Calcutta during the Pujas. That was by choice. Used to meet up with friends. But for the last four years, even though I've been living in Calcutta, I've not managed to see Puja here. Now the vocation is different. My music takes me to Delhi Mumbai America. This Puja too I'm in Mumbai. (Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!) :D (give me a moment here ladies and gentlemen while I digest this fact all over again) :D

Q: Means, even though you are here, you're still like the outsider?
Anupam: That's more out of choice. I don't necessarily have to perform outside. But there's a fun to it. Touring around with the band, spending your days wrapped in music, its a lot of fun...
Shahana: My childhood was spent in Shantiniketan. We used to come to Calcutta for Durga Puja vacations. My grandfather's house is in Maddox Square. Used to meet friends and gossip then. I migrated to Bangladesh when I was quite young. There we couldn't see Puja. After I grew up I went to London and it's been seven years since. Now if the Puja falls on a weekend then can still enjoy. Otherwise have to be in office. Have to travel too far to see Puja.

Q: That means Puja doesn't really mean to much to you both now?
Shahana: Nope, can't say there's much romanticism to it now. Yes but the feeling of homesickness is there.
Anupam: The phase that Puja is about to come is the best. During that time, it 's a lot of fun to be in Calcutta. I travel to Bankura-Beerbhum during those times and everywhere the sky is blue, the flowers fresh. It feels really nice. But unlike childhood, the actual Puja time does not excite me much anymore.

Q: Puja is about to come - you said this is the phase you enjoy the most. And is that why you are coming out with the Puja album - to lengthen up this phase?
Anupam: The last two three years my albums have come out on the occasion of Valentine's Day. This time I consciously thought about trying to bring back the feel of the Puja song. But this album that I am coming out with now, titled Baakyabagish, has eight songs that are all like a social commentary. Nothing romantic.

Q: But you're coming out with non-romantic songs in Puja?
Anupam: The earlier albums had a lot of romantic content. That's why kept the views more this time.

Q: Shahana - your album 'Shikad' (roots) - does the name have a reference of coming back to your roots?
Shahana: Actually the songs have been written by my friend Saptarshi Raut - he too lives in London. While studying in Jadavpur University and studying engineering, he used to be involved in music, write songs. Then he left it for ages. Now has started again. So he wrote these songs and told me 'let's make these songs.' While staying in London there is a feeling of being 'probashi' (living outside). The name 'Shikad' embodies the feeling of going back home, going back to the life you left behind. Everything in the album is acoustic. We are not including any keyboard programming.

Q: You have been friends for long - how did you meet?
Anupam: We got to know each other on Orkut. Orkut was very important to our lives. There was the Shahana Bajpaie community there. We used to write on that community. Things like Shahana's Top 3 and Top 5...
Shahana: Imagine! Anupam Roy writing to me! Remember you used to write about songs?
Anupam: (mentions various tracks) Yes we used to talk about those mostly. Those days Arnab had released some albums. Shahana made me listen to those too. Then she released 'Notun Kore Pabo Boley.' She sent me a few MP3s. I heard an altogether different kind of Rabindrasangeet. I used to listen to those songs while going to office.
Shahana: And he used to sing his own songs and send me. I used to listen to them while I was in office.
Anupam: Yucks. My songs were too amateurish then.

Q: So those days were your conversations and meetings only online?
Anupam: Yes. We hadn't yet met in person till then. And we met through Srijit Mukherjee (director and actor).

Q: How?
Shahana: Srijit had told me about Anupam. Once I heard his songs I was quite impressed. He writes so well. And his voice too is very different.

Q: Then when did you meet?
Shahana: At Srijit's home. It was his birthday. A long time back. I was here on holiday. Me and Parambrata (the actor) had gone. Anupam was also there.
Anupam: We were playing music. Then suddenly saw Shahana entered the house. From then, every time Shahana is in Calcutta we get in touch. And I meet her when I go to London.
Shahana: If Anupam is in London and has a concert, I invariably go.

Q: Enough about your separate albums. But when do we see a combined album of these two friends?
Anupam: I've been wanting to work with Shahana for ages. And Mainak Bhowmik helped that become a success. In fact, in Mainak's 'Family Album' I have made her sing. My song written be me - 'Ektaai Parichay' it's a love song. Mainak too loves Shahana's songs a lot.

Q: After 'Hawa Badol' this is the first song you did in a movie, right?
Shahana: Yes. I sang 'mor bhabonarey' in that.

Q: But Shahana, you've been involved with music for so long. You have a huge fan base. Which includes names like Parambrata, Srijit, Mainak. Why do we hear so less of you in Tollywood playbacks or albums?
Anupam: There's a practical reason for this. Earlier, whenever I've thought of making Shahana sing my songs, I've been asked not to. I've been told that when the album releases, Shahana won't be available for the promotions. As she doesn't live here. Another reason is, who will sing her songs in concerts? These are the main reasons.
Shahana: See, whatever is happening, I'm happy. And I never thought specifically that I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to teach. Now I am teaching in London and singing whenever I come back home to Calcutta. What more could I ask for!

So that's that....I quite enjoyed reading the same (and loved the definitely going to try and find one like this in Calcutta next time I visit...!) As for the pictures and the lovely chat, it brought a smile to my face, as I'm sure it will bring to you too :) Don't forget to let me know how much you are looking forward to Anupam Roy's Puja album...and I will surely share my experiences when I meet him this Puja :)

- Debolina Raja Gupta