Santoor player and musician Rahul Sharma has composed and sung songs for the recent web series “Ramyug”, and he says that he wanted an amalgamation of classical and modern sounds for the show’s soundtrack. In fact, he adds that he tried to get the best artistes to perform as he wanted to get the perfect mix.
“‘Ramyug’ is all about Ramayana, so Kunal Kohli, the director, and I wanted the best of the Indian classical world to combine with today’s sounds. For each song, we worked on different combinations. For the ‘Jai Hanuman’ song, I requested Amitabh (Bachchan) ji to sing it, and was delighted when he agreed. Then we thought Ustad Zakir Hussain playing the tabla on the song would be such a unique combination,” he informed.
Rahul also sought the contribution of his father, renowned santoor player and Padma Vibhushan recipient Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, along with Padma Vibhushan recipient flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Together, the duo were known as Shiv-Hari and had composed numerous Bollywood hits, particularly in Yash Chopra films such as “Silsila”, “Chandni”, “Lamhe” and “Darr”.
“For the Ram-Sita theme song, I had Sonu Nigam and combined it with Padma Vibhushan Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia playing the santoor and flute respectively,” he said, adding: “The other songs feature Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Bhawani Shankar on pakhawaj, Narayan Mani on veena and, finally, the Raavan theme song that I sang. I think the subject of ‘Ramayan’ drew in the classical greats and, of course, I have been part of the classical and film world for more than 20 years now.”
He feels these legendary musicians gave the songs a totally different feel.
“So many different maestros would add a few of their personalities and vibe to the music, and I was humbled by them. In the past, when I’ve collaborated with Grammy-winning musicians like KennyG, Eric Moquet of Deep Forest or Richard Clayderman, I’ve always composed the melodies, and I’ve always loved that each artiste brought their colour to my compositions,” he says.
Rahul adds that thanks to shows such as Bandish Bandits, the kind of music being made for projects is changing, and musicians with a classical background are a must.
“A few months ago, I had the privilege of having Shankar Mahadevan ji sing on a project I had done, and I remember he was excited about ‘Bandish Bandits’ (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composed the music for the romantic musical web series). I think such projects are challenging and need artistes with a deep classical background to fulfil the requirements,” he says.
–By Anjuri Nayar Singh