Will travel for music

Shalmali Kholgade recounts multiple experiences she had while shooting for “Angels of Rock”, a show combining travel, culture and music

Mumbai singer Shalmali Kholgade is among the most sought-after voices in Bollywood right now, from the time she sang on the Amit Trivedi-produced Pareshaan in 2012’s Ishaqzaade. After working with the best names in the industry, Shalmali was one of three singers who was approached for MTV’s Angels of Rock, which combines, travel, culture and music. Shalmali says, “I was approached saying it was a travel show and I would get to compose music and meet many cool women, so I was game from the presentation of the idea itself.”

Turns out, there were multiple experiences at play – from the all-women cast and crew, the journey through India’s rural and developing towns and villages between Mumbai and New Delhi to playing concerts during each of their 10 episodes. Shalmali was joined by Jasmine Sandlas, Akasa Singh and Anusha Mani, each of whom have made a promising start in Bollywood’s music scene. Over the phone from Mumbai, Shalmali recounts her experiences to Metroplus. Excerpts.

During the course of shooting, what did you notice different about people’s relation with music in each place?

We were composing songs for the show. We didn’t really meet musicians. But for us, the people that we met were amazing and the experience we were having was so fulfilling that it helped write the music. We have a four-piece all-women band travelling with us and they performed with us for those concerts in the show at the end of each episode.

I play the guitar, so I pretty much composed all three songs on the guitar and have a little give-and-take with what we could do rhythmically with each song. I do a bit of programming myself, so I also had the liberty of putting things down and making samples.

That means this was completely different to what you do for Bollywood composers?

Absolutely. The experience gave me such a high. I wasn’t just a playback singer, even though I’m known for that and everything else, otherwise. Composing and putting a track together and then being a part of a bigger event like Angels of Rock, wherein the good stuff that women are doing in our country gets highlighted by way of our songs, is a concept and experience that I think is worth a million bucks.

How was your rapport with your co-hosts Jasmine, Akasa and Anusha?

I absolutely love the fact that all four of us have very different musical styles, even in terms of the voices each one of us has, the kind of music we listens to. My favourite was Akasa, who is the youngest, she is the perfect blend of a happy, serious, friendly confidant. As a musician, she has a rare voice that fits into so many genres.

What were your favourite moments in the show?

In the second episode of the series, we went to Vadodara and met these women running a radio station. I think just being in their radio station and seeing how they go about their lives and the kind of difference they’ve made in a listeners’ life was so commendable. It was overwhelming, that too in the beginning of the trip, for me.

Women riding rickshaws in Rohtak, Haryana, was a cause that I had to lead. I was excited for the two days I got to spend with them.

We got to see the reason these pink auto rickshaws came into being and the feeling these women rickshaw have, the obstacles they faced. They do face a lot of snark from the male rickshaw drivers even now who feel their business is being jeopardised.

What is your biggest lesson from the experience?

It takes very little to be happy. Living in a city and having the resources we do, we feel like we can’t do without them. But when you see the happiness and joy on the faces of people with the minimum amount of things in their lives, you feel like you don’t need much to be content.

What else is coming up for you?

I have gained immense confidence thanks to Angels of Rock, in my ability to compose. Right after we shot this show, I composed a couple of songs that I intend to release as my independent music. I hope to release at least the first single by the end of this year.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 11:35:34 PM |

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