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“Bulleya has some of the best lyrics one has heard in a long time” – Shilpa Rao

Photo Credit: Supplied

After completing almost a decade in the industry and having several soulful numbers like “Javeda Zindagi” (‘Anwar’), “Khuda Jaane” (‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’), “Manmarziyan” (‘Lootera’), among others to her credit, Shilpa Rao has firmly placed herself as one of the best vocalists. Her song “Bulleya” from the recently released has turned out to be a chartbuster and her rendition of the ghazal “Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo” has also been widely appreciated. In this interview, she talks about her latest hits, the experience of performing in Coke Studio Pakistan and the preparation that goes behind rendering a song.

How was the experience singing “Bulleya”?
It was a great experience. It is a song that has evolved over a period of a year. The song has some of the best lyrics one has heard in a long time.

While you got a lot of accolades for “Bulleya”, your rendition of “Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo” has also caught the notice of listeners after the release of the film. The original, sung by Farida Khanum, is a classic. Did you feel some sort of a pressure while recording the track? 

I do not think there can be any comparison between the original ghazal sung by Farida Khanum and the one I recorded for the film as they are two different tracks. The one you hear in the film is my interpretation of the ghazal.

You had come up with an album called ‘Suno’ a couple of months back in which you had recreated some old traditional songs. How did this thought come to you?
There are some songs that I have been listening to ever since I was a child. I used to jam with my band and all of us would really enjoy the process of performing these songs on the stage. The next step, we thought, was to record these songs and bring out an album.

You are the only artiste from India to be a part of Coke Studio Pakistan. How was the experience of collaborating with artistes across the border?
Coke Studio Pakistan has a lot of fans in India. I have been listening to their songs on a daily basis. Actually, this collaboration happened very quickly. I got to meet some musicians from Pakistan who were going to perform in Coke Studio. We thought that collaborating together for a song would be a great idea. Being a part of Coke Studio Pakistan was a very memorable experience for me.

You had self-depressed yourself for a couple of days before recording “Ek Lau” (Aamir). Do you believe in extensive preparation before singing a song?
I never go to a studio with any pre-conceived notion in my mind about the song. Every song has its own requirement. Whenever I have to sing a new song, I go through it a couple of times and figure out the best way to sing it. It is important to approach every song with a fresh thought.

You had composed the song “Abr-e-Karam” from ‘Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain’. Do you wish to be more active as a composer?
I have not really given it a thought. It depends on how people react to my compositions. Making a song is an elaborate process. If a producer or a director asks me to compose a song for a film and gives me complete freedom to do it, then I would be more than happy to go about it.

Any future collaborations or projects you can talk about?
I have recorded a couple of songs and there are some collaborations happening as well. I would be able to talk about any project only when it comes out.

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