“Tain Tain To To” Sneha Khanwalkar (Gangs of Wasseypur, 2012)
“Yere Yere” Lakshmi Siddhi, Prema Siddhi, & Gulabi Rama Siddhi
“Tainu TV Pe Vekhya” Kailash Kher (Love Sex Aur Dhoka, 2011)
“I Can’t Hold It” Sneha Khanwalkar (Love Sex Aur Dhokha, 2011)
“In school, we were instilled with a sense of discipline. We had to wake up on time, leave on time and we were told what to do and how to do it. In the creative field, there is no routine. It’s not like you consciously plan when to switch off and do your riyaaz. Sometimes, you are in a meeting with three people and one of them says something so inspiring that you are suddenly lost in some other zone.” [Sneha] believes this freedom to do things at one’s own pace and to one’s liking is one of the perks of being in the movies. “This profession allows that. Everybody is like that here. Nobody says, ‘Do this, do that.’”
Speaking of school, it was actually while growing up in Indore that she developed a passion for music, but she never thought she would pursue it professionally. Her mother’s side of the family was musically inclined. Her first impulses came from being around formally trained musicians who had a strong grip on Hindustani classical music, a subject she was to take up years later at Mumbai’s SNDT College, Churchgate, only to abandon it in the next form.
“I learnt my basics observing my aunts and relatives. Although I didn’t train formally, I had the sincerity of a student,” she recounts. “As a child, I was very restless and didn’t have any interest in my books. I was distracted. There was a phase when I was listening to songs like a maniac.”
This was in the 1990s, a time when the band Ace of Base was popular and the Hindi film market was bustling with songs like Kya ada kya jalwe tere paro (Shastra) and Mustafa Mustafa (Kadhal Desam/Duniya Dilwalon Ki). Unlike her friends, Khanwalkar had an open ear; she listened to everything that came her way. Pop and rock music came much later, but her ear for quality music was a gift from her parents. “My parents were not listening to jazz or blues. They didn’t have a Western sensibility and were more into classical, semi-classical songs by SD Burman and films like Rudaali.”
Today, her iPod has music as diverse as that of Kumar Gandharva to psychedelic and Billie Holiday. “I can listen to anything. At one point, I was stuck on Salil Chowdhury’s Anand. Then for a long time I listened to Pankaj Mullick’s songs that are sung by Ashok Kumar,” she says. “But there are no favourites. My list changes with time—like boyfriends,” she smiles impishly.
Despite being surrounded by music, her earliest dream was to become either an architect or an IAS officer, or a doctor. With their own deep interest in music, her parents hoped that she would take up singing someday.
“Although I was young and all excited, I couldn’t bring myself to sing perfectly—in that honey and sweet voice,” she says, of her irreverence even at that age. “I thought there was more to explore in styles of singing than what we had been hearing on conventional musical shows.”
“What To Do” Sneha Khanwalkar & Amitabh Bhattacharya (Aiyyaa, 2012)
“Moora” Sneha Khanwalkar & Robbie Styles (Gangs of Wasseypur 2, 2012)
“Electric Piya” Rasika D. Rani (Gangs of Wasseypur 2, 2012)
“Bhoos” Manish Tipu & Bhupesh Singh (Gangs of Wasseypur, 2012)
“Tu Raja Ki Raj Dulari” Rajbir (Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, 2008)
Sneha Khanwalkar is a genius, and this is a perfect OST. Watch the scene for the song though.
“Hunter” Vedesh Sookoo, Rajneesh, Shyamoo & Munna (Gangs of Wasseypur, 2012)
It’s really awesome seeing Sneha Khanwalkar do her stuff and honestly, I try my best to catch Sound Trippin to hear her thoughts and see the process she partakes in when making her music. Anyway, anxious to see Gangs of Wasseypur soon because the soundtrack is exhaustingly fun, like you need to sit down and absorb each track individually and the various innuendos the lyrics hold (like “Hunter” wow).
P.S. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is such a qt. :’)