Shardul Pandey Talks To Arpita Mukherjee

Arpita Mukherjee was the WINNER of the “GOLDEN VOICE HUNT “ on Zee tv’s SAREGAMAPA. An Air Force officer’s daughter , and an Economics (Hons) Graduate and Sangeet Shiromani from Delhi University, she has a strong musical base with her classical and semi classical training.

At the age of 6 , she started learning music ,mainly Hindi film songs , Bhajans and later Ghazals and Thumris , from her first guru – her mother , Mrs. Jayshree Mukerji . She gave her first stage performances at various Air-Force Functions. She learnt Classical Hindustani Music from Pt. Deepak Chatterji Of Delhi and Shri Bhavdeep Jaipurwale in Bombay. She received training in playback singing from Shri Ananth Vaidyanathan ji at a later stage.
She has also been part of several other popular shows such as “FAME GURUKUL” on Sony tv, celeb-special Antakshri shows on Star one and Doordarshan . She has sung for Himesh Reshammiya for the movie “kuch meetha ho jaaye” and also for critically acclaimed composer Monty Sharma for the upcoming Hindi film ” Ek tha Hero “. “It’s a man’s world” and “Rivaaz” are some of the other movies she has sung for.

“Ye chand” her debut music video released by crescendo, for which music was composed by Sukhwinder Singh went on to top the charts and was well appreciated by masses and critics alike. She has lent her voice to a first of its kind Diwali album , “Deepawali Aayee Re” , a collaboration between Crescendo, Bajaj Group and Indiatimes and also to the the album “Aasma ke Paar” released by Sony music. Her voice has featured in the title track of the popular serial “Palampur Express” on Sony tv and recently in ” Ram Leela – Ajay Devgan ke saath ” on life OK.She has also sung a theme song for the popular serial “ Balika Vadhu” on Colors. Her latest release is the album ‘Yaariyan’ on Universal Music in which specially her song and music video ‘ Palkon ke peeche’ has garnered a fabulous response from music lovers .

Shardul Pandey: I welcome you Arpita at SANGKRIT.net, please tell our netizens about yourself, your story.

Arpita Mukherjee

Arpita Mukherjee: My story goes like this, My mother Mrs. Jayshree Mukherji , is my first guru and the biggest musical influence of my life. She discovered my singing talent when I was 6-7 years old. Though my maternal grandfather , my mother , my uncles and aunts are all professional doctors and engineers , music was their passion. They were all A-grade broadcasting artists from AIR and on television. My father is an Ex-Air Force Officer and so my first stage performances were at the various cultural programmes and celebrations at our Air Force Camps . I also started learning music from Pt.Deepak Chatterji in Delhi.

I gradually started competing at school level singing competitions . Then at the national level , I won the ‘All India Light Vocal Competition’ organised at Delhi by the Sangam Kala Group , where I got to compete against the best singing talents coming from all parts of the country and so it was a tremendous learning experience for me.

Around that time , I got hooked on to playback singing because I appeared in a couple of television programmes for which we needed to record our voice in the studio and lip sync at the shoot later. The studio sessions gave me a tremendous high and it was then that I decided that I wanted to be a playback singer .

And then the next defining experience in my life was winning the ‘Golden Voice Hunt’ in Zee TV’s Saregamapa..It was my dream to win that contest and as I had also completed my graduation from Delhi Univ by then ( am an Economics Hons graduate ) , I moved to Bombay soon after winning it . I continued my music training in Bombay under Ananth Vidyanathan ji and Bhavdeep Jaipurwale ji. I was also a part of other popular singing television shows.

Himesh ji gave me my first break . And ever since I have been singing for albums , television serials , movies and jingles. It has been a steady journey for me and I am most blessed to have parents who have always supported my dreams and encouraged me to follow my passion.

Shardul Pandey: What are your ideas on making an international career ? Internet has given many unprecedented freedoms to people across all countries likewise for designing a serious package of your music production, recording your music, releasing albums, for PR and promotion etc one can take advantage of Internet crowdfunding campaigns instead of traditional ways of financing. What do you think ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I know about this model of financing and I think it is a very good idea . Earlier one had to fall back on their own resources or corporate funding etc ..But this helps people to instantly connect with your music as well as actively contribute and be a part of your musical journey . I would definitely like to explore this in the near future.

Shardul Pandey: Internet is distributed in to Assigned Names and Numbers called domain names. You already have one (Arpitamukherjee.in) and a lot of useful information is there.

Don’t you think you should also start micro-blogging about little things of your life right from your domain ? as that works wonderfully in show business and gives you an automatic promotion on various social media and newsfeed platforms.

Also because it is an easy way to reach the widest possible audience and extend your fan following. Likewise today Ammar Ali (a part time blogger) is much more popular than Barack Obama (current president of the United States) on Internet.

Arpita Mukherjee: To be honest I was not too active on the social media platforms earlier . I kind of was in my own little cocoon and didn’t really try to reach out to my fans and people out there because I was only concentrating on music and didn’t realise that it is equally important to have a close connect with your listeners. Today however I realise the importance of doing so and plan to be more active in this regard. It is a very powerful medium and by not tapping it , one misses out on a large section of the audience and listeners.

Shardul Pandey: What are you doing now-a-days ? What musical projects you are currently working on and what we can expect from you in next few years ?

Arpita Mukherjee: In January this year , Universal music and Crescendo released my music video ‘Palkon ke Peeche’ from the album ‘Yaariyan’ , for which I collaborated with my friends Rishikesh Hari , Kranthi Kiran and Sandeep Batraa . We had 7 tracks in the album composed by Rishikesh , written by Kranthi and rendered by me and Sandeep. ‘Sajna kaise kati’ , another song of mine from this album (Composed by Siddharth Kasyap and written by Abhilaash ) was used in the serial ‘ Balika Vadhu’ on Colors channel. There are also a couple of film songs that I have sung and am looking forward to their release this year.

I am trained in the musical forms of Thumris and Ghazals and soon wish to release albums , in which I can present original and traditional compositions that I have learnt from different gurus over the years , in a more contemporary style. This is another aspect of my music other than Pop and Film music. This style of music is often regarded as something meant for a select audience or select group of listeners only . And I wish to present it in a contemporary style so that more number of people can connect with this music which is in our roots . The soul of music essentially remains the same , but changing the garb of it makes it more relatable to audience at large.

I have also started planning for my next song and video which will be released sometime next year.

Shardul Pandey: Do you think musical talent hunt shows really help contestants to get a foothold in Bollywood playback singing ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I think musical talent shows can only give you an instant exposure which in turn gives you shows , money , fame and noticeability amongst people in general. But they don’t ensure a guaranteed entry or ticket to Bollywood…There are a variety of factors at work. Sometimes a stroke of luck , sometimes being at the right place at the right time plays a big role . There are no sure shot rules , no time limit or direct ticket to getting a sure foothold in Bollywood. Just like there is no certainty on when you could even be dislodged after securing a foothold. :)

Shardul Pandey: Any loves, other then music ?

Arpita Mukherjee: Photography & Cooking.

Shardul Pandey: And what you do for fun & entertainment ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I absolutely love watching movies . Also I love to meet my close buddies and we often have wonderful music jam sessions . Going on long drives all by myself in the night while listening to music relaxes and de-stresses me. And of course , nothing makes me more happy than spending time with my family . I like travelling to and exploring different places , particularly places of exquisite and untouched natural beauty.

Arpita Mukherjee 1

Shardul Pandey: Tell me about your favorites.

Arpita Mukherjee: My favorite colour is Ocean Blue colours and Sunny colours. I love pure white and black too. Favourite film: Difficult to name just one as there are so many.. Favourite Actor: Aamir Khan , Irfan Khan Favourite Actress: Juhi Chawla , Deepika Padukone , Julia Roberts Favourite Male Singer: and Favourite Female Singer: Since I was a child , I have listened to and idolised legendary playback singers like Asha Bhonsle , Lata Mangeshkar , Mohammed Rafi , Manna Dey etc , who have all left a deep mark on me. Amongst the current singers , I can’t pick one as being my favorite , as all are good in their own space and genres . I have infact , liked particular songs that have been rendered by different singers. I have also grown up listening to legends like Begum Akhtar , Iqbal Bano , Farida Khanum , Kishori Amonkar , Ustad Aamir Khan Sahab and like listening to Ustad Rashid Khan Sahab . Your Favorites in International music: Celine Dion , Beyonce Favourite food: Home Cooked food and Continental Favourite holiday destination: I love exploring my own country . India is so vast and there is so much to see and experience here . It is also my dream to go on an extensive trip of Europe . Favorite festival: Diwali and Durga Puja Favorite author: Thomas Hardy Favorite book: I like reading English Classic Novels and also Short stories by various authors like O.Henry , Premchand ,Somerset Maugham, Maupassant, Leo Tolstoy and others. Currently I am reading ‘Tess of the D’urbervilles’.

Shardul Pandey: Likewise you are living in Mumbai now so tell us about your favorite hangout spots there ? What are your likes and dislikes about the city ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I like everything about the city ..The energy , the spirit , the people ..and especially Mumbai Monsoons .I just love the monsoon season in Mumbai. :) I usually like to chill with my friends at Orgy , Hometown Cafe and different places in Bandra. As for the dislikes , there are no special ones other than the usual problems that bother everybody else living in this city . Nobody likes Pothole-ridden roads and the lack of cleanliness .

Shardul Pandey: And what about your hometown, New Delhi ?

Arpita Mukherjee: My favorite hangout spot in Delhi is G.K – 1 Market . Delhi is a shopper’s paradise and also the food in Delhi is out of this world.

Shardul Pandey: When you were a little girl, what would you have put in your memory box? What has changed for you since then ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I would secure all the memories of my lovely childhood and the love of my parents.. For these are the things that never change..They are priceless.

Shardul Pandey: What most people don’t know about you ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I am a shy person and take my time in opening up to people . People sometimes misinterpret that as arrogance . I come across as being serious or reserved, but I am actually a warm hearted and friendly person . I have a close set of friends who know the real me.

Shardul Pandey: What songs get you moving ?

Arpita Mukherjee: It is rhythm that gets me grooving..particularly all Indian drums , percussions and Indian folk music. There is something infectious about the beats of the Dhol / Dhak.

Shardul Pandey: What CD do you have stuck in the back of your collection ?

Arpita Mukherjee: I don’t buy any that I need to shove at the back of my collection. I have a specially chosen and prized collection of my favorite CDs that I listen to all the time.

Shardul Pandey: How do you best describe what music is to you?

Arpita Mukherjee: How does one actually define Music ? It is basically a harmonious pleasing sound. And if one is musical , one can find music in every little sound , activity or movement around. I see music surrounding me in my day to day life . Sometimes I perceive a certain pitch or frequency in the humming sound of a water pump or a ceiling fan or inside an airplane..or a rhythem in drops of water falling at regular intervals from a tap . A few days back when I was on a vacation trip in a forest retreat , I woke up at the crack of dawn and actually recorded all the morning sounds on my mobile phone..The mooing of a cow at a distance , the chirping of the variety of birds at different pitches and the sound of the crickets in the bushes. That recording serves as my morning alarm these days.. :) I seek out places of natural beauty and quietude because I find music in the sounds of nature and the in the sound of nothingness..even in the silence within. Sometimes when I am sitting alone all by myself or or even when I am working on the computer or in the kitchen , I absent mindedly start tapping my fingers because just then some song or music is playing in my head or I just start humming some song. Even while driving , I tend to honk in rhythem with the songs playing on my music system ! It is so much a part of my subconscious mind.

Shardul Pandey: What is your ultimate message for netizens ?

Arpita Mukherjee: God has a perfect scheme for each and every one of us..Just trust his plan..Count your blessings and live each day as it comes , with gratefulness and happiness in your hearts.

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