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Nikhita Gandhi on her new song Pyaar Mein Paagal and her love for rain

Nikhita Gandhi, known for popular songs such as Qafirana from Kedarnath, Ullu Ka Pattha from Jagga Jasoos and Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe from Stree, has released her new independent single Pyaar Mein Paagal. The Kolkata girl took time off her recording to chat with us about her new song, upcoming projects, her special connection with rain, and her take on love and relationships.

We spoke at the beginning of the year when you were on your tour. How has the first half of 2023 been for you?

Nikhita Gandhi: The year started with a bang with the tour and three-four songs that followed. I have been travelling a lot, doing shows, and some music has been released in the film space. I was trying to find the time to complete one of my independent songs because the last independent song that I released was in September 2022, called Maharani. So, before we get to the second half of the year, I wanted to drop at least one single for this year. So, here I am with Pyaar Mein Paagal.

Why did you decide to release Pyaar Mein Paagal independently?

Nikhita Gandhi: It started during the lockdown. Uddipan Sharma (composer) had written the opening of the song and the hook and sent it to me. The melody really stuck with me. It had a nice ring and recall to it. The music was completely different. I think he kept trying to pitch it to labels but then I said, let’s just release the song on our own. I gave it to my friend Sunny M.R. to produce it. He rearranged it, I wrote the antara and lyricist Shloke Lal, who is well-known in the industry, joined in. It’s an effort of a group of people from the industry.

What was the most interesting thing about this song’s journey for you?

Nikhita Gandhi: The most interesting thing was that I realised that something could go in many ways. The song started out as something else, the arrangement was different, and the vibe was different too. There was a time when I was wondering what kind of a song this was and didn’t want to release it. But then we completely flipped it and came up with a cool drop and it sounded so fresh all of a sudden. The melody is strong, and the music is relevant. That’s what I wanted.

The most fun was writing the video context. There are thousands of love songs out there, so I wanted to do something unconventional. I wanted it to be quirky, so I went wild with the video.

Monsoon seems to be the perfect season to release a love song.

Nikhita Gandhi: There are some lyrical comparisons with rain in the song. There’s a line that goes ‘Rangeele rangeele badal barsaye mujhpe, Mujhko yeh bhigaye dekho na’. Essentially, Pyaar Mein Paagal is about a girl who’s madly in love. She’s so absorbed in her emotions that she’s oblivious to reality.

Have you ever done something crazy in love?

Nikhita Gandhi: I know something crazy that someone has done for me. He travelled from Bombay to Chennai just to meet me on my birthday. We were not even together at that time. I think boys do crazy things a lot more than girls. I am grateful for the love I have had in life, whether it’s family or others, and that’s the madness that I enjoy.

You are a Kolkata girl. Tell us your stories of monsoons in Kolkata.

Nikhita Gandhi: I have a special connection with rain in life. I was born on a rainy day. Every big thing that has happened in my life has a rain connection. My first-ever film song, which was for A.R. Rahman sir – it rained during the audio launch. It rains almost every year on my birthday. So, I love references to rain in my music too.

I have tons of stories about rain and Calcutta. I’ll tell you a crazy one. One time it poured a lot, and Calcutta is famous for waterlogging, and my neighbourhood got flooded. I live in an area where there are many lakes. So, when the lakes overflowed, the fish from the lakes flowed into my neighbourhood. We were fishing right outside our homes. A holiday and fish – what else does a Bengali want? When it starts raining, I drop everything and go outside and get drenched. That is something that I do ritualistically every year.

Talking about rituals, do you have a daily routine or ritual in terms of singing and composing?

Nikhita Gandhi: I don’t have a ritual per se because every time the process is different. Sometimes you have an idea and you want to immediately lay it down. And then you start creating a song around it. There is no one way for me. I think the only ritual or constant I have is to try and create music every day. Very hard to keep a ritual for this lifetime.

What is your take on love and relationships in today’s times?

Nikhita Gandhi: I think it’s very important to appreciate the fact that everyone is an individual. That the same rules don’t apply to everybody is something I think we should embrace and recognise. I know a lot of artists who are married but don’t live together. It’s not like they are unhappy. It’s because they need their creative space. That works for them and they are happy like that. Love works differently for different people. It’s really important to recognise and respect that and create that balance.

What are your favourite romantic songs?

Nikhita Gandhi: There are many songs that I love from the 1990s and early 2000s, especially non-filmi music. It’s difficult to pick one but the melancholic ones like Mora Saiyaa are my favourites.

What are your upcoming projects in the second half of 2023?

Nikhita Gandhi: I am working on my music. Today, as we speak, I am recording a ghazal. I am very excited about it because it is something that I have never tried. So, a lot of new things to listen to in the remainder of this year.


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