EXCL: Nikhita Gandhi ventures into British rock music, opens up about her musical upbringing

The Indian playback singer recently lent her voice to composer-producer Vaibhav Pani’s Kyun Karu Fikar starring actress Disha Patani, who also directed the song
In Frame: Nikhita Gandhi
In Frame: Nikhita Gandhi

Even though she comes from two distinct and rich cultural backgrounds, Bengali and Punjabi, playback singer Nikhita Gandhi has managed to beautifully blend her musical influences and lend her voice to some chartbuster tracks like Nachan Nu Jee Karda from Angrezi Medium, Kya Baat Ay 2.0 with Hardy Sandhu and our recent favourite Tere Pyaar Mein from Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.

However, her most celebrated work of all remains the titular track of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon’s Raabta. As Deepika Padukone grooved to Nikhita’s vibrant voice, the song evoked feelings of love and longing and with that, it became one of the hits that year.

With that track and other celebrated collaborations with Grammy winner AR Rahman, Nikhita established herself in the industry as someone with a delicate voice that comes packed with a contemporary charm and traditional touch. You find these elements in most of her songs and her latest release, Kyun Karu Fikar starring actress Disha Patani is no different.

In the song, you find Disha Patani, who also directed it, looking her absolute best while leading the life of a young, strong and resilient girl who takes it one day at a time. Nikhita found the track liberating and onboarded the same as her vision aligned with the composer-producer Vaibhav Pani. We dig a little deeper into this recent collaboration and also chat with Nikhita about her future plans and more…

<strong><em>Nikhita Gandhi </em></strong>
Nikhita Gandhi

Read Excerpts:

How was your experience working with Disha Patani?

It was awesome working with Disha. She was driven and excited. She knew exactly what she wanted with this song. This is my first time working on a single with the actor where they are directing for the first time. She was so involved.

What appealed to you the most about this song? And how do you choose which songs you want to lend your voice to in general?

The theme of the song was really cool, exciting and liberating. At the same time, it was my first time working with Vaibhav. I had heard so much about him and loved all the work that he’s done in the past. It was just a collaboration that was waiting to happen and I love his musicality. Usually, these are the things that matter to me in joining a project — people that you get to collaborate with, their taste, their vision.

Let’s go back in time. What influenced your decision to get into music?

Coming from a Bengali-Punjabi family, I coined a word called Benjabi when I was a little kid. It was exciting for me because both my parents are musically inclined. My maternal side of the family consists of a lot of folk singers, thumri singers and ghazal singers through the generations. Additionally, my dad is a huge fan of music, he sings beautifully. I think he’s played a very important role in the musical influences in my life. I never had the intention of being a musician, I was an academic kid, I wanted to do science and I did, I am a dentist, I just had music in my life.

You have collaborated with almost everyone in the industry. Who would you say brings out the best in you or complements you the best?

That is a really tough question to answer, to be honest. Everyone I have worked with so far has brought out something in me that I never thought I could do. Another way I could answer this question is, sometimes it’s about bringing out the best and sometimes it’s about bringing out the side of you that you didn’t even know you had. And that for sure is Rahman sir. I have seen this with him with every artiste actually. He hears something in everybody that even the artist hasn’t explored themselves and that’s a remarkable quality that he has.

As a performer, tell us a little about your fashion statement.

I think my fashion is ethical and upcycling. I don’t like wasting clothes and at the same time, I love being quirky. I love being innovative with my outfits. I sort of love breaking barriers, ethnic with sportswear, etc. I think all of that put together is more or less the fashion language I speak. So yes, comfort and quirky.

Tell us about your plans for the rest of the year.

I am working on an independent rock English song called Time. This is the first time I’m doing a rock song but it’s not exactly a rock song, it’s more of a pop-rock song. I think it’s also a very new thing for him, he’s not made a song like this before. I’m excited to see how people respond to it. There’s also a lot of other stuff happening. I’m also working on a song for Durga Puja this year. Apart from that, a couple of huge collaborations are coming up at the end of the year.

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