Madhubanti Bagchi
Madhubanti Bagchi

Exclusive: Madhubanti Bagchi looks back at her Heeramandi song and spills beans on her next!

As she gears up for many interesting collaborations and her new EP, we speak to her to know more about her experiences and sorts

A decade into the music industry, and almost six years after moving to Mumbai, 2024 has given immense popularity to Kolkata musician Madhubanti Bagchi with Nazariya ki Maari from Heeramandi and Ek Kahani from Panchayat Season 3. And for the listeners, it’s her tonality and expressions that won hearts. As she gears up for many interesting collaborations and her new EP, we speak to her to know more about her experiences and sorts.

Excerpts: 

Q

Tell us how Heeramandi happened.

A

Many don’t know that before Heeramandi, I had done one album with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, called Sukoon, which was released sometime around early 2023. So, the planning was going on for quite some years, around four to five years. 

After Sukoon was released, he started working on something really big, a project called Heeramandi. And all of us, who knew about this project, secretly hoped that somehow we would be a part of it. But obviously, I also realised that it wouldn’t be possible. To my surprise, his team called for a meeting. He's still old-school that way. To go by the classical style of selecting the singers, the composers made the singers sit down and sing all the songs, just to check which voice fits whom. Bhansali sir follows the same pattern. He wanted to sort out which singer would sing which song. I found his method very unique, because, these days, I never find any other composer doing that. 

Q

You are primarily a musician from Kolkata. What made you shift to Mumbai?

A

First of all, I didn't have any interest in becoming a singer. Secondly, when I started giving importance and pursuing it, I thought that if I had to sing, then I would work in Kolkata for three or four years. 

Personally, the way of working in Kolkata didn't quite suit me. I am an introvert. I don't like to go out every day. If I don't have work, then I will not go anywhere. This is just my personality. I would rather stay at home, and just do my thing. And I felt that entertainment is a field, which I think is a little inclined towards extroverts. If you can talk well if you are very good at socialising and all those things, that makes things a little easier. 

But that's a very small reason. I wanted to explore a bigger industry and a bigger horizon. Whether it is Bollywood, or something else. But in general, in Mumbai, there are so many films other than Bollywood. There are so many international artistes, so many collaborations, so many independent films.

I feel that in Kolkata, it is a very one-dimensional business. Those who are doing it will keep doing it for years. It takes a lot of time to make any changes.

Q

Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

A

We are not at liberty to talk about upcoming projects. Because nobody knows what is finally going to be released. Besides those, I am working on my own EP. So, I have done something which people might not expect from me. It is not a classical-based track, but rather a folk, and electronica, and all are my original compositions, freshly written and composed. And there will be a lot of interesting collaborations as well. It should be out sometime around November, this year.

Q

You must have been told that you have an unconventional voice. Has it been a bane or boon?

A

How to analyse something whether it's good or bad, if one is not credible enough? I have been told for so many years that my voice is not meant for playback singing. And trust me, I know that today I have an edge because of the voice, because of the tonality that I have. At one point, I even saw people changing my vocal tonality. There are some technologies which can change the tone to a certain extent. This was all very discouraging. I felt that my natural voice could not be used for singing. Then I realised that there were only two ways…Either I give in to it and I accept that my voice cannot be used for a normal commercial song. Or then I have to use it or I should resort to something else. Maybe I am not made for this. And that exactly worked out.

When I did the Coke Studio song, no one told me to sing in a light voice. Or to sing in a deep voice. Shayan Chowdhury Arnob was like, just do whatever comes best to you, whatever you think should be done to that song, do it? And look how it worked out. It worked out so perfectly.

There are a lot of problems anyway that a person generates as an artiste. If an artist doesn't have self-doubt it can never evolve. But on top of that, there are external discouraging factors.

Madhubanti Bagchi
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