‘Delhi will always have my heart,’ says actor and singer Sanjeeta Bhattacharya

Actor and singer Sanjeeta Bhattacharya recalls her fondest memories of living in the capital and talks to us about the overwhelming feeling she experiences thinking of the city’s past

author_img Anjani Chadha Published :  20th July 2022 11:53 AM   |   Published :   |  20th July 2022 11:53 AM
Sanjeeta Bhattacharyaactiorsinger

Sanjeeta Bhattacharya

Feels Like Ishq’ actor and singer Sanjeeta Bhattacharya recalls a time when, as a six or seven-year-old, she would roll down the hillocks in Lodhi Garden or Nehru Park with classmates while on school picnics. “Those small hills would be laden with grass. By the time we would reach the end, our clothes would be covered in grass and muck… it was like a Tide commercial,” the 25-year-old shares with a laugh.

A former student at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, the actor mentions that even though she shuttles between Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, the capital has always been home, and her favourite place to be at. In this edition of ‘City on My Mind’, Bhattacharya talks to The Morning Standard about her fondest memories of the city. 

Inspired by the best
Sanjeeta grew up listening to ghazals by Pakistani singer Mehdi Hassan and attending concerts by maestros such as classical singer Girija Devi, sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, among others. Eventually, she learnt music from Sunanda Sharma—a disciple of Girija Devi—and Kathak from the late Pandit Birju Maharaj. “I am so lucky that these people lived their lives and performed in Delhi. To learn from them, I think, was a stroke of luck. I am so glad that I was born in Delhi.” 

Her inspiration, she shares, comes from the many neighbourhoods in this city that were once occupied by poets and singers. “The city is full of songs… it gives me perspective and also inspires me.” 

Talking about Delhi’s rich history and culture, which also interests her, Sanjeeta says, “The food, history, forgotten bungalows—there is this nostalgia and an overwhelming feeling I experience when I think of Delhi’s past. I recently read a book by William Dalrymple, after which I felt like exploring the nooks and crannies of the city.”

A charm of its own
Sanjeeta feels that Delhi has a lot to offer… way more than any other city. “There are so many gardens, the roads are wider. Driving on the roads of Delhi that are surrounded by Jamun or Amaltas trees; it has a charm of its own,” she says. 

The sweltering weather in June, the light (and sometimes extreme) downpour in July, and the extremely cold winter in November and December—the capital experiences every season in full swing. Sanjeeta, however, is particularly fond of winter. “It is my favourite time of the year to be in Delhi,” says the actor who enjoys the gastronomic surprises the city offers. “[In winters] I love having piping hot gulab jamun and jalebi with rabri from Old Delhi, and the Nalli Nihari,” she mentions. 

Listing a few places she loves in Delhi, the actor—she was recently seen in the web-series The Broken News also starring Jaideep Ahlawat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, and Sonali Bendre—tells us she loves visiting Karim’s, Nizam’s Kathi Kabab, and Santushti Complex, Chanakyapuri. She concludes, “Delhi will always have my heart.” 

QUICK FOUR 

Favourite place to hangout in Delhi: Lodhi Gardens

Favourite street food in Delhi: Gol Gappe and Bhalla Papdi

Favourite monument in Delhi:  Safdarjung Tomb. Especially during sunsets because it is so quiet. You hear nothing but birds.

A lesson this city taught you: Delhi has been built, destroyed, and rebuilt continuously for the last 3,000 years. It has taught me to not be afraid to fall, because you will come back stronger.

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