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Vasundhara Das - A Versatile Girl
Vasundhara's 'Meri Jaan' - Indipop

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A dream come true for Vasundhara

(Source : http://news.indiatimes.com)

At last, actress and singer Vasundhara has seen her life-long dream fulfilled. She launched her debut album Meri Jaan in Bangalore on Saturday (March 03, 2001).

The audio cassette brought out by Magnasound has eight numbers composed by Piyush Mishra, Pravin Mani, Sukhwinder Singh and Vasundhara herself. The video has been shot by Shaad Ali with the Taj Mahal as the backdrop.

After the launch, at a press conference, Bangalore girl Vasundhara fielded every question with aplomb --from her interest in music to her role in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding to her not acting with Abhishek in a Hindi movie.

''It has always been my dream to make an album,'' the smiling Vasundhara said as an introduction. ''I was exposed to a variety of music from the age of 10. I learnt Hindustani and Western while studying in Mount Carmel. Later, I developed an interest in Spanish and Arabic. So I wanted to use them in the album.''

On Meri Jaan, Vasundhara said, ''Each song has a character of its own. The title track Meri Jaan is about the divine quality of love. It has strong Sufi influences. The theme is true and undying love.''

But Vasundhara is quick to share the credit for the album with others. ''I can't take all the accolades. We are youngsters beginning our career, after all.''

On Monsoon Wedding the actress said, ''I learnt how to be, rather than how to act. Naseeruddin Shah gave us a few tips on acting. It is really a huge, huge experience. It is a happy film revolving around a Punjabi wedding.''

Is she getting offers in Kannada films?

''Well, I am hardly at home. I have a hectic travelling schedule. So it is unfair to ask directors to wait. I am busy till November. I was offered a dream role in the Kannada film Neela by director TS Nagabharana. It is unfortunate I could not accept the offer.'' But she has the satisfaction of singing two songs for Neela.

Vasundhara does not believe language is a barrier for artistes. ''I don't like to have language barriers. I have been able to switch between languages. I am most comfortable in Kannada. With the help of directors, I can manage Tamil as well.''

Vasundhara has sung for the Hindi movie Aks in which Amitabh and Jaya are in the cast. She's singing a song for the Tamil film Citizen. And for another Tamil movie, Achcham Tavir, she has sung all the numbers.


For Meri Jaan , Vasundhara Das worked with two people who were so different they could have killed each other. The inside story, in her own words

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Vasundhara 4, 5

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Vasundhara 3

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(Source : www.themusicmagazine.com)


Among the new Indipop albums in the market is Magnasound's Meri Jaan , Vasundhara Das's debut effort. The Bangalore girl has sung for A R Rahman in Mudhalvan, and played the role of Kamala Hasan's second wife in Hey Ram. We met her at her Malleswaram home for a chat, and she described how it all came about.


In Vasundhara's words:

I've been training for quite a few years now, but then I was also involved in quite a few other activities, so it's not been a steady growth. So there was college, and I was also involved in Western music. I had two bands during my college days, but not in college. I was also into organising a monthly concert called the Freedom Jam. All that didn't give me that much time to practise. After I competed my degree in maths and statatics, I planned to take a year off my studies. I decided to do my studies in Europe, for which I did one exam and subsequently decided to check out the commercial music scene. Bombay was too far away, so I tried Madras. I went to Madras and was there for three days and I still had no plan of what I would be doing. Magnasound was an option. I went to them and it so happened that this guy was a friend of my father's.


And so all these recommendations were immediately sent from Bangalore and he decided to take me to this music composer called Pravin Mani who had come from Canada. I met Pravin. He had his entire equipment set up in his house. He said why don't you just plug in and sing. So I sang a song. And at the end of it ... Pravin had been intrigued to meet me in the first place because I sang in Spanish. So that was the attraction in this meeting. And having lived in Canada he hadn't realized that people of our age sing pretty well in English, like them. Then he said, "Wow, you are singing R&B... Forget about Spanish, let's do some demos". We decided to do an album in English. So we sat down and worked together. We came up with three songs in three days -- one song a day in three hours sessions each, and they were pretty decent.

Then Magnasound heard the demo. Now the question was whether I should sign a contract or no. Took me a while and I signed the contract in 1999. But the thing with Praveen is that he is into Western music a lot and he hasn't had that much of a base in any sort of Indian music, and my problem was that my market was an Indian market and we were trying to do a Hindi album. Praveen is Tamil and I am from Bangalore. To hit a Delhi audience or a Lucknow audience we needed some inputs from the north. We were heading in very tangential directions. It was going into all kinds of quaint sounding Indian music. When the company heard the first tune they completely freaked out. They said either make it more Indian or do an English album, don't mash it up.

Somebody put me in touch with this man in Delhi called Piyush Mishra. He is a theatre actor and he has done a lot of theatre music. He is very well known. I met him and stayed in Delhi for a month in April 2000 and sat down and ironed out everything ... made each sound Indian and then took it to Praveen in Madras to work out the arrangement and composition. It was a really a combined effort among the three of us.

We didn't change every tune that we had already done, just made them a little more Indian. There is a qawwali, Meri jaan. That's a completely spontaneous composition by Piyush and Pravini. Shaped up after Piyush came in, on the basis of the framework we had worked out. I wasn't even there when they composed it.

I had met both of them separately spent loads of time with each of them.
They were completely different. Pravin is a cool, modern, commercial guy. Piyush is an artist, he writes very beautiful stuff. So I didn't see a connection and I was very nervous about their first meeting. I had a recording to run to and I introduced them and vanished, not knowing at the end of three or four hours if they might have killed each other. But when I came back they had Meri Jaan ready. I sang it and it was too good to be true.

In the other tunes also we've tried to bring in our own influences. For me as a singer I have some exposure to Spanish, a little bit of Arabic music and Indian music. Influences I picked up along the way, as I was organising the Freedom Jam. I met two guys from Columbia who were interested in Indian music, and I was interested in their music. Had a kind of workshop among the three of us and so that's where I began to explore Spanish music.

Vasundhara Das is a Malleswaram girl. Her grandmother on her father's side used to sing Karnatak music. For those not familiar with Bangalore, Malleswaram is an old locality, like Basavangudi, where some of the city's most distinguished people live.

The Kannada writer G P Rajarathnam and Veena Doreswamy Iyengar were famous Malleswaram residents, and Vasundhara like them is an Iyengar. This is one of those localities that still loves to shop at old-fashioned flower and fruit markets, although big departmental stores have in recent years set up their businesses in remodelled buildings.

Malleswaram gets its name from the Kadu Malleswara temple, an ancient Shiva shrine whose beautiful granite tank was unearthed five or six years ago. It is also a locality that loves traditional music. Malleswaram Sangeeta Sabha and Ananya conduct classical music concerts regularly.

Vasundhara is a new generation Malleswaram-ite, singing pop and rock, and perhaps more comfortable in the "hip-hep-hyped" parts of Bangalore than in old Bangalore. She was a star performer at Channel V's road show on 2 March. But her links with the old Bangalore remain: she has been a student of Pandit Parameshwar Hegde (a student of Pandit Basavaraj Rajguru), incidentally also a Malleswaram resident.

In a chat with The Music Magazine, from which we have transcribed the earlier narrative, she said her present acting and singing assignments don't allow her the time to catch up with her classical music lessons. Although she would like to sing Hindustani music professionally, she feels she hasn't had enough practice to do it. The really touching part was when she spoke about her desire to remain with music even after all the glamour stuff was done. She described A R Rahman as "an intelligent man", and recalled the experience of recording the Mudhalvan song Shakalaka baby. Once that song became a hit, she was called for several Tamil recordings, and one producer gave her songs she found utterly distasteful. She firmly refused to sing them and flew back.

Vasundhara's father is into various businesses, including real estate, and works from home. (He filled his pipe and went out to have a smoke while we chatted). Her mother works at the Indian Institute of Science, which is close by. They live in an old-fashioned house (one of the that few that hasn't been demolished to make way for an apartment block) on a main road.

Music Review of Meri Jaan
(Yahoo! Movies Reviews)

By Our Movie Correspondent

Album : Meri Jaan

Artist: Vasundhara Das

Magnasound had been out for the last few years for a good Indipop singer. The search is over with the arrival of Vasundhara Das. For starters, Vasundhara is the same person who played role of Maithili in Kamal Haasan's film 'Hey Ram'. She has sung extensively for southern films and even won the prestigious Filmfare Award last year. She is a trained classical music singer. After getting associated with Freedom Jam (an institute in Banglore that promotes young talent), Vasundhara's career took off in a big way.

'Meri Jaan' presents her in her full versatility. Every song is put in with a lot of polish. The album reveals the singer's capability to mould herself according to the needs of the lyrics and music. For example, 'Mera Nishaan' is a song with an Arabic touch. Vasundhara renders it so that it has the right ambience. When she sings 'Bola Re', she switches to Latin rhythm. Then there is a fast and peppy number 'Aao Yaar' that sets the pulses racing. Vasundhara has been helped by the likes of Piyush Mishra, Pravin Mani and Sukhvindra Singh in conceptualizing this album and when so much talent comes together, the album is bound to be one to look forward to.

(http://in.movies.yahoo.com)

(www.hometrade.com)

A Spanish, Cuban and Indian delicacy


Meri Jaan, the debut album by actress (Hey Ram) and singer (Shakalaka Baby) Vasundhara Das, is commendable simply for the fact that it does not have any tracks that have bhangra sounds forced into them, or any whiny ballads. A step in the right direction as far as Indipop is concerned. Even though the earthy tones (video and audio) have already been done by everyone ranging from Shubha Mudgal to Shweta to Suneeta to Ila Arun.



The 8 song album has a wide sample of styles to choose from and this influence seems to come directly from the artist herself who says "I like to listen to a lot of world music. Spanish music, Portuguese music. I sing in Spanish. And English and Hindi, Tamil and Telugu too." The experimentation makes for interesting listening, though the vocals leave much room for improvement. This could be a case of too many broths for a single cook.


The standout track is the mellow Mere Mehboob composed by singer Sukhwinder Singh, while a track that should definitely be skipped is the inane Bola Re featuring a Cuban band called Acana. Nothing wrong with the band, or much of the instrumentation, except that the song could have done without the existing set of lyrics.



Vasundhara will soon be seen acting and singing in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding. Maybe itll take some of the famed director's vision to pull together the various elements of what could be a promising musical career.



Vasundhra's Meri Jaan
(www.click2bollywoodusa.com)


Actress-cum-singer Vasundhara Das makes her debut in Indipop with Meri Jaan. With an impressive behind the scenes cast, which includes Piyush Mishra (words), Pravin Mani (music) and extra helpings in two songs from Sukhwinder Singh (music and words), Vasundhara sure has the right ingredients. And with a Filmfare already in her kitty (Shakalakha for Rahman) for Mudhalvan, she has the credentials too.

The title track Meri Jaan is pacy and thankfully carries some weight in words. Singing with great ease and huskiness, she does justice to the song with comfort.

A more rockish number is Bheegi Dastaan. Das is handicapped here by repetitive lyrics and the leads all get trite after the beginning. She impresses with her pronunciation.

Ghar Mera suffers from familiarity. Piyush Mishra's romantic poetic sensibilities are showcased and the song is unlike the standard Hindi number. It is a la Whitney Houston.

Latin American influences finally! The Cuban band Acana features in this foot - tapping and humorous number. Vasundhara carries it off with panache.

The flip side has a surprise in Mera Nishaan with a dash of Arabic influences, which keeps the groove. Aao Yaar is the second generation Shakalakha, her award winning song. She enjoys herself here and it shows in the ambience of the song.

Sukhwinder Singh lands up in the final act of the album. Mera Mehboob, a slow nostalgic paean to one's beloved, it is lukewarm save Vasundhara's vocal chords.

The album end with Sohni Sohni and if you get the oft-repeated feeling of déjà vu, then don't get surprised. It's a typical Sukhwinder composition and he could have done a better job. Vasundhara imitates but has a long way to go.

Meri Jaan is one of the few albums to have a wider range than the normal. The lyrics by Piyush Mishra are way above ordinary and Vasundhara has the voice. An impressive debut.

(Source : http://www.the-hindu.com)

`SHAKA-LAKA-BABY' Vasundhara Das is crooning a different tune this time. Going Indi-pop for Magnasound. ``I'm still composing. It will take another 10-15 days before I can say something about it,'' says the hazel-eyed `Hey Ram' girl. But what about music composer Praveen Mani's quote that the album was ``something like Jennifer Lopez''?

``Nooo, it's nothing like that,'' Vasundhara squeals. ``I don't want to say anything now, not even that it is different. It is for people to decide,'' she says.

The A. R. Rahman find had created a minor flutter at the Filmfare awards function on Saturday when she broke into a Spanish number. ``It was a Spanish `poema de amor' (poem of love) by Serrat sung in gypsy style. It is not pure Spanish but a dialect of Spanish that is full of similies about love,'' she explains.

If Jennifer could go `On the six' with her Latin influences, our very own Vasundhara with her Spanish influences might just spring a surprise. This girl's just arrived, so what if she signs off `Adios Amigos'.

Review of 'Meri Jaan'

(Source : www.apnaguide.com)

Pros:Fresh voice, relatively new tunes, wide variety
Cons:Order of numbers could've been better
Vasundhara's maiden foray into Indipop is a pleasant departure from the regular run-of-the-mill sounds we've been getting from the Indipop community. "Meri Jaan" is a well-produced, well-composed collection of 8 original songs sung and co-composed by Vasundhara, the surprise find in Kamal Hassan's "Hey Ram". And while the album doesn't break new ground or anything, it at least attempts to explore Indipop a little more.

Side A begins with the title track which is a qawali number that rides smoothly on Vasundhara's raw, earthy vocals.
"Bheegi Dastan" is a lovely, laid-back number reminiscent of the music from the early pop era.
"Ghar Mera" is a melodious ballad where Vasundhara's voice blends in perfectly with the delicate tunes.
Things start getting peppy with "Bola Re", an upbeat, nonsensical-lyrics, latino number (featured in this number is Acara, a Cuban band) that jumps out of Side A.

Side B begins with what is possibly the only song that doesn't pass muster.
"Mera Nishan" sounds a little dated and the singer gets drowned out in a noisy background.
"Aao Yaar" is another dancy track though I imagine it'll take a bit of remixing before this one hits the clubs. One is reminded of an A R Rahman hit "Shakalaka Baby" while listening to this number.
"Mera Mehboob" and "Sohni" are written by Sukhwinder Singh and are once again given full justice by Vasundhara's voice.

Lyrics by Piyush Mishra do border on the banal at times, but that's forgiveable considering the light-hearted nature of this album. Pravin Mani's sound engineering is good but is not without its occasional glitches here and there.

To sum up, go out and pick up this album. It doesn't matter if you're not particularly a fan of Indipop, because this album doesn't sound like your average Indipop fare. And I guarantee you, the songs will grow on you. I'm already looking forward to Vasundhara's next album.

Would you recommend this music to a friend?: Yes

Hey Vasundhara!

(Source : www.b4utv.com)

Magnasound has taken the onus of bringing the Hey Ram sensation Vasundhara to the world of pop music. The released debut album - Meri Jaan has more than the beauteous actress-singer Vasundhara experimenting with her vocal chords, the entire exercise has the combined efforts of Piyush Mishra, Pravin Mani, and Sukhwinder Singh, who have composed the lyrics and the backdrop of the video given by Shaad Ali. The music here comes with a strong Sufi influence, the backdrop of Taj Mahal and the surreal journey of the singer who lives through a myth. This is an effort by Magnasound to bring about class and glamour to Indi-pop, which has everyone with a bad throat and an attitude practicing songs on the idiot box.

Meri Jaan

(Source : www.entertain123.com)

Artist: Vasundhara Das

Magnasound had been out for the last few years for a good Indipop singer. The search is over with the arrival of Vasundhara Das. For starters, Vasundhara is the same person who played role of Maithili in Kamal Haasan's film 'Hey Ram'. She has sung extensively for southern films and even won the prestigious Filmfare Award last year. She is a trained classical music singer. After getting associated with Freedom Jam (an institute in Banglore that promotes young talent), Vasundhara's career took off in a big way.

'Meri Jaan' presents her in her full versatility. Every song is put in with a lot of polish. The album reveals the singer's capability to mould herself according to the needs of the lyrics and music. For example, 'Mera Nishaan' is a song with an Arabic touch. Vasundhara renders it so that it has the right ambience. When she sings 'Bola Re', she switches to Latin rhythm. Then there is a fast and peppy number 'Aao Yaar' that sets the pulses racing. Vasundhara has been helped by the likes of Piyush Mishra, Pravin Mani and Sukhvindra Singh in conceptualizing this album and when so much talent comes together, the album is bound to be one to look forward to.


Meri Jaan

Album: Meri Jaan
Artist: Vasundhara Das
Label: Magnasound

(Source : www.indiatimes.com)

Actress-cum-singer Vasundhara Das makes her debut in Indipop with Meri Jaan. With an impressive behind the scenes cast, which includes Piyush Mishra (words), Pravin Mani (music) and extra helpings in two songs from Sukhwinder Singh (music and words), Vasundhara sure has the right ingredients. And with a Filmfare already in her kitty (Shakalakha for Rahman) for Mudhalvan, she has the credentials too.

The title track Meri Jaan is pacy and thankfully carries some weight in words. Singing with great ease and huskiness, she does justice to the song with comfort.

A more rockish number is Bheegi Dastaan. Das is handicapped here by repetitive lyrics and the leads all get trite after the beginning. She impresses with her pronunciation.

Ghar Mera suffers from familiarity. Piyush Mishra's romantic poetic sensibilities are showcased and the song is unlike the standard Hindi number. It is a la Whitney Houston.

Latin American influences finally! The Cuban band Acana features in this foot - tapping and humorous number. Vasundhara carries it off with panache.

The flip side has a surprise in Mera Nishaan with a dash of Arabic influences, which keeps the groove. Aao Yaar is the second generation Shakalakha, her award winning song. She enjoys herself here and it shows in the ambience of the song.

Sukhwinder Singh lands up in the final act of the album. Mera Mehboob, a slow nostalgic paean to one's beloved, it is lukewarm save Vasundhara's vocal chords.

The album end with Sohni Sohni and if you get the oft-repeated feeling of dj vu, then don't get surprised. It's a typical Sukhwinder composition and he could have done a better job. Vasundhara imitates but has a long way to go.

Meri Jaan is one of the few albums to have a wider range than the normal. The lyrics by Piyush Mishra are way above ordinary and Vasundhara has the voice. An impressive debut.

Seeking a style

(Source : www.themusicmagazine.com)

Meri Jaan, Vasundhara Das's first private album, shows her seaching for the right genre


Vasundhara Das, the Bangalore girl who's making it big in Hindi, Tamil and Kannada films, has released her first private album. It's called Meri Jaan , and features eight love songs.

Vasundhara played Kamala Hassan's second wife in Hey Ram, and also sang Shakalaka baby for A R Rahman. She is now acting in a Hindi film called Citizen, and recently recorded some songs for Neela, a Kannada film directed by Nagabharana, with music by the veteran composer Vijayabhaskar. Her singing and acting abilities make her perhaps the only serious singing actress in Hindi filmdom (Sulakshana Pandit was the last heroine who sang professionally -- do you remember Bekarar dil, her hit song with Kishore Kumar?).

Meri Jaan moves across several genres -- qawwali, blues, reggae, salsa and even the ghazal -- all of them framed by the tones of the keyboard and electronic drums.

The title track is in the qawwali-pop mode with flourishes of raga Yaman, and features phrases where the dholak is heard quite prominently. Channel V's interviewer quizzed Vasundhara about the video with the Taj Mahal for a backdrop, a blind architect and a hunk. You've missed the whole thing, she laughed, and explained the storyline, which is about the architect hearing the song of the lovers, realising the extent of their love, and feeling as ecstatic as if he had built that monument!

The first time you listen to the title track, the unpredictability of the tune (Pravin Mani and Piyush Mishra) grabs your attention, as does Vasundhara's not-too-thin timbre. Some more listens and the gawky attitude settles in, especially in the alaap passages.

Bola re has Vasundhara singing with a Cuban band that she roped in when they were in Mumbai. The guitar and percussion are credited to Acana, the Cuban band, while the words and tune are again done by the Pravin, Piyush and Vasundhara team.

Side B opens with Mere nishaan, with Vasundhara singing in the Arabic mode. I liked the tune, but Vasundhara probably sings in a key too high for her. She sounds nasal, and is not very convincing with the spinning phrases. The following track, Aao yaar, is faster paced.

Mera mehboob attempts the 'ghazal' style. This again is not a strong area for Vasundhara, and she doesn't manage the kind of flow that Salma Agha does in songs like Dil ki armaan aasuvon mein. Like Salma, Vasundhara tends to use nasal inflexions, but unless Vasundhara achieves a certain fluidity of expression, this may work against her.

Sohni sohni is part Arabian-style and part bhangra. Some mridangam sounds make a guest appearance. Written by Sukhwindara Singh, this track also features a couple of lines sung by him. He is best at the Chaiya chaiya style that harks back to Sufi music, and you find a bit of that here.

Besides Vasundhara, this album boasts Pravin Mani, Sukhwindara Singh and Piyush Mishra -- star names in the music industry -- which is why expectations are high.

The interludes aren't studded with haunting phrases: the orchestra doesn't attempt anything even slightly complex. The instrumental bits just seem like chord progressions that don't really make an impression except to indicate the drift of the melody. No track on Meri Jaan has the attractiveness of Shakalaka baby, the song in Mudhalvan that launched Vasundhara's film singing career.

Vasundhara will perhaps have to identify the kind of songs she excels at, rather than attempt genres that her voice cannot yet relate to. Usha Uthup, who like Vasundhara began with an unconventional timbre, has successfully charted her own territory. When she sings songs in genres other than jazz (which is the genre she is trained in), she sings them her way, adapting them to her voice, and stamping them with conviction. Is there a trick or two the young Vasundhara can pick up from Calcutta's star with the stylish and earthy voice?

Review of 'Meri Jaan'

(Source : www.chennaionline.com)

After a very successful acting debut opposite Kamal Haasan in his 'Hey Ram', Vasundhara Das also helped a few songs of A.R. Rahman and Deva, such as 'Shakalaka Baby' in 'Mudhalvan', 'Aiyyo Pathikichu' in 'Rhythm' and 'Kattippudi Kattippudida' in 'Kushi', sizzle. And now she has released her much-expected pop album 'Meri Jaan'.

The title song, composed by Piyush Mishra and Pravin Mani, begins with a flute track and has fused quite a few different sounds and moods, such as qawwali and pop. It gives ample opportunity to Vasundhara to exhibit her vocal range and she comes out right on top.

A beautiful guitar riff by Viji begins 'Bheegi Dastaan'. The song, composed by Pravin and Vasundhara, is definite proof that Hindi pop music has come of age and can even accommodate the rock influence.

'Ghar Mera' finds Vasundhara in a mellow and reflective mood, thanks to Piyush's lyrics. 'Bola re' has an infectious dance beat and features the lively band `Acana', which is from Cuba.

'Mera Nishaan' sounds as if it has been lifted from the climax scene of a typical Hindi film with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal or R.D. Burman. I can even picture a Helen or a Bindu dancing to the tune of this Arabian song.

'Aao Pyaar' is a fast-paced song, composed by Pravin, Piyush and Vasundhara, and again features Viji on the guitar.

'Mera Mehboob' and `Sohni, sohni' have been written and composed by Sukhwindra Singh. In the first song, Vasundhara describes the traits of her lover and her search for him, while the second is a high-voltage dance number.

A good attempt, but not as diverse as Pravin Mani's score for the movie 'Little John'.

Meri Jaan is one of the few albums to have a wider range than the normal. The lyrics by Piyush Mishra are way above ordinary and Vasundhara has the voice. An impressive debut.

(Source : www.dhadkan.com)