Roach Killa: Everything depends on how hard you work and how badly you want it

    When Roach Killa released his debut album “The Revolution”, it peaked at No.6 on the iTunes World Charts. His first single Yaara Dildara reached No1 on the BBC Asian Network charts. Possessing immense versatility, Roach sings Hip Hop, Reggae, RNB and Punjabi Music. He firmly believes in the element of originality.

    When it comes to Indian MC’s, one name that always stood above the rest is Blitzkrieg aka Blitz. With an appeal that is global, his lyrics lean more on the emotional side and completely draw people in. His tracks are inspired by people or events in his life that reflect reality and meaning of life.

    Together, Roach Killa and Blitz have returned to give their fans the YYZ Project with a monologue and three music videos that evoke, inspire and entertain. Fans will recognise their signature sound and style on what aims to become the summer anthems

    Asian Style caught up the entertaining talent Roach Killa last month, during his stay in the UK. In a no holds barred conversation Roach talks talent and music.  

    Fatima: You are collaborating with Blitz again for your new project YYZ would you be able to tell us a little more about that, how it came about and what’s the idea behind it all?

    Roach Killa: Okay for starters YYZ is the airport called Toronto International Airport. Like LHR is London Heathrow. So YYZ is Toronto Pearson International Airport, the significant naming was to let the people know that in order for me to gain success in the music business we have had to travel out of Canada to come in to the UK and abroad hence YYZ, as we have taken the city with us when we flew out. In terms of Blitz and me we have been working together for a very long time. There are a lot of songs we have done, and it’s not just about the music with me and Blitz.  We are from the same city so it’s more like a brotherly love situation. He is more like my brother. He has taken a step back from the music, he was doing more of the live festivals, live shows and stuff, so it’s been a long time since we have released a track together, so we thought why not. We always say people go download it legally from this digital platform and that and so it’s only fair to give our fans something freely. The reason why we released our project on the 30th of June was because July 1st was Canada day. So kinda like a free gift from Canadians to say Happy Canada day and this is what we are representing.

    How has the journey been in terms of introducing new music to British fans over the last few years?

    I think everything depends on how hard you work and how badly you want it. I could have sat in Toronto and dreamed about making it in to UK scenes, coming once every year and going back, but we all know that if we inspire to be a Bollywood actor you have to travel and be in Mumbai you can’t do it from anywhere else because that’s where the work is. So therefore, I had to leave a lot of things you know. Pack my bags come here on my own, not with my family, I believed so much within my heart that this is what I am made out to do and nothing was going to stop me. Therefore, I just decided to put all my eggs in one basket.

    You mentioned Bollywood.

    Yeah, I had a chance to go to Mumbai like a year and half ago and I met with the Meet Brothers who have done Babydoll and Chittiya Kalaiyan with Kanika Kapoor etcetera and they kinda like understood, it wasn’t about me, it’s about connecting with the right kind of people for the music you want to create. So, Meet Brothers were the ones who I felt connected to, during the music and so from there we ended up doing the track from the film Baaghi with Shradda Kapoor and Tiger Shroff. The song was called ‘Girl I need you’ and it was me and Arijit Singh and Kushboo Grewal singing it. Then follow up to that we just released a song for the film Raabta the song is called ‘Mein tera Boyfriend’ and that’s by me and Arijit Singh again and this time Neha Kakkar is singing it and I just actually got a call two days ago and we have another film that’s coming out. I don’t want to give too much information for it, but you know how it is they are shooting for it right now I can’t be there to be in the video unfortunately right now (laughs) but Bollywood usually has playback singers. But you know I am very humbled at this whole situation. If you think about it a young man from Toronto/ Canada inspiring to do music and not just doing music from Canada eventually going from Toronto to UK and worldwide, to all the way to a Bollywood film. I think it’s more of a personal victory for me to show me that you know God has blessed me with talent and I believe I am taking it the right way because things are looking better and better by the day. So, I have to say all praise to the mighty high!

    You mention that it all happened about a year and half ago. I watched a video where you performed back in 2010 for the Indian music awards

    Yeah GIMA Awards.

    And you got introduced by none other than Saif Ali Khan.

    Yeah, I know (laughs)

     How was that experience?

    What happened was in 2012, I teamed up with Wiz Management and they are a subsidiary of Wizcraft Entertainment from India, who do the IIFA awards. I was invited to perform at the awards show and I got to perform, its just the hospitality of Bollywood is beyond your expectations you know people say it’s a five-star circle, but to be honest if you go to Mumbai they refer to it as the seven-star circle, because it is beyond the five-star treatment right. So, imagine me coming to perform which I am feeling very humbled about, however I opened my door and my dressing room was directly opposite to Shahrukh Khan and on the right, was Sonu Nigamji and to the left of me was Sonakshi Sinha. Imagine me walking to the stage to perform and I see this beautiful lady just nonchalant walking by. It was Priyanka Chopra!! It was such an experience it’s like I said it’s all about the laws of attraction. You want something bad enough you work hard enough and you believe in it, you can make it happen and I’m living proof of that, because remember I’m coming from North America side of the world, to the opposite side of the world and achieved the goals.

    For somebody who is normally singing Hip Hop, Reggae, RNB to then be……

    What is the misconception of the artist Roach Killa is that yes, my first love is hip hop and reggae music but that does not take away the fact that I am born and raised Punjabi. I speak Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu. I can read and write Hindi, Punjabi. I can speak Arabic, a bit of Persian there is a lot of multiculturalism in me which influences my music. So, a lot of the time when I’m creating melodies and stuff it’s a direct descendant of the eastern influence. There’s Arabic in me, I was born in Libya which honestly it helps me so much around the world. So, there’s a lot in me that’s going on. So, I guess you can just call me a box of smarties (laughs)

    So, it’s true what they say that music especially where you’re concerned, speaks all languages!

    Oh Literally!

    Going back to your early days you were quite heavily influenced by Apache Indian and that’s what sort of got you into creating. Are there any plans for any collaborations with Apache in the future?

    If you do have a chance go on my YouTube. In 2008 on my first album I do have Apache on the track and it’s called ‘Hey Girl’ and that wasn’t just made for the public, it was more of a personal thing, because he’s like m biggest inspiration growing up. So being able to share the same studio, same stage and to be able to perform the song with him and ironically my first album release party was in Apache’s restaurant bar in Birmingham. So, again like I was saying about the laws of attraction me growing up as a kid I was so inspired by Apache you know 20 years down the road being able to work with him sit with him, have a laugh with him, that is not normal. Not everyone can say that they did that with their idols.

    I’d love to collaborate with him again it’s just a matter of what works out and of course Apaches busy doing his tours and his stuff, so it would be an honour to work with him again.

    Your new single coming out with Blitz what are your expectations from this project?

    In general, we were just sat down having a chat about the world being so fast and what we meant by that was they say the internet connects you to the world but it disconnects you from your surroundings. So, what I mean by that is if me you and a couple of mates are sitting in the room, more are the chances that we’re not conversing, but all on our phones. And it will be quicker responses to WhatsApp than to actually ask you a question to your face. Do you get what I am saying?


    So, the whole point was to say nowadays a song comes and the lifeline of the song is literally a week and then the next song comes, then the next so the world has got in to this concept of views and likes and shares and has become very statistic. What happened to the fact of just making music and making it for the pace, for the sake of just listening rather than stats? We’re not actually expecting to achieve anything, this is something that we felt okay why not give something out to the public. We don’t care how many Instagram views or likes it has. We took it back before the internet phenomena, when it was just a record that was out people liked it. They watched it, when they wanted, listened to it when they wanted. It wasn’t about I got to get it to a million views overnight and pay for it. That’s what most of the people are doing. What is good in paying for something when you’re lying to yourself.  How do you know what your fan base is when you are lying to yourself, so this whole project was about giving it for free just for the people who appreciate what we do and how much they have supported us over the last ten years? Watch it at your own convenience, I am not putting on a timeline to see how much stats I want to go up.

    What message would you like to give to your fans?

    I will give you a quote. It’s one of those memes and it says: ‘I am 95% sure that you don’t like me but I am a 100% sure I don’t care’. What I am trying to say is be yourself. Don’t worry about making other people happy because you can never make everyone happy. It is just impossible. So, my advice is be yourself, experiment on who you are and go for it. Hard work, dedication is the only way you will achieve success there is no way of overnight celebrities. And be true to yourself because one thing is that originality stands above everything else and don’t be afraid to be yourself because the only way to success is through failure. Everyone fails but as long as you don’t quit.

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    Bobby Deol: I wasn’t getting any interesting offers and finally I got Poster Boys

    The youngest son of Dharmendra, started his career over twenty years ago,with the film Barsaat and made an immediate impact with his long locks and dashing good looks with acting skills to match. He continued his success with a spate of good films such as Soldier, Gupt and Ajnabee.  Sadly, lady luck didn't last for long as a spate of unsuccessful films followed.

    Despite the ups and many downs of his career, Bobby Deol has always remained optimistic, with an added aura of calmness surrounding him. It's been four years since we last saw him on the big screen but it seems Bobby is ready to re-join the rat race, with his new film Poster Boys, which also stars brother Sunny Deol, and see Shreyas Talpade make his debut as a Director.

    The film is a  inspired by a real life incident of three men who are shocked to find their photos being used as part of a vasectomy campaign.  The film explores how the three start getting ridiculed in their village due to this error and how this error changes their lives around. After getting humiliated from their family members and people around them they go on a mission to prove that they are the victims of the system.

    In an exclusive conversation with Asian Style, Bobby Deol told us why he waited four years to sign his next film and what it was like being Directed by Shreyas Talpade

    We haven’t seen you on the big screen in four years, we’ve missed you. What have you been up to?

    Nothing, just waiting for some great roles to come my way. I wasn’t getting any interesting offers and finally I got this offer and I was totally excited and happy to do it and here I am talking to you about it (laughing) after 4 years.

    I was also missing myself on the screen, so I am really excited and nervous for the film’s release as it’s been very long. But very excited!

    How does it feel to now be back promoting your upcoming film – Poster Boy after so long?

    There is a lot of excitement, anxiety and anxiousness actually. Because when you’re excited and anxious it’s a big cocktail of a lot of things that come together. But I am just happy that I am a part of a film that I enjoyed doing. I am really really, positive about it and I am sure people are going to enjoy it.

    What attracted you to the script, as you said earlier you were waiting for something exciting, so what was exciting about this film?

    It was a challenging role, because I am playing a small town school teacher who lives with his two daughters and a wife who totally bullies him - he is hen pecked. For my image, the kind of roles I have done in my life have always been thrillers and action films and romantic. So, it’s different from all that. So, you know when you haven’t got something great happening, I was looking for something which has characters that are nice and strong to play, so the character was really interesting for me to play and a challenge because it’s something I have never done or portrayed before.

    How close are you to the character Vinay Sharma? Are you also an inactive volcano in real life?

    You see, I am a family orientated person, I love being with my family I love my family, I love my kids. So, in that sense I was portraying a man who loves his family, but the only thing is he is bull dozed into a situation that he doesn’t know what it is and his wife is upset because she wants to have a third child, she wants to have a boy and I keep arguing with her, why do you want to have a boy, when you have two lovely girls. Every child is important doesn’t matter what sex they are and that’s what the fight is. Then suddenly out of the blue this poster gets published which says I have had a nasbandi (vasectomy) done. So, his life changes and he is like why, who has done this. Because of this the three people who are on the picture who are, my brothers character, who is playing an ex-army officer and Shreyas character who is playing a money collector. So, the three different people from the small town get together, (they don’t even know each other) and how they fight against the government. It was fun, because I get to speak a lot of shud hindi and we’ve worked really hard together.

    People are pitching the film as your comeback film – would you agree?

    Well, for me I think a film is important and for me I am coming back in a film after four years, so it definitely is a come back film (laughs)

    Shreyas Talpade makes his debut as a Director with this film and he is also acting in the movie. Do you think he has managed to extract the best from you for the character you play?

    Shreyas is definitely an actor’s director, because he is an actor himself. So, he understands while directing what the actor is going through, so it really helps because he understands that. It was a really smooth ride. The whole shoot was done in less than 14 days and we shot in a small town. I used to get up every day at 4 in the morning and start shoot by 630am and it wasn’t just work work work. I enjoyed the lovely cold weather. It was lovely and nice.





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    Kriti Sanon: “I am someone who puts in a lot of thought into my character and my scenes”


    She first appeared on our screens showing her histrionics in Heropanti and has never looked back. This model turned actor is now ready with her fourth Hindi film release Bareilly Ki Barfi, where she will take on the character of rebellious Bitti.

    Bareilly Ki Barfi is a quirky love triangle set in a small town which also stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkumar Rao and is directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari who is joined by Bitti or as we know her Kriti Sanon.

    Kriti spoke exclusively with Asian Style about her character and the Hindi film industry.

    What attracted you to the script of Bareilly Ki Barfi?

    This script in itself you know the way it’s written Mukesh Tiwari and Sherry have written the script, I think it is very well written in terms of the dialogue in terms of the UP flavour and the whole screenplay of it. The whole of it and of course Bitti’s character, which is introduced in the first 5/10 minutes of the film, so I was almost sold out on that because it’s such a unique character, such a different quirky character. I have never played a small-town girl before. I’ve never played a UP girl before. She’s not just a regular girl. She has a really quirky character streak. She is someone who is very outspoken. She is very bindaas. She is the only girl in Bareilly who does break dance, but it’s Bareilly kind of break dance. She hides and she smokes and watches English movies so she is a little different and tom boyish also. So, I think it was both the script and the character that took me to the film.

    Yes, as you say you’re playing a very quirky character, she smokes, and claims not to be a virgin. It’s a very well-defined character, very different to say an Ishita from Dilwale. Do you feel lucky to be given an opportunity to play a role like Bitti, who seems to be a lot more real and perhaps better defined?

    Well Ishita was more of a girl next door, more of a simple girl. Her traits were not that unusual or that uncommon. Raabta’s roles for me was very different from what I have done before. They were well etched, but more on the contemporary zone compared to what I have done before. Here yes, it’s a small-town character. It’s more of a real-world kind of cinema. When you watch the film, you will see that not only Bitti but every character in the film is very relatable. You will watch them and you will feel you know someone who does these things and who was like that. Small towns are very relatable for India audiences at least, because that small town middle class kind of things that one does, you know you watch the film and you think, oh even my mum reacts like this, even my dad does things like that, so the relatability factor is definitely there. The fact that she is not a normal simple girl, but has traits of her own that etch out her character really well. Obviously, when you get a role that’s well etched out, it’s more exciting as an actor, because you know what you’re doing.

    How was it working with a female director, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari? Does it help when a director is female, especially when you are doing sensitive scenes?

    A lot of people have asked me this question, but I really feel that a director is a director it doesn’t matter what the gender is. You need to know the scenes really well, you need to be able to extract emotions, the correct emotions in every scene if you’re directing. I think Ashwini also for that matter knows her scenes really well. She knows the world really well. She herself is someone who is very simple, very rooted and very culturally aware, so some how she does connect with the small-town world and the characters really well and she is able to get that relatability factor in every scene. She knows what she wants out of a scene She knows the zone that she wants to play in. But she also gives you the freedom to do it your own way and then she will sort of direct you and tell you, where she doesn’t want you to go and what works for her. So, it’s been great. She herself is someone who is very sensitive in fact. I used to realise whether I had done a scene well or not by her reactions. When it was an emotional scene, she would get tears in her eyes while watching it. Sometimes if it was a funny scene she couldn’t say cut because she was laughing so hard. So, I think she was a true reflection of the emotions that were actually there in the scene.

    Would you say you’re a director’s actor?

    Yes, I guess. I am a Directors actor completely. I am someone who puts in a lot of thought into my character and my scenes and I do have a lot of questions. Because as an actor one should be curious. You should know what you’re doing and why you are doing it that way. There has to be a reason to it. I think Shahrukh sir once told me there is no right way of doing a scene and I completely agree with that because a scene can be approached in many different ways. So, I think for me I obviously come prepared on set and I do have my thoughts of the way I look at a scene, but eventually a film is a director’s vision and I usually like collaborating with a director and discussing scenes. In terms of what I want to do and if a director wants it differently I completely go with that.

    You’ve been in the industry a few years now, are you content with how your career is shaping up?

    Yes, absolutely I think not being from a film background. Having reached where I have, getting the kind of opportunities that I am I feel really blessed. I think for me it is important to be getting different kinds of roles and to be able to experiment and sort of discover myself and to keep working. That’s exactly what is happening. I think all the films I have done so far have been way different from each other and I have gotten an opportunity to work with a lot of really talented people.

    Less than a day from release are you nervous at all.

    Yes (laughs) Of course I am nervous. I am really excited I think once you finish shooting a film you know you have done your bit. But after that it’s up to the public. It’s like you’ve given an exam and the results are pending. So, of course there is an increase in the heartbeats. But I am happy that at least the trailer has got a great response and they are liking the songs. I think Bareilly Ki Barfi’s trailer is very true to the film, so it’s a true reflection of the world that you will see in the film. So, if someone has liked the trailer, I am kind of sure that they will like the film.

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    Bald and beautiful Anupam Kher speaks about the entertaining Toilet: Ek Prem Katha


    Although difficult to describe him in a few words, his is a story where you can say with great authority that if he can make it, then in life “Kuchh Bhi Ho Sakta Hai” (anything is possible).
    He is someone who made it big in Bollywood on his own – by sheer merit, grit, and never-say-die attitude. The last trait, in fact, has stood him in good stead, especially during the bad times – be it the initial rejections or for that matter, overcoming the petrifying facial paralysis episode. This small-town Shimla lad, full of dreams, had to be famous given what he accomplished against the odds. Neither he had any filmy connections nor had the conventional good looks to get a break in Bollywood. But he persisted. And his day came with Mahesh Bhatt’s classic Saaransh in the early 1980s and the rest, as they say, is history. Yes, you guessed it right. We are talking about the bald and beautiful Anupam Kher. Well, he may be bald, but he also brought beauty to baldness. His boldness and his body of work is what makes him beautiful. A veteran of more than 500 films, including Daddy, Karma, Bend It Like Beckham, and Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi, to name a few, today the 62-year-old thespian is regarded as a walking dictionary on acting, the craft that he nurtured over the years which helped him to carve a niche for himself in the industry.
    Not only that, this multi-faceted personality is a past master at reinventing himself – be it hosting talk shows on TV or running acting schools or giving motivational speeches, you name it, he is there and everywhere.
    In a crowd Anupam Kher stands out – because he is out-standing. In an exclusive one-on-one, as part of the promotions for his latest film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, the Padma Bhushan awardee opened up to Asian Style at The Bentley, London.

    The film has superstar Akshay Kumar and the inspiring Bhumi Pednekar in the lead.
    Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, co-produced by Akshay Kumar and the talented Neeraj Pandey, is a satirical and light-hearted take on open defecation in India, and the fundamental need to provide households across the nation with a functioning toilet. The movie, based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, is presented by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, KriArj Entertainment and Neeraj Pandey, in association with Plan C Studios and Cape of Good Films LLP. The film, directed by Shree Narayan Singh, is set for release on August 11, 2017.

    Anand: We last saw you in the film Naam Shabana in 2015, also a Neeraj Pandey-produced film and featuring Akshay, of whom it’s your 20th film. Now your winning team is back with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Tell us more about your relationship with Akshay and Neeraj.

    Anupam Kher: I did Neeraj’s film A Wednesday. I have done all his films – Special 26, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Baby. I am also part of Aiyaary now. It’s a great relationship. I have great respect for him for the kind of films he makes, for the kind of writer that he is, for the kind of director he is. With Akshay this is my 21st film. We have grown together. Even though he is younger to me, I am so proud of his growth as a person and as an actor. It is very very rare in today’s time to see such a transformation.

    The film tackles the issue of defecation in India. Do you think the film can make a difference on this issue?

    Oh yes, absolutely. I think it does make a difference. When the prime minister (Narendra Modi) spoke about cleanliness, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, it had yielded results, sometimes not necessarily in statistics as much as in awareness. Today you throw a trash can on the road, you will see five people giving you a dirty look – so that makes a difference. Also, this film will make a difference because it’s done by Akshay Kumar and is being made on a popular format with all the comedy and love story in it. When Akshay does a film on such a subject it reaches millions of people. Already 20 million people have seen the trailer of this film.

    What more can you tell us about your role in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha?
    I play Bhumi Pednekar’s grandfather. He is the only person who is a little educated in the village. There’s a contrast between my character and Akshay Kumar’s father’s character. Akshay’s father’s character is very very conservative and religious.

    One of the dialogues in the film has  become very popular: “If you change NOTHING, Nothing will change.” How much do you identify with this sentence?

    That dialogue was not in the original script. I told the writers that since my character is that of an educated guy, he should speak English also. Every scene of mine has an English dialogue. And those English dialogues are basically proverbs and quotations. I always quote quotations. This is a quotation which is very relevant, not only to the country or to the society but to your own self. That is if you don’t change, if you change nothing, nothing will change about yourself also.

    Do you feel more movies should be made to tackle social issues?

    It’s happening. Recently there was Pink. Khosla Ka Ghosla too was one such film. But that was on a different level – land grabbing, etc. Real India lives in smaller towns. I have co-produced a film called Ranchi Diaries. And that’s about small town place, the problems over there and the dreams of this younger generation. And there is one girl played by Soundarya Sharma and four boys Taaha, Himansh and other people. So today you can think of these subjects. You can make them commercially viable also. I am very happy about it.

    There is some controversy doing rounds about a producer duo from Rajasthan dragging the Toilet: Ek Prem Katha producers to court over copyright infringement. What’s your take on it?

    Well, I don’t want to say that that person is not right. That he or she has to deal with the producers, etc. Today it’s important to know that, although I am not talking in this context or any context, people become known by bringing up something like this and the moment that happens the media also pick
    up because for them that is news.

    But I am sure the producer and director will have their own fight or battle with this person. As far as I am concerned I was given the script and I became part of this film based on that script.

    Do you think such controversies help in the success of the film, especially just before the release?

    I think a film like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha with Akshay Kumar being part of this film does not need a controversy to become popular. And maybe controversy helps the first day first show, but afterwards it’s the film that speaks. And it’s not a love story where you are releasing quietly a sort of MMS clip of the heroine, of a deleted scene, the heroine in a bikini or something like that – leading people to think that there must be something more than that in the film. This film is about women’s privacy being invaded because they have to go in the open to defecate and to relieve themselves. It’s so sad that for so many years we did not notice this. I am glad that this film has come now and it will reach a lot of people. I think people will go and watch it because a cause like “toilet” is related to it, not because there is a controversy.

    They say a good artiste is always a good human being. Do you endorse that?

    Well, it helps if you are a good human being. Because at the end of it you are first a human being then an artiste, then a journalist, then a dentist, then a carpenter. It’s always good to be a good human being. You see the good side of characters also. Even if it’s a bad character, you have to be a good person to understand how well to play that. So I believe in the goodness. I believe in being a good human being. But at the end of the day it’s a craft. How well you use that craft has nothing to do with what kind of person are you. So you can be a third-rate person, yet play a good man very easily. So it’s not necessary, but I believe in the theory of goodness.

    There are many films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha that delivers a message. Do you not think some audiences may not want to be preached and just entertained?

    This is an entertaining film. The message is inherent. The message has already reached the audiences in the form of its title Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. And it’s a love story. In a love story usually there is a boy and a girl. They love each other. The villain walks in or the father is rich, or the other parents are not rich. In this film the problem is, after the love affair and after the couple get married, the boy’s home does not have a toilet. And the story is about how the boy wins over the girl. Why Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge became a cult film because the boy says to the girl that “No, I will only take you with me if your father agrees.” And in this film the girl says, “I will come back to your house only if there’s a toilet.”  It’s a very very genuine demand.

    There is lot of talk about nepotism in the film world. What’s your take on it? I know you are an exception who made it big without any support.  

    No, there are a lot of people who are an exception. And nepotism is there. Let’s just face that. And it should be there. Why not people whose parents are in films or in this profession help them? But that does not mean those who don’t have such relatives don’t make it. From Shah Rukh Khan to Akshay Kumar to Anupam Kher to Madhuri Dixit to Sridevi – they didn’t have any godfathers. They made it on their own. I think this debate should end. I think Kangana Ranaut is a fabulous actress. She has come from a small town and she has made it very big on her own and I salute her courage.

    You have done more than 500 films till date. Any dream role that you want to do?

    You can ask this question after 30 years. It’s too early to ask that question.


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    Interview: Uncle-nephew duo Anil and Arjun Kapoor’s real-life role get reel in British Punjabi family entertainer Mubarakan


    The first thing that catches your eye when you look at him is his big eyes and the size of the man. He is a big guy. The size perhaps may belie the vision he has set for himself. Apparently, he has set his sights on success with such tremendous focus that he sees only the eye of the bird, just like Arjun (of Mahabharata). It’s a sheer coincidence that we are talking about a person having the same name as the ace archer of the great Indian epic. Yes, you got that right. We are talking about Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor.

    He may have the best surname in Bollywood, his father Boney Kapoor may be a big producer, Arjun might have had initially the advantage of being a star kid, but that was long ago. Since his debut in Ishaqzaade in 2012, this well-read actor has come a long way, carving a niche for himself in the industry with hits like 2 States, Gunday and Ki & Ka. Undeterred by a few flops in between, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps to make a mark for himself in the industry. His “never give up” and “bounce-back” attitude has made him one of the most saleable actors in Bollywood today. He is looking forward to his next release – the much-talked about romantic comedy Mubarakan (Congratulations).

    The movie, directed by the No Entry and Singh is King fame Anees Bazmee, also stars Arjun’s uncle Anil Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Athiya Shetty and Neha Sharma. For the first-time superstar Anil Kapoor is teaming up with his nephew Arjun Kapoor. Produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions, Ashwin Varde and Murad Khetani’s Cine1 Studios, the film will hit theatres on July 28.

    Mubarakan, shot mainly in London, centres around a Punjabi migrant family living in the UK. Both Anil and Arjun will be seen sporting turbans in the movie. Arjun plays a double role in it. For the promotion of the film, the soft and gentle, yet articulate actor got candid in an exclusive telephonic interview to Asian Style Magazine on July 11.  

    Anand: More than 80% of the film is shot in London. What was the experience like shooting in London?

    Arjun Kapoor: Well, it’s the first time I have shot in London as an actor. We shot in the winter. It was amazing. I think it helped the film – the way it looks. The whole beauty of shooting in London in that atmosphere has really enhanced the prospects. The enthusiastic crew and the local people there and the location – everything was great. I think anybody who shoots in England, it’s beautiful. I think we got very very lucky that it turned out to be an outstanding experience.

    What is it that attracts Indian filmmakers to London?

    I think it’s the relatability and diversity. Even though you have so many cosmopolitan cities across the world, London is one place where the Asian foothold remains very predominant even with the western influence. Somehow the story is relatable even though it is based abroad. For an Indian audience, I think the way London is looked at is almost like a home away from home. I think that’s the one connect London has always created. It never feels like foreign land even though it is a foreign land. It has all the elements of being a foreign country, but when you dive in a bit closer you realise the connection with the Asian community is very huge.

    What message are you trying to convey through the film?

    Well, it is about joint family, immigration, egos, fights and other issues. But eventually love is what is more important and having the humility to connect with family comes above everything else. That’s the most important message.

    How was it working with your uncle Anil Kapoor? Were there any inhibitions?

    Oh, that was absolutely fantastic. The excitement was there. There were no inhibitions. I somewhere knew that I had earned the chance to stand in the same frame as him, so I was quite excited about sharing screen space with him. Also, incidentally, in the film we are playing the role of Chacha (uncle) and Bhatija (nephew) that obviously created more excitement than apprehension.

    You are playing a double role in Mubarakan. This is not the first time you are doing such a role. You have already played a double role in Aurangzeb. How different is this one?

    Aurangzeb role was more about swapping one from the other and one pretending to be the other and there was a mistaken identity and trying to create that dynamic of two brothers who are kept apart. The Mubarakan one is about two brothers who are constantly together in the entire film. And it’s not about mistaken identity but two different characters who share screen space together at all times. In that sense, it is very very different.

    How easy or difficult is it for you to play double role?

    It’s definitely not easy. I can tell you that. It is difficult because of the complexity technology brings in as well as your performance and having a co-actor. Doing it for comedy is even tougher.

    Speaking of comedy, how challenging was it to make people laugh?

    Well, it was exciting and challenging. I have never done an out-and-out comedy. So, for me it was very exciting. I was like a child trying to do more and more and get better and better. I really enjoyed myself.

    Tell me one funny side of yours which your fans are not aware of?

    I am actually a party person. It’s difficult to pinpoint one incident.

    Are there any British cast in the film?

    Yes, of course. We have British cast in the film. They are through the film. That’s because we wanted to make sure everything looks real and authentic.

    How was it working with them?

    See the thing is with actors eventually you find a common ground and you end up connecting and affiliating with them because of the work you are doing and so it doesn’t feel very different. They just happened to be from England and that’s the only separation. When you are on set everybody becomes the same.

    Most of the new generation Indian kids (be it Punjabis, Gujaratis, Malayalees, etc.) in Britain don’t know their mother tongue. They speak English fluently but not their own language. How important is for an individual to remain culturally rooted and stay connected with his original identity?

    Well, I think if you are born and brought up outside India then it becomes difficult to hold on to Hindi if it is your mother tongue. In your growing stage English becomes your mother tongue. But, of course, it comes from what the parents feel is important, the parents may feel it’s not about the language but understanding the culture. I know a lot of people who struggle to speak Hindi but still understand the cultural importance of where they hail from. But any child that is born and brought up in an environment that is not Indian might not be able to pick up the language because Hindi is not an easy language. Even if you can understand and communicate just the basic of it – I think it’s enough. I don’t think your cultural rootedness is only about speaking Hindi. It comes from a wholesome 360-degree perspective. Obviously, it is appreciated if you can speak more than one language because that allows you to communicate with lot more people but I don’t think that is the only way of knowing how culturally rooted a person is. Eventually tolerance is very very important. Knowing the parents feel a certain way, appreciating and understanding the grandparents, the festivals, being part of the bigger picture for the family and not just for yourself, I think that is what creates a culturally rooted environment. You may be born and brought up in England, but if you can be open enough to adapt to the fact Diwali is important, so you must take out time for it and spend time at home with parents, then even if you don’t speak Hindi all the time, your parents and colleagues who are Indian will appreciate you regardless. Believe in the culture first. It’s not about speaking the language alone.

    Do you speak Punjabi well?

    I manage but not so much. I understand Punjabi but unfortunately, I am not very very fluent.

    How was it working with director Anees Bazmee? What have you learned from him?

    Firstly, he is a fantastic writer. He has been around for the last 40 years in the industry. He is truly a genius when it comes to the genre – entertaining people, making them smile and laugh is no joke. He does it so well. It’s been a big learning curve for me. He is so sorted as a director. He is fully charged, comfortable and excited. He was always ready to lend a helping hand.

    I heard the music of RD Burman in the trailer. Why is it that RD Burman still sells today even after almost 25 years of his passing away?

    Well, we used a bit of the Yamma Yamma… tune (from the yesteryear multi-starrer Shaan). It was our tribute to Pancham da (RD Burman). His music is evergreen and everlasting and will always survive the test of time.

    What’s your message to our readers? Why should they go and watch Mubarakan?

    This film is a family entertainment. From age 8 to 80 you can take all your family members to theatres. It’s a clean and simple film. It deals with all your emotions that you feel deeply in your core. If you have grown up watching all those Hindi entertainers, you will definitely enjoy this as well.

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    Stammering ‘Jagga Jasoos’ talks unfalteringly as maiden producer of exciting new adventure packed musical

    He’s the Bollywood heart-throb thousands of girls want to date. An actor par excellence with striking good looks whose unique ability to effortlessly pour himself into a character makes him one of the most sought-after actors in showbiz today. Be it the critically acclaimed Rocket Singh or the hugely successful Rockstar and Barfi, to name a few, it’s difficult to take your eyes off him when he is on screen. Moreover, he is an actor who can’t be conveniently pigeonholed. Such is his broad range of repertoire. Yes, we are talking about none other than Ranbir Kapoor, the Jagga Jasoos.

    For Bollywood fans release of a Ranbir Kapoor film is always music to their ears. The icing on the cake this time is – the film itself is a musical.

    Much to their delight, the long-awaited Disney and Pictureshuru Production’s Jagga Jasoos starring Ranbir Kapoor and the stunning Katrina Kaif will release this week (July 14). The musical adventure mystery, written and directed by the Barfi-maker Anurag Basu, will have Ranbir playing the role of a detective of sorts as he sets out on a hunt to find his missing father, with Kat’s character tagging along.

    The musical comedy reportedly has 29 songs, all composed by the prolific Pritam. If Ranbir’s character in Barfi was mute, in Jagga Jasoos he stutters throughout the film. Interestingly, the only time when he would speak and express himself without a stutter is in the songs, all 29 of them.

    With Jagga Jasoos actor Ranbir has added one more feather to his cap; he has debuted as a producer.

    As part of the film’s promotion, the modest, yet confident actor spoke frankly about Jagga Jasoos and his experience as a co-producer in an exclusive telephonic interview with Asian Style Magazine.


    Anand: Jagga Jasoos has been delayed and as we know you have got some very exciting films at hand apart from Jagga Jasoos, so how did you manage to maintain the passion to complete this film and stay true to the film?

    Ranbir: I think starting from the fact that I have believed in Anurag Basu’s vision. I really loved the idea he narrated to me three-and-a-half years ago and even though it took this long to make the film, you know he stayed true to his passion, he stayed true to his vision and his idea for the film. And just the core emotion that I felt when I heard the script, you know it remained in my mind and don’t really care about the time it’s taken to make the film. Of course, it’s hard, you lose patience, you get frustrated but eventually it’s the greater purpose and that’s to put out a good film. So I think all of us didn’t lose our patience and that’s only because of Anurag Basu. We all have immense love and respect for him. 

    It’s your maiden co-production, what have you learned as a producer during the making of this film?

     Well, I think the first year I learned as a producer was that I won’t produce another film. It’s not my cup of tea. It’s not something that is my calling. I am very happy being an actor. I would love to direct a film. But I don’t think producing a film is something I enjoy. 

    Where did the inspiration for your unique hairstyle in the film come from? It reminds me of Tintin. 

    Well, I think a little inspiration came from there. But I think Dada (Anurag Basu) just wanted Jagga Jasoos to have a little bit of unique look to himself, something which is a bit strange, which is not normal. It’s the hairstyle his (Jagga Jasoos) father gives him before he goes missing and that’s why he maintains it all these years thinking that if his father sees him, he will at least recognise him by his hairstyle. You know there’s a nice logic in story behind that too and I was more than happy to don it.

    In an interview director Anurag Basu has said that he has tried to make a feel-good film. In your view what do you think people will take away from the film?

    Well, it’s a universal film. It’s a film that you would like to see with your entire family, your children will really enjoy it. There are certain values that he wants to address in this film. There’s a certain kind of entertainment, the visual effects are amazing, it’s a musical, it’s an adventure film, there is romance, there is comedy, there’s mystery. It’s like a different kind of masala film. 

    I saw the trailer of the film. You stutter so well. Needless to say, it’s sheer talent. How did you master it?

    Well, it was challenging, because it can sound very jarring. It can look very jarring. It can look very fake and artificial. But you know I had Dada’s help. I did a lot of practice and with that you become the character, you surrender to it. But yes, initially it was a challenge.

    What have been the best moments for you in the film?

    You know since it has taken so long, you keep losing patience, but whenever I was on set with Anurag Basu and the entire cast and crew, there was always something magical happening. You know it’s wasn’t the run-of-the-mill situations, it wasn’t things I was probably doing in my other films, everything was a new experience. Everything felt like an adventure, you know the kind of scenes he created, the treatment, the music, the situations, the costumes. Dada made me sit on ostriches, he made me run on trains, he made me hide myself in a basket when I am naked, he made me do things which probably I would not do in real life and definitely not in other films.

    Why should our readers go and watch Jagga Jasoos? What’s your message to them? 

    Well, it’s hard to hard-sell a film. You guys have seen the trailer, you guys liked the songs. All we can promise is it’s an entertaining film, it’s something that you can watch with your family. I have to say a big thank you for the love and support you guys have shown towards me and my other films.


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    AR RAHMAN: “I don’t have any borders in my head. I want to respect and I want to give whatever I can within my limitations, that is the best”


    AR Rahman, does this name really need an introduction? Well for those who don’t know (and really surprised if you don’t) Rahman is probably one of the world’s most renowned musicians.

    He is most noted for integrating Indian classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. With accolades and awards including two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards, fifteen Filmfare Awards and sixteen Filmfare Awards South. As well as the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2010 by the Government of India the South Indian man is truly a musical genius.

    Rahman’s career has spanned 25 years and to celebrate he is in the UK for a special 25-year anniversary concert at the Wembley Arena. We caught up with the introvert ahead of his concert and here’s what he had to say.  

    Fatima: Welcome back to the UK for your 25th anniversary concert in Wembley. What can audiences expect from this show?

    AR Rehman: Audiences will get to experience a mix of Hindi and Tamil compositions, it will be something for everybody, especially for people who follow music

    The show promises to be a mega multimedia spectacular. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how the concept has come about for this particular show?

    It’s about the music but at the same time it’s about having all the gizmos and videos and everything so it gives a better dimension to the show. We have some great music and some great musicians coming, so I am really looking forward to it.

    Do you have any memories from any previous UK concerts that you have performed at that you can recall and share with us?

    I have a lot of memories and I am hoping that this is going to be an even better one. People in the UK are always very supporting. I have performed in London and Birmingham however, not in the North of England, though we wanted to go, but it never worked out for various reasons. Though we are very very excited about London

    Well I come from Yorkshire so you have an open invite sir to Yorkshire whenever you come we would gladly welcome you. Going back to your 25-years in the industry do you ever look back and reflect on your past 25 years?

    Well the first few years was such a high for me like everything such as awards, or what I could do musically, within the limitation of the needs of the movie and we had one of India’s best Director directing it and nobody would even dream about having that team so it only got better for me. So that actually set the standards and am really grateful for that, to God and to the whole team that helped put it out there.

    You’re doing Hindi, Hollywood as well as the regional projects. So many different languages yet you manage to tune it so well with your music compositions. How do you manage to achieve this?

    I don’t have any borders in my head. I don’t have any judgemental prejudices in my head and so I try to be as keen as possible and so I want to work with every culture, I want to respect and I want to give them whatever I can within my limitations that is the best. It’s not easy for me, but there is a process and within this process there is a whole team involved, the directors are involved, the producers are involved, so by that I think it’s easy to achieve.

    That’s wonderful I mean is it because of this attitude that you’ve managed the hectic work load that you have because you’re working all over internationally, locally and now you’ve got the concert coming up as well?

    I think from the early ages from my life I have been so obsessed about my work and that’s not changing. Even though now it’s expanding I am actually directing a virtual reality movie and I am producing a movie called 99 songs and there are so many other things.

    Obviously, you’re doing a lot more going forward, but looking back what would you say have been the main highlights of your journey so far?

    I think for me you know you have mind set as an artist in India that oh who’s going to come sign me up and that mind set changed in the process of the 20 odd years to, do I need people to come and sign me up? Of course, when people come to me I respect that, but why can’t I do my own things like open a school, or I do something for charity? So, all these things being an introvert it’s like wow. So, there are many opportunities within us and everyone, not only me we just have to open those doors, the doors are all there. After I reached 40 I feel like I can open any door whenever I want to and I have been trying to do that

    Apart from your own music do you ever listen to anybody else’s music and do you enjoy other soundtracks?

    I don’t have much time to listen to music, because I have so much to do. I have to arrange music… I have to produce music. So, I try to listen to music which is not connected with me or Indian. I listen to music from Senegal or Iceland or anything that’s on radio.

    You’ve got your concert coming up is there any message you would like to give to our readers

    I just want to thank all the people who have bought tickets. Music is for love music is for peace.

    Thank you so much for speaking to us sir, we wish you all the best.

    Thank you







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    BENNY DAYAL: “Nothing can get better than performing at AR Rahman sir’s 25th Anniversary concert”

    Introduced by AR Rahman he started his career exactly ten years ago, for a Tamil film called Sivaji and has gone on to sing songs in several other languages, including for the Hindi film industry more popularly known as Bollywood.

    His songs such as Ude Dil Befikre, Badtameez Dil, and Tu Meri Dost Hai have gone on to be smash hits with millions of listeners worldwide. After obtaining a Masters in journalism, disappointed with career options in music, Benny nearly gave up on his dream by taking on a job, until music maestro AR Rahman came calling…and the rest as they say is history.

    We caught up with the new generation, versatile Indian singer, Benny Dayal ahead of his UK tour with music legend AR Rahman to chat about everything music.


    Fatima: Lovely to be speaking to you. So, my first question to you is, AR Rahman introduced you as playback singer in films how did the introduction actually happen?

    Benny: Actually, even I don’t know, it’s been a miracle, actually to be very honest. I was actually looking for work when I did start like exactly 11 years ago and I used to be like asking and approaching a lot of composers in Chennai when I was in Chennai and no one had any work for me or taken an interest in my voice. Nothing was working out for me so then I took this job and was wondering if my journey in music will ever happen. Then three days into my job I got a call from his (AR Rahman’s) studio which was extremely ironic but I think it was to happen the way it was meant to happen.

    A dream came true for you then?

    Oh yes

    So how important do you think his (AR Rahman) role has been in the shaping of your musical career?

    Oh, definitely what can I say sometimes I feel I am not worthy of talking about him, what he has achieved, in this time and space, taken his music globally and made a mark for the industry. At a time in an Indian society when nobody believed music could be a lifelong career, there was a time in India where parents used to tell us to keep music as a hobby and get a job. So, when he came into the industry in 1992 with Roja, he started to introduce a lot of new singers who weren’t there in the industry besides, SP Bala Subramaniam and Hariharan. Even Hariharan sir was introduced at that time. And so, it was incredible to see that he (AR Rahman) had brought out a lot of new singers that gave us youngsters in India to have the hope of taking music up as a career. And so not just musically, but technically and sound wise, in terms of composition, in terms of tune, in terms of musical arrangements. It’s everything that he has showed us, the simplicity and intensity, you know so many things. So, there is so much and you can keep going and talk for 48 hours on him and it still wouldn’t be enough on Rahman Sir.

    You’ve definitely left your mark as well, I mean your background is from an Indian Indie scene you’ve bought a lot of soul RNB and Jazz in your music that wasn’t seen before in Bollywood but now has been accepted

    I could probably say I was one of them first singers who started singing a lot of RNB and Soul. I could see there were singers like Shaan and KK, you know they was also there. I should say thank you to composers like AR Rehman for giving me the opportunity to take that genre forward and bring new flavour to and give it the flavour of Indian music

    It’s fantastic to see that these new genres of music are being explored in Bollywood but more that it has been accepted. Where do you think the Bollywood industry is heading now with all these new genres coming forth and the fact that people are experimenting with music?

    Every musical industry, or every musical society would have to evolve. Because that’s exactly how we go ahead it’s important to progress. I meet a lot of journalists who say music is not like how it was and I am sat at a press conference and I’m saying hey your shooting pictures from a digital camera and why aren’t you using a still camera, so you like shooting from a digital camera now. So, you see what I am saying? So, it’s same with music. Music can’t stay analogue and it’s not just for radio, but digital platforms too. There are so many social media platforms nowadays. So, you have to evolve and that’s exactly how life should be. There are many platforms, many ways to listen to music according to people’s affordability.

    So, which Indian musician apart from AR Rahman sir has inspired you over the years?

    From Indian definitely, everyone has played a vital role in my career. I have worked with Vishal & Shekar and they have definitely helped in my career giving me the right songs.

    You’ve recently celebrated your first wedding anniversary so congratulations on that….

    Thank you thank you so much.

    Does your wife have any influence on the kind of songs you sing. For example, does she prefer you to sing more romantic songs or maybe the songs like Badtameez dil? 

     (Laughs) She loves all my songs. She doesn’t mind, she never says you should sing songs like that. Whatever comes.

    You’re coming to the UK for the 25 years AR Rahman concert. How are you feeling about performing live at the concert?

    Extremely incredible I can’t tell you we’re celebrating 25 years of AR Rahman music, as I have been such a hard-core fan of his and to be a part of his celebration and to be on tour performing with him I just can’t explain how I feel. He’s the reason why I got into this industry. To be a part of his twenty-fifth year anniversary nothing can get better than that for me

    Thank you so much for speaking to us and we wish you all the best with your tour in the UK

    Thank you very much Fatima

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    “We are still light years away” – Sushant Singh Rajput on the changing face of Bollywood

    Sushant Singh Rajput has been in the limelight for the better part of a decade, making his debut on television in the hit serial, Pavitra Rishta. Since then his career has taken one interesting turn after another with Sushant making some rather interesting and offbeat role choices. Last year, Sushant hit the ball out of the park (literally) playing Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. The actor is now back with his next, Raabta, that hits screens on June 9. Ayesha Babar caught up with him about the film and more.

    Ayesha: Raabta has a very interesting concept which the tagline explains as ‘Everything is Connected’. In your own life, have you ever come across a situation where you have felt this kind of a Raabta?

    Sushant: There are times in all our lives when we can’t understand why a particular thing is happening or why we are feeling a certain way and we try and come up with explanations for it. For instance, sometimes we like or dislike somebody without any reason whatsoever. I personally don’t believe in reincarnation but I think there definitely is some truth that has got to do with vibes when people meet.

    When I read the script of Raabta, I was really excited, the fact that I didn’t believed in reincarnation didn’t matter. The script is just telling a really nice story about these two people, Shiv and Saira who meet in a chocolate shop in Budapest and from there the film follows their story which is entwined with another story from the past. I think the people will really enjoy the story being told and the engaging way it is being told in.

    A: Tell us more about the character that you play in the film. Are you similar to the character?

    S: Haha, no I am actually quite different. Shiv is always ready with something to say, very witty, very charming. Usually that is not how I am in real life so I would always try and hold on to the character for a little bit longer but alas! Shiv was actually a really cool opportunity to be my interesting self for 6-7 months at a stretch and the best part is, I was getting paid for it (laughs).

    A: You are a part of the young brigade along with actors like Alia, Varun, Deepika, Kangana and Ranbir that is bringing some very interesting ideas to Bollywood. How do you feel about you guys being the changing face of cinema?

    S: To be honest, I feel that we are still light years away from making the kind of films that we appreciate, the kind of work that is done in Hollywood. See, ultimately it is a money making industry and I feel that we are still very cautious about making different kinds of cinema. To be at par with the competition we need to be much more creative and courageous. We need to take more chances.

    A: You are known to work really, really hard for your roles and to keep your cool under pressure. What drives you to keep going when things get tough professionally?

    S: I think if you are working on a film, the script has to be exciting enough for the actor to be able to put in the effort. If I believe in the script and the character that I am portraying then that becomes my motivation to give my everything to the film!

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    Dr Zeus ‘Stay Positive, Stay Happy’

    If you know anything about the UK Indie pop industry, you would know about Dr Zeus. As one of the pioneers of the British Asian music industry, he has consistently produced music that has rocked the charts and been a trendsetter for many others. Ayesha Babar spoke to him about his musical journey and his new track, Party Nonstop.

    Ayesha: Your last song in Bollywood was the superhit ‘Kamlee’ that was featured in the Shah Rukh Khan – Deepika Padukone starrer, Happy New Year but then we haven’t heard much from you since. What’s the reason behind the gap?

    Dr Zeus: To be totally honest with you, when I did Kamlee, I didn’t have a good experience with Kanika Kapoor. A few things happened at that time that left me rather upset and put me off from working in Mumbai. I thought if that is the way that I am going to be treated out there, then I would rather not. I was quite happy and content working on British Punjabi music.

    Now things are different. I have actually got an apartment in Mumbai in Versova and I am getting my own studio built. I am making an effort to go to Mumbai and to do more Bollywood stuff. I am now over that phase where I was put off and now am quite positive about the whole thing. I am going to go out there and prove my mettle by doing more Bollywood work.

    A: How did ‘Party Nonstop’ come about? It is a really cool track and the video has garnered a lot of attention already!

    DZ: Party Nonstop was a song that I had made while I was in Mumbai working on Kamlee and Lovely. It was one of the numbers that I had planned to put in a movie. Then I took such a long break from Bollywood, I thought hey, why not enter Bollywood with a single first to announce that Dr Zeus is around and then to continue with Bollywood work. So Party Nonstop is one of those songs that was made for Bollywood but as things turned out, I put it out as a pop song with Universal. The studio loved the song and wanted to do a video directed by the wonderful Mohit Suri.

    A: Tell us more about the video. How was it working with Mohit Suri?

    DZ: It was an excellent working experience with Mohit. He is a cool dude, great guy. He knows how to bring the best out of the people he is dealing with, in terms of moods and expressions. And I think that shows in the video too. It is by far one of the best videos I have done for any of my songs.  It was a personal track with me singing as well and he made it that much more special for me.

    It feels great that Mohit Suri directed the video and Universal released it worldwide. It doesn’t really get better than that. The video has also had millions of views so far in a short span of time. I guess the track is still growing and the numbers are going up especially on the weekend, so I think people are really taking it up as a party track.

    A: What do you think about the music that is being put out in Bollywood these days, especially the pop scene in India?

    DZ: The pop scene is now coming back. I think the proof is how much money the studios are willing to put on pop artists now. For example how Universal really took up Party Nonstop, hired Mohit to direct the video and got Evelyn Sharma to star in it with me. All this really points us to the fact that the pop scene is coming back with a big bang. There was a time when it was all just about Bollywood but that is changing. Badshah is now putting out his own album with his single Mercy already out. Raftaar is putting out his own personal music too so it is definitely a growing scene.

    A: What else are you working on in terms of Bollywood and otherwise?

    DZ: Currently, I am working quite closely with Kapil Sharma on a project. I am also working on a mainstream, project with a hip hop artist which is going to have a famous Indian actress in the video as well. It will be very mainstream, like a Naughty Boy kind of project and it will be out just after the summer.

    I have some really interesting things in the pipeline and a lot of Bollywood things happening so definitely very exciting times.

    A: For the past couple of years, there has been this debate in India about pop and hip hop music numbers that are almost a staple in every film. A lot of people have said that there has been a shift away from meaningful lyrics and there was even a spoof done with Irrfan Khan recently. On the other side, the demand is obviously there with people wanting to listen to more of this music. What is your take on this?

    DZ: Music is always evolving – I see that in today’s music scene, music is doing more of the talking than even the lyrics are! I think one needs to go with the fashion and trends and more importantly with what is working.

    You can also be a trendsetter. I always look at it in a different way – the inspirations are there but I have always tried to add my own style to my music. A lot of people are taking sample CDs of what the latest sounds and beats are then rehashing the same stuff. There is definitely a lack of unique sounds. Someone who is great at arranging will now put their name as the producer or music director. Whereas, from the start, I have tried to produce a different kind of sound – I will always add the signature Zeus quotient to the music so that as soon as you listen to the song, you would know that it is my music.

    Indian music has always been very melodic and the music has been a highlight. Even with hip hop and pop now, if the song isn’t essentially melodic, it does not fare well with listeners, so that element of melody always has to be there. So the style might change but the essence will remain the same.

    A: What message would you like to give to the many young people who are interested in making music and look up to you.

    DZ:  First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the support for my music.

    For anyone looking to get into music, I would say take your time. Don’t rush just because you want to be on TV. Learn and perfect the art before you move forward and good things will come your way.

    I think it is very important for young people who want to make music to understand that each musician needs to have their own individual style and sound. Keep up with the trends but try and figure out how the trends can suit you.

    Most importantly, I would say stay positive, stay happy. Good things happen for happier, positive people!

    A: Thank you very much for taking out the time. 

    DZ: It’s been a pleasure speaking to you!

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