Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s famous 19th century poem, Vande Mataram, has been interpreted musically by many artistes in the past decades. A new version by tabla player and composer Bickram Ghosh features 22 artistes, who represent various music styles from across the country.
Besides popular Bollywood artistes such as Sunidhi Chauhan and Sonu Niigaam, Ghosh’s version also includes Hindustani classical giants like Ajoy Chakrabarty, Rashid Khan, Kaushiki Desikan, Niladri Kumar and Shubha Mudgal, as well as independent bands like Indian Ocean and Euphoria.
The video of the song will be aired today, after the Prime Minister’s address to the nation at 8 am on Doordarshan, DD News and DD Bharti. “This new version has a lot of energy because we didn’t want to make it static. The song begins softly with a lilting melody, which has a lullaby kind of feel to it with ‘aalaps’. Then, with Sunidhi’s vocals making an entry, the song goes into the rock genre. The final part is a jam and my favourite, with all the artistes doing their bit,” says Ghosh.
With as many as 15 vocalists on board, he admits that it was tough to have all of them sing as few as six lines. “Since the national song comprises only the first two stanzas of Bankim’s original poem, we had to work with that only, though, we were tempted to use more verses. But I feel we used it to it’s full potential and achieved a challenging task quite easily,” says the Kolkata-based musician.
With a huge array of artistes on board, the process of recording the song was almost like taking a multi-city tour for Ghosh. “I travelled for a week from Kolkata to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to record the song,” he says.
* Maa Tujhe Salaam (1997): AR Rahman’s version was released as part of 50th anniversary of India’s independence
* Vande Mataram, Anand Math (1952): This popular patriotic song was rendered by Lata Mangeshkar