STEP ONE: Shortlisting a juryHow do you pick a jury from the vast universe of Bollywood music, anyway? We won’t name names but we struck off plenty. “She’s too new to know enough!” “He’s a recluse.” “Nobody remembers HER anymore. Not even her mom!” “He has no opinions, ya! He’ll like anything you ask him to like.”
STEP TWO: Coordinating with those on the list “Only 10 songs? Oho! That’s very tough! Could I get a few days to prepare the list?” “Please call later, I need time for this!” “The number you’re trying to reach is switched off.” These lines were on loop ad nauseam – for days, weeks, months. But the interview was always worth it – some went on for hours, just talking about music!
STEP THREE: Trying not to fall in love with those cute as a button Afsana Ahmed got to eat some yummy kanda poha (and go over hundreds of Lataji’s songs) when she went over to meet the nightingale. Ashaji told us it was the toughest task imaginable to choose 20 songs out of a career spanning over 70 years. “My list goes far beyond,” she said. Anu Malik and I sang together (We sang Jaanejaan dhoondhta phir raha and Kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisaar) on the phone – my longest (but most favourite) phone interview, ever! Sunidhi Chauhan burst into song too! Kavita Krishnamurthy was the most humble. Salim Merchant was the quickest to give me his list.
STEP FOUR: Putting it all together – productionMrs Vartak from the National Film Archive of India, Pune, and Neha from Kamat Foto Flash are rockstars for sending us the gorgeous photos. Then we brought speakers to the office so we could work with The Great Bollywood Playlist playing in the background all day (and some nights), for weeks. Alas! It’s over now – we had such a great time putting this issue together. We hope you like it!
From HT Brunch, September 1
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