Singer Shalmali Kholgade (29), is turning a new leaf in the new year. She is thrilled about kick-starting her independent career with the song, Aye. And, she has not only composed and written the song, but also directed the music video. In many ways, 2016, she says, was a year of firsts for her — she made her maiden appearance on a music reality TV show, Angels of Rock, wrote and composed her first single, and also got behind the camera to film the video. “The entire experience felt like going back to school,” she says
But we don’t see any of the excitement when we meet her. She is quite the opposite actually, almost distraught with a sharp toothache. However, she assures us that she needs just 10 minutes to get back to her real self. Some food and a painkiller later, Kholgade is beaming about the year that just went by.
“I have always wanted to compose my own music. But with back-to-back Bollywood projects, I lost track of what I wanted to do. I was second guessing my ideas, and was convinced that songwriting and composing were not for me,” she says. Her single, Aye, too, began as just an idea in her head. The song celebrates women’s empowerment. Kholgade wrote the song after being inspired by the journeys of a number of women she met throughout her life. The lyrics send out the message of combating societal pressure, and being who you want to be: “dekh, main bhi khadi yahaan pe zara, sun le tu meri; rokoge mujhe jo bhi yahaan, parkhein to koi.”
And the way the lyrics reflect strength, Kholgade, too, was focused and clear about what she wanted from the video: she had her ideas in place and was determined about not wanting to be overshadowed by someone else’s vision. So she contacted her friend, cinematographer Anuj Sangtani, put together a production team, and shot the video in 10 hours at Richardson & Cruddas mills in Byculla.
From sitting in on the post-production sessions to learning colour correction, the entire process, she believes, was her most major learning of the year. “I was a first bencher in school. In fact, I was so inquisitive that, if I could, I would sit on the teacher’s table to clear my doubts. Understanding the process of direction was like going back to being that inquisitive student; I unlocked a cool side of my brain. I think someday I would love to direct a feature film too,” she says.
Watch out: The music video releases on online platforms on January 9