It was probably the endearing video and the sweet melody of the song Piya Basanti that ensured it was an instant hit in 2001, at the peak of the indi-pop music boom in India. The song, a duet composed by Sandesh Shandilya, was sung by Ustad Sultan Khan and Chitra. Now, over a decade later, the team behind the track, and the eponymous album that it was featured on, is back with a sequel.
Titled Piya Basanti… Again, this new compilation has eight songs and will release at the end of this month. Out on Sony Music, the album also features the previously unheard recordings of Khan, who passed away last year in November. “The album was pending for a long time and I’m very happy to release it after spending seven years recording it. The experience of working with the team once again was phenomenal,” says Sandesh.
With five original songs by Sandesh, the album also offers two folk numbers and a remix track by DJ Rishabh. It will be available for digital download. “Chitra’s velvety voice has added value to the album. We’ve also brought in a Sufi touch,” he says.
Piya Basanti earned immense popularity back when it released. Ask Sandesh if the expectations were too high this time, and he says, “There is always pressure to deliver something better than what was offered a decade ago.”
Sabir Khan, son of Ustad Sultan Khan, adds, “Piya Basanti left a mark on the music industry. It was a perfect combination of classical Indian and Western styles of music. And this unique blend will be seen again.”
Sabir is also hopeful that the independent music industry, which was stifled due to the excessive focus on Bollywood music, will witness a resurge soon.
“I feel that albums give independent artistes an opportunity to present their talent, since not everyone gets a chance to work in films. Now that labels are slowly supporting them, things should change for the better.”