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Another goal for the Punditz

Electronic act Midival Punditz’ track ‘Atomizer’, from Hello Hello, makes it to FIFA 2010’s official video game.

tech reviews Updated: Apr 23, 2010 14:33 IST
Nikhil Taneja

For a country that hasn’t made the cut yet at the FIFA World Cup, India is making an incredible impact at this year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa. First, Kailash Kher was signed on by T-Mobile and Fender Guitars to collaborate with Didi singer, Cheb of Didi fame for a worldwide anthem.

Then, Salim-Sulaiman were handpicked by a corporate body, in association with FIFA, to record an anthem for the championship, where the duo plan to rope in Senegalese iconic singer, Youssou N’Dour.And now, a track by India’s most renowned electronica act, Midival Punditz, has been picked up by EA Sports’ official video game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

UK’s DJ Pathaan’s Dhol mix of the Midival Punditz track, ‘Atomizer’ will give company to tracks by Basement Jaxxx, Sergio Mendes and Michael Franti Spearhead, on the game.

Aggressive push
Says Tapan Raj, who forms one-half of the duo, along with Guarav Raina, “This was made possible by the aggressive push our record label, Six Degrees Record, have given to our latest album, Hello Hello, that released last year. So after having our earlier tracks featured on the video games Need for Speed - Cabon, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Ashes Cricket 2009, ‘Atomizer’ is now on the biggest game of them all.”

Ask Raj what video games look for in tracks - if the inherent ‘Indianness’ of a track makes it cooler - and he says, “I think different things work for different people. Atomizer is an English track with English lyrics, the dhol was recorded live on it later, so it could have been from anywhere and not necessarily from India.”

This isn’t the only track of the Punditz, from Hello Hello, that’s been remixed by a DJ. Delhi-based electronica act Jalebee Cartel has also done a remix of ‘Atomizer’, Electronic/DJ acts Bandish Project and Nucleya have also remixed ‘Tonic’ and ‘Atomizer’, while quite a few UK-based producers have also joined the club.

International attention
Raj smiles, “The album’s received a lot of attention from all quarters. We’ve been touring the album in Jakarta, USA, New Zealand, and have got a brilliant response from people who don’t even understand the lyrics. It’s things like these that inspire you, and proves that music is not bound by language. We’ve had people on their feet across the world.”

While Raj admits that the earlier Punditz’ albums were predominantly promoted in India, the duo has gone all out with this album, and it’s got them worldwide attention. Late last year, the album featured on Amazon.com’s list of Best Albums of 2009, and this year, the Punditz were invited to perform at the International Java Jazz Festival at Jakarta.

But where the world is grooving to the Punditz’ music, Raj expresses his disappointment at the treatment given to non-Bollywood music in India. “It’s sad that we don’t get airplay or support from radio stations within our country, when we’ve got a huge support system abroad,” Raj says. “We’ve been receiving airplay consistently abroad, and are gigs in India are always sold out, yet the audio/video media hasn’t pushed the album. I find it quite odd.”

Raj find a silver-lining in the audiences’ response in India, though. “The response from the people is unbelievable,” he smiles. “People keep leaving us messages on Facebook and Twitter, and that really keeps us going. We know there’s definitely a market because the audience loves it – it’s just that the radio stations don’t realise the market.”

Coming up next
The Punditz are now taking a break for a month in India, after which they’ll work with long-time collaborator and friend, Karsh Kale, on his upcoming album, and start writing the material for their next album.In the meanwhile, the duo is in the process of finalising their first video for Hello Hello. “It could be on ‘Atomizer’, Naina lagey or Har ek baat, we haven’t figured it out yet,” Raj admits. “But hopefully, the video should be out in a month.”