Salman Khan Niazi of Astitva: The band was literally started in our bedroom
Salman Khan Niazi and Zaman Khan, members of the Delhi-based multi-genre Hindi band Astitva, talk about a decade of music and the joy of performing, as the band completed 10 years recently.music Updated: Sep 21, 2017 17:18 IST
Most college bands are formed with the dream of making it big in the music industry. Delhi-based multi-genre Hindi band Astitva had something similar in mind, when they began their journey 10 years ago. And that dream has been fulfilled. From performing in college and winning inter-college competitions to touring the world and lending their music to various projects, the band has seen a meteoric rise over the past decade — they don’t plan to slow down.
“The band was literally started in our bedroom,” says Salman Khan Niazi, lead vocalist of Astitva. “It was just Zaman (Salman’s brother and lead guitarist) and I, in the beginning. We came from a very strong music background, with three generations of celebrated musicians in the family. I trained in Indian classical music, while Zaman chose to train in Western classical as he had a keen interest in it.”
It was during the brothers’ college days that Astitva finally became the five-member band it is today. “It was in Ramjas College that we met our drummer Ayush Gupta, who was a senior. Kamal (keyboardist) and James (bass guitarist) were from different bands, but once we all started jamming together, we knew we had the perfect team,” says Salman.
The band then started to perform at various inter-college competitions, and won most of them. “There was no looking back. We did great performances, composed the anthem for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and soon also became the youngest composers to lend an entire album to a Bollywood movie, Valentine’s Night (2012). The anthem for the Games was also chosen as the song for the Delhi tableau for the Republic Day next year,” he says. “We’ve performed around the world since then, and recently released another original track, Dil Banjaara, which got more than a million views in less than a week. We are working on an upcoming Bollywood movie, too, so our fans can keep a lookout for it.”
Busy as they are, the band members still enjoy performing for the college crowds more than anything else. “We’ve done a lot of shows across the world, have also performed for corporate firms. But the joy of performing for the college audience is unparalleled,” says Zaman. “We’ve been a part of that crowd when we were young, and now entertaining the crowd is a high that we just love. The college audience is receptive and adaptive. They enjoy the kind of music we do and it’s a complete pleasure performing for them.”
He adds, “There’s a certain sense of nostalgia about these performances — they keep us rooted and remind us of all the work we’ve put into coming where we have now.”
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