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With Hindi, these indie musicians fight stereotypes

The indie music scene now boasts of a number of singers-songwriters who perform in Hindi. On World Music Day, we speak to these frontmen -- Prateek Kuhad, IP Singh, Arijit Datta.

music Updated: Jun 21, 2014 20:32 IST
Nirmika Singh
Nirmika Singh
Hindustan Times

Till not very long ago, being a Hindi singer in the indie music circuit came with its own set of stereotypes. Surprisingly, although pop bands such as Euphoria and Indian Ocean — which wrote in the language too — were runaway successes back in the day, the 90s indie music circuit hardly boasted of any young musicians writing in Hindi.

Probably because doing so, automatically brought in comparisons with the uncool Bollywood music of that time.


"Hindi songs were considered only to be about ‘pyaar’ (love) and ‘dard’ (pain)," says IP Singh, vocalist of Delhi-based band Faridkot.

Read:June 21 is World Music Day

We’ve come a long way since then. Language is neither a determinant of an artiste’s identity, nor a classifying category anymore. Case in point: singer-songwriter Ankur Tewari, who with his breezy melodies and Urdu-sprinkled lyrics, made an instant connect with the audience when he debuted on the indie music circuit a few years ago.

Here’s what other home-grown musicians, who also write in Hindi, have to say about this trend.

Read:Technological advancements made in music
Ankur Tewari (singer-songwriter), Prateek Kuhad (vocalist, Faridkot), Arijit Dutta (vocalist, Airport).
'I started with English and then moved to Hindi'

- Prateek Kuhad (singer-songwriter)

His aim was to break the linguistic barriers with his music, and if the popularity of Prateek Kuhad’s music is anything to go by, he’s done it successfully. "I started with English and then moved to Hindi. So I am equally comfortable writing in both the languages," he says. The process of songwriting, he feels, is spontaneous. "I start with composing the guitar parts and then go on to the hook line, followed by the lyrics. I try not to have any control on the language I like to express in," says Kuhad, who released his EP, Raat Raazi, last year, and performed at quite a few festivals too.
'You get to connect more with the audience'

- IP Singh (vocalist, Faridkot)

With Singh, writing in Hindi wasn’t a case of going back to his roots, because, he’d never left them in the first place."I was not exposed to western music for a long time. I grew up listening to classical, folk and Bollywood music," says Singh, whose band, Faridkot, recently released Phir Se?, its second album. "Lyrically, Bollywood songs are picking up more day-to-day themes," he says. So what is the biggest upside of performing Hindi songs? "You get to connect more with the audience," says Singh.
'Writing in Hindi came naturally to me'

- Arijit Datta (vocalist, Airport)

For Arijit Datta, it wasn’t a question of choice. "Writing in Hindi came naturally to me. The first time I ever wrote a song was in Hindi," says Datta, who is looking forward to the release of his band, Airport’s upcoming album. "I’ve witnessed those times when Hindi writers were looked down upon. But I never cared. Now, even people who thought it was ‘uncool’ to write in Hindi are doing it," he adds.