BOSTON—Over 600 people packed the MIT’s Kresge Auditorium on Saturday to watch the live release of “Jaan Meri” music video album by Indian-American singer Anuradha Palakurthi-juju who was accompanied by Ustad Nishat Khan, one of India’s finest musicians and a virtuoso sitar player who composed music for the “Jaan Meri” album.
The six-song album features the talents of 70 musicians and over 450 people involved in the production of the videos that were filmed across the globe from Hollywood to Bollywood to Baku in the Central Asian nation of Azerbaijan. The album cover was designed and produced by Bappa Lahiri and his team in Mumbai. Lyrics were penned by Mehboob Kotwal, Manoj Yadav, Bullesha and Boston’s evocative poetess, Sunayana Kachroo.
“The title song ‘Jaan Meri” took my breath away,” said Anuradha. “Unlike most songs these days that have programmed music that is played in a loop, Jaan Meri has a huge string section. The Mumbai orchestra is playing in it. It has fantastic violins and the arrangement is quite grand. I feel it is operatic.”
Anuradha said that Ustad Nishat Khan first had to create the melody for the Jaan Meri song, then she had to fit the lyrics in the right meter into that melody.
“The location for the title song is also quite grand: an opera house in Baku Azerbaijan,” said Anuradha. “Photographer Sanjay Gupta treated it very grandly with some grand photography and angles and I love the passion dancer Ankita Maity brings to the video.”
Other songs of the music video are:
- Kabhi Humne Sarko Jhukaliya Kabhi Humne khud ko Manaliye, Shikvey kiye kabhi chup rahe Yun mohabbat ko Nibhaliya.
- Taang Mahi di Jaliyaan Kaag udaanwan Khaliyaan.
- Ishq ne kaha Mujhe..Tu mera Ishq hai Pooch le khuda se tere Dil ke tu kareeb hai.
- Dhool hatakar dekha to.
- Jaan Meri.
During the release ceremony, Ustad Nishat Khan formally introduced Anuradha to the audience as one of the greatest singers and told the audience: “You truly have an international artist in Boston.” Anuradha thanked her crew, audience and her husband, Prashanth Palakurthi, a Boston entrepreneur and philanthropist who has been one of her biggest fans and supporters.
Among the audience were some of the crew members, Bappa Lahri, cinematographer Yash Bhatt and poetess Ms. Kachroo, who wrote lyrics of two songs in the album.
“I have collaborated with Anuradha on three songs before Jaan Meri. In this album, we collaborated on two songs: Tattoo and Dhool hatakar dekha to”.
“Tattoo” is a fun dance number, more of a banter between two lovers.
“This was a little bit of a challenge for me because Ustad Nishat Khan saab had already composed the tune for this piece. I had to write on the tune, create a narrative from words that match the flavor of the tune as well as use phrases that are relevant in current times,” said Ms. Kachroo. “This is how Tattoo came about. Anuradha has sung it very differently, this is where her versatility comes into the play. The age of the characters on the video and the tonality of her voice are absolutely aligned. Lagta hai unki hee awaz hai.”
Ms. Kachroo, who also is a filmmaker, said “Dhool hatakar dekha to” is actually a poem.
“While we were discussing various ideas about the kind of content that we should create. Prashanth wanted to create something that reflects Anuradha’s Journey as an artist, the demands on her time as a caregiver and a nurturer, yet keeping her dream alive,” said Ms. Kachroo. “Sometimes it is not about the lack of support or the wrong choices but it is about ‘Timing’ and the struggle to keep your dream alive..pulsating ..until Sahi waqt aata hai . This song is very heavy on imagery ..Zevar ke dabbe mein tevar, Hausle kee do boondein, Khwaab dupehri nachata raha.. leading upto Meri parvazon ki zidd pe asmaan ne bahein kholi….”
Rajiv Gangurde, a Boston singer, said that describing her own musical journey through poignant imagery, the highlight of the album, ‘Dhool hatakar’ won audiences over for the sheer magic of Anuradha’s voice and the elegant tapestry of words woven together by Boston’s very own lyricist, Ms. Kachroo.
“Besides the rediscovering of one’s own dreams captured so eloquently by Sunayana and expressed remarkably by Anuradha, the album features five other songs, each with its own unique flavor,” Mr. Gangurde said.
Ketki Tanna, who attended the release of Jaan Meri release, was touched by Palakurthis.
“I also had tears in my eyes when Anuradha emotionally acknowledged Prashanth. I told the people I was with that it is heartwarming to see a husband appreciate and understand all his wife’s sacrifices while he was building his business to now dedicate his time and energy to her passion,” said Ketki Tanna, who attended the show. “It’s her time to shine now and he is doing everything he can to make that happen. That’s true love.”
Another couple Bipin and Meera Parekh who attended the video music release said that Palakurthis have created a unique musical video and produced a never before seen video album.
“The two-part program featured Ustad Nishat Khan sitar concert followed by Anuradha Palakurthi and Nishat Khan taking us through the making of the video and gave us a glimpse of the enormous amount of creative work that culminated in the production of an amazing video of mellifluous renditions by Anuradha, superb composition by Nishat Khan, tuneful musical arrangement, nice lyrics, pleasant dance choreography and performances by talented artists, masterfully sound mixing to produce a never before seen video album,” said Parekhs.
During the program, both Anuradha and Ustad Nishat Khan fielded questions from the audience about various aspects of the video production.
“I personally liked the discussion of incorporating classical raagas in a contemporary and upbeat sounding tunes,” said Mr. Parekh. “The Jaan Meri team deserves our appreciation and compliments as they spent a great deal of creative energy scoping out the selection of locations, art design and direction, coordinating and bringing out the best aptitude from over 500 individuals. We are fortunate to have witnessed such an iconic program.”
The music video album Jaan Meri was produced by Juju Productions, LLC, a Boston-based music and video production company. Manisha Jain, CEO of Juju Productions, which earlier this year also launched “Music Room” with veteran Bollywood singer and composer Bappi Lahiri and his son Bappa Lahiri on Zee TV Americas, served as emcee of program.
Anuradha has performed many live music concerts with Bollywood singers across the United States, and has been recognized as the top-rated singer of Indian origin by industry legends.
She has performed live with Bollywood singers like Kumar Sanu, Suresh Wadkar, Deepak Pandit and Bappi Lahiri across the United States. Anuradha has recorded a duet with Hariharan for Ekal Vidyalaya – composed by guitarist Prasanna with drummer Sivamani and a group of 14 multiple-Grammy winning musicians from across the globe. She sings in six Indian languages and has recorded playback for South Indian films.
JuJu Productions is a Boston-based music and video production company. It creates music that attracts global audiences, transcends national and cultural boundaries while rooted in evolving Indian traditions.