Rock band collaborates with Grammy winner for Punjabi song

Updated: Sep 25, 2013, 11:32 AM IST

Chennai: Popular Indian rock band, Agnee, is all set to release a Punjabi song soon for which they have collaborated with Grammy winner and bass player Etienne Mbappe from Cameroon.

Besides, the Pune based band have their hands full working on three films-- `Bakrapur` directed by Janaki Vishwanathan, which has an unusual protagonist-- a goat named Shah Rukh; `Mango` by Abbas Tyrewala and `Rockin` Love by Deepak Tijori.

"... We collaborated with Grammy winner and fantastic bass player Etienne Mbappe (from Cameroon) last year for a Punjabi song that we`ll release soon... And that was super fun," said Mohan, lead vocalist of the band which did the Hindi theme song `Hello Andheron` for the smash hit Marvels` superhero film "Avengers" India release last year, said.

Agnee had beaten back the challenge of fellow country band Euphoria, and Pakistani rock outfits Strings` and Jal to compose and sing the soundtrack.

Asked about `Bakrapur`, Mohan said, "The film itself is very different, right from the premise of the film to the way the story is presented, so the music and the lyrics also follow..."

The lyrics are by Pancchi Jalonvi.

"The background score of the film, done by our music producer, Aditya Pushkarna, is very rustic and in line with the film`s setting and visuals. You`ll find a lot of sounds of rural India in the score. In the songs, however, we`re not necessarily sticking to the same thing, and we`re treating each song for what it is meant to convey."

"The promotional song`s work in progress, and we expect to have it ready by end of the month."

About the two other films, he said `Rockin` Love is halfway in shoot and they are acting as themselves in the movie. "All the members of the band are in the movie, playing who we are in real life."

"For Mango, we`re doing music, and Aditya (key boardist) and Koco (lead guitarist) are acting in that as actors playing characters.... The shoot`s pretty much done, and we`re getting into final production for all the songs."

Mohan acknowledged that the song for "Avengers" definitely helped them a lot "with people abroad realizing that there was a band in India called Agnee (and these were mostly non-Indians, not Indians living abroad)."
However, it did come with its share of brickbats as well, he said.

"... We also had a lot of people from all over the world going completely crazy over how Disney could even think of a Hindi rock song for the Avengers, and then of course they didn`t take too much time to dislike the song either. But there were a few comments from music and film critics abroad about how they didn`t understand a word but loved the song and guitar solo, so that was great."

Abbas Tyrewala, who penned the lyrics, was magic with the words, he said.

Mohan has had the "good fortune" of being called to sing some "lovely" songs for friends and composers he admires - `Khanabadosh` from London Dreams for SEL, `Naav` (Udaan), `Saaye` (I Am) and Shikayatein (Lootera) for Amit Trivedi, `Yaarian` (Cocktail) for Pritam, `Zindagi ka Karobaar` (Inkaar) for Shantanu Moitra and `Barbadi` for Bobo (Amartya Rahut)..

He has also sung a couple of songs in Bengali (in fact the whole of Agnee has been involved in these songs) for composer Indraadip Dasgupta.

"However, I`m not really very keen to push that side of my career.. I am very happy to sing songs for these composers, (have sung a few more that will be released soon), but quite happy to keep it limited to a few songs.. Songs that I`d love to sing."

They are working on their brand and logo and have roped in brand consultant Roshnee Desai for that ".. We`ll be launching a single with that."

"After that will be an album with Saregama, reinventing 10 key songs from their catalogue of songs from the 30`s and 40`s.. And of course, the film releases. We`re also working with Star TV for their channel Life Ok and a few themes for one of their shows... So it`s exciting times."

Asked to pick Agnee`s top ten songs, Mohan said it was "tough and sort of narcisstic. Don`t know whether this should be done at all! But yes, having said that, we do have our own favourites among the songs we`ve made.. So here`s a list of what I can think of right now."

"Sadho Re (from our first album), `Kaise Ho Tum` (a single released in 2010), `Moray Baanke Chhaliya` (The Thumri from `Dil Dosti Etc` that we also performed at MTV Unplugged), `Sadaa` (from the Marathi film Shala), `Soniye` (from Aalaap), `Dil Ye Awaaz De` (from Aalaap), `Aahatein` (for Splitsvilla), `Hello Andheron` (for Avengers), `Aankhein Teri Ho Ya Meri Ho` (for Splitsvilla last year),`Silsila` (for Roadies this year).
Agnee turned music producers with `Aalaap` last year but Mohan is quite disappointed with the response to it.

".. We wish the music had played a lot more. The reviews of the music were fantastic and whoever has heard the songs has loved them, but unfortunately the film just didn?t do well at all and hardly had any time in theatres or in promotion on TV and Radio."

Besides Mohan, Koco,and Aditya Pushkarna, the band, which was formed in 2006, comprises Among Jamir on bass, Hrishikesh Datar on Drums, Pradeep Ratanjankar "as our music tech (and also on some flying guitar solos at times), Nitin Joshi on sound (and also on singing/ whistle solos etc sometimes) and Emmanuelle de Decker as our manager (and who`s also done her debut with us as a singer)."