Posted by Fenil Seta
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 8, 2017)
On Janmashtami (August 14), Hema Malini will make her debut as a singer with an eight-track bhajan album, Gopala Ko Samarpan, to be released at the ISCKON temple in Juhu. The music has been composed by maestros Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Rajan and Sajan Mishra.
The actress-Parliamentarian credits poet Narayan Agarwal for convincing her to take on this challenge. A Krishna bhakt, he has penned the lyrics of all the eight bhajans and wanted Hema to sing them since he heard her chanting Soundarya Lahari — a famous literary work in Sanskrit believed to be written by sage Pushpadanta and Adi Shankara — in an album a couple of years ago. “Her Sanskrit pronunciation is impeccable and that’s vital for any recitation. Hemaji was initially unsure if her political assignments would leave her with enough time to rehearse. It was a Herculean task and needed plenty of coordination but I didn’t let go,” he beams, recounting that the ‘Dream Girl’ finally gave in.
Hema had sung for the first time in 1977 for Kishore Kumar’s Bengali track, “Gun Gun Gun Kore Je Mon”, which released during Durga Puja. Last year, she sang a duet with Babul Supriyo in his music video “Aji Suniye Toh Zara”. Explaining her initial reluctance to sing this time around, Hema says, “I’m not a professional singer and didn’t want to do anything half-heartedly. He insisted I listen to the compositions before taking the final call.” She admits she was under a lot of pressure to measure up, given that such stalwarts have composed the tunes, and did riyaaz for almost six months under Gagan Singh, rehearsing even on a flight. “I was really nervous because every composition is different and I had to keep the mood, the situation and the rhythm in mind.”
The songs were recorded at Lata Mangeshkar’s studio in the suburbs. Bhushan Lakhandri has choreographed a music video for one of the tracks. An added attraction is a few lines in Braj bhasha, which acts as a prelude to the tracks and explains the song’s situation. “I requested veteran lyricist Ravindra Jain to pen these lines. This is probably dada’s last work,” Hema says emotionally.