Hema Malini has always been in the forefront of Indian art and culture, a true karma yogi, and now will debut as a singer on Janmashtami with a full fledged eight-track bhajan album ‘Gopala Ko Samarpan’ at the ISCKON temple on Sunday 13th August in Juhu, Mumbai. It also marks the coming together of Indian classical legends like Pandit Hari Prasad Chauasia, Rajan Sajan Mishra and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma specifically for the actress – parliamentarian Malini.
Says Malini, “The entire credit goes to Narayan Agarwal, a Krishna bhakt, who is known for bringing out the best of Jagjit Singh and Anup Jalota bhajans. When Narayanji asked me to sing 8 tracks for this album I was hesitant to sing as I am not a professional singer, and didn’t want to do anything in a half hearted manner. But he insisted that I should listen to all the compositions first, before taking the final call”
After hearing all the compositions she realized the importance of the album. She adds, “You don’t get to share platform with legends like Pandit Jasraj ji, Hariparsadji, Rajan Sajan ji and Shiv Kumar Sharmaji that often. And when such stalwarts have composed the tunes, then it was a tremendous pressure on me to perform well. Besides every track is differently composed, keeping the mood and situations in mind”
Being a thorough professional as always, Malini did her riyaaz for almost six months under the tutelage of Guruji Gagan Singh, at times rehearsing even on the flights.
Malini got so involved in the project that she wanted to incorporate the Braj Language as a prelude to all the tracks and requested Ravindra Jain to pen a few lines. “”Dada was very fond of me and it is probably his last work. Before every track I have used dialogues (bol) to explain the situation of the song,” says the emotional actress turned singer.
Poet Narayan Agarawal penned eight lyrics for this album. He has been a devotee of Lord Krishna and wanted Hema to be a part of this album. “Since the time, I heard her chanting Soundarya Lahiri in an album couple of years ago, I knew that she would sing bhajans beautifully. Her Sanskrit pronunciation is impeccable and that’s vital for any recitation. But Hemaji was not ready to sing eight tracks because she required enough time to rehearse before the recording, and keeping her film and political assignments in mind, it needed a lot of coordination. But I didn’t let it go, it was a herculean task, but we have achieved it finally,” says Narayan Agarwal.
All the eight Bhajan tracks were recorded at Lata Mangeshkar’s studio in Mumbai suburbs. The music video has been choreographed by Bhusan Lakhandri and will be aired on ZEE channels.
Incidentally, Malini sang for the first time in 1977 for Kishore Kumar, Bengali album “Gun Gun Kore Je Mon”, released during Durga Puja which had become a chartbuster.
Last year too Babul Supriyo launched a music video that marked Malini’s musical sojourn as a duet singer with Babul in “Aaji Suniye Zara”.