Rehearsing every day for at least nine hours at a stretch to ensure you give a flawless performance is not easy. But if you have music maestro AR Rahman for company, it is worth every second of it. Thatâ€™s what singer Shweta Pandit, who will be performing at AR Rahmanâ€™s much-awaited Jai Ho Concert: The Journey Home World Tour, feels. She spoke to TOi about meeting Jermaine Jackson, the songs sheâ€™ll sing with AR, and more…
â€˜Jermaine performed for me!â€™
Shweta, whoâ€™s been rehearsing for the last 12 days at the Centre Stage in Los Angeles, USA, was quite thrilled when she got to meet Jermaine Jackson. â€œThis is such an amazing place. Several celebrities come here for their practice sessions. We had Jackson (Jermaine) rehearsing adjacent to our hall. The Pussycat Dolls and Miley Cyrus were also here. Itâ€™s amazing how much they all love Indian music. While discussing that, I told Jermaine that in Bollywood flicks, the actors lip sync songs and that there isnâ€™t a separate soundtrack. In fact, Jermaine was quite amazed after he heard some Indian music. He said, â€˜We havenâ€™t listened to these beats,â€™â€ she recounts.
A self-admitted MJ fan, Shweta couldnâ€™t hold back her tears when Michael Jacksonâ€™s brother Jermaine performed for her. â€œIt was very sweet of him to perform for me despite the fact that he was busy with his private practice session. Thatâ€™s the time during which people arenâ€™t permitted to enter the rehearsal room. But Jermaine asked me if I wanted to attend his performance. And I readily agreed. I actually saw him perform Man In The Mirror. He did that especially for me and I just couldnâ€™t stop crying. I missed MJ a lot while Jermaine performed. It was a beautiful moment and inexplicable too. Even though MJ was missing, his music proved that it has the power to bind people. Music really has no boundaries.â€
â€˜Rahman has made a tremendous impactâ€™
It is Rahman, Shweta believes, who has helped Indian movies receive international acclaim. â€œAbout 60 per cent of the people involved in this tour are not Indians. A majority of them are not aware of whatâ€™s happening in India, but they sure know what Indian music is about. This, despite the fact that they were never introduced to Indian music before. Such is Rahmanâ€™s impact,â€ she says.
â€˜Iâ€™ll not just be singingâ€™
At least thatâ€™s how the concertâ€™s creative director Amy Tinkhamâ€™s sees it. Amy, who will have the dancers do some acrobatics too in the concert, wants Shweta to do more than just sing. â€œShe wants me to do a lot of stuff â€“ Bollywood moves in addition to a belly dance. Artistes perform here much differently. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m expected to do too. So, the viewers will get to watch both Western and Indian moves. Amyâ€™s dedication towards work is inspiring. It is not easy to be able to multitask. But she does it with much aplomb,â€ Shweta lets in.
â€˜Iâ€™ll be rendering Jai Ho with Rahmanâ€™
â€œI will be performing Hai Rama from Rangeela, which is quite difficult. Since I have Hariharanji as my co-singer, I ought to be extra cautious. With Rahman sir, I will perform Jai Ho, Vande Mataram and two more songs which he will let me know soon. Since Raavanâ€™s music has been launched, the viewers will also get to hear the tracks from this upcoming flick too. I know the songs from Raavan are still being finalised but Iâ€™m keeping my fingers crossed so that I get to sing Ranjha Ranjha,â€ says Shweta.
â€˜Rahman sir will jive tooâ€™
Shwetaâ€™s jig with Sivamani during the Sydney concert this year didnâ€™t go unnoticed. Even though it was impromptu, she did receive appreciation for her flawless performance. If she will do something similar while performing with Rahman remains to be seen. Says Shweta, â€œRahman sir is a reserved person. But once he begins to enjoy his music, he can be seen doing a few dance moves. He sure has a few dance steps for this tour too but hasnâ€™t revealed them. He doesnâ€™t fear dancing.â€