Preity Zinta Gets ‘Up Close and Personal’ With Hrithik Roshan

On her latest episode of  Up Close and Personal, Preity Zinta sits down with Hrithik Roshan. Dressed in a short blue sequined dress, Preity looks good. Hrthik made the effort and put on a suit.

The interview begins in Spanish and quickly goes back to Hindi.

Interview: Salim and Sulaiman Discuss ‘Azaan’s’ Music

Salim and Sulaiman Merchant are a music direction and production duo with immeasurable talent. With countless Bollywood hits and now mainstream attention, is there anything these men don’t do? With all the excitement and travelling I managed to catch Salim and Sulaiman to discuss their music for Azaan and even a North American Tour! Check out my exclusive interview.

Salim and Sulaiman

Zaynah: Azaan is an international release that tells a story of global threats of terrorism which are provoked by religious misconceptions. What are some of the emotions you wanted portray in the music you have created?
Salim/Sulaiman: We kept our music very pure, and had a prayer-like quality in each song. Even the love songs have that element of devotion in them. We kept the songs slow and beautiful to bring out the emotions of the characters they represented.

You will find a great blend of emotions in our music, and with tracks such as “Bismillah” you find the Sufi overtones. The beautiful thoughts of love, peace and harmony is heard in “Khuda Ke Liye.”

Zaynah: Did you face any particular challenges creating this soundtrack?
Salim/Sulaiman: To break the fast paced action sequences and spots we had to create songs that were interesting and not so relaxed; we maintained the level of the energy and did not ruin it. We take on each project individually; we have built up a great understanding with the Director Prashant Chada who happens to be a dear friend, we understood what he wanted to present. We are quite happy and based on the response so far we think fans are going to love the music.

Zaynah: Is there a standout track on the soundtrack for each of you?
Salim: Aafreen and Bismillah it’s hard to choose
Sulaiman: Aafreen and Habibi Habibi

Zaynah: Shweta Subram is an up and coming artist in Canada and

Shweta Subram

you have had the opportunity to work with her. How was that? Tell us about the collaboration.
Salim/Sulaiman: We wanted to do something special and unique for the IIFA’s in Toronto. We thought let’s perform our music with some Canadian talent. Canada and the U.S. have such a large South Asian Community and this would be a great opportunity for us to involve them directly with Bollywood and show the rest of the world Canada is not only a great IIFA hosting country but Canada is a country which allows Our culture to flourish even if it is oceans apart from India.

Our friend Moh set up some tryouts for local Canadian singers and performers that would be able to sing our Hindi tracks, and he really recommended Shweta.

Shweta was so humble and really picked up the track well and took direction from us. She has a great attitude and of course her skills are also good. She was a great fit and performed so well. We love to give opportunities to new talent. But she really took this chance and did a great job and we were so excited and happy for her also.

We also worked with a local guitarist and a bassist as well, who were performing with our band live. Johnny Morello and Gian-franco as well as Mr. Shahid Alikhan accompanied us on the song “Bismillah.”

It was a wonderful experience and we were happy to share that with the world and especially at IIFA.

Zaynah: Got to ask…what’s next?
Salim/Sulaiman: Well you know we also just released the our soundtrack for Aazaan, Love Breakups Zindagi, and Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl which has kept us quite busy and we just recently got signed to complete 4 more films which you will be hearing of in the near future as well as a North American Tour in March 2012. Make sure you come and share the experience

Interview: D-Sarb’s Mom Wrote ‘Dil Tera Jitena’

D-Sarb is a newcomer on the music scene who rose straight to the number one spot on iTunes. I was introduced to D-Sarb’s music a while ago and when his debut single “Dil Tera Jitena” dropped I knew my gut was right and this boy was a star!

Being one of my favorite new acts, I caught up with D-Sarb to find out more about the teen behind the music.

Zaynah: You may have stepped onto the music scene quietly, but boy have you made noise with your single “Dil Tera Jitena!” Before we find out more about the music tell us about yourself.
D-Sarb: First of all thank you! ‘Dil Tera Jitena’ has done well thanks to all the support shown by the fans. About me; I am 17 years old, I live in Oxford and I’m really enjoying doing what I love, which is creating music.

Zaynah: Being only a young teen this question may seem ridiculous, but when did you decide you were going to pursue a music career?
D-Sarb: Music was always something that I wanted to do. For as long as I remember I have been involved in music, and for that I have to give credit to my Father, who taught me how to sing from a very young age. Also playing the Tabla and Dholak and Harmonium gave me the grounding to go into singing. I really pursued singing in early 2010 at the age of 16 when D-Boy signed me to BeatCircle.

Zaynah: Have you gotten any training through the years?
D-Sarb: In regards to training, my Father taught me early on, soon after I was taken under the wing of my Ustad Ji Nafees Irfan, who then groomed my Tabla, Harmonium and Vocal skills.

Zaynah: You are singed to D-Boy’s Beat Circle Records and he is the producer behind your chart topping track, how did you meet?
D-Sarb: I first met the extremely talented D-Boy through Vips from VIP records. We got introduced and as time went on D-Boy decided to start BeatCircle and sign me in early 2010.

Zaynah: In interviews and videos sure we get a sense of who D-Boy is, but what is it like working with this brilliant producer?
D-Sarb: It really is a pleasure. He is always there as a mentor and a big brother. In the studio he really is a genius and never fails to have fun and experiment with new things in the music we create together.

Zaynah: Now onto your single “Dil Tera Jitena,” tell us about the creative process of this tune.
D-Sarb: ‘Dil Tera Jitena’ was written by my Mother! The song was truly was built upon musical vibes and creativity. I remember making the melody in my studio, then singing it to D-Boy for the first time, and it just fell straight in with the initial idea for the beat.

Zaynah: What is your reaction to hitting #1 on iTunes World Chart?
D-Sarb: It was such a crazy feeling. I never saw it coming. To have my first EP getting to number 1 on the iTunes world album chart was such a surprise especially being a new artist. I’m just glad people enjoyed what we as a team had created and went out and showed their support too.

Zaynah: As much as I am loving “Dil Tera Jitena” what’s next and when can we expect it?
D-Sarb: Next is ‘Music ‘N Me Volume 2 and Volume 3 we follow very soon after that. We also have two additional music videos shot, so everything is ready to go!

Zaynah: Do you have a message to all your new fans?
D-Sarb: To the fans, I just want to say a massive thank you for supporting me and my music. Watch out for new music, videos and performances. Plus, catch all the latest information on D-Sarb X

Interview: Sid’s Vlog Hits Day 320, What’s Next?

Sid has been entertaining us for 320 days with his video blogs, but how did he start…and what’s next? Sid tells me all the details.

Zaynah: What sparked your daily video blogs for a year?
Sid: This is going to a long answer!

A. Jealousy. I’m a very jealous guy and being overshadowed by the people you work with on things you put your life into is never cool. I wanted to be remembered for my work.

B. Loneliness. Just over a year ago, my ex dumped me and I had no-one to turn to or anyone that’d help as a friend. Working and productivity was my only release. Making a video blog everyday makes sure I stay productive.

C. Discipline. Commitment. Few people are barely able to make a commitment to themselves or loved ones let alone do something that they love. It’s Day 300 of making a video diary everyday. There are days when I wish I could quit and leave and start a new life away from the people I’ve met, but they don’t deserve to be left or hurt like that.

D. Perception. Everyone always told me that I should take each day as it comes but ni-one actually did. I decided to challenge that and in turn changed my entire outlook on time. The only that matters to me is “What did I do today?” I live my life, film it, edit it, upload it and share it to the world.

E. Productivity. Being idle is being useless to yourself and the people around you. Even on my laziest day, even when I’m I’ll and can barely move, I will make a video by the end of that day. No exceptions.

F. Memories. A persons memory can change the colour of a car, the size of a room, the look on someone’s face. Time fades and all we have is what we can scrape together in the back of our minds. I made the vlogs so when I’m 30, 40, hell, if I make it to 80, I can look back to anyday of my life and remember it AS it was.

G. Immortality. When I die, I’ll still be alive through these. Kind of like Voldemort’s Horcruxes. My children and grandchildren can see exactly how I lived, what I thought and saw as I was and not just faint characteristics that everyone might remember me from.

Zaynah: What’s the plan once your 365 days are up, can we expect blogs for another year?
Sid: Season 2 🙂

I look forward to the next season!

Interview: Foji Reflects on His Success

Bhangra artist Foji went from being a quiet artist on the scene to an international phenomenon who can dance! I caught up with Foji and we walked ourselves through his career. Check out my exclusive interview.

Zaynah: The success in your career has been building. The first I hear from you was “Bondhl-Gai” featuring New Yorker Gop Virk. How did this collaboration come to be?
Foji: I came across a YouTube video of Gop Virk collaborating with Cheshire Cat. I was impressed with his work and got in contact with him. He loved the track and wanted to be part of it.

Zaynah: At the time of the release of “Bondhl-Gai” did you have an album in the works?
Foji: Yes, I was working on my debut album Dafa Hoja, we only had 4 tracks ready at that time and finished and released it the U.K. for the end of October. It all worked out quite well as “Bondal Gai” was such a big track on the album.

Zaynah: Another collaboration on the album, and a big one at that, is with Miss Pooja. Were you two able to work in the studio together?
Foji: Yep, we got together for the collaboration and she seemed like the ideal vocalist for the song. She is a fantastic performer and artist it was a total pleasure to work with her.

Zaynah: Last year you dropped your debut album Dafa Hoja. How long was this project in the making?
Foji: Altogether it was about a three year process. The biggest challenge in general was trying to do something different with the album. For example, when naming the songs I tried to think of names that would attract attention and came up with titles such as “Dafa Hoja,” “Bruah” and “Bondhlgai.” When designing the album cover, I tried to think outside the box and came up with the lenticular card, as no one in the industry has done anything like this. Also, I like to think of different concepts for my videos instead of doing your typical standard Bhangra video.

Zaynah: What is one of your favorite songs on the album?
Foji: I love all my songs but if I had to mention one that really sticks out it would be “Kamlee” which is a dub-step style. I don’t think that anyone in the Bhangra industry has done a dub-step style of song, it is a very fresh style coming up in the mainstream and I thought I would do something totally new.

Zaynah: You’re fame hit a whole new level with “Pumbeeri” as it became an experience for your fans. What made you decide to do a flash mob?
Foji: Flash mob videos caught my eye whilst browsing on YouTube. I quickly realized that the Bhangra industry had not yet discovered this kind of creativity in their music videos, so whilst brain storming through ideas I thought to myself why not do a flash mob for a video. It was so much fun, we did 3 day rehearsals and the response was insane we had all religion, cultures, and ages joining in from 6 to 66!

Zaynah: Were you at all worried that you wouldn’t be able to recruit enough dancers or that people would not retain the choreography?
Foji: No, I was not worried at all because I deliberately worked out a straightforward routine which was simple to follow. I also put the routine up on Facebook to make it easier for people to learn. Till today when I perform it at weddings and gigs the whole party does the same moves, it’s like another flash mob!

Zaynah: After the drop of “Pumbeeri” you treated us to “Pumbeeri 2.” Why?
Foji: On the day that we did the video shoot for “Pumbeeri” we managed to film two takes, one inside the bullring (shopping mall) and one outside. Since the response to the outdoor video exceeded all expectations, we decided to edit and release the indoor footage.

Zaynah: With all eyes on you or looking for you in the mall with a surprise dance, what can we look forward to next?
Foji: I will be releasing a new video soon called “Minta”. Without giving too much away I can tell you that it will be a duet but I am going to leave the video concept a surprise. I am sure that you will not be disappointed.

Zaynah: Do you have a message for your fans?
Foji: I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me through my career, the response has been overwhelming and I hope you all enjoyed the album Dafa Hoja. If anyone has any comments, good or bad, please facebook, twitter or email me. Your feedback will be much appreciated.

Interview: Who is S Sid Ahmed, the Man in Front of the Lense?

S Sid Ahmed is a video blogger, music video producer, and someone’s work I have always admired. Sid has embarked on the journey of being the man in front of the lense has he has a video blog for each day. Away from it all, who is Sid and what’s next for him? I asked him all the right questions!

Zaynah: The man behind the lens is not applicable in your case as you are vloging through the year, so let’s take it back…what were you like as a kid?
Sid: As a kid, I was a loner intellectual. Strict upbringing. I was (and still am) very shy because my parents wouldn’t let me leave the house except for school. My cousins, of whom are about a decade older than me, went down a lot of wrong paths and my parents wanted to protect me from that. So they took to the Rapunzel route.

Most of my time was spent watching TV and Disney cartoons, so my world view was a pretty innocent one for the longest time. My best friend was Lego. I just created and built things in any way I could imagine.

Zaynah: As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sid: An Archeologist. I liked discovering things and looking back at history. I didn’t know who Indiana Jones was till I was 15. Way after I lost interest in becoming one.

Zaynah: At what point did you actively been directing videos?
Sid: I was 16 years old, Summer had just begun and GCSEs had finished. No friends, nothing to do so I did what any creative would do. I played the Sims 2. I played for 10 weeks, creating these worlds and then I discovered there was a recording function. Threw the clips into Windows Movie Maker and started telling stories and making music videos.

At the time, a new art form was developing on the Internet called Machinima. Using real-time computer technology to record and make films. Essentially, making films with video games. I was quite active in that circle for a long time. Then college started and I left the scene but took what I learnt and brought it with me.

Zaynah: What was your first video?
Sid: My first video ever would be a music video I made in the Sims 2 to Linkin Park’s “Numb.” my first video with people in them was a short film I made in college called “Confrontation.” I loved that film, but it got lost. Wasn’t too happy with that!

My first music video with people was a music video called “Switchback” which had me in it. I still use that to show clients. In fact, RKZ met me whilst I was editing that.

Zaynah: I have to ask, were you lucky enough to make friends with budding rappers or did you initially meet with RKZ, Raxstar, Strikey, etc. via business and then it become a friendship?
Sid: The story of me meeting the people I work with now is a glorious one! So, I’m making this music video. It was a blue-screen project in the final three weeks of college. Everyone else s doing the standard boring malarkey and I wanted to push some boundaries. I shot the video, edited it etc in the last three days. I just so happened to be dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow at the time.

RKZ was in his first year and was booked to use the edit suite that I was in. He had seen me running around the college dressed up as this gay pirate. The look on his face when he saw that I was in the room was priceless. I told him to sit down and let the current shot render before I exited. He was astounded by the video. Couple of days later, he adds me on MySpace and started planning Renegades.

I met Raxstar on the set of Renegades and a year later he came to me wanting to do a video for “Name On The Poster.” I met Strikey on the set of Elevation and the following day he Skyped me and we began talks for Average Londoner.

They all started as a mix of friendship and business. Projects aside, I can easily just have general conversations and hang out with them whenever as you would with friends.

Zaynah: I am very glad you are all friends because I love the music and love the videos there one particular project that stands out as a favorite?
Sid: Thank you. All the projects are very different. For me, “Name On The Poster” is the most visually extravagant. It was just free reign to blind as many different styles and visuals as possible in the time frame.

The two days we shot “Average Londoner” are probably the most fun I’ve had on any shoot. It was just non-stop travelling around London in full tourist style with the most ridiculous camera rig. The company was just awesome!

The most visually beautiful project for me, to date, is “The Other Man,” which should be coming out soon. I’ve become bored of music videos and Rax could tell. I told him I want to make this as a film, no performance, no words spoken, and no technology. Just a pure, simple story told as beautifully as we can.
No rapping, no singing. It’s just a simple short film. I plan on making all my future music videos the same way. Forget posing in style videos. It’s about creating something worth remembering.

Zaynah: In all honesty, do you spend more time socializing and less time working when you are all on a shoot?
Sid: Haha! At the beginning of a shoot day, it is literally all socialising. It’ll take ages for the first scenes to get done because we’re all either late or conversing. The first step is the hardest. Once we’re at the two/three hour mark, we kick into overdrive. By the end of the shoot, it gets aggressive. Everyone’s tired; there are still shots that need to be done, and socialising goes out the window. I’m usually very casual at the beginning of the day, let things slide. By the end of the day, I can’t take the softness anymore and just get harsh.

Zaynah: What is one of the greatest challenges you face when directing a video?
Sid: If it’s a music video; ego. No-one wants to look bad. Musicians are musicians and they pride themselves on being good at what they do. There are certain story lines they won’t accept or certain things they want. But at the end of the day, the direction of the visuals are mine and I’m going to make them look good. So “In Sid You Sure As Hell Better Trust!”

The other major challenge is that if you’re as relaxed as I am on set, everyone thinks they’re the director. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to try this and that. Granted, I’ll consider it, but it’s gets ridiculous after a while. I like to think I let people have their say, but there are times when I want to say “STFU and do what you’re supposed to do.”

I need to learn to be a lot stricter.

Zaynah: What projects are you currently working on?
Sid: Currently, I have just released “Average Londoner” by Strikey. I’ve finished “The Other Man” by Raxstar. RKZ has a track called “Forever” he wants to do. Strikey has already booked me for a track called “Never Back Down.”

I want to get back to making films and telling stories, so I’m trying to get a lot more short films done.

Zaynah: Because “In Sid We Trust” and final words for your fans?
Sid: Final words for the fans? I have fans?! Apart from “In Sid We Trust” I would say: You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are you. Every single one of you is important. Everything about you matters. Whether it’s a broken nail, a broken heart or a broken home. It all still matters. Don’t stop loving, because I’ll never stop loving you.

Stay tuned for part two with a little insight into the video blogs.

Interview: Shweta Subram Joins the Urban Desi Music Scene

Shweta Subram hails from Canada and she is ready to make her mark as an artist! With her debut single “Jee Le” now out and plenty more to come, I caught up with this songstress to get a taste of what’s to come.

Zaynah: Welcome to the Urban Desi artists fraternity! It is nice to see another lady on the scene. How long have you been hustling to put out your single “Jee Le”?
Shweta: Thank you for the warm welcome. I think it’s about time a lady rules the Urban Desi scene. “Jee Le,” being the story of my life, I decided to shape it into a song couple of months ago. I penned down the lyrics, composed the tune with the help of Vikas Kohli and within a couple of hours we came up with “Jee Le.” In May we shot the music video, June we released it and now here we are in July with people calling me “Jee Le” instead of ‘Shweta Subram’ every time they see me!

Zaynah: How did you go about deciding who you wanted to work with on the production?
Shweta: I honestly felt that there was no producer in Canada that understood the Urban Desi sound until Satish Bala, founder of Blueband media and organizer of Desifest, recommended me to Parichay. We met and realized that we have share similar musical influences and interests.

Zaynah: How was working with Parichay? Did you share studio space?
Shweta: Working with Parichay was an awesome experience. What helps is that we both have great musical sense and are open to feedback. Both Parichay and I focus on Urban Hindi music and have had similar musical influences growing up. I did record “Jee Le” at Parichay’s studio. So yeah we got to share studio space together.

Zaynah: With the debut single out, you also have a music video. Tell us about your video’s concept.
Shweta: The concept of my music video is people letting their hair loose and letting go of all their stress and singing and dancing to “Jee Le.”

Zaynah: Is there a special meaning or story behind the single or is it just a feel good track?
Shweta: “Jee Le” is the story of my life. Growing up, there were people that believed in me and supported me. But there were also people that were jealous and tried to pull me down. My mom always told me that it’s important to believe in yourself because challenges and hardships will come and go. Life is too short to delve on every detail. Be positive, live your dream, live your life.

Zaynah: I have noticed some news about IIFA performances. How have they been?
Shweta: The IIFA Rocks performance was fantastic. I performed with Bollywood maestros Salim and Sulaiman. The act included songs from their forthcoming film Azaan. I performed the song “Khuda ke Liye” with Salim and Sulaiman. It was great to share the stage with such talented music directors.

Zaynah: What has been the reaction from crowds while performing?
Shweta: All my performances have had amazing responses. People tell me I sound better live than in a recording. Everyone loved my performance at IIFA Rocks with Salim and Sulaiman.

Zaynah: I know it has only been a short while since you have launched your music career, but what has been one of the biggest hurdles you have faced thus far?
Shweta: Though I have many supportive friends and fans, my biggest hurdle is dealing with people who deliberately try to pull me down or interfere in opportunities that come my way.

Zaynah: I am sure you are already planning the next move in your career, any details you can share?
Shweta: I would like to keep that a surprise 🙂 I am working with some excellent producers and talent in the Urban Desi scene. Every song will have a different vibe to it and will prove my versatility as a singer. So it will be worth the wait!!

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