Counting The Success Of Mirzapur 2 With Its Music Cast

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By Roy

It has been more than a month of Mirzapur season 2’s launch and fans cannot stop talking about the outstanding soundtrack the series has. Curated by a team of accomplished artistes, the jukebox of Mirzapur 2 highly proves the wonders of OTT platforms in music as well. So, as the series continues to keep the fans’ spirit high, we have brought you the candid side of its music cast.


Anand Bhaskar

It’s always better for songs to be backed by visuals that leave a stronger impact on the listeners’ minds. This isn’t the case with the songs on the Mirzapur soundtrack, for both season 01 and season 02, barring songs like Vaaroon, Saure Chali Ve, Lallanwa and Raakh. The songs play more of a situational role in the series, however, despite that, the audience of the show is picking up on the small sections peppered throughout the seasons. This has led to them spinning the whole soundtrack on audio streaming platforms. This is allowing the music to pick up organically and has resulted in a lot of buzz around the songs. I’ve gotten a lot of messages since the release of Mirzapur Jukebox on Zee Music’s YouTube channel, and they’ve all been about how fresh the songs sound to them. The Zee Music YouTube channel has 64 million subscribers and that has definitely helped the songs reach out to a wider audience. 

One of the songs ‘Munna Rap’ has also been given an Official Music Video which features Divyenndu who has grabbed the attention of millions with his spectacular performance as Munna Bhaiyya. 
 
Before Mirzapur, I was known for my work in advertising campaigns as well as my band ‘Anand Bhaskar Collective’ which is primarily a rock act. This project will showcase my skills outside of my band’s music as well as what I do for ads as it is quite different from what people have known me for. 
 
I was originally called in to compose a song with ‘Sufi’ influences for Season 01. The reference given to me was quite daunting. This combined with the fact that I had never done anything in that space made me a little nervous. However, when I sat down to write that song. I was able to come up with something that both the directors liked. That song went on to become ‘Vaaroon’ which is now loved by millions of people. That aside, I was asked to compose a Bhojpuri song (Sajanwa Ki Gunwa) and a Punjabi wedding song (Saure Chali Ve) which feature on the Season 01 soundtrack. 
 
It was when I asked Abbas Khan and Rupali Vaidya (the producers of the show) about how they got to know about me is when I got to know that it was Ankur Tewari (of Ankur & The Ghalat Family) that recommended me for the show. 
 
Fortunately, after the success of the first season, I was called back for the second season and this time I had to compose six songs for six different situations. 
 
My journey in music started when I was around 3 or 4 years old. I was actively interested in singing and had a natural talent for it. I grew up on a lot of different types of music. My musical journey also included training in Carnatic music and picking up nuances of Hindustani classical music from various teachers and collaborators over the years. Apart from Indian music, I have been heavily influenced by international pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, R&B and electronic music and am an avid seeker and listener of new music.
 
Munna Rap was the last song to be composed for Mirzapur, and it was also the hardest one to compose. I had to mix influences from UP folk as well as from modern hip hop to achieve the right sound for the song. I made a bunch of options which I scrapped myself because I was sure Mihir (the director) wouldn’t like it. We had almost given up on the song when one day I sat down to compose something random on my Digital Audio Workstation. I started chopping up some Saarangi samples which gave birth to Munna Rap’s main hook. After that it took me 30 minutes to finish the song including dummy lyrics. I knew immediately after it finished that everybody’s going to love it, and so they did. 
 
My upcoming projects include a web series titled ‘Bombay Begums’ for Netflix, for which I’ve composed all the songs. I’m also doing a lot of playback for films as well as composers of other web series. I’m also working on my band’s upcoming EP titled ‘Ufaq’, my solo album as well as some English songs. 
 
My versatility stems from a combination of a lot of factors. I’m a Malayalee born and raised in New Delhi, and because of that I am fluent in Hindi. I’ve trained in various forms of Indian Classical singing, especially Carnatic. I’m also an avid listener of music and have been listening to thousands of artistes every day for the last 30 years. All of this has contributed to the development of a musical style that I can call my own, and this diversity in my life and listening habits enables me to push my own limits whether I’m singing for somebody else or composing for my own projects. It’s also important to always remember that striving to change the status quo from within is what will contribute towards your growth. Hard work beats talent 7 days a week.
 
 


Ginny Diwan
Lyricist Ginny Diwan affirms that Mirzapur as a project covers 360 degrees of music in its respective genres. Sharing her experience with the venture, she says, “Anand and I knew each other from the time of Baaghi 2, as Anand had sung the theme song that I had written. Our association moved forward when Anand approached me to write a Punjabi number for his band. Since then, we have been on working together on numerous projects.”
Ginny’s journey as a lyricist happened quite interestingly. Having spent over two decades into advertising in Delhi with agencies like FCB, JWT, Contract, she chanced upon coming to Bombay 7½ years back.

Although, she had been secretly writing poems since her childhood. But it was Raja Menon, (who was then directing Airlift), who gave her the confidence to write lyrics.
As she says, “Poetry is the base of any lyric writing but with more technicalities.”
Today, after having written songs for films like Baaghi 2 and Baaghi 3, Jai Mummy Di, Mirzapur album (season 1 & 2), PariWar and other OTT platforms, this is what she has to say, “Various platforms give you a different experience in writing. For instance, in advertising, you have to tell the entire story wisely in 30 seconds. So each word is weighed and delivered.
While writing songs for Bollywood films, one facilitates in raising the EQ of the situation and also helps in drawing public through the its entertainment value. Bollywood numbers definitely gives you a larger audience.
While writing lyrics for OTT platforms, the songs are written to support the situation as if they are also a part of the entire storytelling process. The writing has to take the story forward or slip into the character. As it’s a longish format that’s broken down into episodes, one gets to write songs for various characters and emotions. What I like the most about OTT is that you get to wear different shoes, just like role-playing.” Ginny informs. In Mirzapur itself, there are songs in multiple genres ranging from romantic like ‘Vaaroo’ or dark like ‘Raakh’ or even item numbers like ‘Tittar bittar’,‘Sab ho jaane de’ or for baby shower like ‘Lallanwa.’
She ends by saying her mantra of life, “I believe in three ‘E’s- Experience; Empathy; Expression.
For any creative process, these three Es are essential. If one doesn’t have enough experience in life but has empathy and expression, one may initially be very creative and may move many hearts, but will not have much to talk about or get inspired from, over time.
Similarly, if one has experience and expression but there’s little or no empathy, then one might not have an in-depth understanding of that experience.
Lastly, if one has the experience and emotion but doesn’t know how to creatively express it, then their work might go un-noticed or may draw lesser audience.

 


Shilpa Surroch

To singer turned rapper Shilpa Surroch, the song ‘Munna Rap, for the lead antagonist of ‘Mirzapur 2’ happened during lockdown. Gathering her experience in a nutshell she says, “The song “Munna Rap” for Munna came to me during the lockdown. Anand Bhaskar, the music composer for the series, was very clear about having me on-board for the song but the challenge was to come to Mumbai from my native pace, Himachal Pradesh. I somehow managed to reach Mumbai and deliver the song on time. Luckily, the directors of the show, Gurmmeet Singh & Mihir Desai, loved my version. I am so happy that the audience is loving and grooving to my version of the song.”
Well, when it comes to preparation, Shilpa is quite instinctive. She says that she had gotten a clear vision about ‘Munna Rap’. “Once the vibe of the song was set, I gave multiple options with the way I could play with the song and went ahead with the current one. Anand Bhaskar and I have worked in the past, and he is very easy to work with. He knows what he wants from the artist and he knows the art of extracting it as well. I will always cherish this experience,” acknowledges Shilpa.
She feels that the web audience is quite welcoming towards good music. Her first ‘Best Singer Award’ was for a web show by Vikram Bhatt, ‘Aye Ajnabi’ in ‘Twisted’.
Talking about it she mentions, “We don’t always hear quintessential music in web shows, which is a great thing. For instance, I did a few romantic, sensuous songs for Vikram Bhatt’s multiple web shows like ‘Twisted’, ‘Maaya 2’, etc., then, did this earthy Rap song for ‘Mirzapur’ series, and then, a dreamy love song for ‘Cubilcles’ for TVF. The music is strictly true to the concept, which allows artists like myself, to expand our bandwidth and showcase our singing prowess.
Films still have the feeling of grandeur attached to it. The music for films is acknowledged more. But a shift is happening in the way audience is consuming content and it’s good for the music industry. But we need a more structured approach, so that we don’t end up in the rigmarole of artist exploitation in the name of opportunity.”
Shilpa’s journey kicked off as an Indie Singer with Music Mojo in collaboration with a Hindi Awadhi Rock band called ‘Daira’. She expresses, “I am lucky that I have been efficiently balancing the Indie and commercial aspect of my music career. I think the lines have blurred now. Artists are being acknowledged & appreciated more than ever. With music streaming platforms at its all time high, the audience is quite accessible, globally. I recently collaborated with ‘Apache Indian’, U.K. based Rapper along with Dinero Ash & Chezin on a song, featuring in Apache’s Album ‘What’s Not To Love’. This collaboration is a testimony of Indie music going global.”
She also informs that Mirzapur series her her 10th web series’ song. “Three more songs are coming up in a month’s time. Having said that, this one feels like a great accomplishment, since Amazon Is a big brand and Mirzapur is their flagship web show. I feel very happy to be associated with it. Thanks to the music composer of the series, Anand Bhaskar, for having me on-board,” expresses Shilpa.
“Apart from “Munna Rap” song for MIRZAPUR, I have a song called ‘Freedom’ coming up in ‘Apache Indian’s next music album. I am super stoked about this one, since it’s my first international collaboration and I was involved in the songwriting of this song too. Then I have two songs coming up for Dice Media’s next Web show called “PFA Season 2”. Post that, I have a song coming up for ‘Bombay Begums’ on Netflix. I am waiting for some exciting film songs to happen. My last song was with Mika Singh for the film “Jai Mummy Di” that Released in January and I am sure more is to come,” concludes Shilpa.




Isheeta Chakravarty
The voice behind ‘Mirzapur 2’s ‘Tittar Bittar’, Isheeta Chakravarty shares that working with Anand Bhaskar has been a breeze. “He knows what he wants and at the same time gave me the freedom to express myself in the song in the way I deemed fit. He has the ability to make the artist he is working with very comfortable and that goes a long way in bringing out the best in an artiste,” says Isheeta.
While talking about the lyrics, Isheeta expresses about Ginny Diwan. “She is a lyricist I hold tremendous respect for. Her understanding of nuance is so deep. Even though ‘Tittar Bittar’ as per industry terms maybe called an “item number”, the lyrics are completely feminist and that makes it so refreshing. Ginny has captured the essence of a woman owning her sexuality on one hand and on the other it acts as the perfect song for the violence that ensues in the narrative; power play that causes the chaos,” she tells.
Isheeta’s association with Anand Bhaskar began from a live show. “I am very grateful that Anand thought of me for the voice of ‘Tittar Bittar’,” mentions Isheeta.

Isheeta has sung on ‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hain’ from Sultan, composed by Vishal-Shekhar along with Shalmali Kholgade, Badshah and Vishal Dadlani himself. It was her debut Bollywood playback song.
Being a trained vocalist is a huge benefit because it gives one an understanding of the technicalities of singing and there is better grasp on one’s voice and skills, especially as a Hindustani classical singer. But this is as far as vocal skills are concerned. Isheeta mentions that the challenge is always embodying a song and making it your own and fully translating the composer’s view and making it better. It doesn’t necessarily pertain to playback singing. It is for any song. And this is an exciting challenge regardless of one’s training in any form of music.
Talking more about her singing career she tells, “As mentioned earlier, my career started with Baby Ko Bass; but since I am also someone who is involved with jazz, I have had the opportunity of collaborating with several artists like Louiz Banks, Gino Banks, Sanjay Divecha, Viveick Rajagopalan, Karim Ellaboudi and several.others. I have my own jazz fusion collective that I perform and travel with. I have released two singles, one a traditional thumri and another a well.known Qawwali, both re-interpreted in the jazz idiom. Both streaming on all digital platforms. I was also fortunate to be a TEDx speaker on the sound I am exploring–of finding a bridge between traditional south asian music and western idioms like jazz. Opened for Ustad Zakir Hussain with my own collective for International Jazz Day 2019. I have sung for several web series and films.as well that I am looking forward to sharing with the world soon.
I have sung for Alankrita Srivastava’s upcoming Netflix series ‘Bombay Begums’ composed.by Anand Bhaskar again; sang for this beautiful film called ‘Barah by Barah’ song composed by Neil Mukherjee; collaborated on a track with electronic music producer Anish Sood for his upcoming EP. Composed and sang two songs on producer duo Anhad-Tanner’s debut album ‘In Other Words’ that released this past October. Collaborated as a singer on a song by Viveick Rajagopalan featuring Sanjay Divecha, currently under post production. Plus, there are several collaborations that I am currently involved in that I can’t wait to share with everyone soon.”




Pratichee Mohapatra
‘Sab Ho Jaane De’ fell in lap of Pratichee through the director of Mirzapur Gurmmeet Singh. Pratichee and Gurmmeet had worked together earlier on ‘Inside Edge’. “When the season 2 of Mirzapur came, Gurmmeet approached me saying ‘Pratichee there’s a song and of the character to feature. So will you feature and sing the song?” So, I replied with a yes to it,” says Pratichee.
She further reveals, “It was a just a thing to do for my friend and become a part of this great world because season 1 was so fantastic. Then I got in touch with Anand Bhaskar. He took my range, he wanted the links of the songs I have done earlier. That’s how I was supposed to be a part of Mirzapur season 2. But last year, when the time actually came to shoot and record the song, I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time round. It was a relapse. I disappointingly had to excuse myself from the song. Then I thought that is that, because the surgery is lined up, radiation is lined up. After few months of my recovery, Gurmeet asked me to sing another song and become a part of the album. That song is ‘Sab Ho Jaane De’ which I have sung.”
Pratichee’s roots belong to Odisha, however, she has never lived in the state. “My dad was in the Navy, I have never lived in Odisha. I was born in Kochin. But for all summer holidays, we used to visit Odisha- Bhubaneswar, Cuttack or to my mom’s village. In fact, I can say that I have relatives in every lane of Bhubaneswar,” she mentions.
She also mentions that OTT platforms have changed the entire scenario of entertainment. “The industry is very much like keep in touch with people constantly to be remembered or called for a project. But nowadays, the opportunities have become ten times more than earlier through OTT platforms and the content it provides. The country has tremendous talents, and since the opportunities have gone up now more people are getting their foot in.”
Pratichee had earlier collaborated in a livathon that was hosted by Priyanka Chopra. The show had put forth different causes and awareness drives about women safety, rights etc in which she had given a song ‘Kya Thi Meri Galti’. “I have written that song from a personal experience. There’s not one woman in the country who hasn’t faced any sort of harrasment. The song came from that space where we needn’t ask for tye safety, rather its our right,” tells Pratichee.
She is working on some songs with Ram Sampath written by her. Apart from that, she has done a short film directed by Anand Iyer yet to be released.

 

Keka Ghoshal
After becoming a perfect voice of ‘Ding Dong’ in ‘Mirzapur 2’ Keka Ghoshal feels herself amidst multiple emotions as the show itself has emerged as a huge brand with such great actors, panel of directors, musicians. I feel super happy and proud seeing my name in it now, according to her.
She recollects, “The journey starts way before Mirzapur happened. Me and Anand Bhaskar used to know each other since our studio sessions earlier. Anand Bhaskar Collective was doing a show probably last year on the success of Mirzapur 1. Bhaskar had requested me to sing Mirzapur season 1’s songs for them for a live concert for Anand Bhaskar Collective. After few months, he called me up for a song which was a scratch for Mirzapur 2, and that song was Ding Dong. Later on I did a lot of scratch like ‘Tittar Bittar’, ‘Sab Ho Jaane De’ etc.
Those songs got selected as scratches in my voice before the team went on for other voices for the final output. I have sung the final track of Ding Dong.”
Keka’s musical journey kicked off in ‘Ishq ke Parindey’ and ‘Lootcase’ followed by ‘Mirzapur 2’. “Moving from West Bengal to Mumbai 12 years ago, life had different shades that makes me feel strange about it. I had come down keeping one year in my hand to try my life, and now it’s 12. My first playback was for a Ram Gopal Varma film followed by couple of other films like Revolver Rani, Ishq ke Parindey. I have sung jingles in 19 Indian languages, amd regional songs. One of my jingles for Tide became very famous. Apart from that, I am a regular dubbing artist for Netflix, Amazon Prime, MX Player, Disney and many more,” shares Keka.
However, she believes that digital platforms have emerged as a great place with bigger opportunities for artists with great abilities. An artist is a start in terms of his craft. From musicians to actors, everyone are getting their due from digital platforms and that’s the future to be accepted. However, cine platforms are more about luck and gambling. Here, people recognise once everything falls into right place, whereas, technically, that’s not the game always. “From a musician’s perspective, I would say that lot of independent music are coming up after many years. I am very happy and hopeful about it. Content is the most important thing in the digital platform. Digital platforms have the lesser pressure of stardom, appeasement, and distribution. That’s the prime reason I feel behind a great content. The story is the king. I am elated to become a part of Mirzapur 2 because of its great panel of singers and musicians. Anand is a powerhouse of talent and a great human being. Ginny Diwan is a storehouse of talent as a great lyricist. I got to learn a lot from the team and the album,” she concludes.

 

Vijayaa Shanker
Singer Vijayaa Shanker has received so much love for her song ‘Lallanwa’ in Mirzapur 2. Talking about her journey with the series, she says, “Since Anand has launched me, he knows my skill with the voice or how I could change textures, genres or languages, dictions as I am a linguist. Its so nice of him considering me for the song.
Anand told me that he requires a bit aged voice for the song and wanted me to give voice to the song. Since I have some connect with Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, I really enjoyed doing the song. I had really done no homework or preparation for the song. Its more like what comes to you from within.”
Vijayaa’s musical journey has been like a rainbow. She says, “The journey has been beautiful so far, even in the testing phases, but that’s a part. Its like planting a seed and nurturing until it becomes a tree. There was a time when it was watered and now it is bearing fruits. Overall as a singer, composer, Carnatic vocalist, voice coach, voiceover artist, ad singer or in any other role, I have learnt a lot as it has added to my art and made the journey enjoyable. I have worked in Baul folk, in Bangal (Bangladeshi language) which is different and difficult from regular Bangla. I ensure the authenticity, nativity on whatsoever I do with a pinch of my originality. That’s what I have done with ‘Lallanwa’. I have worked with DJ Suketu, I have worked with animation projects, several jingles as well for almost all prominent brands. I have sung for Vishwaroopam in Tamil.”
Vijayaa has given music for Marathi films, sung over 2500 jingles. She does voice overs as well. Recently, her song ‘Sundari Komola’ and ‘Ishquiyan’ crossed 100k and her ad crossed 12 million views.
Presently, Vijayaa is operating from Mumbai. She tells more about her unconventional journey, “When I was in Delhi and Kolkata respectively, I had never thought I would be a professional. It is after coming to Bombay with kids, my husband convinced me to follow my passion. Quite later I started a career. And I truly believe, there’s nothing when you start, its always about how you start. I don’t run in a rat race, rather I learn and perform on whatever comes on my way. I am an entrepreneur of organic products. I am also a complete social worker aiming to raise funds for girl child, underprivileged children and their education and welfare.
There is a filmmaking team from Australia who have approached me for a particular project, there is also a South folk project on board. I have recently done an ad for Pantaloons. There a film to be released in which I have worked with Music.”

 

John Stewart Eduri
John Stewart Eduri has created some commendable BGM including the theme tune for ‘Mirzapur 2’ that iconizes the series for audience. As he shares, his initial learning of music had happened in Church. However, he never had thought that he would settle in music. His interest in music deepened when he started experimenting with his sister’s keyboard practicing eight hours a day. John mentions that his brother-in-law taught him the basics of it. He started off on stage as a gospel keyboard player which eventually brought him where he is now.

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