When director Ram Kamal Mukherjee was searching for a fresh voice for his film Season’s Greetings, producer Aritra Das had introduced him to Kolkata based classical singer Sayani Palit. Since the film was a tribute to Rituparno Ghosh, Ram Kamal decided to keep Maithili song Sajani Sajani Radhikalo from Tagore’s ballet Bhanusingher Padabali.
Speaking about her association with the film, Sayani says, “I share a close relation with Ram Kamal da’s entire family especially his wife Sarbani di who is also a great singer and a lovely soul. I had performed at the launch of his biography Beyond The Dreamgirl on Hema ji (Malini) in Kolkata. When he spoke about Season’s Greetings, I was thrilled to be a part of the movie for more reasons than one. Firstly, this movie is a tribute to Rituparno Ghosh, an acclaimed director. I have been working with Debojyoti Mishra for years now and I sing a lot of songs of Ritu da’s films in Debu da’s concerts. I was always in awe of Ritu da’s unique music pattern and choice of songs in his movies. I was also in talks for a playback in his last film, Satyanweshi which unfortunately he passed away and Sujoy Ghosh finished the last schedule. Hence, I feel an indirect connection with him and I regret not having a chance to work with him. So when I got a chance to be a part of a movie which is a tribute to him, I was extremely happy.”
Director Ram Kamal will be launching all three tracks from Season’s Greetings on May 9th, marking 159th Birth Anniversary of our national poet Rabindranath Tagore. The music has been rearranged in a contemporary soundscape by Shailendra Kumar, who is also the co-producer of the film. “Sayani reminds me of Lata Mageshkar ji’s voice in her early days. She would take the right murki and execute the lines with passion. She is such a gifted voice, I am sure Sajani Sajani will give her that recognition,” says music director Shailendra Kumar. Incidentally Sayani got her first break with Shankar Ehsaan Loy in Katti Batti with Ove Janiya, but the film tanked so the song was also forgotten.
Sayani says, “My song here is a medley of two popular Tagore songs, ‘Sajani Sajani’ and ‘Sokhi bhabona kahare bole’.
Rabindrasangeet has been used in many films before and I feel good about the fact that it is being used in such a commercial off beat movie and I truly believe that the audience would connect with this song since the feel is a perfect blend of traditional song in a contemporary music. This song is like a lifeline and has been used throughout the entire film so it is a very special feeling for me.”
Sayani started her musical career when she was just four years. She continued her musical tutelage for 20 years under Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and her wife Chandana Chakraborty. Later, when she was a scholar of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, she took taleem from Padma Bhushan Girija Devi. A first class first in Bachelor’s and master’s degree in Classical Music from Calcutta University, Sayani is a regular performing artist of All India Radio. Currently she is a Ph.D research scholar in ‘Influence of Thumri in film music’. Since she is visually challenged, it might not be easy for her to have any visual reference of the mood palate of any song. So how does she prepare herself before recordings? “I see through my soul, that has better clarity than eyes. Music should be felt, unfortunately we all like to see music these days. But sur, taal, sargam, laye, murki, bandish, alaap everything is about inner soul. Sajani Sajani will make you fall in love, even if you are not aware of the language. That’s the magic of good music, that you actually don’t need to see it,” sums up Sayani like a nightingale!
Season’s Greetings is streaming on Zee5 Premium, featuring Celina Jaitly Haag and Lillette Dubey in the lead, with Azhar Khan and transgender actor Shree Ghatak as important supporting cast. The film also features Tagore’s Gahana Kusuma, rendered by Kumar Sanu’s son Jaan Kumar Sanu and Sarbani Mukherjee. The film opened at Cardiff International Film Festival in UK and fetched many national and international awards.