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Watch Telugu Artist Damini Bhatla Evoke Eighties Nostalgia in ‘Twilight/ రాతిరే’ Video

The Hyderabad-based artist has released her first single of the year, influenced by jazz, avant-garde and pop

Anurag Tagat Jan 28, 2022

Telugu indie artist Damini Bhatla in a still from her music video for 'Twilight/Raathire.'

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Singer-songwriter Damini Bhatla’s new Telugu song “Twilight/Raathire” masterfully entwines lush pop and R&B styles with avant-garde rhythms, guitar melodies and production. The single, which released on January 21st, now gets an added level of storytelling with a music video set in a typical South Indian household in the Eighties.

Her first release of the year and a follow-up to 2021 singles such as “On My Way” and “Midnight,” Bhatla enlisted produced Navneeth Krishnan and songwriter Kittu Vissapragada for an enchanting, multi-layered song about intimacy, longing and romance at the dawn of a day. “The singing is not set to the tempo thus making it fluid and abstract,” Bhatla says. Krishnan took the song (and Bhatla’s extensive notes) and created the intriguing, hard-to-pin-down arrangement for the song.  Bhatla adds, “He said that it’s the most challenging song he has ever worked on. It was a pleasure working with him.”

Named after the artist’s vivid understanding of rain outside the window (which later shifted to the idea of winter evenings in Hyderabad), “Twilight/Raathire” was also given an English title since it allowed for easier recall value and is search-engine friendly for audiences who may not know Telugu.

In the music video directed by Shruthi Sharanyam, Bhatla essays the role of an eager woman waiting word from her beloved. Recreating a household from the Eighties, the video brings together a warm nostalgia through costume as well as lighting, plus motifs such as an old-school telephone receiver. The protagonist, who has received a letter the previous night about a planned visit, wakes up and spends her day in anticipation of her beloved visiting her, but eventually receives a call. “He says, ‘Sorry Ammu (nickname), I cannot come today, I shall come next week. Okay bye I need to go (in hurry).’ You might think what is he up to, that’s all left to your perception. He could be a govt. doctor far off. Or an army guy. Anything really!” the artist says about the final detail in the video.

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With her first release out this year, the artist says her plan for 2022 is as straightforward as making music consistently. Bhatla points to developments in the music and tech space— Instagram subscriptions, YouTube memberships and NFTs—and notes that it’s sometimes challenging to keep up “with the art of making music.” However, she is determined: “My specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goals for this is year is to come up with four originals put together in an album or individually as singles.”

Watch the video for “Twilight/రాతిరే” below. Stream on more platforms here.

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