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Dhvani Bhanushali on ‘Vaaste,’ Coping During the Pandemic, Future Plans and More

The Mumbai singer recently released an unplugged version of ‘Laila,’ a song she sang on and composed by Vishal Mishra for last year’s film ‘Notebook’

Rolling Stone India Sep 09, 2020

Mumbai singer Dhvani Bhanushali. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Mumbai singer Dhvani Bhanushali’s earliest music memory was when she was in her school choir and tells us, the experience of it was amazing and one she can never forget. From there, music was a constant hobby in Bhanushali’s life and something she didn’t think was possible to be her profession. However, she says, “In my head, it’s still my hobby and I am still that girl who sings in the school choir and loves it. It led me to basically pursue my career in music.”

In this interview with Rolling Stone India Bhanushali talks about singing on last year’s popular offering “Vaaste,” dedicating more time to practicing her craft, new music and more.

Last year, we heard you on “Vaaste” along with Nikhil D’Souza, the song made waves around the country. What do you think that was down to, that it connected with so many people?

“Vaaste” was basically a song that [composer] Tanishk Bagchi had with him and Nikhil came on much later when we had completed the song and he was very kind enough to lend his voice to the lines that had been composed for the male part of the song. Initially, when we heard the song, the melody was very strong, the words were simple but powerful enough to kind of get to you. So I think that connected to the people. Also the video I think is very nostalgic, it takes you back to your college days and your breakups and you finding new love. I think that’s the feeling that everyone loves and everyone connects to. And it was shot very beautifully and I am very lucky to be a part of it. I think that’s how it did so well and I’m really happy about it.

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You recently put out an unplugged version of “Laila” and said that the song means a lot to you. Could you tell me why you resonate with it so much?

“Laila” is basically unusual, it’s an unusual song.  You will rarely see women expressing their love. They do in normal life but in the movies, you wouldn’t see something that is portrayed, you wouldn’t see women expressing their love out aloud. And I am the kind of person who is expressive. Even if you take “Vaaste” for example, I’m the one who says things and I’m the one who initiates the whole thing so I feel like it is kind of very close to my personality and how I am in terms of love and even generally in life. You will always see Majnu expressing his love to Laila but here you see Laila expressing herself and her love for Majnu. In a way, it also tells you how strong-willed a woman can be. The way the song progression is done by [composer] Vishal Mishra is superb and anybody who listens to it at first I think is going to love the song and that’s what happened with me. And again I would thank Vishal for letting me render his song in my voice.

How have you coped and been during the lockdown/pandemic? What’s been keeping you busy and occupied?

I think initially it made me upset because our life had come to a standstill. I think all of us in fact were very bummed about the fact that we have to stay at home but also keeping in mind the fact you know there is a pandemic outside, you cannot be going outside the house. It was very confusing at first. But then later on I started spending too much time online, I started doing the lives on social media that helped me pass my time and I started learning more. I was already doing my classes but the amount of time I used to dedicate to my classes and riyaz increased since I had much more time on my hands to get better. I think I utilized it for the best.

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I’m aware that you are currently working on new music, what can people expect from it and when will it be out?

The only thing I can tell you about this is that the songs are ready and I’m going on to shoot in September and October and you shall have a song out to hear in November hopefully, I’m not too sure. But I will try to finish shooting at least. It’s some really exciting stuff and I hope you guys like it.

What plans do you have going ahead?

My plans down the road are really big but right now we are all on a standstill. But anyway, my short term goals are just to make music, even the long term goals are related to music and making my songs with the best artists that kind of resonate with my outlook towards life and the way I feel about music, getting back to live shows and meeting people, meeting my fans, meeting people that I love of course which are my fans and singing for them again hopefully in person.