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Titas Chowdhury talks to Nikhita Gandhi about her latest ballad, Qaafirana from Kedarnath and more


Qaafirana, a love ballad from Kedarnath, featuring Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan, is already winning hearts. Nikhita Gandhi, one of the voices behind the song, shares her love for melodious tracks. “Qaafirana is the first song I have done which is a pure, sweet and romantic melody. I was very thrilled as there is this full section which has just my voice and no music. I had sung Raabta before, which was a melody but it was more of a pop track. Ghar too was a melody but it was very sentimental and serious.”

She adds, “I was so excited that I got to sing a melodious song again. The last few songs I did were more of dance songs. Aao kabhi haveli pe was also an item song. After quite a while, I have done a melodious song. I am really enjoying how each song is opening up a completely new side of me.”

Gandhi goes on to tell us what made her nervous about the song. “I was pretty tense because there was a lot of me in the song, as opposed to a dance number. I was wondering how it was going to sound. AT (Amit Trivedi) has done an amazing job. It was very bold of him to do that because it is very rare where you stop and there is just the voice. It came out pretty good.”

Reminiscing about her collaboration with music composer Trivedi, the songstress says, “I rapped in DhayaanChand. This is my first melodious song for AT. I am super thrilled. I know him pretty well. I have worked with him on scratches and during Manmarziyaan. He is such a sweet person and it is amazing to work with him. I had a blast with this song.” 

The singer-performer believes that her Anglicized vocals are an advantage for her. “I have grown up listening to English songs. But I have a classical background. I enjoyed singing jazz and blues. Bollywood has been a fresh journey for me. Singing, in a way, is like acting where you modulate your voice and change your personality based on the song. My texture is what made Qafiraana different.”

Talking about her journey in the industry, she says, “It has just been a year in the industry for me. It has been very interesting. Initially I had problems because I was used to singing English songs. So I would Anglicize my Hindi. When I would sing hardcore folk or classical, I would sound very classical. When I used to sing in Hindi, it would sound like an NRI singing in Hindi. Now, I have found a middle road.” She adds, “We live in a time where everyone wants to be international. We are all about sounding fresh and new. That pretty much what the industry has been like in the last 5-6 years. Today everyone is looking or something interesting as opposed to the done and dusted formula. It has helped me as an artiste.”

Gandhi sheds light on the fact that she does not keep a check on the numbers that her songs hit. “My general knowledge is so bad when it comes to statistics, commerce, what work in the market and what does not. I am more of a musician than a business person. I do not really look at numbers. I am always the last one to know,” she laughs. In a similar vein, she remarks, “Believe you me, I got to know that this song released before you called me for an interview. I was wondering why you want to talk to me (Laughs). Then suddenly, I was a tag on Twitter for Kedarnath. This has been happening to me since Raabta. I am a person with a foot-and-mouth syndrome.”

The singer likes keeping herself busy doing things that matter the most to her. “I released a single called Humshakal a little over two months back.  It was maybe a little too Anglicized for the massy Indian audience, which is why it did not click with them. It was something that I wanted to do. I composed it and edited the video myself. That was the thrill factor for me.” she smiles.

Gandhi who loves keeping in touch with her roots signs off by saying, “In the past, I had done a Nazrul Geeti album. I like to surprise myself. I do not like following the formula. That is what fuels me also as an artiste.” 

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