“Bhagat Singh’s nationalism was very different. We celebrate Martyr’s Day or Shaheed Diwas every year, but isn’t it merely tokenism?” asks Punjabi R&B singer Navv Inder, who burst on the international music scene with the chartbuster Wakhra Swag. Expressing his ideas in a way that he knows best, Navv Inder launched a gritty ballad as his take on Shaheed Diwas. Aptly, the most telling lyric of the song, ‘Ik Soch: Bhagat Singh’ goes something like this: “23 March taan har saal manayi di, na Bhagat Singh di soch apnayi di” (We celebrate March 23 every year but do not follow Bhagat Singh’s ideals) – says R & B singer, Navv Inder, in his new song, “Ik Soch – Bhagat Singh”. Launched on Navv’s YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOIqf52LckhnyXwnwR4TrFg, the song also sees him a never-seen-before avatar – in a turban, styled like Bhagat Singh.
Every year, March 23 is observed as Martyr’s Day in honour of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who were hanged on the same day in 1931. Bhagat Singh’s death at the age of 23, is widely believed to have been the proverbial shot in the arm for the Indian Freedom Movement.
Bhagat Singh has been an icon and idol for many in Punjab and outside as well. “I have read Bhagat Singh extensively and what amazes me about the man is that at such a young age, he had such clear thoughts about life, society, nationalism and philosophy. His ideas are just so relevant even today, if only people were to adopt them,” says Navv, adding, “This was the idea behind this song, written by Navi Kamboz and produced by my music producer, Mr Nakulogic. We hope it will strike a chord with people.”
The music is very different from anything that Navv has done – there is a sense of foreboding in the background while the vocals lend an introspective mood to it. “We have deliberately emphasized algozey, the traditional folk music instrument of Punjab to create a hollow and dark theme. For Team Navv, the idea was to show a mirror to the society who may know of Bhagat Singh, but are not familiar with his ideals,” says Mr Nakulogic (Nakul Jolly), Music Producer of the single. The video of the song, directed by Aarti Singh from Mediaworks, also underlines the dark emotions that Navv is expressing in the song. “We wanted to keep the visuals stark and as hard hitting as possible. The focus is definitely on the out of the box music and in your face lyrics. Also the fact that this is the first time that Navv is seen in a traditional attire demanded we do not inundate the video with special effects. The focus is on the message, everything else is secondary,” says Aarti.
“It is his soch, his thinking that a nation is a collective of its people, and not just governments that really moves me, especially when I compare it to the inaction of people and the chalta hai attitude that prevails in the society,” adds Navv Inder.
Team Navv hopes to make a statement about imbibing the idea that was Bhagat Singh, instead of just laying wreaths or unveiling statues and other forms of tokenism while observing Martyr’s Day.
An MBA in Finance, Navv chose to follow his inherent passion and favoured music over number crunching. Close on the heels of Wakhra Swag, Navv released another chartbuster, ‘Att Tera Yaar’, that has crossed 15 million hits on Youtube (and still counting). His voice is the perfect blend of the urban and rustic folk. Touted as the bridge between modern sounds and folk notes, Navv Inder insists on being true to his own self when it comes to his songs. “My songs are my way of introducing who I am. The lyrics have to make sense to me before I can expect others to make sense of them. I will never cut off the umbilical cord of my roots that has nourished me with music, culture and the ethos of where I come from,” says Navv.
In partnership with his music producer, Mr Nakulogic, Navv Inder’s music also reflects his persona. The lyrics of his tracks echo his life’s philosophies and beliefs and also the conviction that real music comes from the heart and not just boxes and circuits. Traditional instruments, such as tumbi, sarangi, daff and others, therefore, feature prominently in all his tracks.
Text by Supriya Aggarwal