Ritika Sahni is a professional singer, performer, composer, producer of children’s albums and a social activist. She has been working with disability related issues for the more than two decades and founded Trinayani, a NGO working with disability advocacy in 2006 with the sole desire to inform, communicate and create awareness, tolerance and respect about the world of people with disabilities among the non- disabled population and explore and create equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.
From Bengali jingles to playback singing, Ritika Sahini has come a long way. How do you see your journey?
A It has been a long journey. Things have changed drastically. We had only cassettes those days. And now we are talking about releasing songs in pen drives. When I started we only had Doordarshan. Then Zee came in and was the first private Bengali channel in Kolkata. There was this influx of
interesting serials. I was fortunate to sing all their jingles. Being a singer and a songwriter was a big phenomenon at that point of time. In the last few years reality shows have become a revolution. Thanks to these shows, every episode throws up some brilliant singers but their timespans are very short. Plenty of singers now, lots of money but less recognition. We are creating vocalists from these shows and there is no stress on creativity. When we speak of Bollywood, we know the hit songs but unfortunately we don’t know the name of the singers. The songs are becoming more famous than the singers. Singers are just vehicles now. The economics have changed. You cannot survive just being a good singer. You better know the business of the game. It’s not just about singing any more.
During the last decade, you have created volumes of music for children, which work as great fun learning aid at nursery schools and developmental workshops. You have also composed prayer Songs and hymns that are derived out of Vedic spiritualism. Please share your thoughts.
I was always passionate about doing music for children. There are no good songs or rhymes left for the children of our country now. In 2002 Happy Day was the first album to be published with a book. Then in 2004, came Tim Tim Tara while Rhyme Time and Akkar Bakkar Bambay Bo were released in 2007. I HAVE THE POWER was released in end November of 2008. It is a special album by me and Shaan with mantras and prayers for kids and helps them understand the importance of mantras. I released GOL GOL GHOOME last year. This year, my new album will again be an original with nursery rhymes written by poets of this country. It took me many years of research. These are in shuddh Hindi and therefore I am going to release a book along with my album HALLAM CHALLAM which is going to have English and Hindi meanings for the words. It has been a hard journey and continues to be a hard journey as nobody wants to produce music for children, They feel it doesn’t sell. But even today people are buying our first album Happy Day! On the other hand parents are forever looking out for new audio albums. In these albums, I sing along with children, it’s never been me singing for the children, rather children singing along with me. These children have now grown up and buy these albums for their own children! And now, these songs are also available online.
You have an exciting dual career one as a singer and the other as a social activist. You have concentrated your talents towards the cause of disability. What has been your motivation? A Many people are not aware that I did my B.Ed in DeafEducation before doi