Sanam, the band, is using their celebrity status to shed light on social issues that need to be talked about in society.
While some might say they are India’s answer to One Direction, the band’s manager seems to think they’re more like The Beatles. The pretty and talented foursome have come a long way since they started uploading their renditions of old Hindi classics on YouTube. The band consists of Sanam Puri on lead vocals, Samar Puri who plays the lead guitar, Venky S on bass guitar, and Keshav Dhanraj on the drums.
As they arrived in the city a few days before their performance at the second edition of Virsaa, a music festival by Trustfort Events, to be held on August 19, at The Westin, we caught up with them to have a chat about issues that are close to their hearts.
An alarming male-female ratio
Last month, the band launched a campaign by eBay India titled #NoWorldWithoutGirls. A video was made by the band to throw light on how female infanticide is still prevalent in modern society, and it is devastating. Talking about being a part of this, Sanam says, “We did a song titled Lakshya.
A lot of people listen to our music, and if we have a message, they will hear that too. We feel like it is our responsibility to sensitise our audience about issues that matter to us.”
Venky adds, “This was the first song we made with a video focusing on a particular social issue — female infanticide and pre-natal sex determination. It is important for us, as individuals, to be more aware about social concerns.”
Keshav talks about an article he recently read about a village in India with less than 20 women and a few thousand men. “This kind of difference in male-female ratio is quite alarming,” says the band in unison. “People kill their babies just because they are female,” says Samar, as Keshav adds, “I believe that India ranks very low, quite close to the bottom of the list, of countries with a high difference in male-female ratio.”
Using their celebrity status
The band shares that they will be making a conscious effort to release more inspiring songs about social causes. “The next song we did was Shama Hai Jali, a motivational track released just before Independence Day. We are definitely going to make more songs like this to spread light,” says Venky.
They are using their interactions with the media to highlight social concerns. “We have a YouTube channel, where we can reach out to our fans, but by talking about the issues we care about at media interactions, we want to make the awareness spread further and wider,” says Keshav.
Empathy is important
“I can tell you personally, since childhood, if I see someone in pain, I can’t sleep at night. I have that empathy. All of us (in the band) have that. We’re very sensitive about people, we feel their pain. We are also very grateful for what we have. We want everybody to feel the same way — grateful for the life they have,” says Sanam.
Keshav points out, “People tend to ignore things like these because it is happening in someone else’s house and it’s not their problem so they ignore it. And everyone ignores the problem. Change should come from each of us. We have to stop ignoring issues. Our message is that nobody is stopping you from being kind and helping out others. One act of kindness can change someone’s life. You don’t need to change anybody else, you have to start by changing yourself.”
Families need to love again
In the light of the horrific suicides by teenagers participating in a deadly game called Blue Whale, we asked the band where they think a line should be drawn in search for external validation.
Sanam shares, “Universally we all know what we are doing wrong. Like smoking, you know it’s bad but you still do it. You have to have self control. Why would you want to enter a dangerous territory when you know it’s wrong and it will leave your family devastated? Who would feel the pain when you are hospitalised or not there anymore? It’s the people who love you, it’s your family.”
While Venky thinks that parental control is vital, and that there should be a confidant in every family with whom kids can share what they feel, Samar points out that nowadays families don’t have time to spend with each other and hence children find the need to look for the love they are missing at home in external validation and false admiration on the Internet.
The band advises youngsters not to start a channel, or upload a video hoping that it will get viral. “To become a successful artist through the Internet, like any other platform, takes a lot of hard work, persistence and patience. Don’t do it for fame. Do it for something you love. Don’t do it thinking that this video is going to become viral and I’m going to become famous, earn money, and buy property. Just do it because it will give you happiness. If you spread love and happiness, it will come back to you in some way or another,” says Sanam.
ST Reader Service
Sanam, the band, will perform at the Virsaa music festival, to be held at The Westin, Koregaon Park, today, 7.30 pm