Giving back to society

Debarati Palit Singh
Friday, 12 January 2018

Sanam band members talk about the need to launch their own merchandise and how they have  become conscious about their image off-screen too

YouTube sensation Sanam, the popular pop rock band, is not just creating music but also trying to make a difference to society. The home-grown band has launched their official merchandise as part of their multi-city tour titled Pledge Tour. 

The merchandise is to support the NGO Justice & Hope which fights for issues like child sexual abuse, domestic violence, trafficking of minors and infanticide. The merchandise will be available for purchase from January 12-14 on their official website:  

After performing in Delhi and Guwahati, the band will travel to Ahmedabad. The band says that their fans motivated them to come up with their official merchandise. They are also launching their album featuring their original tracks on January 19. Here’s chatting up Sanam Puri, Samar Puri, Venky S and Kesav Dhanraj: 
Why did you feel the need to launch your own merchandise?
- Keshav Dhanraj: To be honest, we had no plans or thoughts of putting out any sort of merchandise so soon. Our fans started posting about it. They created a buzz around it somewhere towards the end of 2016. Our fans started making creative designs and would then post and tag us and our management on social media platforms. A few fans even managed to make their own range of merchandise with pictures they found online. It was immensely intriguing and flattering for us. So we felt we should address their demands and in the process also financially support the programmes of Justice & Hope, the NGO we support, by doing what we can to make this world a better place to live in. 

Does the need to support Justice & Hope comes from the fact that Indian youngsters not only follow your music closely but also look up to you as a youth icon?
- Venky S: We are blessed with a fan following ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, and we feel that it is our social responsibility to attend to matters of human rights that need mass awareness and action. We keep doing different engagements through the year with children who have been victimised. We support Justice & Hope in various programmes within our limited capacity. We recently did a series of shows called the Pledge Tour which turned out to be a good platform to use our talent and popularity to reach out to our fans and educate them on child sexual abuse so that more cases are reported and the helpline number 9500025000 is spread far and wide for anyone who needs intervention and  support. 

Has the popularity made the band more conscious about their off-screen image?
- Samar Puri: No. I don’t think so. We are quite the same on and off screen. Real people trying to do their best to make their folks proud and to give something back to the world for all their love and support. We were the same years back when we jammed in a garage to now when we perform for large audiences internationally as well as on home ground. We are just evolving as more sensitive and grateful human beings over time I guess. 

What has been the most memorable part of the Pledge Tour?
- Sanam Puri: Our objective is to  spread love and happiness through our music. Lately, we have been more and more concerned about the chaos  in our world today. The most memorable part of the Pledge Tour was to witness the hurting world behind their smiles of solidarity. Some hiding their fears, some wiping their tears as we urged them to participate in ending evils such as child sexual abuse. What makes us happy is that Justice & Hope got substantial calls and emails from victims and observers and they are now going to take up training of one the groups in Guwahati this year followed by another location in the next year.

How different is the experience of performing live compared to singing at the studio?
- Sanam Puri: You get a thrill while performing live with the adrenaline running through your veins; you don’t always know what to expect from your audience and vice versa. You can improvise as a soloist along with your musicians and truly live the music in the moment. So the dynamics change every time you perform live. That makes a live concert experience very exciting. A studio, however, is enriching by trying to achieve perfection of your vocal ideas — you can do retakes or stack overdubs and harmonies to widen the sonic palette.

As a band, what are you going to focus on next?
- Venky: We are currently working on a few original songs. We can’t wait to share them with you. Making original music is something we all love to do. The entire process of composing, recording, and shooting together is exciting. We are also reworking some aspects of our #SANAMlive act. 

- Keshav: Apart from music, we like to keep healthy. Exercise, eat healthy food, sometimes we do a bit of yoga. Sanam (Puri) is on a vegan diet. Which means no animal products. Not even milk, butter, cheese or honey. This has made a drastic difference to the way he feels both mentally and physically now. 

- Samar: Plus we will continue to support Justice and Hope and as well as other campaigns such as E Bay’s #NoWorldWithoutGirls against the sale of sex determination kits.

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