Recording of katiya karoon

"Katta Karun" is a song composed by A. R. Rahman for the 2011 Indian musical film Rockstar. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri in leading roles and is directed by Imtiaz Ali. The song features vocals by Sufi singer Harshdeep Kaur and additional vocals by Sapna Awasthi. The song is based on Punjabi folk and Filmi genres. It was positively received by critics and became a chartbuster in India.

Harshdeep has sung for three Rahman films – Rang De Basanti, 127 Hours and now Rockstar. She has also been a part of Rahman’s entourage since the Journey Home World Tour in 2010, better known as the Jai Ho show.

So, how does it feel to be a part of the inner circle of the Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman? What does he tell you before each show?

I feel blessed. Rahman sir is very quiet and not very expressive. But he always praises and encourages you. The fact that he calls you to sing with him is proof enough that he likes your voice. He is my biggest inspiration and it is my dream to keep singing for him.

What was the brief given to you for Katiya karoon? You must be familiar with the song, being a Punjabi…

Rahman sir called me to his Powai studio and gave me the lyrics. ‘What is katiya karoon?’ he asked. I explained the meaning to him. The lyrics mean something like ‘I spin your cotton all night, the entire day is spent in this thought, I shall live and die for you, Be a spinning wheel O’ my body….’ He then said that he wanted a very catchy number, as it was going to be a fun song with Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri on the road. Rahman promptly started composing and created the song right in front of me! It is not a folk song, only the rhyme Katiya karoon… belongs to a Punjabi folk song. The song from Rockstar is an entirely original composition.

Is Rahman open to suggestions?

He gives freedom to his singers. Like he asks you, ‘What can you add here, an alaap, whatever?’. But even that comes to a singer only in Rahman’s presence. You feel as if God is there. One can’t explain the feeling. The whole ambience is also such – there will be a candle burning and silence all around since we’re usually recording in the middle of the night. Divine.

Is Ranbir Kapoor a true Rockstar? And is he your favourite actor?

Ranbir is so down to earth and such a nice person. He does not seem as if he belongs to the Kapoor clan. He came up to me and we talked like friends. Even at the press meet, he praised the singers saying, ‘These are the real rockstars’. He was present the entire time for the Rockstar concert rehearsals and left after us. He is very dedicated. I have loved his films like Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year.

Have you branded yourself a Sufi singer because of your distinct voice, or because you have an inclination towards that kind of music?

I always wanted a niche, a specialisation. I wanted to do live shows where people will come to listen to my voice, like they did for Jagjit Singh, for instance. The reality show Junoon – Kuchh Kar Dikhaane Ka (which she won) gave me that direction. I was in Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s team and so began my Sufi journey.

But you have been singing Bollywood style too….

Thankfully, music composers do not bracket me. They know my versatility. For example, Pritam Chakraborty has always made me sing non-Sufi songs, like Jhak maar ke from Desi Boyz, or songs for Fight Club and Khatta Meetha. He says he likes the texture of my voice. The duo of Vishal-Shekhar, too, has used my voice for purely Bollywood numbers in Taxi No.9211 and Karam, as also a Perk jingle. Vishal and Shekhar know me from the time I first came to Mumbai, long before I started singing Sufi.

Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman has lent support to a new spiritual album Ik Onkar, launched under new music label Asli Music.
The album features the complete Japji Sahib, the first sacred composition found in the main Sikh holy scripture.
It has been sung by upcoming singer Harshdeep Kaur, who recently topped the charts with her song 'Katiya Karun' for the movie Rockstar.
Kanwarjit Singh Sawhney, chief of Asli Music, says the album will prove to be mood-lifting for listeners.
"The complete Japji Sahib, Ik Onkar, promises to balance various aspects of yourself, and stir your soul. It is said that reciting the complete Japji Sahib, including the mool mantra, brings prosperity and success, uplifts the soul and helps overcome obstacles," said Sawhney in a statement.
Sawhney hopes that through his new label, he can promote musical talent in the country.

"We aspire to be a full 360-degree music label soon, which will offer holistic solutions to artists, from training them to supporting them through their launch as professional artists by developing, publishing and distribution," he added. 

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