Star Showbiz looks into the life of the most amazing and heart-throb brothers in town, Prithwi Raj and Ritu Raj. If you have listened to the improvised version of the national anthem in December 2014, then you are already familiar with this duo. Ritu was the third runner-up in a very influential singing competition, while Prithwi is into creating music himself. Their contribution through their Youtube channel “Jilapi Studios” has brought changes in the music industry and they promise to continue working their magic into music, with a handful of surprises stored for their followers.
Prithwi- Darker shade of any colour
Ritu- Red, black and occasionally pink (laughs)
Prithwi- Not very much of a foodie, I eat to live.
Ritu- Deep dish pizza
Prithwi- Nitin Sawhney and Acharya Jayanta Bose
Prithwi- I listen to anything that works for the moment but work mostly with acoustic and experimental
Ritu- I prefer almost everything; party songs to Jazz of different nationalities
Prithwi- Acharya Jayanta Bose
Ritu- Ustad and Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty and Acharya Jayanta Bose
Prithwi- Too many but for now I would say “Annie's Song” by John Denver
Ritu- “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, for now
Prithwi- “The Matrix” and “Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen”
Ritu- I cried a lot watching “Logan”, so that and “Up”
Prithwi- Anthony Hopkins
Ritu- Hugh Jackman and Hrithik Roshan
What brought you into music?
Prithwi: From when I can remember, we have only listened to classical music. My mother would make sure we did not listen to or sing anything else but pure classical. Say we wake up, there is something playing or our mother practicing, we would even brush and keep on humming. So that is music to us. We eat, sleep and even dream music, and we were trained to do that from a very early age. I won't say there was no choice for us to love music. I would say music was introduced to us in such a way that there was no reason for us to not fall in love with it. Although later on our musical environment was completely different.
Ritu: As my brother has said it, music is something that does not have a proper beginning for us, as our family is a musical family. Both my father and mother (Durba Chowdhury) are music teachers. Music has been a language in our house since I can remember, so I cannot actually mention a time I was out of music. It was always there and always will be.
Why not take music as career?
Prithwi: I don't know if 'career' or 'profession' is the right word, what I do as my job requires a lot of musical involvement. But then again I would stick strictly to calling music my passion. I work in radio as a Creative Producer, so I handle the entire production side of Radio Next. I studied Mathematical Economics which again has nothing to do with music. But some time later I realized I wouldn't do this anymore and gave up and went to Mumbai where I got my Diploma in Sound Engineering and Production. There I did a few jingles. After my opportunity in going to the US got declined I got back to Bangladesh and started making music here. All these I did to pursue my hobby. I make music videos, short films, and all because of Nitol Niloy group.
Ritu: I have studied business administration from IBA, University of Dhaka and currently working in City Bank. That is pretty much my career (laughs). I do music because I love it and as I said there wasn't a time when music wasn't in our lives. My public appearances started after I joined university, the time when I achieved 5th position in the Close Up-1 contest. I did all these mostly because of peer pressure from friends and seniors. Before that I have been a regular singer at Gayoki, a music school founded by my mother, where I still go to. Other than that, music will always be my hobby and my most favorite thing to do. I can assure that I am not going away from it anytime soon. I don't know if this can be called a career option (laughs). Taking music as a career and teaching it would require a lot more learning and I don't think I have reached that point yet. Neither do I want to do all that because I am super lazy (laughs).
Did you face any controversies regarding your version of the National Anthem?
Prithwi: Working with the National Anthem was a great experience and I have received a lot of compliments about it. There was never too much controversy regarding it, though I got asked about why I was sitting while singing it. I explained it by saying that it is Rabindra Sangeet and Tagore would compose his music in piano in a sitting manner. Moreover, I feel how one sings a National Anthem does not have anything to do with loving the country and showing respect. The main purpose of the video was to raise a certain amount of donations, which we gave to a school for underprivileged children in Karail. Doing this was a lot more important than deciding whether to sit or stand while singing. When making the song, I felt that I was doing something for my country as a musician and I did not play it in any TV channels or sell the song. I did what I did, and that too out of love.
Say something about each other that you like or dislike.
Prithwi: One ideology that we both share is that we are not here to make music for money. It is a hobby for both and maybe that is why we are always experimenting. We share similar views and genre on music which I am grateful of because I love working with him and he understands me really well. We like discovering new genres and techniques together. We are so similar that most of the time we are obsessed with the exact same song. So from that view, having a brother, a friend, or even a jamming partner, is amazing. Ritu, to me, is one of the most amazing vocalists. Coming to the bad thing, Ritu is becoming really fat, he eats all day and is putting on way too much weight (laughs).
Ritu: I don't really see my brother as a professional accomplisher, but since music is very personal to both of us; projects turn up good when we take it commercially. Personally it is hard to say anything I dislike about him, because we weren't together for quite a long time when he went to pursue his studies. So now we work out our differences. But I must say that we have similar thoughts when it comes to music.
What are you future plans regarding music?
Prithwi: Right now, the plan is nothing other than the album Ritu will talk about. Music is uncertain. I might wake up tomorrow and feel like creating something, or I might not feel like doing anything in weeks. Although both of us are working on a video and I am working on other things for my office.
Ritu: As my brother stated, we work with music because we love it. We are currently planning on releasing an album. We have been working on this for a really long time but we still do not have any idea how or when to release it, as we are not looking at it commercially or professionally. The album will contain Rabindra and Nazrul songs along with a few songs composed and written by my brother. Going slow while focusing on the quality; that's how we like working. No pressure!