Khatija (left) with father A R Rahman
Khatija (left) with father A R Rahman

You have always been at the forefront for women's issues. Your music video Farishton also makes a statement. Your comments.

Yes, I’ve always wanted my art to have a message. This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be an entertainer. Music is the medium understood by everyone and is a great influence on one’s heart and mind. I want to spread a message of unity, acceptance of diversity, co-existence. By seeing someone better than us it will always be regarded as strength and not a sense of insecurity or jealousy. We should also not judge a book by its cover. In my video, the main character, Amal, is a woman; she is petite, yet has the strength to push the boulder. The women in turn pray for her. So there are many such metaphors in this video which I hope serve as a great message for the listeners.

What is the animated music video about?

Farishton is about a young girl’s prayer for a peaceful world. This is the theme of the song, with the animated video bringing on a greater message. A message of accepting diversity, coexisting with differences as well as a message that women aren’t weak. The video shows a young girl moving a huge boulder so it has a lot of hidden messages.

How did you come up with the concept?

During the lockdown, we, as a family, got to spend some time together and watched a lot of Hayao Miyazaki’s films that transported us to another world. This inspired me to create another world for all the viewers. Animation is child-friendly and appeals to adults as well, and is something all will relate to, and besides I love animation too.

Did you have the liberty to work on the video and music, or were you told what to do?

I was the singer as well as the EP for the video. Since my dad has the greatest of experience I didn’t want to intrude in the music because it was great and I didn’t feel anything had to be changed. I did have a say in the lyrics though. This ballad is very meditative and mesmerising and has been the best song I’ve ever sung as I could feel the emotions in every word that I sang. It was my inputs to the lyricist which got translated into Hindi. The music video is also in Tamil.

You have a longing to explore the unknown. What is it that you want to see?

I want to see a peaceful world which exists with all the differences, where diversity is seen as strength and not as a tool to belittle anyone.

Do you plan on releasing more songs based on unity in divinity?

I’m glad the message was absorbed in the right sense. I haven’t planned anything yet, but definitely working on some interesting projects with a message.

What are the few things you have learnt from your father?

To always work hard. There are no shortcuts to success, respect and treat everyone equally and always credit the doer of any work. He also always advises me to be humble.

Who are your musical influences, apart from your father?

Lata Mangeshkarji.

Have you ever undergone any musical training?

Yes, I’m currently training under Nirbhay Saxena and Mira Sengupta for Hindustani vocals and Western vocals under Lavita Lobo.

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