Pandit Ravi Shankar’s grandniece on her musical journey and what lies ahead.
Daughter of violin maestro L Subramaniam and grand niece of Pandit Ravi Shankar, composer and performer Gingger Shankar has made her own path. With movies like Passion of the Christ, Charlie Wilson’s War, Circumstance and Monsoon Shootout to her credit, the LA-based artiste recently composed the background score for Michella Obama’s Girl Child initiative. An admirer of music composers AR Rahman and Amit Trivedi, and a fan of Bollywood directors Zoya Akhtar, Anubhav Sinha and Farhan Akhtar (all of whom she would love to work with), Gingger talks to us about her music and upcoming projects.
I grew up surrounded by music and musicians. I spent so much of my childhood at concerts, rehearsals and with musicians at our house. Only as an adult did I realise who they actually were. Some of my earliest memories are singing with my grandmother and mother at parties. I think what fascinated me about the field was the way music made people feel. Time would stop and you could see the way it affected each person.
Being a touring artiste and working with other musicians has made me a better writer. Working on film scores has influenced the way I write and create string arrangements for my own work. I am a bit of a nomad, so I love being on the road. But there is nothing in the world like performing on stage.
I love Katy Perry’s songs. So when I was brought in to do strings and double violin on her new album, it was an absolute thrill. I performed on a song called Legendary Lovers and working with top pop producers and someone like her taught me so much about song production.
I think it’s a conscious choice now to be in India more. I never really thought about it before. All my films and work so far has been in the US and Europe. But I’d love to come to India and work on films and perform shows. It makes me feel really connected to my mother.
I just finished scoring Heartbeats, in collaboration with Jay Z’s Roc Nation. It is a big dance movie by Duane Adler which was shot in Mumbai and Los Angeles. I am currently working on my album, Nari, which will come out in April next year. I am also working on a beautiful documentary film, When A Girl is Born, by directors Smriti Mundhra and Sarita Khurana, which has been filmed in India.
— Simar Bhasin