SILCHAR, April 24 - Like any other bhaat, daali and alu-pitika lover, Assam-born singing sensations Antara and Ankita anxiously wait for their visit to the State during Rongali Bihu. This year, however, no such delight was in store for the Nandy sisters.
Along with the rest of the nation, the sisters too are following the lockdown in a bid to defeat COVID-19 by staying indoors at their Pune residence.
Despite the distance, their festive spirit has not come down, as both girls, helped by their mother behind the camera, utilised the time to come up with renditions of two popular Assamese songs, the videos of which went viral on social media. Such was the impact of a video on �Phul Phulise Boxontot� that even Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma mentioned the Nandy sisters in a tweet.
The Assam Tribune recently caught up with Antara over telephone on the response to the videos and what plans the sisters harbour.
�Our parents, Animesh and Jui Nandy, moved out of Assam when I was just four-and-a-half years old. We went to Kolkata and our parents wished that I should get trained in Hindustani classical music. I started learning under Ustad Rashid Khan ji and now I am working with AR Rahman sir. Being out of our homeland for so long, the penchant is always there to rush there during Bihu. But considering the circumstances, we decided to make the most of the time at home and sang our hearts out. The video came out well and we felt connected to the people in Assam and the North East,� said Antara, who is studying at Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communications.
On the sidelines of her studies, she has sung songs for some films in Assam but her heart always longs to come back and work on authentic Assamese music. �I genuinely miss being in Assam. Along with my sister, we have some videos which went viral as well. But there was always a doubt whether people of my State saw those. Have we been able to relate to them or not? But the response to the recent videos was phenomenal and far beyond our expectations. At home now, we are taking notes of Goalparia songs. I am looking forward to coming back home and working on unadulterated Assamese music and researching the rich musical diversity of the North East and folk music by late Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee,� she said.
Asked about her and Ankita�s response to the tweet from Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Antara said �that left us with no words. At 5 am, Kalpana Patowary ma�am sent a screenshot of the tweet and the workaholic in me was sitting idle, repeatedly looking at the tweet all day. I wish I could meet Dr Sarma in person and thank him for the inspiring gesture.�
The singer thanked the government for doing a commendable job in saving millions of lives and urged the people to stay at home and utilise the time with creative activities along with family members.
�Staying at home for such a long period becomes boring. However, we must realise that this phase too shall pass soon. Our videos were meant to convey the message that all of us need to stay at home and keep a positive frame of mind. Unlike advanced countries, our government, despite the limited health infrastructure, is doing its best to ensure lesser casualties, and better health for all,� Antara said.