“Shine A Light” featuring Sagarika was shot in India in December 2013 by co-directors Casandra Prerost-Singh and Bruno Acard. The song “Shine a Light” is a response to and was inspired by the brutal gang rape and eventual death of a young student in Delhi in December 2012 and was written for the Sagarika. This video is for Jyoti.
Actors: Sagarika/Amit Tiwari (India)
Lyricist: Mel Barnett (UK)
Composer: Billy Plyale (UK)
Choreography: Dream Yoga & Dance Institute
Makeup: Mou Deb
Management: Sagarika is represented by HorizonVU Music
Thank you so much for joining my mailing list and I hope that you enjoy reading my first Newsletter. May I take this opportunity in wishing you all a wonderful 2014 and to thank you for your continued support.
The end of 2013 was one of the most memorable times of my life with many new and exciting things taking place. December was an exciting month with the Manthan Awards Asia Pacific 2013, where I was happy to find myself a Finalist in the Social Media Excellence Category. My own presentation for all the Social Media efforts I have been involved in also included ‘Women-In-Film-In-Music’. It was very emotional to hear the applause and words of support for all the projects I have been part of and as a result I was honored to receive a ‘Certificate of Recognition’ from the Manthan Awards committee.
A huge event, also in December was the arrival in Delhi of French Film Directors Casandra Prerost and Bruno Acard to shoot my first ever music video, ‘Shine a Light’. It was such fun meeting and getting to know Casandra and Bruno personally, and I learnt so much from them professionally.
Casandra, Bruno and my music management team decided on a young and contemporary look for the video which we shot at a few select places in Delhi and of course in the best studio in Delhi – MY ROOF!. The shooting ran for six long days and as with all shoots there were few glitches but we were able to overcome them brilliantly. I had many memorable moments during the shoot, so I will share a few of them with you.
The story line asked that male actor Amit Tiwari and I shoot a sequence on the banks of a lake. The spot we decided on was full of ducks but the water was also full of dinosaur size mosquitoes! I have never seen mosquitoes so HUGE. Bruno was very agitated by the mosquitoes and was taking malaria tablets. Poor Bruno, he became a target for my teasing and I told him if he didn’t make me look beautiful in the video I would visit him in Paris with a bottle full of the lake water and throw a mosquito inside to unleash on him. Haha! I think it worked as the trailer looks wonderful!
The second most memorable sequence was when we shot at a Historical location. The wind was super chilly and I had only a thin shirt to wear for filming. I was freezing and won’t deny I had to put on a brave face for the camera. It was very funny because my Director Casandra would run over to me with her own jacket to warm me up between shots.
Another sequence I will treasure was with the young classical dancers. The sequence was very moving. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to dress up and dance with the beautiful traditional dancers and I was honored to have them in our shoot. This time it was a really hot day and I had to wear heavy clothing and makeup. (Why couldn’t it have been sunny when I had to do the shoot wearing only a thin shirt).
The final day’s shoot and the climax of the video was crucial as it was the last day before Bruno left for Paris. It was a wonderful feeling to get a ‘perfect’ from my director. We celebrated the end of the video with a party and popped open a bottle of French Champagne on my roof top.
It was a pleasure to meet Casandra and Bruno as not only are they extremely professional film makers, but they are also true animal lovers like me. It was so lovely to watch them both befriend my stray dogs Kallu and Gulli. My own house dog Jesse sadly did not take to Bruno though, I don’t think she appreciated his teasing as he tried to imitate her…. Ha ha. Just before he left India, Casandra and I made a video of them both to be included in the ‘Bloopers’ section of the video so watch out for that.
After all the excitement and planning made by my management HorizonVU Music, I can’t believe that Casandra and Bruno have been and gone. The video is finished and I am excited and nervously waiting it’s big release. I would like to thank Casandra and Bruno for their patience, hard work and friendship.
The song Shine a Light is really special, not only for me and the women and young girls in India, but for women all over the world. It is written in the hope of bringing light and awareness to those that struggle and suffer with hardship. The lyrics were written with great sensitivity by Mellina Barnett and the music was composed by Billy Playle, both from the UK. I have recorded the song in English and Hindi. The Hindi version was composed for Dr.Kiran Bedi’s NGO, Navjyoti India Foundation. And I am delighted that we have dedicated the video for “Nirbhaya/Jyoti”.
It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to Casandra and Bruno as I feel we became so close during the shoot. It was like saying goodbye to a family member. The best part of all this is that we may work together again for a new video later in the year. Yeah!
It was wonderful to be back in contact with the Navjyoti India Foundation who invited me to attend their 26th Annual Day Celebration to celebrate the ‘Joy of Giving’ on the 5th January 2014 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Delhi. Luckily Casandra was still in India so we attended the event together. I performed my song ‘Teacher’ (Navjyoti Ki Law) also written by Mellina Barnett, and Composed by Sujith Kurrian from Kochi, India. It’s always a pleasure attending the Navjyoti’s events. What a wonderful crowd and staff. Most of the children are from underprivileged families and the love that I always receive from them whenever I go is extremely touching.
It was very funny because the little girls made me sign Rs.5/- and Rs.10/- notes saying that they will never use them. I feel truly blessed and I look forward meeting them all again. It is every young girls dream to support and change the lives of others for the good, so to meet Dr. Kiran Bedi again was a highlight. She is a terrific lady, so gentle and full of kindness. I was so pleased that Casandra had the opportunity to meet her too.
At the moment my team is discussing the songs for my upcoming EP and I am also waiting to be Guest of Honour at another event due to take place shortly. There are so many exciting things coming up and I can’t wait to share them all with you. Do please stay tuned for my next Newsletter, until then I hope you enjoy our Shine a Light video, and thank you all for joining my mailing list and sharing in my musical journey.
Trailer for the video “Shine A Light” featuring Sagarika and directed by Casandra Prerost-Singh and Bruno Acard has arrived. This song is for Jyoti/Nirbhaya. The video is a Mantangi Production with cooperation of HorizonVU Music.
Of chai, change and winning ideas From youth-driven journalism to online chat shows to Internet music bands, young people are coming up with innovative startups powered by social media, says Shuma Raha
What if political parties based their manifestos on what people really want rather than on a set of perceived catch-all promises? What if they consulted a citizens’ wish list before they came up with their manifestos this election season?
Youth Ki Awaaz (YKA), an online platform that gives voice to the youth, is trying to make that happen. In partnership with the United Nations Population Fund, YKA has launched a campaign called ‘unManifesto’, inviting readers to send their ideas for a better India. “We are trying to build the largest crowdsourced manifesto in the country,” says Anshul Tewari, 23, YKA’s founder and chief editor.
That’s not all. YKA has got politicians such as Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda of the Biju Janata Dal, Meenakshi Natarajan of the Congress, Anurag Thakur of the BJP and others on board to take this people’s manifesto to their respective parties. As an initiative to evolve a participatory democracy, ‘unManifesto’ clearly checks all the right boxes.
YKA is not about worthy campaigns alone. It’s an online journal that enables its readers to voice their opinions on politics, society, education and culture. And powered by shares on Facebook and Twitter — it gets nearly 4 million hits every month and has 45,000 followers on Facebook — it has become the go-to site for India’s urban, opinionated and increasingly frustrated-with-the system young people.
YKA is just one example of the way young people in India are forging innovative startups in the field of infotainment, riding on the Internet and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and so on. There’s Chai With Lakshmi (take that, Koffee with Karan!), an online chat show uploaded on YouTube that’s now over 100 webisodes old and has had more than 2.65 million views. There’s Wild Blossoms Project, the world’s first Internet Girl Band whose members have never met each other and yet collaborate to produce music. There’s GoUNESCO, a portal that encourages people to travel to UNESCO World Heritage sites and so steps up awareness of culture and heritage; or ComputerSeekho.com, a virtual school that teaches you all about computers — in Hindi.
Each is an out-of-the-box venture, and in its own way, each wants to drive change and redefine the idea of the possible through the optimal use of social networking sites. “It’s the proliferation of social media platforms that’s enabling these people to reach out to the relevant audience in a more efficient way,” says Aditya Gupta, co-founder of Social Samosa, an enterprise that analyses social media trends and how businesses can use them.
Tewari was all of 18 when he started YKA. “I realised that there was a disconnect between what I was reading in the mainstream media and my perception of news, and that young people wanted to have a say in the state of society and politics,” says Tewari, who won the award in the social media category at the Manthan Awards for digital inclusion for development held by Digital Empowerment Foundation, an NGO, in Delhi recently.
Originally begun as a personal blog, YKA’s growing popularity convinced Tewari that he needed to let others join the conversation. In 2009, while studying journalism at Maharaja Agrasen College in Delhi, he opened up the portal so that readers could write in with their views on diverse subjects.
For a time, it was just Tewari and a friend who handled all the editorial work. It was a hard slog — “I used to work 18 hours a day, go without sleep…” he says. But the hits grew and so did the contributions. Tewari was soon running a free online writing internship programme to train potential contributors. It was a “by the youth, of the youth, for the youth” idea whose time had come.
Today, YKA is a smart website with catchy headlines that’ll make even a seasoned journo click on them. The articles are mostly short, current affairs-led opinion pieces — from the Supreme Court judgment on homosexuality to the success of the Aam Aadmi Party. “Our objective is two-fold — first, to make the youth think about what’s happening and second, to engage with that,” he says.
If Tewari is trying to galvanise the youth into becoming active participants in our democracy, Lakshmi Rebecca, an attractive 30-something Bangalore-based model-turned-filmmaker, is telling inspiring stories about people who are shaping India in a positive way. Her online chat show, Chai with Lakshmi, features guests such as a transgender who became a sex worker, underwent sex reassignment surgery and is now an LGBT activist, or a Chennai taxi driver who raced to win third place at MotoGP in Monza, Italy, in 2012.
“Shot in high definition format, the 15-minute chat shows are uploaded on YouTube once every fortnight,” says Lakshmi, who chose the online model because the “entry barriers in television are very high”. Besides, it also allows her to do her shows exactly the way she wants, unfettered by the dictates of a television channel.
Entry barriers in the traditional space also spurred Sagarika Deb, 22, to form the world’s first Internet girl band in 2010. There are three vocalists in the band — Deb, Lovelyn Onojah from the Philippines and Mandy Bussel from the UK — and in all, 25 musicians from across the world. “I trawled the Net for months to recruit all of them,” says Deb, who has released two albums on the Internet so far. “I have more than 33,000 ‘likes’ on my Facebook page,” she says proudly.
Deb, who is based in Delhi, admits that it’s tough making music with a band that connects only in the virtual world. But she says, “At least I have shown that even if you come from a middle-class family with little resources, you can follow your dreams and become a singer. The Internet gives you that power.”
Experts feel it’s no accident that the youth are spearheading these innovative social media-driven ventures. Says Madanmohan Rao, author and consultant in knowledge management and new media, “Young people are digital natives, they are more connected, mobilised, more open to new ideas. Social media-driven startups fit their lifestyle and it’s little wonder that most of them are being driven by the youth.” Agrees Gupta, “It’s an ecosystem that suits young people.”
However, no matter how exciting the project, survival is the key. “The ones that are developing bi-directional revenue models — supported by both subscribers/visitors as well as advertisers — are the ones that will survive,” says Rao.
Unfortunately, it’s here that many of these enterprises falter. Take GoUNESCPO, for example. It makes travelling to world heritage sites fun through contests. But founder Ajay Reddy, 30, admits that he is still a long way off from making his portal pay. Right now, he is hoping to rope in tourism ministries of different countries to sponsor the travel “challenges” on the site.
Lakshmi sustains her chat show mainly through revenues earned from the ad films and corporate films made by her production house, Red Bangle. She is also trying to get advertisers to sponsor offline, ticketed, Chai With Lakshmi events. Deb too admits that her Internet girl band hasn’t brought in much revenue although she says the albums are available on online music stores such as iTunes and Amazon MP3. “But it’s got me exposure,” she says, “And I get calls to perform on stage these days.”
Indeed, of these, Youth ki Awaaz is the only one that’s managed to become self-sustaining. It has tied up with several non-profits that run their campaigns on the website — which of course provides them a ready audience of lakhs of young people. “We are now fully scalable,” says a confident Tewari.
Clearly, in the heady, enabling world of the Internet and social media, some will sink and some will swim. But for many young Indians it’s become an exciting way to realise their aspirations for personal and social good.
JMUN is an annual Model United Nations Conference which is hosted by Jaypee Institute Of Information Technology. JMUN is one of the most reputed Model UN Conference in INDIA and the largest youth conference in ASIA. In the third edition, JMUN simulated 5 councils – UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, International Atomic Energy Agency, War Cabinet Of India 1971 and Indian Emperor Council 1857.
“We have Sagarika Deb as the Guest of Honor of the Grand, Grand launch of the much awaited event – JMUN 2014
Sagarika Deb is an International Pop Singer and the first woman to start an internet girl band!”
Date : 18 November 2013
Time : 5:00 pm
Venue : Auditorium ( jiit sector 62 )
Sagarika is one of the most exciting new voices on the international pop music scene. This magnificent single, ‘Shine A Light’, is a statement of strength and hope for women in the world, reflecting Sagarika’s own strength and belief for the future of women in the 21st Century. Her recording brings out the strength of melody and harmony characteristic of her music.
Sagarika makes it perfectly clear – “Coming from a musical family, singing has always played a BIG part of my life.” She has been on stage since she was two years old and she has been awarded many certificates and awards. Musically, her pop style has developed as a unique fusion of Western and Indian music.
The beautiful pop ballad, ‘My First Broken Heart’, composed by Billy Playle and with lyrics by Mellina Barnett, was number one on the ‘Indian Online Music Charts’ for six consecutive weeks and received airplay on the BBC. With ‘Shine A Light’ Sagarika again joins up with Playle and Barnett coming forth with her unstoppable desire to bring hope of a new light for all the women suffering in the world, especially for the women in India. The song was originally written and performed for the Navjyoti India Foundation, which is well-known for its work in the areas of education, women empowerment and vocational training.
Sagarika is currently working on her first EP on which she shows us that she can not only deliver on meaty ballads, but pick up the pace with bouncy pop.
Sagarika is among the finalists nominated for the Manthan Award for Social Media & Empowerment.
The Grand Jury followed by Award Gala of the Manthan Award for Social Media & Empowerment 2013 will held at the Indian Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, Delhi, on the 5 – 6th December, 2013.
Manthan Award Asia Pacific is one of its own kind of initiative to explore & recognize the best ICT innovation across various countries from past 10 years. This year, while we celebrate the 10th year of digital inclusiveness, a new initiative Manthan Award for Social Media and Empowerment has been launched under the patronage of “Manthan Award Asia Pacific” with an aim to explore the innovations & practices in Social Media domain.