Driving alone on a desolate stretch of road can, at times, lead to a particularly artful inspiration. Ask Aaryan Banthia and he will tell you how a lonely night-time drive in Kolkata motivated him to create his latest ballad Tere Bin. The 28-year-old singer, composer and musician released the song in late August and it has crossed 1.7 million views on YouTube in less than two months.
This track is Banthia’s seventh release and is a soulful Hindi number about losing a loved one due to an unexpected life event. His heartfelt crooning is equally applicable to couples who have fallen out of love. “This song is very close to my heart, and I’ve drawn on my real emotions for it. Anyone who has been through a breakup or has been reunited with their love after a long period of separation will identify with it,” he says.
Though music remained his passion, Banthia did not ever consider actively chasing it. It was only after he performed at a local pub in the UK, sometime in 2015, where Banthia was pursuing his higher degree that he realised his calling. The adulation on his debut led him to perform at more such live gigs in the UK. The same year, on his return to Kolkata, he formed a band with his friends, called ‘The Bombay Gramophone Company’, which was disbanded when he went solo. A move to Mumbai followed but when the first lockdown was announced he returned to his family home in Kolkata. He now juggles between the two cities.
With classic rock bands as his biggest inspiration—he pipes off the names of Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, Bon Jovi, Kenny Rogers, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd and Cliff Richards in one breath—rock ballads come easy to Banthia. However, he shies away from being cast in one mould. His first Hindi track Yaadein, released by Zee Music, is described as rock with a subtle touch of blues. Since then, he has released songs in English and Hindi and across genres, with the last single Best Days of My Life, being a ‘happy country song’.
Tere Bin, on the hand, is an out-and-out rock love ballad. The video stars Bengali actors Sauraseni Mitra and Aryan Roy as the couple in love. Banthia also appears frequently as the singer-narrator. Shot at The Belgadia Palace hotel in Odisha, the video draws heavily on the environs of the heritage property and the natural bounty of the state. Banthia was keen to hire professional actors for the music video to bring out the song’s emotions. He shares, “Sauraseni and Aryan look good together and share excellent chemistry, making them a good fit for the song.”
How has the pandemic impacted his practice? Banthia says, “I believe that people in India have started to understand quality music a lot more during the pandemic. They’ve had a lot of time to themselves, and have heard a lot of music and explored varied artistes during this time. It’s a good time for Indian indie music!”
Banthia requests more people to listen to Tere Bin currently streaming on all major platforms YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Gaana, among others. He wants them to make it their own by relating to it on a personal level. “I will feel like a winner if that happens,” he adds.
Songs Released So Far
Yaadein Back in the Day Hey Betty Paar Best Days of My Life Shades of Spring Tere Bin