Amongst the breadth of creative duties that I assumed while working on the feature documentary, Shalom Bollywood, I not only recorded the screener voice over sessions, but also got to record this incredibly unique performance of the Jewish classic, Hava Nagila, which was played by Afghani sitar-star, Khalil Gudaz.
As Khalil didn’t know Hava Nagila, I had to teach it to him, phrase by phrase, until he had it. But once he had it, he delivered this soul-stirring performance that was an absolute honour to record.
Of course, this collision of worlds had a deeper purpose as Shalom Bollywood tells the extraordinary and unlikely story of the Jewish contribution to the establishment of the Bollywood film industry in India.
The track was featured in the closing sequence of the film, providing a crescendo to the story that had been told across the arc of the documentary. Released in October 2017, it was quite extraordinary to hear something recorded in my little Caulfield North apartment, playing over the cinema loudspeakers, sounding like a million rupee. It’s fair to say that at that point I truly felt like a Slumdog Millionaire.
The recording was captured with a Neumann TLM103 microphone, tracked through an RME Fireface 800, and treated with a smidge of reverb care of Logic’s Space Designer plugin.