New Berklee India Exchange Music Video Supports Musicians Affected by COVID-19

By 
Colette Greenstein
May 5, 2020
Press release
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Bollywood singer Neeti Mohan is one of several Indian celebrities who appear the Berklee Indian Ensemble's new music video.
Aamir Khan, an award-winning filmmaker, actor, and director who played a lead role in 'Dil Chahta Hai’
Shankar Mahadevan, an iconic vocalist who cowrote the song "Dil Chahta Hai" with his trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Farhan Akhtar, a renowned Indian actor who made his directorial and writing debut with 'Dil Chahta Hai'
Jonita Gandhi, an award-winning Indian playback singer
A. R. Ameen, playback singer and son of Indian music legend A. R. Rahman
Benny Dayal, Indian playback singer and member of the pop band S5
Haricharan, Indian Carnatic vocalist and playback singer

The Berklee India Exchange (BIX) has released a new music video to support ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) relief work in India. The video features a new version of the hit song “Dil Chahta Hai,” performed by the Berklee Indian Ensemble with Bollywood singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan, who cowrote the original song. It also includes an introduction from Aamir Khan, one of the lead actors from the film Dil Chahta Hai, and personal messages of hope from 112 musicians, actors, and Berklee students.

Other Indian celebrities lending their voices to the project include Farhan Akhtar, Zakir Hussain, Salim-Sulaiman, A. R. Ameen, Jonita Gandhi, Neeti Mohan, Clinton Cerejo, Vijay Prakash, Haricharan, Louiz Banks, and Shalmali Kholgade (who attended a Berklee summer program in 2019), to name just a few.

Watch the Berklee Indian Ensemble's new music video for “Dil Chahta Hai" featuring Shankar Mahadevan: 

“Amongst all the films that I have done, the song 'Dil Chahta Hai' is certainly one of my favorites because the song is beautifully composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar are just exquisite,” says Khan. “I’m really happy to know that Berklee College of Music has done a recording of this song and that all the funds collected from this recording are going towards supporting musicians and singers during these very tough times that we’re living through.”

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of this effort by the Berklee Indian Ensemble of Berklee College of Music to support musicians during the times of COVID-19,” says Akhtar. “We need to look out for all those whose livelihoods are affected right now, and for all the joy music brings us, this is the least we can do in return. The fact that they’ve chosen 'Dil Chahta Hai' makes it very special.” 

The collaborative effort features 85 Berklee musicians from 21 countries, including current students and alumni from the Berklee India Exchange. The goal of the video is to galvanize global philanthropic support for Indian arts and artists. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the BIX team has connected with several musicians in India and the United States to come up with ways to support working artists, folk musicians, and instrument builders on the lower end of the economic ladder and in need of immediate financial assistance.

T-Series, the record label that owns the rights to “Dil Chahta Hai,” agreed to donate all of their proceeds from YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and other streaming services to Salim-Sulaiman’s Zariya Foundation and T. M. Krishna’s Sumanasa Foundation. Both organizations were identified by BIX for their support of grassroots relief work for artists.

With a subscriber count of 137 million as of April 2020, T-Series runs YouTube’s most-subscribed channel. The Berklee Indian Ensemblea viral sensation in its own right, makes up more than 51 percent of Berklee’s YouTube channel view count, with their videos totaling over 170 million views.