Is it possible to adapt to the lifestyle of living in Bombay after being brought up in Canada – the answer is definitely yes, but it is not easy. I have visited India a few times since my family migrated to Canada so I knew what to expect. Still, visiting as a tourist is a very different experience from living here and dealing with the daily lifestyle. The weather, the people, the system – it is all very different. But I think I have a good support system in place and I’m adjusting well.
Jonita Gandhi, a blend of Canada and India has had the privilege of singing for superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Jonita crooned the opening track called Chennai Express in the film with SPB.
Jonita was raised in Canada with strong influence from her Indian roots. Her father was a musician and she used to sing with him at several community events.
Popular for her cover versions of songs such as Tum Hi Ho and Pani Da, Jonita is trained in Western classical and is learning Hindi. She has completed two undergraduate degrees from the University of Western Ontario: A Bachelor in Health Sciences and an Honors Business Administration degree.
The budding singer also sang a cover for the popular song, Paani Da Rang (Vicky Donor). The song has had millions of views on YouTube.
Among her other achievements are getting featured on a track in renowned flute player Naveen Kumar’s latest album, titled, Flutetronics, lending her voice for an advertisement which featured actor Priyanka Chopra.
Here’s Generation Next’s interview with this amazing young star:
• What has been the most difficult thing for you since you became famous?
I don’t consider myself famous. I don’t think there are any difficulties associated with the amount of fame I have right now… it is always a great feeling to have people out there who respect you and value your talent!
• Was it being lucky or being talented?
Truthfully speaking, it has been combination of both. Both are necessary for success, and it is a case of “preparation meets opportunity”. I’ve worked hard on honing my talent since I was a child, and now I’ve been lucky and blessed with opportunities to let that show.
• Do you think your career choice can create problems in a married life?
I think the amount of traveling involved can make it difficult to spend enough time with your partner in marriage. That being said, if the lines of communication are open and an effort is being made by both sides, I don’t see why it cannot work out. It is all about mutual understanding.
• What’s your motto in life?
My motto in life is to go hard or go home. Give it your all and keep raising the bar!
• How did you get an opportunity to sing the most popular song of your life?
My most popular videos have been my YouTube covers with musician/producer Aakash Gandhi. Our videos have gone viral with millions of views. I had discovered his videos one day and decided to send him a message requesting to collaborate about two years ago. We worked on the song “Ye Honsla” from the film Dor and released it to a very positive response. From then on we decided to keep working together and we’ve put out several popular songs since then!
• How do you identify yourself – Canadian or Indian?
Both!!! (I’m sure you knew that would be my answer). But honestly speaking, I am 100% Indo-Canadian, a blend of both cultures!
• Was it hard to adjust to life in Bollywood, especially when South Asians are known for following Indian standard time?
Indians everywhere (including Canada) follow IST, so that wasn’t hard to adjust to haha. The culture is indeed different here, but it just requires some time getting used to, and adapting to. Here things generally involve a little more running around to get things done.
• Can you really adapt to Bollywood with its culture especially when you have been so used to the Western lifestyle?
If you mean is it possible to adapt to the lifestyle of living in Bombay after being brought up in Canada – the answer is definitely yes, but it is not easy. I have visited India a few times since my family migrated to Canada so I knew what to expect. Still, visiting as a tourist is a very different experience from living here and dealing with the daily lifestyle. The weather, the people, the system – it is all very different. But I think I have a good support system in place and I’m adjusting well.
• Why Bollywood and not Hollywood?
Bollywood was a natural next step for me, given my musical background. I’ve grown up performing Hindi film music around Toronto with my family band. Then when I started doing covers of popular Bollywood songs on the 88keystoeuphoria YouTube channel, I got a lot of recognition for my voice from people within the Indian film music industry. Although I am currently working in Bollywood, that is not to say that I won’t explore other musical avenues as well, be it in Hollywood or elsewhere.
• Do women have to use their femininity to attract attention to causes? Are you involved in any charitable organization?
I am not officially associated with any charitable organization. I enjoy volunteering though, and throughout my studies I used to volunteer at hospitals and Indian cultural organizations. Most recently I have done some work with the World For All group in Mumbai, who deal with stray animals in the city.
• Who do you find to be a super hot actor of Bollywood industry?
Arjun Rampal, Hrithik Roshan
• So far out of the stars you have met, who has been the most inspiring and why?
I have met and been inspired by many artists and musicians since I’ve come to India. Most recently, I was very inspired by AR Rahman, who despite having accomplished so much, is so grounded and friendly. I think it is amazing how he is so dedicated to trying new things and not worrying about being “commercial”.
• How do you keep yourself physically fit?
I’ve become less fit since I’ve come to India! I find it more difficult to eat right and find the time to work out. I don’t stress about fitness but I try to maintain healthy habits. I really enjoy dance and that’s been one of the most motivating ways for me to exercise beyond my daily routine, because music makes it all the more fun!
• What would you like to change in the world?
This is quite a loaded question! I think there are a lots of ways the world needs to improve and I wouldn’t even know where to start the discussion. The desire to change the world is ambitious, but I think if we all looked within ourselves to reflect on how we impact the world, we could all make the world a better place by being the best people we can be (at the risk of sounding like a beauty pageant contestant). Being here in India having grown up in Canada, seeing the living conditions of the less fortunate is heart-wrenching.
• Your definition of Mr. Perfect?
I’ve yet to figure that one out. I’m sure I’ll know when he comes along