2020 has left an indelible mark on our psyches, our thought processes and almost all aspects of our lives. For singer-composer-lyricist Arjun Kanungo, it was “one of the best years” of his life for many reasons including his fairy-tale proposal and engagement to model-actress Carla Dennis.
Arjun tells us, “When 2020 began, I had felt like this was THE year. On January 1, 2020, I woke up at 6 am. Unlike all previous years, I didn’t wake up late nor did I postpone my goals till the 2nd of Jan. I wanted to make this year different and it was! I was making my debut as an actor in my first Bollywood film, ‘Radhe’ with Salman Khan, had six back-to-back singles lined up and live concerts were coming in left, right and centre. And then, there was the news of COVID-19.”
Arjun was a concert in Assam when he first heard about lockdown. “I remember I was at a concert venue when we heard about everything shutting down. I told my audience, a medical college in Guwahati ironically, that I felt that this was serious and this might be my last performance for a while. I flew back and my girlfriend and I went straight to the supermarket and bought food for the entire month. People were talking about stocking food, masks and sanitiser. About 15 concerts got cancelled overnight. I was going to perform at the Indian sports honours in a few days: cancelled. Radhe’s theatrical release, scheduled for Eid,2020: postponed indefinitely. All shoots: cancelled. It felt like the end of the world.”
Like everyone else, Arjun took took time to adjust to all this. He shares, “I was worried for my mom, who is 60 years old. I became fanatical about not stepping out of the house and sanitising everything. But in all this absurdity there was an opportunity to get closer to family. We spent the days cooking and cleaning together, something I hadn’t contributed to since college. I spent more time with my girlfriend than I had ever spent. I don’t remember us fighting even once in the lockdown. We got closer, so much so in fact that I realised a few months in, that I wanted to marry her. I asked and she said yes!”
Professionally, he adapted. Arjun closed down his recording studios, got rid of his office space, and moved all his studio equipment to his home. “Everyone was told to work from home and we become very efficient at it. Between March to September I wrote more music than I had written in three years. I was much more focussed with work because there were no distractions. I was much more consistent with connecting with my fans on social media,” he says.
The pandemic affected us all and Arjun was no different. “Covid forced me to trim the fat. It made me realise what’s truly important, personally and professionally. It forced me to adapt. And now when I look at it, I feel like it was a sign from the universe. Strangely, just as I had thought on January 1, 2020 became the best year of my life. Now will 2021 be better ? I’m quite sure of it,” he signs off.