To say that Sanam, the band comprising Venky S, Keshav Dhanraj, Sanam Puri and Samar Puri is immensely popular is an understatement. The group’s YouTube channel has 4.5 million subscribers, with some of their songs hitting 80 million views. They spoke about their craziest fan encounters and how they knew they’d made it as a band:
Venky S: The big realisation came to us when we’d travelled outside India to places where we would think we might go for a holiday, like say, the Maldives or Mauritius. We never thought we’d do gigs there. We thought maybe once in our lives we’d go and chill in the water there.
Keshav Dhanraj: But 14,000 people had come for the show.
VS: First time we went there, the President was there and Sanam dedicated Yeh Raaten Yeh Mausam or Tu Tu Hai Wahi – one of those two to the First Lady. And the thing is that we did a version of the song with a Maldivian singer so she’s featured in our video. We shot Gulabi Aankhen there
KD: We shot three videos there. It’s a country where people sleep early. They don’t stay out too late, they don’t go partying. We finished our performance and we waited there for a long time because usually people think that the moment the show’s over, the artist will leave. So we had to wait there for a while. We thought that it was clear and we left, then we had fans following us. We went to a restaurant and we were there till about 5.30-6 in the morning while we were eating and they were still standing outside. Then we went to our hotel, which was on another smaller island. Apparently there were fans who thought that we were staying in one hotel over there in the capital and they were waiting downstairs all night for us. So these are things that we never thought would happen and it was a nice experience.
VS: We went to a village and there they treated us like rockstars. The thing in Maldives is that it’s all islands. You have to travel via a very powerful speedboat and there are maybe a thousand islands but it was really new because we didn’t expect to be that popular. I remember switching on the TV and there was a countdown of top 10 songs and then I saw Cheerleader by OMI and then there’s our song Dilbar Mere. And I was like, ‘What is this?’
KD: There’s a fan who ordered an animal that you don’t get here in India, from Indonesia. Just to gift it to Sanam. It’s pretty weird.
Sanam Puri: I was pretty shocked, like don’t treat an animal like that. I appreciate your gesture, but that’s not something I can accept.