The Sadda Stringer
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Michael Jackson's lead guitarist, Orianthi Panagaris, makes her Bollywood debut with Sadda Haq
London, 2009. The blithe figure of Michael Jackson glides about the stage during rehearsal for his forthcoming This is it concert. As he curtsies for the last time, the King of Pop makes way for a young blonde woman with an electric guitar. She is Orianthi Panagaris, a talented Australian guitarist and song-writer, whom Jackson has chosen as the lead guitarist for the This is it concert. Days later , the Moonwalker is dead. "It was very surreal working with Michael," says Panagaris. Jackson's protege has now made her Bollywood debut, and her powerful guitar riffs form a part of the angst-ridden Jordan's (Ranbir Kapoor) repertoire in the upcoming film, Rockstar.
"Michael Jackson was talented and sweet. I had a lot of fun and I'm a bigger fan because I worked with him. I'll never forget that moment when I played Beat it with him for the first time," adds the 26-year-old. This year, she got a chance to work with another genius. "My manager told me that AR Rahman would like me to work on some guitar tunes. I was excited to work with Rahman," she says. The song Rahman had selected her for was Sadda Haq, the mad and wild youth anthem in the film. "Sadda Haq is a powerful rocking tune, and was a lot of fun to play on. I had a great time in the studio in Los Angeles," adds the guitarist.
Thrashing the strings and singing up a revolution in Sadda Haq was not hard work for Panagaris. She's a veteran of sorts in the international rock arena — she's the lead guitarist for American band, Alice Cooper, and has jammed with rock biggies such as Mexican-American rocker Carlos Santana, American musician Prince and three time Grammy winning guitarist Steve Vai. "But, getting a call from Rahman was among my most amazing moments," she says.
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