Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interview Amit Trivedi

Music composer Amit Trivedi didn't have the easiest time working with the all women cast and crew of Aisha. Yet, it was worth the effort, he tells
Sandhya Iyer

Amit Trivedi, who caught the fancy of music enthusiasts with his funky, unconventional music in Dev D, followed by Aamir and Wake Up Sid's Ek Tara, is awaiting the audience response for two of his films - the Anurag Kashyap produced Udaan and Sonam Kapoor starrer, Aisha. Giving music for the latter - a mainstream, chick-flick -- was especially challenging for the composer who has mostly done music for serious, dark themes. He's composed six tracks for it, all of which are already gaining a fair bit of popularity. "It was a tough one. It has a salsa number, a Punjabi song and funk rock... the experience was new and fresh. But before I sat down to compose, all the song situations were in place. The film's writer Devika Bhagat and the director Rajshree Ojha gave me a complete narration - all the home-work was done, so that made it quite easy," says Trivedi, who is born and brought up in Mumbai.

Considering he wasn't a natural choice for the film, how did he come on board? “Devika had heard Aamir and Dev D. They wanted young, hep music with an edge to it, something not very conventional. They liked Pardesi and Nayan Tarase from Dev D,” he says.

But working on Aisha was no cake-walk. The talented composer makes no bones about the fact that working with women proved to be quite frustrating initially. Besides Devika and Rajshree, the film's 23 year old producer Rhea (Anil Kapoor's younger daughter) was also taking a call on the film's music. "I would compose one song, which Rajshree would like, but Rhea wouldn't. She would say, 'Nah, scrap it, it's not working.' Then, Rhea would approve a song, but Rajshree would say 'no' to it. Yes, I'd come to a point when I was starting to pull my hair! I had all these women to please. Initially, there were lot of disagreements and I did think too many people were getting involved, but gradually as we got to know each other, things settled down and we enjoyed the process." However, Trivedi is very impressed with Rhea Kapoor. "She was barely 21 when she started work on Aisha. She is so sharp and very clear about what she wants. She'll go a long way," he says.

Trivedi says he enjoyed working with women, but he got along far better with the men while working on Aamir, Dev D, Udaan and Wake Up Sid. "I had a blast with the guys. They knew what they wanted and our wave lengths matched," he says.

The composer believes the current phase is the best time for music, as filmmakers with fresh sensibilities and an experimental bent of mind are dominating the Hindi film scene. "I firmly believe that the future will be better and will mark the return of the golden era. There are so many talented composers, singers, bands and technicians coming to the fore. Also due to the net and DVD parlours, the awareness about international films and music has grown a lot. Many influences are coming in," he say, adding that music composers in Bollywood have never had it better than now!

The role of the composer has altered in some ways, says Trivedi, who gets deeply involved with every film, taking a keen interest in the script. "Gone are the days when actors would break out into a song with no real connection to the story. These days, songs are used to forward the narrative and elevate the mood and emotions. It has to be a blend of creative elements. Look at Vishal Bharadwaj - he writes his films, directs it, does the dialogues, gives great music - he's literally a one-man industry. Those are the kind of people we need," he says.

While composers are in great demand, the singers - coming in dime a dozen - aren't in such an enviable position. The insistence for fresh voices and the profusion of talent hunt contestants has reduced a singer's shelf life, or so it appears. Trivedi believes true talent will survive. "Due to these various reality shows, there is a perception that singing is a ready vehicle for fame and money. There is too much bombardment of new singers. But just having a good voice or tonal quality is not enough. The person has to be an excellent singer to play a long innings ," he says.

The composer has been selective with his work, and that's how he intends to be. "I don't want to burden myself with work. I don't feel the need to compose every day. I take my Sundays off. I compose instinctively. Once my songs are out, people put labels on them, but I don't think about it when I'm making them. They are what I am," he says.
Given his enormous talent and panache, one can safely expect some very memorable music from him in the time to come.


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