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Interviews |  14 Oct 2008 17:45 |  By AnitaIyer

Amit Trivedi - 'I don't believe stars are needed to make the music a hit'

After basking in the glory of his first Hindi film, �Aamir', composer Amit Trivedi is rightfully excited about his two forthcoming scores. Having survived in the industry for a decade doing menial compositions, fame came his way with Aamir. In a freewheeling interview with's Anita Iyer, Trivedi spills the beans on his band OM, the 10 year struggle to venture into Bollywood and the journey to gaining acceptability by the industry.

Were you fascinated by music right from childhood?

It was about 14-15 years ago that I had this small unique instrument, in which you hit an electronic pencil on a silver plate and it would create vibrating sounds. This instrument fascinated me and then I was drawn towards music with exposure to western music. I was also a part of a band during my college days.

You were also a part of a band, OM. Can you share some memories?

It was after college that we had a band called OM, comprising one guitarist, one vocalist and two percussionists. We were this group of music lovers and we thought we would do something in music. We used to play at gigs and small shows and functions, live performances etc. We struck gold when the A & R team of Times Music recognised us and launched our album about five years ago. But the album was not promoted well and it bombed badly with nobody even knowing about it. Lyricist and singer Amitabh who worked for Aamir had written the lyrics of our album as well.

How did composing for Bollywood come your way?

Bollywood happened through common friend and singer Shilpa Rao at the MAMI festival. Kashyap was looking for a new composer with a distinct vision and Shilpa suggested my name to him. After a meeting, Kashyap offered me the chance to compose for Dev D and that was my first project as a full fledged composer.

Can Dev D be termed as your debut film? How did you end up composing for Aamir?

Dev D was originally my debut film in Bollywood offered by Anurag Kashyap but due to some problems, the film got shelved. I had already worked on the compositions for about six months when Kashyap asked me to halt the project for some time. It was then that Kashyap recommended my name to Raj Kumar Gupta for Aamir, where he was the creative producer. I composed eight songs in six months and he was impressed by my work.

Was it challenging to compose for Aamir as there were no big stars involved in the movie?

I don't believe in that school of thought which believes that stars are needed to make the music a hit. Stars do carry the music on their shoulders to some extent but if the music is exceptionally good, it is bound to be appreciated by the audience. The main challenge of the movie was that the whole movie revolved around only one character and the songs had to portray the emotions of the character from start till end. There was a linear pattern in the movie and I was afraid that all the songs would end up sounding the same, as I didn't want a monotonous feel to the songs. Also, there was no briefing by the filmmakers but I was given the script and asked to compose tracks. The script sounded exciting and I composed what instantly struck me while reading the script.

Aamir was a bundle of different genres…

As the songs were situational and revolved around the single character, I only had the option of experimenting with different genres. To avoid repetition, I explored varieties and opted for multiple genres in the album. Like for my track �Chakkar Ghumyo', I have given it a very raw Rajasthani feel where the songs flow easily, there is a Sufi track �Ha Raham' apart from the western beats in �Haara'.

As a newcomer, how has acceptability from the industry come your way?

It is amazing that I was so readily accepted by the industry. After the music of Aamir was released, I got calls from all the biggies in the music industry congratulating me on my debut success. But it has not been an easy way to where I have reached today; I had my part of struggles to become what I am. I believe in hard work and there have been times when I have composed for 16 hours at a stretch and that has paid off finally. I have worked for ten years in the music industry and have tasted every bit of it.

Ten years is quite a long time. How has the journey been?

It was at the age of 19 or 20 that I started composing music. I have juggled between everything and worked for theatre, including composing for Hindi, English and Gujarati plays, title tracks and background scores for tele serials, advertisement jingles, albums, live performances, dandiya shows, orchestras etc. I used to play Keyboard with Rajesh Roshan and finally I am here, in Bollywood!

You composed for Abhijeet Sawant's Junoon too?

I had a two year contract with Sony BMG and composed some tracks for them including Abhijeet's Junoon and one track for Prashant Tamang, apart from some other albums.

Tell us something about your new project Dev D?

Dev D would be the �Baap of different genres' with each track sounding distinct from the other. It is scheduled for a December 2008 release and would have 15 tracks. I love exploring and there are two Punjabi tracks peculiar in their own way, one is raw Punjabi and the other has a street 'band baaja' flavour to it. There is a romantic Rajasthani folk track too, apart from a hard rock song, some world music, an Awadhi number and a song with a 1970's-80's pop touch to it.

You have worked with relatively lesser known singers in Aamir, so who are the singers in Dev D?

There are some singers who have already worked with me and some new singers as well. Out of the 15 songs, eight have been sung by Amitabh, one by Labh Janjua (Mundiya tu bachke rahe), Bonny Chakravarti who rendered the track �Azeem - O - Shaan Shahenshah' from Jodhaa Akbar, Shilpa Rao, Anusha Mani, singer of �Lazy Lamhe' and a new voice Tochi and Shruti Pathak.

You are composing for UTV's next project as well?

The other film, �Condition Applied' is again under the UTV Spotboy banner, produced by Ronnie Screvwala and directed by Anurag Kashyap. I have just composed the title track for the film and it is still in the initial stages.

I heard you guys from OM used to play in a garage…

What!!! Well, we have a studio named �Audio Garage' in Juhu where we compose music and that is our only connection with any �garage'…


Pic by Mitesh Bhuvad