| 15 Apr 2024
Bollywood Music Project: What? Why? Where? And How?

MUMBAI: Bollywood is evolving. A bit late to the party, but the community has begun to explore several untried efforts – be it the genre of movies, the technology, the sound or even something as fundamental as the storyline. Music (and dance) stages an understandably vital impact for most mainstream Bollywood movies, lately dominated by young actors, musicians and story tellers. Historically speaking, music has always been the extension of cinema throughout India, and that factor and others always lead to the questions – “why do musicians in India never get treated at par with the actors” and “why do Indian musicians never achieve the scale of popularity that western musicians do?”

Few reasons can be held responsible for the same, and the dearth of live music performances on a regular basis definitely makes to the list.

Bollywood Music Project – the first of its kind two-day music festival dedicated to the mainstream musicians responsible for the sounds of today – can possibly create a chain of reactions that hopefully helps these artists produce a presence outside streaming services and attracts listeners to live venues. And to execute what has been called ‘Asia’s Biggest Bollywood Music Festival’, Event Capital and TM Talent Management would bring a promising two-day affair of live music featuring Arijit Singh, Amit Trivedi, Rekha Bhardwaj, Badshah and many more.

“The difference is vast between the past decades and the current one for Bollywood”

Swaroop Banerjee understands music festivals. With the execution of similar projects at Viacom and MTV in the past, Bollywood Music Festival carries new challenges from a newer perspective for CEO Banerjee. “The difference is vast between the past decades and the current one for Bollywood,” said Banerjee, when asked why a music festival featuring Bollywood musicians did not happen before. The difference also extends to the mentality of the listeners. “The ticket buyer has evolved,” continued Banerjee. “The fans were happy with the solo tours of a Vishal Dadlani or a Farhan Akhtar and others. Another musician would join them and tour across the globe, but that was about it.” Probably the only time several musicians came under one roof and performed were the award shows, and even in this case, these music acts only became the secondary reason for attendees to purchase the tickets.

“Ever since NH7 and Sunburn music festivals became a success, the understanding of the music festival has changed.”

Bollywood is evolving, as mentioned before. And it is now not shy or arrogant to draw inspirations from what the alternative music community has been implementing on a yearly basis. “These music festivals (NH7, Sunburn, Supersonic) have changed the mindsets of people and how they look at live music. “Earlier, the festival tickets were bought for the group – family or friends – but now the festival audience has become singular,” added Banerjee who hopes the immense popularity and scale of Bollywood would help the initiative witness the similar kind of success as the other existing music festivals. Banerjee explained how the idea to create BMP formed and the CEO of Event Capital credits Tarsame Mittal (Founder at TM Talent Management Hunt) for the ease of translating the idea into action and simply being the brainchild for the festival. “TM hosts a repertoire of artists like Arijit Singh, Rekha Bharadwaj, Amit Trivedi and several other musicians, and that helped us make the upcoming edition of the festival possible,” added Banerjee.

“Bollywood concerts seemed uncool. Our effort is to make Bollywood concerts ‘a cool idea.’”

The most essential and vital part of any music festival, irrespective of the country, scene or era, continues to be the appeal of its line-up. Banerjee believes Bollywood Music Project has nothing to worry about the same. “Bollywood music itself is multi-genre,” emphasised Banerjee.

“These are digitally savvy, engaging relevant artistes. We ensured the line-up is versatile.”

With no previous examples to compare to, carrying out a task like Bollywood Music Project can be tricky. In order to avoid any shortcomings on the musical front, BMP includes an advisory panel led by Rekha Bharadwaj. The advisory panel will carry few specific roles prior to the event, and the one of the responsibilities include discovering an ideal opening act for the festival. “The advisory panel came up with the idea of ‘Talent Hunt’. We will be hosting talent hunts in several cities across the country, and the panel will vote on the participants. Every talent hunt ends with an ultimate winner, and this talent hunt’s winner will get an opportunity to open the festival.”

The music festival will be held in Mumbai (Jio Gardens), and Banerjee believes hosting a festival in the maximum city itself is a big deal. “Take all your music festivals, and you’d find none of them are hosted in Mumbai. To have 30 Bollywood musicians on two stages at the centre of Mumbai on astro turf, surely, is a big deal,” said the former festival producer at VH1 Supersonic.

“And just because we have an impressive line-up that would guarantee impressive turn-out does not mean we would compromise on other factors.”

Speaking about the nature of the festival, Banerjee informed, “When you have such amazing talent in one venue, there is no end to possibilities. We are not ruling out the possibility of collaborations. And just because we have an impressive line-up that would guarantee impressive turn-out does not mean we would compromise on other factors. The attendees will witness psychedelic installations, catchy visuals and elements that constitute together to create an ideal atmosphere for a music festival.”

The festival kicks-off on 30 Sept and ends on the following day, but the entrepreneur inside Banerjee has already laid plans for the next edition. “It’s too early to talk, but surely the idea is to take the festival into multiple cities in the future. We have already received several offers from Dubai and UK. The outcome of the first edition will give us a clearer idea,” concluded Banerjee.