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News |  21 Sep 2012 13:59 |  By zualachhangte

Bickram Ghosh : "I enjoy working on film music, it throws up new challenges"

Tabla maestro Bickram Ghosh is known to experiment and reinterpret music and culture. He dabbles in a vast repertoire of musical genres, from classical, rock, new-age, fusion to film music. The Tabla exponent who recently released his live album ‘Timeless Tabla’ is currently busy directing the music of ‘Jal’ (directed by Girish Malik) with Sonu Nigam. Ghosh takes a quick time- out to update on the project.


Can you share the basic information on your current project? Any new challenges?

Our (with Sonu Nigam) first film is Jal. It is directed by Girish Malik, who directed my ‘Vande Mataram’ video. We have recorded two songs - one with Shubha Mudgal, another with Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan and Suzanne. There is another song yet to be composed.

The second film we are doing is ‘Sooper se Ooper’. It is directed by Shekhar Ghosh. There are six songs and we have recorded with artists like Mika Singh, Soumya Rao, Gunjan, Ash King, Nikita Nigam, Parwati Kumari and Ambarish Das, amongst others.

We have just started work on our third film.

How different is recording for a bollywood film compared to that of Classical / Fusion music? - What are the demands and expectations from a musician?

I am no stranger to film composition, having done two films in Bangla and three films -‘Little Zizou’, ‘Gumshuda’ and ‘Devaki’- before the tie -up with Sonu (Nigam). Film composition is a completely different ball game. One has to compose for a situation, follow a brief given by the director. One reads the script and moves ahead with the composition on the basis of the script.  Personal albums- be it classical or fusion- are projects with complete freedom where there are no dicktats. I enjoy the challenges brought forth by both.

How have you shared responsibility with  Nigam? Is he doing the vocal part only?

Sonubhai and I work in a unified manner. Be it vocals, instrumentals - we do not restrict ourselves at all. We often sit together and create a melody. We equally enjoy working together and creating a ‘sound’. I love his out of the box thinking and I believe he loves my ‘maverick-ness’ too. That’s why we are able to create new sounds and we call our sound ‘muddy electronica.’

A number of classically trained artists are increasingly collaborating and working in Bollywood projects. What is the main reason behind this? Is it good for the artist’s ‘integrity’?

This has always existed. Great artists like Pt Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Allah Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hzussain, so many have composed for films. There is no question of a compromise. Music is not hierarchical. Every form has its own dignity.

I enjoy working on film because it throws up new challenges and I find myself growing as an artist in a more wholesome manner.

Bollywood has incorporated a lot of influences and musical styles from different forms of music- from Classical to Techno. Do you feel this dilutes the purity of music and belittles the category? How 'serious' should bollywood music directors be taken- As for all their talents, they are famous for lifting tunes, getting 'inspired' etc. Elaborate.

One thing needs to be understood. There are limitations and stylistic ‘liftings’ in classical music too. Many artists take pages out of other artist's books. This is done in every artistic form. I do not call something a lift unless it is a blatant copy. Then it is a legal matter. Film is geared towards creating a certain emotional effect. In some cases classical suffices, in other situation techno or any other genre may suffice to express the mood of the film.

Every act of creativity is a dilution of form in some way. For example, when classical artists play the ‘dhun’, they often bring multiple ragas into a ‘mishra’ format, yet adhering to one base raga. This can be considered to be dilution of form by traditionalists, But would we rather forego all those beautiful mishra raga renderings that we have been gifted from greats like Raviji or Ali Akbarji? Dilution of form, if it results in inspirational art, is a step forward according to me. The resultant quality is the main issue here.