One with a different note

Amrita Prasad
Monday, 13 May 2019

Singer-composer Amit Trivedi, who was in the city to perform at Trustfort Events’ Virsaa with Amit last Saturday, tells us why folk music isn’t becoming mainstream, his love for indie music and being a part of offbeat cinema

In an era when Bollywood has become synonymous with item songs, club numbers and remixes, he introduced us to a world of music that is different and quirky. Amit Trivedi, who made his debut as composer in Bollywood with Aamir, has kind of revolutionised the Hindi film music scene. Pardesi, Naina Da Kya Kasoor, Ud-Daa, Pashmina, Gal Mitthi Mitthi, Suno Aisha, Shaam Shaandaar, Zinda Hoon, Aazaadiyan, Aai Zindangi Gale Laga Le (new), Shubhaarambh, Jugni, London Thumakda, Navrai Majhi, or Aaj Se Teri – every track that this National Awardee has composed, strikes a special chord with the listeners. Amit, who performed in the city on Saturday, believes that Pune’s audience is the best in the world and they are truly musical people.  

Folk music 
Amit’s Sound of the Nation brought together folk music from different states. He says that folk music is quite close to his heart, but is disappointed that it doesn’t get its due share of fame. “Remixes se fursat milegi tab folk music pe dhyaan denge na? (Only if they can find time from creating remixes, can they think of working on folk music). I have always been very attached to folk music and whenever possible, done my bit to promote it. Having said that, it is a genre that isn’t palatable to all films; only if a film has been made in a certain way, folk can be incorporated in the musical compositions,” says Amit who expresses that he would be delighted if somebody makes a film on the folk music of India. He further adds, “People want to dance, so they like club numbers and item songs. There is also a category of people who like romantic numbers or sad songs because there is a whole bunch of people out there dealing with heartbreaks. So such songs constitute 95 per cent of Bollywood music. However, we can see a slight change in music currently because of films that have patriotism as their theme.”

Unique choices 
It’s evident that Amit has been associated with films that are slightly different and offbeat like Aamir, Dev D, AndhaDhun, Udta Punjab, India’s Most Wanted, Lootera, Mission Mangal and so on. When asked if this is a conscious decision, Amit says that he has been quite lucky in that sense. “I started off with an experimental film like Aamir which had no scope for a dance number or a romantic track. Then I composed for Dev D and Udaan, both offbeat and experimental projects. After these films came out, people’s perception of me was, ‘Hey, this guy is good at composing for offbeat kind of films!’ Filmmakers started approaching me and that became a norm — everybody who had an experimental script would approach me. This way films like Udta Punjab, and AndhaDhun happened. Typecasting is a very obvious thing in Bollywood. However, I am a musician and I am open to creating every kind of music,” he adds. 

Despite a large number of international music festivals happening in India, and Indian artists performing abroad, we do not have an international artist from India. When we point it out to Amit, he quips, “In India, the highest number of people listening to music are those who listen to Bollywood music — be it on radios, at clubs or weddings. We are a Bollywood-driven country. Everybody here is making music for Hindi films. Then how will an independent artist rise and become an international icon? They need to shift their focus from Bollywood and concentrate on independent music. Similarly, if the audience too begins to appreciate and start taking indie music seriously, FM radio channels start playing indie music and TV and music streaming platforms encourage independent artists, there will come a day when Indians will be on the international charts. Anyway, I think we will have international artists too, and the time has really come.”  

Popular tracks
Today, every filmmaker seems to use a popular track as a tool to woo the audience. Amit believes that there is no connection between the popularity of a song and the success of the film. “If a film has to work, it will work on its own credibility, the script, content, performance and direction. Songs are just a byproduct of the whole process. We have instances where the music of a film was a huge success but the film turned out to be a great disaster. At the same time, there are plenty of films that were phenomenal success but their music wasn’t that popular. Songs and music help in the narrative and storytelling of the film in their own ways. Sirf gaano ke dum pe film sau crore kama le aise ho hi nahin sakta,” adds Amit.  

The singer-composer, who has been in the music scene — both in Bollywood and indie music space — has seen the highs and lows in music. “Evolution ka ulta kya hota hai? Wahin Bollywood music mein hua hai (What’s the opposite of evolution, that’s what has happened to Bollywood music),” says a sarcastic Amit.

A common criticism of today’s music is that lacks melody. Amit strongly disagrees. “Those who are saying this, aren surely not listening enough, and are only judging on the basis of  what is being thrown at them. But there are some really really good melody songs created in the last five years and I am not even counting my own tracks. From Channa Mereya to Dil Diyan Gallan, Dilbaro, Agar Tum Sath Ho, Moh Moh Ke Dhaage, there are many beautiful melodies,” says Amit as he concludes. 

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