This day in 2009, a film was presented to the audience which turned the Bollywood music space on its head. The movie soundtrack transcended genres and introduced the Indian audience to mainstream fusion music. It was music composer Amit Trivedi’s first signed film, ‘Dev D’. To celebrate a decade of Dev D’s music, I dropped by Amit’s studio for a quick chat about the film’s music, his journey as a composer and his ambitious pet project.
Amit belongs to a non-film music background. His childhood was immersed in Indian folk music mainly due to his parents love towards the genre. He grew up listening to all kinds of folk; Lok Geet, Gujarati folk, Bhajans etc. His mother is still pro-active in music. She conducts and composes Gujarati folk music with her set of musicians.
“I would jam with her a lot. She introduced me to various kinds of garba and other folk music” reminisces Amit fondly.
When he was asked by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap to compose the music for Dev D, Amit was busy making jingles. “I never followed Bollywood music in those days. I had absolutely no idea about this genre” smiled Amit.
His music is reflective of his persona, just like him, his music is very instinctive. To compose a soundtrack so vividly different from the mainstream, at the time, was surely a gamble for any composer making his foray into Bollywood. His music was not conventional, mass-y nor marketable for a movie ten years back.
“I had not been introduced to these adjectives, so I was unadulterated. My music was and is very instinctive. This is the kind of music that resonates with me” says Amit.
(Pic: Anurag Kashyap, Shellee, Amit Trivedi)
His music compositions vary according to the movie. Amit is one of the few composers who creates new content for every film. His music is crafted in accordance to the director’s vision. A perfect example of the same would be the song ‘Pardesi’ from the movie ‘Dev D’. Amit envisioned the iconic character of Devdas in 2009.
“In the present age a loser will not just be drinking but would be indulging in various kinds of intoxication. It gave me the idea that the music can be edgy and trippy. The intention was to keep it trippy and it struck a chord with the audience” gleamed Amit.
To work with a composer who would give a lyricist the required artistic freedom is rare. But working with Amit is an entirely different ballgame for a lyricist. Amit is a lyricist’s composer. ‘Chonch Ladiyan’ from the movie ‘Manmarziyaan’ bears testimony to this. The song was a combination of great singing, beautifully penned lyrics and saccharine laced melody.
“I thought these three elements were speaking loud enough hence I kept the music low key” quips Amit.
To sacrifice his music to highlight the words written by the lyricist is rare in this age.
How do you enjoy a song? Amit turned the tables on me. Before I could even say a word, he answered his question,
“You don’t hum a tune, you need lyrics. The combination of the two makes a song. The lyrics are the soul of a song.”
Amit jams with his lyricists regularly. Every song created is thoroughly discussed. They end up fighting at times but Amit is always confident of getting the best from them. This positive and healthy relation is reflected in his music.
Currently Amit is working on a pet project of his, called ‘Indradhanush’. It is a live Bollywood music show reflecting the seven moods of a human.
“A rainbow has seven colours just like human emotions. The show has seven segments and each one of them has been given specific shades. Every song featured has been given a different treatment”, quips Amit, adding,
“The third segment of the show, Fear and Angst, has dark and hard hitting music. The song ‘Emotional Atyachar’ from the movie ‘Dev D’ has been remade into a more darker and deeper version especially for the segment. Similarly every song is recreated keeping the segment in mind.”
When asked about the reason behind such an ambitious project, Amit said
“While performing at concerts I had to shift between moods of the songs and that perturbed me. So I thought of this concept. I categorised the songs according to the mood. The music transcends genres from folk to rock to jazz to funk”.
Apart from ‘Indradhanush’, Amit is also penning a musical.
“I do not see myself directing it. It will be totally desi and the music will be something we Indians identify with. In short it will be ‘apna music’. I am not aping the west, I will create a ‘desi Moulin Rouge’ Amit, signed off.