You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t yet watched the Indian adaptation of Coldplay’s Fix You. The video, featuring an ensemble of Indian classical musicians playing the harmonium, sitar, flute, sarangi and other instruments, was uploaded on YouTube a day ago. And it has already garnered 62,000 views and counting at the time of writing this.
The song, familiar as it may be, is fascinatingly refreshing when played on the Indian instruments. And the deviations that the musicians mete out on their sarangi, flute and even on the vocals add to it. It’s one of those tracks that you can play on loop all day long as you work – it’s that soothing.
It may come as a surprise then to know that the brain behind it all is just 21 years old. And he isn’t even musically trained! Mumbai-based Tushar Lall started the Indian Jam Project a year-and-half ago with a crude, homemade video of an Indian version of the famous Game of Thrones (GOT) theme song. “I’m a big GOT fan, so I was inspired to write an arrangement for the theme song,” Lall says. “At that time, I just wanted to put the track out. So I borrowed a DSLR from a friend, put it on a stand and recorded the whole video. And I produced the audio myself.”
The video, with just three musicians – a flautist, a tablist and Lall himself on the keyboards – got an overwhelming response. So for his next tracks – Indian adaptations of the familiar theme songs of Sherlock, the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean films and more – Lall borrowed the help of friends to shoot better videos that would complement the music well. His YouTube channel has ten such videos so far, and a few of them have over a million views.
And to think he did it all without any formal musical training! Lall says that he started playing the keyboard when he was four years old and started composing music when he was 14 – all by the ear. “I listen and play. If you ask me to play a C sharp 7th chord, I won’t be able to, because I don’t know how to,” he says. He did however pursue a degree in music production from New York.
The idea behind Indian Jam Project germinated when he started jamming with his friends, most of who are into Indian classical. “I wanted to bring the sound of Indian classical instruments forward. If I’ve to explain to a layman what a sarangi is, I’ll tell him to go see a 60 minute sarangi recital online. But, let’s be honest, he’ll get bored, because he won’t have a deep understanding of its nuances. That is why I’m trying to represent it in a way so that everyone can associate with the instruments and their sounds better.”
So what’s the next such Indian adaptation that we can expect from him? “Until now I was doing Hollywood scores, but now I’m planning to step out of that and do songs that are immortal, all time favourites,” Lall says. So it could be Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven or Eagles’ Hotel California next. We shall wait. And man, shall we watch!
From HT Brunch, August 31, 2016
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch