Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya, the new music jodi, talk about life after Dev D, to Nikhil Taneja.
How long have you both been friends?
Amit: 10 years! We met through a common friend Bobo Amartya. We were involved with advertising work then.
Amitabh: We first worked together on an album called Om – The Fusion Band. I wrote six tracks for them, and Amit arranged for it. We hit it off immediately.
Amit: And Amitabh’s actually a singer! Writing is his hobby. I had told him, I’m doing some film, do you want to freak out on it? We hung out and the album’s come out of timepass.
Amitabh: I had written for his presentation work for both Aamir and Dev D.. Surprisingly, both directors wanted to retain the lyrics. But after Dev D, we both have got the confidence that yeah, we are here to stay.
So Amitabh, you are a singer-turned-lyricist and Amit, you are a composer-turned-singer, right?
Amit: (Laughs) I’m not a singer at all. I just sing my scratches because I can’t call big singers for it. I couldn’t believe when ajkumar Tiwari and Anurag Kashyap became so hooked that they wanted to retain my voice!
Amitabh: I’ve sung for Aamir and the backing vocals on Dev D. I’ve worked with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Anu Malik for jingles and have assisted Pritam too. It’s been a twist of fate for me. I came here to be a singer but writing’s shaped up, all credit goes to Amit.
You have collaborated on Raman Mahadevan’s album and a song on terror attacks also right?
Amitabh: Yeah, when the attacks happened, I penned a song and when I called Amit, he had already composed something too.
Coincidentally, both gelled very well. It was aired on CNN-IBN.
Amit: And Raman’s a close friend of ours.. it was natural to collaborate on his album.
What are your influences?
Amit: Oh my God, I have so many! My all-time favourites are Madan Mohan, Panchamda (R D Burman), The Beatles, Sting and A R Rahman. Currently, I think Coldplay is the best alternative rock band of the decade and BT has really inspired me with his electronica sound.
Amitabh: For writing, majorly Gulzaar saab. Amongst contemporaries, Prasoon Joshi inspires me. Though I’m a Bengali, I belong to Lucknow.. so I’ve always been more comfortable with Hindi. I’ve grown up listening to old Hindi songs, so they are the biggest influence.
So how do you approach a song?
Amitabh: So far, I haven’t written something I can’t hum. The melody inspires me. I keep my lyrics conversational unlike conventional Hindi lyrics, which are shayarana.
Amit: For me, it’s all gut-feeling. When I’m reading a script, whatever I feel instinctively, I go for it. I don’t think.. I take it from a blank space. When I’m composing for myself, it’s just mood-based.
Your dream directors to work with?
Amit: Ashutosh Gowarikar, Sriram Raghavan, Shimit Amin and all the other new talented guys. (Laughs) And Danny Boyle!
Amitabh: All the names he took and Rakeysh Mehra, and if possible, Mani Ratnam. Vishal Bharadwaj’s films are also
perfect for our sensibilities.
One director you’d do the hardcore commercial stuff for?
Amit: (Laughs) Aditya Chopra, maybe. If big banners approach me, I’m not in the position to say, ‘Give me your script then I’ll decide whether I’ll compose.’ So there’s a catch there.
Amitabh: The one director for whom I’d let all the commercial stuff I have in me off my chest is surely David Dhawan.. provided all songs are picturised on Govinda!
Amitabh: Right now, I have a UTV film and Saurabh Shukla’s next. I’m singing in a couple of movies too.
Amit: I am very choosy. I have a lot of scripts lying at home.. I’ll read them, sleep over them and then decide if they are worth it. I want to take it aaram se. But I’m surely doing Rajkumar’s and Anurag’s next too. The aura of Anurag inspires you to go out-of-the-box.