Composer and singer Amit Trivedi, known for his quirky approach to music, gained instant popularity for his unique compositions in the movie Dev D (2009), and there has been no looking back for the young musician. Amit tells HT that he is fortunate, as he gets to “dive into unexplored territory” with every movie.
How has your journey in Bollywood been so far?
It has been a roller coaster ride. A lot of films worked and a few didn’t. My biggest high was Dev D (2009), and my biggest disappointment has been Bombay Velvet (2015). Anurag (Kashyap), Ranbir (Kapoor), Karan (Johar) and I — we all feel pathetic. It was the disaster of our lives. The movie had to work for the music to work. The music was holding the film. But I would rather take up such projects than churn out run-of-the-mill songs.
Do you think Bollywood music restricts the creativity of music directors?
I think it’s the other way round. I feel lucky that I get to dive into unexplored territory with every project. On the one hand, I get to work on projects such as Udta Punjab, where I composed trance and rap music, keeping the mood of the songs totally dark. On the other, I get to work on jazz tunes for another project. The only drawback is that most people don’t understand such different music.
Do you mean to say Indian listeners are not open to experimental music?
There are four categories under which 95% of songs fall these days — party songs, romantic songs, item songs and sad songs. You listen to them for some time and all songs start sounding similar. You can make a medley out of them. I totally try to be away from these four categories. Occasionally, I also make such tracks. But I’m happy with the kind of work I’m doing. Sadly, there are not many takers for experimental music in India. But it’s okay. Everyone doesn’t get everything. There is no reason for me to compromise.
Your compositions are diverse. How do you manage to jump from one genre to another with so much ease?
Just like method acting, you have method composing. It is similar to the way an actor gets into the skin of a character. Why should music speak only one language? My constant effort is that through my music, I speak the language of the movie.
You have not taken any formal training in music...
I feel I should learn from a guru, as every morning, when I get up, I feel I know nothing even today. Somehow, it (learning music) never happened to me. Once, when I started taking music lessons, my music teacher shifted base to Australia. And the other time, my teacher kicked me out [of the class] because I didn’t reach on time. He was very strict and got too annoyed. But I had a genuine reason to be late that day. If I get a guru now, I’ll learn sincerely and be disciplined.
What do you have to say about the ban on Pakistani artistes?
I think the Uri attack by Pakistan was cowardly behaviour. I think a country like that should be economically boycotted. I am proud of our government, for launching surgical attacks as an answer to the Uri attacks. We retaliated, and we retaliated well. We should avoid any kind of trade with the country. Having said that, we should also consider that at the time when movies such as Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees were shot, peace talks were going on with Pakistan. The business of our people should not suffer. I stand with my industry (Bollywood) people.
MAKING THE FAMILY PROUD
“My father passed away last month. I remember taking my parents to Delhi, when I got the National Award for Dev D (2009). It was a happy and proud moment for them. Even at the beginning of this year, I received an award from the chief minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani. It is a very prestigious award and I took my dad there (for the ceremony). It made him feel proud to have a son like me. I’ll cherish these moments forever,” says Trivedi.