Anoushka Shankar: My father used to tell me that my music is very cinematic | music | Hindustan Times
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Anoushka Shankar: My father used to tell me that my music is very cinematic

Popular sitar player Anoushka Shankar shares that her father, late Pandit Ravi Shankar, is her inspiration, and opens up about the many conversations they had about music.

music Updated: Dec 14, 2017 19:15 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Anoushka Shankar scored the music for the restored version of the film Shiraz: A Romance of India (1928) recently.
Anoushka Shankar scored the music for the restored version of the film Shiraz: A Romance of India (1928) recently.(Waseem Gashroo/Hindustan Times)

When you have an icon for a father, there is no way you cannot be influenced by him. And, if he happens to be your teacher as well, then the influence becomes even stronger. Anoushka Shankar shared such a bond with her father and guru, late Pandit Ravi Shankar. Interestingly, the British Indian sitarist reveals that he always saw in her the gift of making music for cinema. Anoushka has recently, and for the first time, scored the music for an entire film, the restored version of Shiraz: A Romance of India (1928). She had earlier partly composed for films, the latest example being the closing credits for the Judi Dench and Ali Fazal starrer Victoria & Abdul, in collaboration with Thomas Newman.

“He [Ravi Shankar] used to tell me that my music is very cinematic. Whenever he heard my non-film compositions, he would say, ‘You should be great if you move into films because you make very cinematic music’. So, it was nice to hear that [from him],” she smiles.

Her answer takes us to the question whether her legendary father, whose memorable compositions include The Apu Trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959), Neecha Nagar (1946), and Gandhi (1982), discussed film compositions with her. Anoushkha reveals, “I thin he really enjoyed his film music experiences. He didn’t do it very often, and only said yes when he really loved it. And he did some incredible work for the few films he did, obviously the most iconic being the whole Apu Trilogy. So, he would speak about that and about what it was like [creating soundscape for films].”

Meanwhile, Anoushka, whose last released album was Land of Gold, is working on her next. So, every time she is creating new music, does her loving ‘bapi’ inspire her? The sitarist answers in the affirmative, adding, “It’s impossible to pick a part. Even when I am doing something completely original, I am still his student. I still learnt from him; it’s likely my brain works in a way that is influenced by him. So, I can’t say this one is influenced by him and that one isn’t, it’s hard to answer.”

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