Last year's biggest grosser 3 Idiots not only had an impressive storyline and a fabulous star cast, it also had its audience crooning to the tunes of give me some sunshine. Recently in the city as a part of the INK Conference 2011 organised by non-profit organisation TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), Shantanu Moitra, the man behind the music of 3 Idiots is elated post the success of the film. “A bit of Rancho has rubbed off on all of us. Rancho strived for excellence and success happened along with it and that has become the motto of my life.”
The music director and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra go way back right from the days of Parineeta, when Moitra got his first break and their association has resulted in an excellent camaraderie which is reflected in most of their movies. He has also worked with Rajkumar Hirani in Lage Raho Munnabhai. “Right from the beginning, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani gave me the freedom to work my way. I was very happy with the music of 3 Idiots and believe that good work will never go unappreciated.”
An economics graduate, he started his career in advertising. It was his association with Pradeep Sarkar that landed him with Parineeta. Ever since then there has been no looking back. A big fan of Salil Chowdhury, Ilayaraja, Rabindra sangeet, he is also striving to include folk music into mainstream music. “The adulation for Bollywood music is great but the other forms of music are being ignored. Folk music has suffered 200 years of systematic abuse. There is a generation who will never listen to Ravi Shankar or Jagjit Singh playing in the All India Radio or are unaware of the beauty of folk music. There is no palette for it anymore and it's high time we catalogue folk music,” says the passionate director.
He says that even though a lot of directors in Bollywood are experimenting with their music but the moment is still miniscule. “Films still need a star to sell. Most filmmakers are interested in is whether the music is fast or slow, happy or sad. We need to create equal opportunities for all genres.” Taking the example of Coke Studio, which is a Pakistani Television series which features live performances by classical, folk, rock and contemporary music artists, he says, “We need something like Coke Studio made available.”
Moitra is extremely choosy about his projects and has spaced out his career. “I don't want music to be my bread and butter. I need to read and understand a script and characters before working for it. It is probably because of my advertising background,” he contemplates. An avid traveller and a mountaineer, he chronicles his travel each near with a calendar. Back from his trip to the Sunderbans, he says, “I have variety of interest and don't want to feel claustrophobic; after all you are as good as your last job.”