Composer Amit Trivedi speaks to Shalini Shah on lending his voice to ‘Keh ke lunga’ and being on Season 2 of Coke Studio
It didn’t take long for Anurag Kashyap to rope in Amit Trivedi to render “Keh ke lunga” from the recently-released Gangs of Wasseypur. But then, as the latter will tell you, it is unlikely it ever will.
“Anything for Anurag Kashyap. He’s the one I look up to as my big brother. For …Wasseypur, when Sneha (Khanwalkar, the film’s music director) called me for the song, I didn’t even think. I don’t have to say yes or no; it’s understood I’m doing it. Anurag thought I would be the right voice for the song. It just happened,” says Trivedi, in the Capital to unveil Season 2 of Coke Studio on MTV, where he’s one of the producers in the show’s new multi-producer format.
The composer’s association with Kashyap dates back to Dev D, that 18-track film that won Trivedi his first National Award (for Best Music Direction) and brought into Bollywood’s repertoire that rustic-meets-rock sound that many have since been, little by little, drawing from, along with fresh voices like Tochi Raina.
More films are lined up. There’s Trishna, directed by Michael Winterbottom, produced by Anurag Kashyap, with Freida Pinto in the lead role, Balki’s English Vinglish, and Rani Mukerji-starrer Ayya (scripted and produced by Kashyap again).
However, a film that would have been part of Trivedi’s filmography but couldn’t provided him what could be one of the discoveries of the new season of Coke Studio — 16-year-old singer Devinder.
Trivedi recalls, “I was on a reconnaissance trip for a film called Chamkila (based on the life of controversial Punjabi singer Amar Singh Chamkila), which I was working on. I had to go to Punjab to look for a new voice that would suit Chamkila. He was a legend, the ‘Elvis of Punjab’, so someone to suit that voice and stature of performance. There were many auditions for singers; that’s where I met Devinder. I called him to Mumbai and got him to record a few songs for the film. But the film didn’t take off. But I wanted to do something with that guy.” Coke Studio, there, seemed the right platform. “In films there are directors and a whole lot of things to follow and keep in mind before you do anything. Coke Studio was my own expression, so I felt it was the right place to use him.”
While Coke Studio is being promoted as a platform for “independent, non-film music”, there is little else on television programming dedicated to non-film music — a marked contrast from the 1990s’ boom where people invested much in music videos, found enough airtime on television (and, consequently, publicity), and record companies made money off non-film albums. Isn’t there an anomaly then in television’s attitude to non-film music?
“There are several reasons,” Trivedi ponders. “One is the boom of the Internet, due to which any music from any part of the world you can have on your fingertip. And you don’t have to pay. That’s the reason independent music has been pushed back to an extent that it has become completely extinct. Nobody buys music anymore. Music stores have shut down. With Made in India, Magnasound sold millions of copies. But that’s not the case anymore, so no company wants to invest in something like that. Everything now boils down to Bollywood; Bollywood’s a full package… Coke Studio is just a different way of bringing independent music back; it’s not about downloads or sales. It’s just about artistes coming and expressing themselves. It’s performance — an audio-visual experience, basically.”
(Coke Studio premieres at 7 p.m. on July 7 on MTV.)