Amit Trivedi is one of the most sought after music composers in Bollywood today. Versatile to the core, Trivedi is adept at creating mellifluous as well as peppy numbers as per the director’s demands. With Udta Punjab, Trivedi has touched the terrain of trance, a genre he has rarely experimented in his career hitherto. In an exclusive chat with Indian Express.com, the talented composer opens up about music, drugs and competition.
Ques:How did you get into music composing?
Amit: I always wanted to be in music. It happened seriously when I was in college. I have always loved this craft of composing tunes. Since childhood, I was exposed to a musical environment. Both my parents were musically inclined so I naturally took to this art.
Ques: Was Bollywood always on mind?
Amit: Never. It just happened. I just wanted to create music but had never planned popular Hindi music. But in India if you want to reach out to maximum people, Bollywood is the route. So when it happened, I thought this is what is perhaps meant to be.
Ques: How did it happen?
Amit: I used to keep creating a jingles for ads, television and jam with singers like Shilpa Rao. Shilpa introduced me to Anurag Kashyap. He liked my stuff and gave me a break.
Ques: Does Bollywood allow you to flourish as a music director?
Amit: It’s both actually and also depends on the project. Sometimes it curbs you and sometimes it let’s you fly in a direction never explored before.
Ques: So does Udta Punjab fall in the second category?
Amit:(Laughs)Yes, Udta Punjab falls in the second part. I wouldn’t think of making a trance so much. But this film gives you the leeway to explore the unexplored.
Ques: What kind of brief did you get before composing music for this film?
Amit: The brief was simple. Create music for Tommy Singh who is a Punjabi drug addict and is dark and negative in nature. He is a rapper and I had to create music for such a person.
Ques: Why do most rappers and rock stars have a drug related past?
Amit: Have you heard the phrase ‘Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll.’ They have a strong connection with each other. Artists are really crazy and mad. There is some quirk in them which needs an outlet and sometimes it happens through music which become that outlet. However, there are some people who are extreme cases. Like in the case of Tommy Singh who wants to add that extra high in his life. He is always on cocaine and he looks at world differently. Drugs takes him to a new world. When you are high on substance, you travel to places which you can never ever travel when you are sane.
Ques: Have you ever tried drugs yourself?
Amit: Only once when I was young. It was very bad. It was too much for me to handle.
Ques: What was it that you tried?
Amit: Hash. My friend asked me to take a drag. But it was not my kind of thing. It started messing with my mind and I realised there was no need to have any new foreign particles in my brain. It was not my trip. But I have heard stories that it gives a high and that you go into a trance. It gives an other worldly high. I never had the guts to try it though.
Ques: Moving on, tell me, how do you view the competition around you?
Amit: Competition is there but for me my competition is me, myself. I have set a benchmark for myself and I believe my next work should either be as good or surpass that level.
Ques:What’s your take on filmmakers roping in multiple composers to work on a single film?
Amit: I have never done that. I don’t see myself doing it. I have been approached but I don’t get it. If I am capable enough of doing a single film, why should I get into it? I like doing the entire narrative.
Ques: Do you think you have underutilised your capabilities as a singer?
Amit: Yeah I think so. But then I don’t consider myself as a singer. I am more of an okay part-time scratch singer. I turned into a singer because directors wanted it. I have never had any formal training. But yes, I have not tapped into it because that is also not my area of interest. I am more inclined towards composing.
Ques: What’s your view on melodyne, the software that helps your correct your voice.
Amit: It’s great. Sometimes it helps me also (smiles).
Ques: Finally, tell us why do we see less number of female music composers in Bollywood?
Amit: Good question. Even I don’t know. I will have to ask these girls. Women are more talented and gifted. But I don’t know the reason behind it.