Shoojit Sircar’s film October has been the talk of the town for its unconventional plot, star cast headed by Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu and screenplay by Juhi Chaturvedi. The album of October, composed by Shantanu Moitra, Armaan Malik and Anupam Roy, is no less as it stands out from other recent Bollywood releases with its perfect mix of songs.
When asked about his expectations from the album of October, Shantanu Moitra said, “I knew it was a new sound, it was fresh. Especially when I made the October theme. For a long time, we haven’t heard instrumental music as a part of the film. My simple theory was that this is what I like and I don’t think I am an alien from Mars that my taste in music won’t match with anyone else. October is a beautifully written love story and it has been shot beautifully too. The tune for the theme came to me naturally without putting a lot of thought into it. Shoojit and I loved it, so we were sure some people will definitely like it. We never expected that the nation will groove to the tunes of October but I also had no doubts about the music of the movie. I knew people will like it.”
Explaining it further, he added, “Being a person from advertising, I know when you do something different which is not being done by the herd, it draws attention. By doing something different, you do not have to shout to catch attention. So, when we released the instrumental theme of October, it was something novel and it automatically made a place for itself in the hearts of feel.”
The October theme has a melancholic feel to it and seemingly serves its purpose in the movie which is an unusual story of love. For Shantanu, it is the “DNA of October”. “I composed the tune of October a year ago even before the shoot of the film began. I did so because I wanted Shoojit to think of the script with the theme music in his mind. When Shoojit heard it, he loved it and he has lived with this tune for a year. He has shot the movie with this tune and has constructed scenes around it. It is the part of the DNA of October,” quipped Moitra who has earlier given music to Shoojit’s Yahaan.
What Moitra loves about Shoojit’s directorial is that it is a simple love story and presents love exactly how a layman understands it. In the movie, Varun and Banita are hotel management trainees. Their lives turn topsy-turvy when Banita’s character Shiuli meets with an accident and utters Dan’s (Varun Dhawan) name the moment she opens her eyes. The film hits the theatres on April 13.
The quality of Bollywood music has been at an all-time low in the recent times with the rehashed version of older melodies being presented to the audience. In such times, Shantanu, who has added to the beauty of films like Parineeta, Munna Bhai MBBS, 3 Idiots, Madras Cafe, Yahaan and others with his music, believes that until you present your audience with variety, you cannot expect them to have an ear for something new.
“I have grown up listening to All India Radio where I have heard songs by Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Ravi Shankar and also some western classical music. One radio station had all kind of music and we didn’t have the option to switch the channel. And I always believed that art should also be like that, it should give everything and it is upto the listener whether he will listen to it or not. How do you develop the interest of people in a certain genre? If you will not present people with certain things, how can you expect them to accept it? Overall, this is a decay of the system. When this country has such kind of variety, the kids and the youngsters should be presented with it and then it is for them to decide if they like it or not,” opined the music composer.
Commenting on the growing trend of remakes, Shantanu remarked, “Everyone is following the herd. Somewhere some song worked and everybody started believing that this will work. I think there is an atmosphere of fear, that what if this song will not work. What if people will not accept it? And I believe, the art which comes out as a result of fear can never be up to the mark.”
The song and dance culture of Bollywood is fading away but the music composer feels this is just a passing phase. “This country is made of music. It celebrates every festival with music. There is a song for everything and every moment in this country. So, it is not possible that Hindi films will do away with the song and dance culture.” But he also believes that a filmmaker has a major role in reviving this culture. “A filmmaker has a major role to play in this. Picturising a song in a film is a form of art and it cannot be just about filling space. You see the work of directors like Bimal Roy, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vidhu Vinod Chopra or Sudhir Mishra, they shot and placed the song in a way that the story moved ahead with them. To make the correct song and to place it at an appropriate place in the movie, one needs one to have an ear for good music,” said Shantanu Moitra.