Amit Trivedi
National Award-winning composer discusses the noble cause he wants to associate with, and how Bollywood music is evolving
Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari (MID-DAY; January 22, 2017)

He started working on the soundtracks of Aamir and Dev D in 2007. Now that he is in his10th year in Bollywood, composer Amit Trivedi is finally taking time out for independent music. He is part of The Dewarists, in which he has worked on a song, Panchiyaa, which also features celebrated kanjeera player V Selvaganesh (see pic from the song below). Amit says he wants to explore the independent music space more and that he has started work on a new single as well. When we caught up with him at his Andheri studio, the composer got candid about his dreams, the noble cause he wants to associate with, actors turning singers, and more.

Your music is lauded for its uniqueness. What makes your work stand out? This is how I am and this is the only way I know of doing music.
Only when people titled my music ‘unique’, I realised that’s the label for my work. Even when I was working on the music of Dev D, I was just following my natural instincts. But, when the album released, I got to hear things like, “You are unique” or “you are the next A R Rahman”. I’ve never had a Godfather. I am my own guide.

Bollywood music usually limits composers’ freedom. Do you feel claustrophobic?
See, there are limitations in film music because the producer puts in money and the director has some vision, which is fair. So as a composer, you have to work things around their wishes. However, the fact that the line between mainstream commercial films and alternate cinema is blurring gives me a lot of confidence as a music maker. So while there are films like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Dangal and Sultan, movies like Dear Zindagi, Udta Punjab and Secret Superstar are also being made. The scripts of these films are not your regular, masala potboilers. For me, it’s good because I feel I started out with alternate films like Dev D, Aamir and Udaan. I’m glad I started with filmmakers who wanted to make offbeat films to help Bollywood evolve. I’m proud to be part of this transformation.

Your last three soundtracks — Udta Punjab, Fitoor and Dear Zindagi were hits. Which one did you enjoy the most?
Working on Udta Punjab was a lot of fun. It was the first time I was working with Abhishek Chaubey (director) and I was amazed by his energy. Udta Punjab was a result of the fresh energies we exchanged. He is so clear about his vision. I love people like that. He helped me explore a new side of myself. I’d never got into the dark, trance or hip-hop zone earlier. So stepping into a new territory was amazing.

Nowadays, film soundtracks feature tracks by multiple composers. Are you comfortable with that trend?
I can never work like that. Ek gaana le lo, do gaane le lo main nahin kar sakta. I am capable enough to deliver an entire soundtrack and I have been doing that for so many years. Why will I then do one-off tracks?

We’ve heard you are working on the music of Manmarziyan. Tell us about that and your other projects.
I am waiting to hear from the makers. I’ve also worked on another movie, called Rukh. It features Manoj Bajpayee. The soundtrack of that is very different.

Tell us about the music for Secret Superstar.
I have never had so much fun working on any soundtrack. It’s been so much fun to work on the film with Aamir (Khan). I love the way he gets deep into music making. He was there for the making of the entire soundtrack of the film and his opinions were so helpful for me.

What’s your take on actors turning singing?
I love it. As long as they are singing well, it’s great. Diljit Dosanjh, Shraddha Kapoor, Ali Zafar and Alia Bhatt are great. Alia is good, but I’ve told her that she can get much better if she practices more. Working with Ali on Taarifon Se and Tu Hi Hai for Dear Zindagi was a treat.

Is there a noble cause you would want to associate with?
I wish to uplift and give opportunities to the physically disabled people, who are talented musicians. I want to give them the platform to showcase their skills. That would give me a lot of contentment.

Earlier, it used to be very difficult to get in touch with you for interviews.
I used to be shy and reserved. I am glad things have eased out now. People would say, “We love Amit Trivedi’s music, but we don’t know anything about him.” I’d got so many offers to judge reality shows and to feature on screen, but I preferred staying away. But now I am more comfortable. I am trying to be more media savvy now.

Amit Trivedi and V Selvaganesh in a still from Panchiyaa