Amit Trivedi
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Amit Trivedi: Rahman sir is like a guru..

Amit Trivedi

By HT

Mumbai, Oct. 3 -- His Bollywood career spans only seven years, but Amit Trivedi has already become one of the most celebrated music composers in the industry.

What's more, he feels extremely proud of being "a Hindi film music composer". Ahead of his performance at the Red Bull Tour Bus Off The Roof concert today (October 3), Amit gets candid about the gig, his love for composer AR Rahman, his personal life, and why winning a Grammy doesn't really interest him.

In a recent interview, you had said that AR Rahman is your biggest inspiration. What is it about him that influences you?

We both love each other. Rahman sir is like a guru. I was a kid when he started, and I didn't know anything about music. He brought a wave of freshness to Bollywood music. His work in films like Roja (1992), Bombay (1995), Taal (1999), Dil Se.. (1998), Lagaan (2001) and Swades (2004) demanded the audience to stand up and take notice. I would only listen to his music. His work really inspired me.

Apparently, you believe in understanding the cultures of different places before composing music for films. So, do you travel to various states to understand their essence?

Yes, of course. Before I began working on Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (2012), I stayed in Punjab for 15 days, and travelled to Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Amritsar to understand the culture of the state. It is essential to know the context a song is set in before composing it. I cannot make a track, and then sell it to a film-maker. I can only compose songs after the situations are narrated to me.

You most recently worked on Bombay Velvet, and the tracks had strong jazz influences. Now, the songs in your upcoming film are very peppy. What kind of music do you love to make?

I enjoy making music for feature films. It is very exciting. It makes you versatile, as you explore different places and genres. For instance, the music of Kai Po Che! (2013) took me to Gujarat. Then, Lootera (2013) was a period film that took me back to East Bengal. This kind of scope for exploration is possible only in Hindi film music. If I have to compose my own independent music, I wouldn't be able to come up with songs like 'Manjha' (Kai Po Che!) or 'Sawaar loon' (Lootera). I would create something else.

What are your plans for the Red Bull Tour Bus Off The Roof concert tonight?

I've planned something very different. It will be all about high-octane music. The best part about this concert is that it happens on a bus's rooftop. So, it's a different kick altogether. I am quite excited about it. I want the music to give the audience an adrenaline rush.

Since you love to experiment with different kinds of music, do Indian classical genres, like ghazal, thumri, dadra etc., interest you?

Yes, they do. But I haven't got a chance to delve deeper into them, as I haven't been offered a film that demands such music. Since I am a mainstream Hindi film music composer, my work revolves around the kinds of movies that come my way. I really hope I get a project like that, as it would give me a chance to educate myself in these genres.

Is there any solo project that you are working on?

Not really. I just like to make music for Hindi films. I find them more exciting, so I only compose for movies and perform at concerts. I do have a dream project though, I want to compose music for a Broadway musical in the future.

Do you manage to spend time with your family?

Very little. But I make it a point to take some time out for my three-year-old son, Yaman. My wife, Krutee, spends her time managing me, and him (laughs). I am planning to go on a family vacation to Kerala around Diwali, which will be our first one together.

You maintain a low profile. Why?

I don't like to be in the public eye. I am a very simple person. When it comes to artistes, their work should speak more than themselves.

Do you ever aim for a Grammy?

(Laughs) I don't have any such aim. I don't think on those lines. I don't create music to get awards; I make music because that is the reason for my existence. Award milne ya na milne se koi farq nahi padta. Asli award hota hai audience ka appreciation. (It doesn't matter if you get an award or not. The real award is the audience's appreciation). Grammy milega to kya hoga? Ek shelf pe rakha rahega aur dhool khata rahega. Aur main apne bacche ko bataunga ki aisa kuch mila tha (What will happen if I get a Grammy? It will be kept on a shelf, and I will tell my kid, 'See I'd won it').

Who do you enjoy working with?

I love working with Arijit Singh. He is a fabulous singer, and a very simple man. I am also fond of Sunidhi (Chauhan; singer) and Shreya (Ghoshal; singer). They are magicians. When these guys perform, I just sit and enjoy the live concert.

Being known for a distinct sound, do you fear stagnation?

Films won't let me stagnate. I don't take up projects that are monotonous. I can't do run-of-the-mill work.

Have you ever run out of work?

Yes, there was a lull phase, about one-and-a-half years ago. But that's part of life.

You never have back-to-back releases in a year. Why?

I don't take up more than two projects at a time. I like to finish one film, and then move on to the next. That helps me enjoy the creative process.

How do you feel a day prior to a film's music release?

I feel nervous, because you never know what's in store for you - whether you will be criticised or garlanded. The toughest part is that, most of the time, we make a film's music a year ahead of its release. So the fear is that the audience's tastes and music trends may have changed.