Bombay Velvet's failure hit me hard: Amit Trivedi

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The first film for which Bollywood music director Amit Trivedi composed music was Aamir (2008). But it was with the title track of Emotional Atyachaar from Anurag Kashyap's Dev D (2009) that he truly made his mark.

In a milieu of disco-sounding mainstream Bollywood music (think of a typical party song), came this song that was raw and edgy, and reflected the character's confusion.

Since then, Amit has given music to quite a few successful films such as Ishaqzaade, Lootera and Queen.

Amit's ability to handle different genres, be it metal, jazz, folk, Punjabi pop or rock has got him the approval AR Rahman. Among the top-billed composers in Bollywood, he is currently busy with films such as Shandaar and Udta Punjab.

HT caught up with the musician on his recent trip to Delhi for an event for a tete-a-tete.

AR Rahman in a recent interview to HT mentioned that in Bollywood he likes Amit Trivedi and Sneha Khanwalkar. Your comments.

I consider it an honour to be receiving these compliments from AR Rahman. He has been an inspiration to me right from the beginning. Although I have never had the opportunity to directly work under him, just watching him has taught me a lot. He is my biggest influence when it comes to Bollywood music.

Your experiment in Bombay Velvet with Jazz didn't quite work with mainstream Bollywood audience. Did that leave you disappointed? There have been composers in the past like C Ramachandra and Shankar Jaikishen who have woven in some elements of Jazz into Hindi film music...

The reason I went ahead with making the music for Bombay Velvet was because I loved the script. Of course it is a disappointment when it doesn't work out but there are no regrets. The music that I composed for this film is still one of my top favourites. People who are fond of Jazz have loved the music of the film.

What are your influences in music? In a recent article, NH7 Weekender's Vijay Nair mentions how your influences are from outside Bollywood. What does that mean?

To be a part of Bollywood, versatility is a necessity. It's never easy to gauge the pulse of the audience. When I stepped into Bollywood, I had my own way because I knew no other way. People see it as unique but it has more to do with my personality. My style of music is based entirely on the script and I take influences from the script itself.

Are you heavily influenced by rock music traditions? But for Lootera and Kai Po Che! you dived deep into Bengali folk and Gujarati lok geet traditions. Your comments.

More than influences, my music is based on instincts. I make music to match the script and the world of the film. Considering the two films, Lootera and Kai Po Che, I incorporated elements that would add to the essence of the film and resonate with the theme. I believe in taking a fresh approach to music each time and for each composition.

Rahman also says that musicians need to tap into classical music to avoid boring stuff. How much of classical music influences your work, both Hindustani/Carnatic and Western.

Classical music is very firmly rooted in India and I completely agree. Indian classical music is charming and currently there are a wide range of musicians who bring great classical tunes to the Bollywood industry. The music of the film depends on the script and the director's vision of it, if classical music can be incorporated then I would definitely take the opportunity to do so.

Other that AR Rahman, which other non-Bollywood music composer do you appreciate? What about MM Keeravani (MM Kreem to Bollywood)?

I believe everyone is doing great work in their own right. MM Keeravani is a legend, he has been a part of the industry for a really long time and his work is outstanding.

Indian cinema's musical tradition is rich. Who is your favourite composer?
It is extremely tough to pick one, each has their own style and has made great music.