Advaita goes to Bollywood

The fusion band has recorded a song for Bejoy Nambiar’s Wazir, with vocals by Amitabh Bachchan

Director Bejoy Nambiar was introduced to fusion band Advaita by a friend two years ago, and he fell in love with their sound. But, it was only when he heard their track, Mofunk from the 2012 album, The Silent Sea, that he decided to connect with them. He thought it was the best fit for a sequence in his Farhan Akhtar/Amitabh Bachchan thriller Wazir, which released this weekend.

Advaita, a Delhi-based fusion band, is known for seamlessly mixing Indian classical and western sounds

"I just had to have it in my movie. I gave a few inputs, which they were open to. I wanted the sound to be heavier, and the groove deeper. And the pitch had to be changed so that Mr Bachchan's voice could fit in," says Nambiar. The song, titled Khel Khel Mein, which has no lyrics other than Bachchan's soliloquy, has what the Delhi-based band is known best for — a seamless mix between the Western and Indian classical elements like the tabla, the bass, the sarangi and Indian classical vocals.

"Though there are no lyrics, we are mouthing out the music like it's done in classical genres," says Mohit Lal, who plays the tabla. The band also includes Abhishek Mathur on guitars, Aman Singh on drums, Anindo Bose on keyboards, Chayan Adhikari on western vocals/acoustic guitar, Gaurav Chintamani on bass, Suhail Yusuf Khan on the sarangi and Ujwal Nagar who sings Hindustani vocals. After Nambiar got in touch with the band, he told them that the lyrics, mouthed by Bachchan would be written by Abhijeet Deshpande, and after Big B recorded them, the band weaved it into their arrangement. "Bejoy was aware of what he wanted the track to say. Even though one has heard that in Bollywood, artistic vision gets compromised for mass appeal, he gave us creative freedom. That was great," says Chintamani.

The Bollywood debut could be a new direction for the 11-year-old band. Though they have been busy touring, it's been a while since one has heard something new from them. But Lal says, "Along with playing the usual gigs, we have worked on a track with a Mexican guitar duo. It will be out soon, as will a band single." When asked about where they place themselves on the music scene today, they remain philosophical.

"It's tricky to gauge a band's position vis-a-vis to the 'music scene', which though strong is still fragmented. It's also very easy to fall into a trap where you think you're cruising, but fail to notice that everything else is moving too fast," says Chintamani, adding that though they have been dormant about writing new music, they are going to be more busy in the coming few months ahead. "We should have a few tunes out by summer. We have managed to carve a niche out for ourselves and the attempt with these new tunes will be to discover a new vibe, while staying true to our sound," he signs off.

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