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I have my fingers in both pies: Amit Trivedi

Be it creating tunes for Bollywood movies or playing for India’s burgeoning independent music scene, composer and singer Amit Trivedi pulls it off with élan. In a freewheeling chat with Deepali Dhingra, he talks about working 120 hours a week and why winning the National Award was traumatic

Amit Trivedi’s Andheri-based studio is a flurry of activity when we drop in on a Friday evening. There are at least four movies the maverick music composer and singer is working on. He flits in and out of the main studio before finally settling down in his personal studio, which has a futon and two comfortable chairs, just in case he needs to take a break. Which, in Trivedi’s case, is next to impossible. “If there are 168 hours in a week, I spend at least 120 in my studio, working,” says the much-in-demand musician.

Amit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi at his music studio in Andheri. Pic//Kiran Bhalerao

Movies galore
The 35-year-old is definitely among the most sought-after music composers in Bollywood today. Making his debut with the movie Aamir in 2008, Trivedi went on to compose music and do playback singing for films such as Dev D, Aisha, Ishaqzaade, Bombay Talkies, Lootera and Queen. His brilliant compositions in Dev D — his first movie and second release — fetched him a National Award for music direction. To our surprise, Trivedi pronounces that period as a traumatic time for him. “I was a very simple, middle-class guy, who was just thrown into the big, bad world of Bollywood. Suddenly, everyone wanted to speak to me. It was too overwhelming. I was not ready for it, so I was dubbed as shy and reclusive,” he recalls. The musician, however, says that after composing music for so many films, he has finally gained some confidence and feels he is part of the industry now. The Mumbai-based musician even joined Twitter a month-and-a-half ago to connect with his fans. We interrupt to remind him that he’s only tweeted 16 times since then. “At least I managed to do that much!” he guffaws.

Amit Trivedi
Amit Trivedi spends at least 120 hours per week working on his music at his studio in Andheri. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Alternate space
Trivedi’s music has often been described as edgy, quirky, out of the box among other things. Ask him where he thinks his ‘category’ really lies and he replies, “I think you can call it new-age Hindi film music or alternate Bollywood music.” The composer believes that it’s a great time for musicians like him, who want to delve into the alternate music. “While mainstream Bollywood music has always worked, alternate music too has achieved mass appeal and both are working parallely. Things are in transition. Maybe after 10-20 years, things will reverse and alternate will become mainstream. These are exciting times,” he adds.

What’s next?
In the pipeline, along with his film music, is a single, Bas Bajana Chahiye Gaana, which will be available on digital platforms. He will collaborate with fellow singers for the song, which he describes as a “fun, pop song”. Trivedi is also part of the upcoming Bacardi NH7 Weekender’s impressive line-up this year. “That’s the alternate music scene of our country. I’m glad I’m part of it, and I’m glad I’m part of Bollywood. I have my fingers in both pies and it’s very cool,” he grins. And, we can’t help but agree.

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