Music director Amit Trivedi speaks so softly that you wonder how he manages to hit those high notes in his songs. Given a choice, Amit would shun interviews and spend more time in his recording studio. The composer, who earned appreciation for Kai Po Che and raised a few eyebrows too for his upcoming Lootera, says he can neither rest on his past laurels nor harp about criticism.
Tell us something about the kind of deadlines you work with.
I wish we didn’t have them! I work within a given timeframe and I guess it’s a healthy practice because you get things done and don’t sit on your work, trying to ‘perfect’ it.
As a music composer, do you decide whether you could sing a particular song?
It’s always the director’s call. Never in my career have I sung a song because I wanted to. I enjoy creating music more than singing.
So the direcors play a significant role on the music front as well?
Of course. They are like the captain of the ship. Besides, if you’ve noticed, I generally work with writer-directors. They know exactly what they want as they have created the story, and their expertise helps a lot. The directors are the real heroes. Everyone else, be it the actor or the singers or the lyricists, come second.
Speaking of lyricists, what equation do you share with Amitabh Bhattacharya?
We’ve known each other for more than 12 years and we are friends first. The comfort level we share transcends the professionalism that follows it. I see many more years of us working together as we bring out the best in each other.
You’ve worked with Gulzar in televesion commercials but you two haven’t collaborated in films…
Yes, not yet, but someday we might do. I admire him a lot so I look forward to that day as well.
Who have been your musical influences?
AR Rahman has been the greatest influence for sure. Hans Zimmer, BT, Pink Floyd and Coldplay are also some of those whom I’ve learned so much from.
And what do you have to say to those who tout you as the next ARR?
(Pause) I respect my fans but there can’t be another AR Rahman. Ever. There’s only one of his kind and we’re lucky to have him. These sorts of comparisons and compliments delight me but then it’s not fair to either of us.
Where do you see the royalty-related ‘movement’ headed?
As of now, copyright issues are just that — issues. We haven’t figured out the solution. There are several clauses and contracts in place now which are supposed to protect the artiste’s interests but there is no foolproof solution. We have a long way to go.
There was a buzz about you lifting a theme from a Hollywood movie.
First of all, I’m not a fool to steal music. All of a sudden I was hearing stuff like ‘Amit Trivedi has become like Pritam and Anu Malik. He has become a chor too’. According to some, Lootera’s theme in a teaser has been lifted from Rachel Portman’s track for the film One Day. I was shocked to learn that people could think that I could do something like that. After retrospection, I acknowledged that it wasn’t their fault. The themes did match to some extent.
So was it purely coincidental?
As far as I’m concerned, yes. I even searched for Rachel’s contact and eventually found her e-mail ID. I then sent her an audio file of my teaser and mentioned people’s reaction to it in the mail so that she knows what’s going on. I even asked her to tell me what to do because I seriously wanted to sort this out. I waited for a few days but she didn’t reply. Perhaps she thought it wasn’t a big deal.
Also, the song Sawaar Loon reminds one of SD Burman…
Yes, that’s right. And it was very much intentional. The beats I’ve used resemble the ones he was famous for. You see, the film is set in the ‘50s in West Bengal and the idea was to make the music as realistic as possible. Moreover, I’m a huge fan of SD Burman and this specific song is a tribute to him.
You turned a father last year. How has fatherhood influenced your creative side?
If anything, it has only enhanced it. I enjoy spending time with my son Yaman who will turn a year old in July. Fatherhood is a silent bliss.