Ankur Tewari: I am not judgmental about music
Ankur Tewari, who has created the title of music supervisor in India with Gully Boy and Made in Heaven, says right now, the music scene has space for anyone and everyone
It's been happening in the West forever, but it could be called a turning point in the way the Indian film/TV/digital content industry treats its music, when a movie or show has a music supervisor.
Singer songwriter and frontman of Ankur and the Ghalat Family, Ankur Tewari, shrugs off the "pioneer" tag, but says yes, it could be the beginning of new times. "I think we are facing a flux in the way we approach movies - as there are new directors and new ways of telling a story, something like this would be the need of the hour. I personally think every story should have unique music, not something we called stereotypical Bollywood," says the man behind the soundtracks of the recent mega hit Gully Boy and the web series Made in Heaven.
When curating music for a show like Made in Heaven, in which every episode has a different feel and side story, an eclectic music choice is a must. The soundtrack includes Punjabi music, pop hits, and even singer-songwriter-type soothing melodies. Tewari's knowledge of picking the right music clearly shines through. Does this mean he knows all the music India is producing, or more importantly, does he listen to everything out there? "I have always been listening to indie music, and been interested in subcultures forever. Curiosity is the key ingredient for an artiste. If that is missing, how does one do this? It keeps that child-like innocence alive. It's about consuming interesting and different points of view."
His passion for promoting interesting POVs came to fore in the Zoya Akhtar -directed Gully Boy, in which some of India's best underground rappers got a chance to showcase their talent. We owe him one for introducing us to talents such as Kaam Bhari and Dub Sharma.
"A lot of this music already existed. They were just not stereotypical songs, and hence, didn't get attention. It was quite visionary of Zoya, Farhan [Akhtar, producer of Gully Boy] and Ritesh [Sidhwani, producer of Gully Boy] to let such songs be a part of the album, and that's how I got the motivation to present songs like these," he says. He also loved working with diverse artistes on both albums, which he says helped him get rid of some of his own sometimes jaded perception. "When you are in the room with young, new artistes, you take away their fearless approach. That's amazing."
For now, he is working on new songs with his band, and hopes they can "resolve the thought and get into the studio soon", and also working on a project with filmmaker Sooni Taraporewala. Ask him his opinion of the music scene in India right now, and he is as optimistic as they come, "There is space for everyone. I think we are very judgmental about good music and bad music. I have no such opinions. I think you could be privileged or not; there is an outlet for everyone. The stronger the song, the better it will do." Amen to that.
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