Fifteen years ago, when Amit Trivedi was still a nobody, his mother, after hearing his music, had said to him that one day his music would be compared to that of A.R. Rahman’s.
Fifteen years ago, when Amit Trivedi was still a nobody, his mother, after hearing his music, had said to him that one day his music would be compared to that of A.R. Rahman’s. “I was surprised and just laughed it off. My mom always had a keen sense of music, she would hum songs, but she never went professional. I guess I have inherited that musical quality from her,” says the composer, who is one of the most sought-after names today, in films and indie music alike. “I am happy that music is my profession now and that I have been able to make a space for myself. And to be able to do that being an outsider, is a good feeling too,” he adds.
His next Udta Punjab that is gearing for release has been getting good reviews for his score already. “The music had to bring out the dark and grungy feel of the film. There are four songs featured on the lead character Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor) and we needed one distinct voice for him. It was a Herculean task but I am glad we found a good singer,” Amit says.
The composer had an uphill task to reach where he is today. His big break came by when singer Shilpa Rao introduced him to Anurag Kashyap, who in turn recommended his name to compose music for the Rajkumar Gupta’s film Aamir. Amit recalls that for nearly nine months after the film had released, he had no work. “In my desperation, I called up Salim-Suleiman and asked them if I could be a music arranger. I was lucky that they agreed,” Amit recalls. Ever since Kashyap offered him Dev D, there has been no looking back for Amit. The industry woke up to a new favourite.
In spite of the stumbling blocks that came his way, Amit considers himself very fortunate. “I am content with what’s on my plate now. Luck has always favoured me. I never had to go hungry or anything,” he says with a smile. Even though he has rarely got flak for his work, Amit too gets the Friday jitters. The last three films he composed for (Hawaizaada, Shaandaar, and Fitoor) turned out to be no-shows at the box office. Amit says, “I definitely cannot stand a flop. And I have had three back-to-back flops. I always want the films to be successful, because only then you are in a win-win situation. So even though the music of a film is released way earlier, I get the Friday jitters too. I cannot deal with anything that is disastrous. But since we have to live and move on, I try learn from such experiences.”
Things cannot get bigger for the composer as he has now collaborated with both Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. Amit, who has composed for Aamir’s Dangal, says, “Aamir was cool enough to discuss many details; his involvement makes you feel great. Shah Rukh never interfered with my work. My experience with both of them has been great.” As for Salman, who he is yet to collaborate with, Amit adds, “Salman is a great guy. It is difficult to find such a large-hearted guy like him nowadays. I look forward to working with him someday. As of now, I have no offer.”
We ask him how much pressure musicians have to face while working with filmmakers and actors. He says, “I am lucky to have always got my space. None of the people I have worked with has ever interfered with my work. They discuss the story and other essentials and let me do the rest. Having said that, I have no problem working within certain boundaries. We have chosen to be a part of this industry, so we need to abide by certain aspects — it’s all teamwork. And if we give our best, why won’t we get our freedom ”
The musician draws inspiration largely from world music. “The 70s especially. I was born in ‘79, so naturally I grew up on The Beatles. Of course Kishore Kumar, R.D. Burman, Ashaji and Lataji left a lasting impression. Then the ‘90s were again a great time for music.”
While he continues to go great guns, does he ever worry about his own shelf life “That’s a tricky question,” he says with a smile. “I will always try to keep my music fresh and do new things. When I feel the audience is bored of my music, I will retire that very day. I would never want to force my music upon them. And after I retire, I will open a studio or a music academy. Music will remain with me until my last breath.”