SHANTANU MOITRA – BEING TRUE TO HIMESELF DESPITE BOLLYWOOD
Posted by Vivek on August 26, 2013 | No Comments
He is the Dilliwalla, who never figured he would be in Mumbai being a part of the film business. But now when you look at the business his films have done, 3 Idiots, Parineeta, Madras Café, Yahaan, Hazaron Khwaish, etc, it is still surprising that he maintains his originality and is absolutely uninfluenced by that “I want my single to be # 1” mentality. His music have left a legacy that will be untouched. Here we find out more about Shantanu Moitra:
How did Mumbai happen?
Classic case of Chance Pe Dance. It was never on the horizon growing up in Delhi. I was making jingles for Advertisements. It was Javed Akhtar, who almost insisted that I come to Mumbai. I said to myself that I would give it a 6 month shot and here I am a decade later. Once here, was fortunate to get work with Sudhir, in Hazaron Khwaish Aise and from there on there has been constant work……
And good work. Parineeta, 3 Idiots, almost all of Shoojit’s films. So lets get to that. There is a certain “Non – Bollywood” freshness to your music. How is the “outsider” going to retain that “Non Bollywood touch?”
I think part of the answer is in the reality that I have now been a Mumbaiite for a decade and if you still find that freshness in my music, then I did not become the norm. Also Bollywood itself has gone for a remarkable change and there is a growing audience now for all kinds of music, and clearly, my work is indicative that there is an audience for the music that I compose. Also it is to do with my attitude. Bollywood was never part of a bigger ambition. It was more of, if it works out great, if not, then so be it. So because there was no desperation to be a part of the system, it did not change me and probably will not do so, even in the future.
Any desire to compose music outside of India, given that your music is appreciated across the Globe?
Sure in Madras Café I have collaborated with a Pakistani and have plans to cut an album with an Eastern European collaboration. I guess my roots are Folk and being a Bengali, who grew up in Delhi and now lives in Mumbai, it is this whole desire to go back home, that migration, which forms a basis for a lot of Folk, so yes, absolutely.
Madras Café and Shoojit and that awesome track, Maula Sun Re?
This was the first song for the movie. Also Shoojit and I go back a long way from Delhi, right from the time of my first music video and there is a great level of comfort between us. So clearly a lot of this credit goes to Shoojit along with the Producer, Ronnie. They are so well defined in their minds, that it makes for a great collaboration. Their brief was more of something contemporary but neither of them asked me to compose a “hit” song, rather compose something that I was comfortable with. Totally there are 4 songs and one of them is a reprise of Maula. There are also four soundtracks, that have been used in the film. The lyrics are written by Ali Hayat from Pakistan. Ronnie liked his expression as a lyricist and I was like “why not?” The singer, Papon, was also someone Ronnie had talked about and when we heard him, we were all on board.
Both you and Shoojit come from the Ad world, where it all about getting the audience ASAP, then you both make movies like YAHAAN and MADRAS CAFÉ, where it is almost “realism” as opposed to “instant consumerism” how does that contra act come about?
I think we Ad guys gravitate to the movies because of that very thing. To us the movies is that opportunity to compose a 3.5 minute track that we never got in the AD 30 second world. Then add to that for both Shoojit and me, we being in Bollywood is such a distant dream that we just want to enjoy ourselves here, rather than get too caught up in the commercial pressures, yet the outcome seems to work just as commercially, as when we wear the commercial cap in the AD business.