A music composer should know to dress a song – Tanishk Bagchi
His first break in Bollywood, Banno from Tanu Weds Manu Returns was a chartbuster, and gained a cult status instantly. A year later, with Dharma’s Kapoor & Sons’ romantic melody, Bolna, to his credit, Tanishk Bagchi seems to have finally carved a name for himself in the music industry.
He talks to us about latest song from Kapoor & Sons and his musical odyssey in the world of Bollywood.
Tell us about your earliest stint with music. When did you start composing your own music?
I was interested in music since a very young age. Though, at that time it was just a hobby and I didn’t have any serious inclination towards it from a career point of view. It seemed like a very risky profession because it apparently had less pay that wouldn’t be enough to sustain a family. But, as I grew older, I started assisting my dad who is a musician, and realised that music wasn’t just a hobby but my main purpose in life. It was my true calling. So I started grooming myself, and two years ago, I finally got my first break in mainstream cinema.
Was it easy to get a break in Bollywood? How did that happen?
It is very hard to get a break in Bollywood. Today, people keep calling me and request me to use their voices in my songs. I feel a sense of nostalgia then. The most important thing to get a break is to have effective communication and meet the right people. In the beginning, I never approached anybody and would just sit in my room and make music. Another important thing is to surround yourself with people who will give you honest opinions about your work. It is pointless to be with people who will only keep flattering you. Five years ago, I started hanging out with the right people. I had composed a song called Oopar Oopar Renn De with my friend Vayu, and we had uploaded it on YouTube. Anurag Kashyap heard it and called us the next day to tell us that he liked it. That boosted our confidence. Post that, a friend of mine, Ravi Adhikari, introduced me to Aanand (L. Rai, Director) sir, who had also loved the song. He gave us a situation and asked us to come up with a song for Tanu Weds Manu Returns. And that’s how ‘Banno’ happened.
Surround yourself with people who will give you honest opinions about your work.
‘Banno Tera Swagger’ took the industry by storm. What according to you worked for the song?
After we finalised the lyrics, we had arranged the song in a desi style. We had earlier made the song with the sitar and sarod. However, we realised that the sitar sounds more classical. So we inculcated the Ney flute in the song. Apart from the music, the song was also shot very beautifully. And Kangana (Ranaut, Actor) did a superb job!
How did ‘Bolna’ from Kapoor & Sons happen?
I had recorded a CD of some compositions and left a copy at various production houses. So, I had a few songs lying with Dharma. I got a call from them, asking me to create a romantic song, which is slow. Luckily, my song was selected. It is the only song that I did in the album. I added a touch of Bengali folk in the tune. And the final product was Bolna.
A R Rahman sir treats his individual songs in such a way that they are unique and yet in sync with the whole movie
With multiple composers working on a film, do you need to maintain a certain sync with the other songs?
Yes, definitely there has to be a sync between the album as a whole. But, a music composer should let his own uniqueness also stay in his respective tracks. Like somebody is famous for romantic songs, while somebody else’s niche is desi music. Music composers going beyond their niche might mix two genres of music subconsciously. They should start small and eventually take up whole albums. I admire Amit Trivedi greatly for his versatility. Then, there is A R Rahman sir who treats his individual songs in such a way that they are unique and yet in sync with the whole movie. He is a storyteller himself.
How did you decide on singers Asees and Arijit Singh for ‘Bolna’?
I am great fan of Arijit Singh. Like me, he too has Punjabi and Bengali roots. So that connection is always there. He can be compared to Kishore Kumar in terms of versatility. Whatever shape you give him, he mounds himself into that, just like liquid. He is a joy to work with. So he was the natural choice for the male part. For the female part, there was a slight possibility that Alia (Bhatt, actor) herself might sing. But she fell ill and was unable to record. I had also asked Asees (Kaur, singer) to record some lines and send them to me. Though, I hadn’t given her any expectations. But when we heard her recording, we absolutely loved it and finalised her for the female part.
Arijit Singh can be compared to Kishore Kumar in terms of versatility
Arijit Singh is one of the finest singers in the industry today. How was it teaming up with him?
Arijit Singh’s voice is very unique and can never get old. He doesn’t seem like a misfit in any of his songs. With every song that he sings, it is like the colors are the same, but there is a different painting each time. He is trained in both classical and western music. And it is very hard for a new singer to match his level.
The lyrics of ‘Bolna’ are very soulful. What was the inspiration behind penning them?
While making the track, I was already humming a few words which could fit in there. The script was always there at the back of my mind. So I started making small phrases like “Chhooteya na chhooteya” and putting them in the track while composing. Then Dr. Devender Kafirji ( Lyricist) helped me translate the words into a proper song. I added an earthy feel in the tune to go with the lyrics. You will find a Punjabi and Bengali folk touch also in the song.
As a composer, one’s intention behind the song should be clear.
As a composer what are the factors to consider while composing a song?
As a composer, one’s intention behind the song should be clear. One should not be confused about the final outcome of the song. The music composer should then place himself in the particular situation of the film where the song is taking place. He should try imagining himself to be in the main actor’s shoes and let the emotions of the scene rise naturally. Then obviously comes the technical aspect. The music composer should know the right amount of music that should be there in the track. He should be familiar with various machines and instruments and derive maximum productivity from them. He should know how to dress the song.
Now that Kapoor and Sons is going to release, what other movies are you already working on?
I am composing for Housefull 3 and Half Girlfriend right now. There is a lot of music happening. I am aiming at working with good and established production houses. It requires a lot of patience. My target is to consistently make good music. I want to compose for an entire film, including the album and background score. There is a long way to go.