How Gehraiyaan’s music bridged the gap between Bollywood and indie music
Deepika Padukone star music Gehraiyaan is unforgettable and addictive. The tunes of Doobey and the title song Gehraiyaan will stick in our minds perhaps longer than the movie itself. The people behind the soundtrack and background score are Ankur Tewari, who is the music supervisor, and composers Kabeer Kathpalia (aka Oaff) and Savera Mehta. The artists are part of a new generation of musicians who are redefining “Bollywood music” as a genre.
Desire, temptation, nostalgia and passion are some of the atmospheres created by the score. Ankur tells us: “Overall, Kabeer and Savera have created a very good soundscape. They often joke that they are masters of sad music. They bring a lot of emotion into the sound. Ankur also wrote the title track which went viral for its meaningful lyrics. “You kind of draw inspiration from your personal life. The songs are about temptation and submitting to temptation. We’ve all been tempted in our lives to do things that we know are probably not good for us.”
From a technical point of view, the film’s score is a good balance between classic western elements and new age sounds. About the process, Kabeer says, “The background score is pretty minimal. I think the terms that Shakun (Batra, the director) used a lot were “nuanced” and “complex”. So we tried to create that through the partition. Shakun didn’t tell us much about the technical aspects, but rather about the story and the characters. After Savera and I had an idea of what the script was, we just jammed and played. As the film does not have lip-synced songs, the musicians had the advantage of seeing footage from the film and then overlaying the music over it. The characters, the atmospheres and the scenario dictated the music of Gehraiyaan.
Broadcast in advance
As OTT platforms take over the industry, there has been a shift in commercial music. “The new directors are younger and bolder. They have a clear vision that they are competing with stories from all over the world. And the public is exposed to cinema from all over the world. So the sound is also global,” Ankur tells us. The boundary between mainstream music and independent music is becoming more blurred every day. He adds, “It’s natural to use sounds that are universal and reach a global audience. It’s quite amazing that young and interesting musicians now have the chance to play on equal footing with artists who are experts in creating music at a mainstream level.
Kabeer agrees that a growing number of independent musicians are making inroads into the Bollywood music industry. “Filmmakers are interested in getting a different soundscape for movies. There are music supervisors, like Ankur, who help bridge that gap. A big production house like Dharma Productions and a director like Shakun have tried their luck with us. And the songs are doing very well. So I think it will open up more opportunities for all types of musicians, “summarizes the artist.