The composer talks about composing for films, remixes, independent music and more
When Gourov Dasgupta arrived in Mumbai 12 years ago, he was almost a stranger to Bollywood music. He grew up listening to classical music in Kolkata. Later, he moved to rock and metal. Megadeth and Dream Theater remain his favourite bands. Even the reason for coming to Mumbai was to release his jazz-rock album. Then, the rickshaw men near his paying guest accommodation got him acquainted with Hindi film music during the rides.
“I was young, I was thin, and I was very far from Bollywood,” he laughs, recalling his early days. “My recent works, however, are are as Bollywood as they can get.”
Recent works include The Big Bull (starring Abhishek Bachchan), Hello Charlie (Jackie Shroff) and the soon-to-be-released Chehre starring Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi. Apart from these, Gourov also released a pop single, ‘Saiyyonee’ last month, which has over 12 million views on Sony Music India’s Youtube page.
The year has been off to a good start for Gourov. He is grateful for the opportunities he is getting amidst the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. But he isn’t without grouses. He doesn’t like, for instance, how songs lose their importance on OTT platforms. “They don’t have the same importance they do in theatres. They are easily forwarded unless they are picturised really well.” The song ‘Gypsy Guitar’ he composed for Hello Charlie, he says, was cut from the film.
“Everyone wants the best song, the best piece of your art. Once they have it, they should feel a certain responsibility towards it. It is not like the old times when a good song is out and it just catches on. Everything needs to be pushed these days.”
Gourov says he feels like a tamed lion whipped to do tricks in a circus while composing for films. “Sometimes, you get lucky with films like The Big Bull, where you get to do the kind of songs that you want to. More often than not however, that doesn’t happen because there is a lot of pressure from the record label, the director, the producer, their relatives… That gets a little challenging. I think it is worth the fight and it is why we are here.”
This explains his excitement for the burgeoning independent music scene in India. “Back in the day, there was an indie-pop movement, which was a different stream and a different soundscape [compared to film music]. Then, everything merged with Bollywood. Now, independent music has also come up in a big way. A lot of people feel that they don’t need to rely on Bollywood. And they are putting out some awesome work.”
For aspiring musicians, the internet has created an alternative path to a domain that was hitherto difficult to enter. Though Gourov welcomes this, he reckons there is a flip side. “Along with genuine talents, there are also people who take some loops, put trashy lyrics and make a music video that becomes a hit; even the worst of songs get 100 million views. Music has become about this instant gratification [of getting a certain number of views].”
He not a great fan of remixes. Composers, he says, are usually pressurised to do them. “I did a film called Jawaani Jaaneman, which had two original songs and two remixes and only the remixes were promoted. I was like: Why…? I want [this recreation phase] to end. I think even people are now tired of it. We desperately need original music.”
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