Multiple Tracks

Several films boast three or more music composers. Does this mean better music?

Three music composers worked on the four songs for the album of Peepli Live. In the recent Tere Bin Laden, the five tracks were created by four music composers. Rajneeti, too, brought four music composers on board while a few months ago, Chandan Arora's Striker had half-a-dozen music composers on the list. Clearly, the days when one name took credit for the music of a film may soon be at an end.

"Variety," explains Swanand Kirkire, who worked in Striker. "Songs and music albums are also used for promotions. So, it is necessary to have variety in order to increase a film's appeal." Check out the multiple folk sounds of Peepli Live, the Anusha Rizvi-directed, Aamir Khan-produced black comedy on rural life Delhi-based band Indian Ocean created and sang a fast-paced, percussion-based folk ditty called Des mera, while Mehangayi by a little-known band from Bhopal has a crude, earthy tone with lyrics like Mehangayi dayan khaye jaat hai, and Nageen Tanvir's Chola mati ke Ram is a slow folk number. The first two have shot up the charts in radio and television music shows just as the filmmakers planned. "Peepli Live has a variegated kaleidoscope so the music also needed to represent that. All the songs are not part of the film but they help to make the film popular," says Mahmood Farooqui, the co-director.

The formula also seems to have worked for debut director Abhishek Sharma, whose film Tere Bin Laden's album had music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Delhi-based Dhruv Dhalla, Ali Zafar and Abhijeet Vaghani. "Having diverse flavours is a good idea but all songs should ultimately come together in an organic whole. The music should also fit in with the mood of the film," says Sharma. "Tere Bin Laden was a crazy comedy and needed music that was equally crazy. Thankfully, all our music directors were on the same wavelength." The songs like Ullu ka patha and Shor sharaba explored different territories and impressed listeners.

Onir's next film I AM uses four music directors. "The film is a mix of four stories so I wanted different sounds," says the director. I AM has Amit Trivedi, Mithoon, Vivek Phillip and newbie Rajeev Bhalla, whom Onir selected after he sent his resume to the director on Facebook. The filmmaker, however, believes in having a single music director for a one-story film. Kirkire differs. "Unlike one composer working on several tracks, we now have several artistes giving their best creations. The chances of songs becoming a hit are higher."

In Rajneeti, which had music by Shantanu Moitra, Pritam, Aadesh Srivastav and Wayne Sharpe, it was the classical Mora Piya that became a chartbuster.

Surprisingly, having multiple composers doesn't always mean a higher film budget. "When new or little-known music directors are a part of a film, the producer actually spends less," says Sharma.

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