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Channels prefer fresh compositions, character-specific themes over film music as they strengthen the audience's association with a television show.
When producers Damini and Raaj Shetty asked him to compose for their new show set in Punjab, Bani – Ishq Da Kalma, musician Udbhav Ojha viewed their proposal as an opportunity to explore his knowledge of the language and music from the region. "I recorded Bani's music using instruments that are mostly associated with Punjabi folk music, such as the flute, sarangi, tumbi and duff," he points out.
Until a few years ago, music of television soaps on general entertainment channels was restricted to remixes of popular Bollywood tracks and inane chanting of ragas made up for background score irrespective of the sequence. This, however, changed a few years ago. Today, television producers bring on board music composers who create not only the title song but also theme-specific music for the key characters of their shows and background score that will go with the setting.
Prashant Bhatt, Weekday Programming Head, Colors, explains that while copied or remixed Bollywood songs were a good way of grabbing the viewer's attention, channels realised that oft-repeated numbers used to take away from the exclusivity of the television content due to their prior association with the stars. Besides, the process of buying rights is time consuming and a costly affair. "Original compositions evoke a sense of freshness and create a connect with people that is exclusive," says Bhatt.
A few reality shows, too, showed the way. Their songs, specifically written and composed — sometimes by renowned musicians — to suit the theme, became famous. Cases in point are Bigg Boss season 4's song, composed by Sajid-Wajid, and Ram Sampath's music for Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate. MTV's Roadies, which has, until now, mostly had Agni compose and sing for them, got popular Northeastern indie musician Papon on board for the latest season.