Composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya have no qualms walking around the streets of Juhu. “We are simple people, so it would be faking it. Present us the way we are,” says Amit.
Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya met for the first time in 2002 at the house of a common music director friend Amartya. Amitabh was there to sing a jingle,while Amit was part of the music team. They hit it off instantly. “We are like-minded. Our backgrounds are similar,” says Amitabh whose recent hits include Pyaar ki pungi (Agent Vinod) and Chikni Chameli (Agneepath).
Born in Mumbai but raised in Lucknow, Amitabh trained in classical music as a kid. He came to Mumbai in 1999 to makeit as a singer. On the other hand, Amit schooled in Mumbai and was influenced by the film music of the ’70s and ’80s.
Amit and Amitabh started their film careers around the same time in mid 2000s. “One has to be at the right time at the right place and meet the right people.”
Amit’s and Amitabh’s work was first noticed in the film Aamir (2008). Amitabh penned a few songs for an album released by the band. Amit recalls, “Amitabh wanted to become a singer. So he didn’t want to give his name as a lyricist. So, we put his pen name Indraneel.”
In Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D (2009), Amit’s music and Amitabh’s lyrics created quitea ripple in the world of film music. Amit even bagged the National Award for the Best Music Composer for Dev D besides being honoured with the RD Burman trophy for best upcoming music talent at the Filmfare Award.
“There were not many buyers for Amit’s kind of soundtrack. It was something fresh and different. For almost a year I had no work,” says Amitabh.
However,after Dev D, Amit’s and Amitabh’s career took a 180 degree turn. From Aamir Khan to Yash Raj Films, everyone rooted for them. After Dev D, Amitabh too had production houses like Balaji (Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai),Yash Raj Films (Anjana-Anjani, Band Baaja Baraat) and Aamir Khan Productions(Delhi Belly) signing him up.
As the lyrics of Aamir and Udaan suggest, there’s serious poetry in Amitabh’s writing. But in Band Baaja Baaraat, he showed his flair for the frolic (Ainvayi ainvayi) and his mastery over wordplay in D K Bose from Delhi Belly.
Whilethe audiences enjoyed D K Bose (composed by Ram Sampath), Amitabh received great flak for its double entendre. “Some people took the song seriously. It was pure fun. As a country, we need to develop a sense of humour,” defends Amitabh.
Amitabh has mean while worked with popular composers like Pritam, Ajay-Atul and Ram Sampath but he is far more comfortable working with close friend Amit. Amitabh says, “Amit’s tunes are new. He cracks them just about anywhere.”
The duo has fun while working too. “Often, when we are not able to crack anything,we call our friends and go for a drive.”
More recently, Amitabh’s item song Chikni Chameli, in Agneepath (music by Ajay-Atul) topped the music charts. He rues the fact that Amit doesn’t compose item songs more often. On the other hand, Amit complains, “He keeps me hanging and doesn’t give his songs on time.”
Mentor Anurag Kashyap had once called Amit ‘the poor man’s AR Rahman’. “Rahman is the God of music. I’m following him since 1992. So if someone compares me even remotely to Rahman, it’s a huge compliment. Amitabh, too has his share of laurels. He was recently awarded the National Award for Best Lyrics for I Am.”
They both believe that these are great times for music. “Now people are listening to the music that is of the Oscar and Grammy level. Amitabh adds, “We think offbeat and that’s where we score over others.”A.R. Rahman Aamir Amit Trivedi Amitabh Bhattacharya Anurag Kashyap Chikni Chameli Delhi-6 Dev.D I Am Inteviews National Award Pyaar Ki Pungi Udaan