From fusion music to Indian classical to film music, if there is a man who has had a taste of it all and has aced it exponentially then that has to be Pandit Bickram Ghosh. Trained by stalwarts like Pt. Ravi Shankar and Ghosh’s own father Pt. Shankar Ghosh, Bickram Ghosh is someone who believes in the art of collaboration and loves to innovate and experiment with music for he believes that music truly has no boundaries.
In an exclusive chat with NW18, Pt. Bickram Ghosh talks about his childhood, winning the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, composing and scoring for films and much more.
First of all, big congratulations on winning the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, how do you feel?
I feel very happy and I think every artist aspires for the SNA because it’s the highest music award in the country. I was always hoping to win it someday and I am happy that I got it now, I think it was the right time for me to win this honour because my skills are at a certain level and I also understand what the award truly means. See, if you get it too early or you get it too late it can be very weird so I believe this is the right time, I feel validated at the moment. I got it in the contemporary category which makes me happier because it covers all the work I have done whether that is as a tabla player, a classical and fusion artist and also as a music composer for cinema.
You come from a culturally rich background, was there ever a time period in your career where you felt that it was becoming an added pressure on you and the work that you were doing?
Of course! As a child, I did feel it because my father Pt. Shankar Ghosh was a great tabla player and my mother was a great singer- my father was very clear from the very beginning about the fact that he wanted me to take the tabla as my profession and he hoped that I would but on the other hand even though my mother supported the idea she always wanted me to be educated first. I had to juggle both things and that was a lot of pressure as a child but later on, I had a phase where I took a small hiatus.
You have been composing some great music for films, did you always plan to do film music, like was it part of the natural progression, how did it happen?
Not at all. I never thought I would do film music because I am not a trained composer at all but I have done 50 feature films now and at least 35 of them are big hits which I think is a gift from the cosmos if you ask me. At the same time, I also think the factor of me being a film composer works because I have had a lot of exposure as a musician, starting from playing with Ravi Shankar ji for so many years to having friends from all the music fraternities. Sound was something I grew up with so when the compositional phase came I think I was doing good work. After ‘Jaal’ happened I started taking my compositional work very seriously.
It is really difficult, but if you had to choose a film album which you consider to be your best work, which one would it be and why?
This is such a difficult question but I can give you one from each genre, so for the Indian classical score it would be ‘Avijantrik’ which won the National Award this year, it was very difficult for me because it is the fourth part of the Apu trilogy but Satyajit Ray and my Guruji Pt. Ravi Shankar ji’s work guided me through it. I was really scared because to me it was like taking my Guruji’s music forward and I actually had asked for his wife’s permission before taking up the project and she told me that if anyone can do it, it had to be me, which meant a lot to me.
In the thriller genre, there is Arindam Sil’s ‘Byomkesh’ series which has become quite iconic and the ‘Guptodhon’ series as well. In the world music space, I will have to choose ‘Jaal.’
Do you think that the Bengali film music space is evolving? What is the one change that you would like to see being implemented?
I think so and to be honest, I came into it with a vengeance and I kept telling myself that it has to change. There is a sensibility that I think I was able to bring to the table, a sensibility of not just songs but the background score as well. The kind of background I score is very carefully thought of and I really wanted to make that change. I want to be remembered as the person who scored some amazing pieces which run in the background of a film. One must remember that Hollywood movies have a lot to do with the background score.
I wish the song picturisation was given more time and effort just like it happened back in the 60s-70s. I feel this is something to be really thought about.
Taking a small detour from film music, it is fantastic how we see the Indie music scene thriving right now. What is your take on that?
Thank you for asking me this and to answer the question I feel incredibly happy about it because truth be told, I had predicted it almost 25 years ago when everybody was running behind cinema music which I also eventually ended up doing. I have always been very vocal about making albums and doing indie music. Once again I was doing it with a vengeance thinking that this one day will surely pick up and be a huge thing, today is that day! Licensing music from the indie scene is going to become essential.
Can you please shed some light on your curations that were presented at the Serendipity Arts Festival?
I have tried to keep a variety, the collaborative space is the order of the day and that is what you must have seen in all the performances that I had curated at Serendipity. Fusion music is my forte and that is what I have kept going but it is a diverse curation. There was world music as well Sufi music to an evening dedicated to the great Pancham da, so you see the graph right there. Serendipity is a humongous festival that is inclusive in every sense of the term and it feels great to have been a part of it.
Read all the Latest Lifestyle News here