Is Ehsaan Noorani saying Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is better than AR Rahman?

The ace music composer considers their music to have reached cult status

Ehsaan Noorani, lead guitarist and one of the key members of Bollywood’s most sought after music composer trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy opens up about changing the music scene of Hindi films, drawing influences from western music, and their debut in Marathi films.

The game-changers

The music of Dil Chahta Hai, which was the directorial debut of Farhan Akhtar in 2001, as the turning point in the lives of this trio but also saw the advent of new-age cinema and music. The fresh sounds, youthful lyrics and beats which they introduced in this film made them stars in their own right and also got them immense fan-following from the young crowd across the country. “AR Rahman and us brought in a lot of changes to the Hindi film industry. From the time we did DCH, the industry has been forever evolving with different kind of music with varied influences. Bollywood has been a great platform for all the musicians, but at the same time, I always feel that the indie (independent) music culture still needs a great push in our country. And the only way to see them growing is with the help of record companies. We have the money and the resources, just a little more thought, and we really can go up the ladder in getting global.”

Catching influences

Being from varied music backgrounds, the trio has always reflected mixed influences with their creations. “We have always tried to push the boundaries whenever it came to creating something new and fresh. All three of us come from different backgrounds, While both me and Loy bring the western influences in our compositions (Ehsaan has a deep inclination towards blues and has been influenced by popular bands of the 1970s such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, and Santana), Shankar brings the Indian side of music to the songs, which all put together is the secret of our magic,” he gleefully explained, clearing the air that drawing influences doesn’t mean copying somebody’s music.

Worldly music

While the West has always been aware of our music and culture, it still took them a lot of time to understand that Indian music is not just restricted to Ravi Shankar and his kind of music which is absolutely classical. “The influence is here and there. But now with musicians like AR Rahman, who has gone beyond and has been composing music for Hollywood movies, is something that has helped a lot in changed the outlook of western people towards Indian music and our abilities to create the cult. We also have a whole new generation of young artists who are making contemporary music, and are really great at it, but it will still take some time for them to be recognised on a global platform. As of now everything is restricted to Bollywood, which is a good thing, but again as I said, we need more record companies to reach beyond the boundaries.”

Going Marathi

After making a mark in Bollywood the trio has now forayed into Marathi film industry with three films — Mitwa featuring superstar Swapnil Joshi and Sonali Kulkarni; Anvat, a romantic suspense thriller; and Katyar Kaljat Ghusli, an adaptation of the classic Marathi musical play. When asked how different it was creating music for Marathi films, Ehsaan said, “The music in Marathi films is definitely more open to classical influences because of their strong classical background, so we had a lot of fun playing around with classical melodies in these films. For example, Katyar Kaljat Ghusli is about a music competition between two gharanas, so we all had a great experience working on its music which was again all classic.”

When in Pune, don’t miss…

Three European cultural organisations, Alliance Française Pune, British Library and Max Mueller Bhavan are organising a two-day music festival ‘La Fête de la Musique’ which will be held across the city starting today.

This annual music fest was first launched in Paris in1982 with an aim to bring people out on the streets to make or enjoy music. Following the tradition, the British Library, Pune is celebrating the occasion by inviting amateur musicians to perform at their premises.

Joining the fun will be students of Alliance Francais who will perform at Kala Chhaya Campus on Saturday at 5.30 pm. You can also catch Max Mueller Bhavan students at Amanora Town Centre at 6 pm; a popular garage band, ‘I am Bliss’ will perform at Shanivar Wada at 7 pm.

Also, don’t miss Vidya Pratishthan’s English Medium School, Baramati’s students and teachers, who will be singing One Love and other songs on Sunday. The concerts will be free for all.