Indian American Karsh Kale wants to continue stint in Bollywood

New Delhi, Feb 1 (Calcutta Tube) Leading Indian-American fusion musician Karsh Kale, who has set the background score for Farhan Akhtar’s movie ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’, wants to continue his brush with Bollywood because ‘he loves cinematic music’.

”Karthik Calling Karthik’ has allowed me to experiment with different styles of music though the score is more Hollywood than Bollywood. This is the first time I have composed music for an 80-piece string orchestra and peppered it with electronica and rock. The songs are about life, documenting a cultural journey,’ Kale told IANS in an interview.

The musician, who grew up in New York’s Stony Brook, said he ‘went through Quentin Tarantino’s movie soundtracks, the music of the ‘Requiem For a Dream’, a Darren Aronofsky movie whose background score was composed by Clint Mansell and was performed by the Kronos Quartet for ‘Karthik…”

‘I was also influenced by the kind of temp (temporary) music they used in Denzel Washington’s ‘Inside Man’,’ Kale said.

‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ is releasing Feb 26.

‘I am fond of grand cinematic music – the kind used in movies like ‘Star Wars’, ‘Superman’ and ‘Jaws’,’ said Kale, who leads fusion jazz band ‘Realize Band’ in the US and plays with the Delhi-based Medieval Pundits in India.

Kale, who divides his time between Delhi, Mumbai and the US, is working on a new album, which he expects to complete by February-end.

‘The album is about how life plays out in cinema – and features electronica, rock and ambient music. The songs are about movies and I have composed several orchestra symphony for it,’ he said.

The album, whose name he refused to disclose, is a debut by the Mighty Junn Production owned by Kale. ‘The production company is named after a moniker Mighty Junn that my friends in school coined for me after a railway engine,’ the musician said.

Hindi does not come easily to Kale, who spent all his early years abroad. ‘I wrote a song for ‘Karthik…’in English and took it to Javed Akhtar, who transcribed it in Hindi,’ Kale said.

But music, as Kale says, flows in his blood. ‘Music started for me when I was a child in London, where I was born. My mother was an old Hindi film music aficionado – especially those from Raj Kapoor’s movies and my father was a Hindustani classical music fan. My brother listened to rock and my sister was fond of pop,’ he said.

‘I remember sitting at the back of a station wagon – touring America with family – and falling asleep listening to Lata Mangeshkar and waking up to Lionel Richie. My father made me sit through a 50-minute ‘alaap’ by Hariprasad Chaurasia as a boy,’ he said.

Kale walked down the memory lane of childhood to describe his ‘musical legacy’.

‘My brother was a member of the Columbia Home Tape Club which sent 12 new cassettes to its members every month. I listened to Billy Joel and Led Zeppelin. As an eight-year-old, I studied their albums and later moved to progressive rock bands like Yes and Genesis. I also played percussion for several local bands,’ Kale said.

The meeting of eastern and western influences fanned Kale’s passion for fusion music.

‘Fusion music is not just polite conversations every day, but getting into each other’s situations and cultures. For example, Shakti – the band put together by Zakir Hussain featuring John Mclaughlin on the guitar, Zakir Hussain, U. Shrinivas and V. Selvaganesh – managed to do what others could not. Not only did they exchange music but also swapped clothes and cultures. They spoke in each other’s voices in interviews. Fusion, for me, is bringing different conversations together in a musical way,’ Kale said.

Kale is known for his Six Degree music series – a series of six CD fusion compilations.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *