Musician Debjyoti Mishra on his music, compositions for films

Iti Mrinalini-Bengali Movie PosterMay 2, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Debajyoti Mishra is one of the most sought-after, trained and innovative music directors in the countRy. His journey as a composer began with Govind Nihalani’s Hazaar Chourasi Ki Maa in 1998. Over the years, his lilting melodies have carried over to beautiful musical scores for films ranging in genre, quality and commercial success, for its musical scores on the soundtrack and for the songs. Three of his recent films, namely, Autograph, Memories in March and Iti Mrinalini have been acquired by Databazaar Media Ventures which brings him centre-stage in the international arena that began with Ramchand Pakistani (2008) A tete-atete with the composer was enlightening.


How do you define music?

Music does not need any definition. It is the purest of media to express your emotions, and a stress buster during depression, a booster in moments of joy when you are already feeling happy and a soothing strategy that can smooth away your anger. May be the anger can resurface but for that given moment, the anger goes away. The music remains somewhere in your subconscious that is drawn into your conscious at moments you need it. Music is universal. It breaks all barriers.

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What criteria do you apply while accepting an assignment to write the music for a film?

The story must be appealing though not necessarily serious. The director must be good and the script must have potential for really good music. I generally need the entire script. It is a must for example, with a director like Rituparno Ghosh who insists on reading out the script to everyone, including the music composer. I began working with him from the time he made Raincoat. I wrote the music for most of his films from Dahan through Chokher Bali, Utsab, Shubho Muhurat, Bariwalli and Titli.


How does it work – first the music, then the lyrics are created to fit into the music or is it the other way round?

It depends but for Rituparno who has been composing the lyrics himself for many of his films, I have to create the music to fit into the lyrics. It is not difficult because Ritu’s knowledge of cinema is unbelievable. But for television, the music comes first and the lyrics come afterwards. I thoroughly enjoyed doing the music for the serial Ganer Oparey that ended last week. It was totally centred on Tagore’s songs and music. It had a genre of its own. For films, Raincoat posed a special challenge and then, Memories of March has been simply a wonderful experience following Autograph. Each one defines a school of its own. I also composed the music for Just Another Love Story.


What kind of music is your favourite?

Almost all kinds of music are inspiring from Blues, Western, Hindustani and New Age classical, and of course, the immortal musical creations of S.D. Burman, R.D. Burman and Salil Chowdhury. I have worked with Salil-da for 13 years. Sadly, there is a lot of musical illiteracy today that dogs mediocre composers. We do not have accomplished music composers, lyricists and instrumentalists like Salil-da who knew everything about the science, art and craft of music.

Among the current crop, whose music appeals to you the most?

I really love the work of Vishal Bharadwaj and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy the most among the current crop. They are evolving along with the evolution in the world around us. Naushad, S.D., R.D. were ready to change and yet remain rooted to their own musical background and training. Where do we find artists like them today?

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