Influences of East and West

Harmonious : Abhishek RayThe composer and male singer of the number, Abhishek Ray, is a musician who chooses to maintain a low profile and continues with his passion of creating memorable melodies. Abhishek Ray is in a relaxed and happy mood at his studio at Versova, Mumbai. Humming his favourite tune and playing it on the synthesizer, he explains, “I, along with actor Irfan Khan, went for a theatre festival to Kathmandu last November.

We were discussing about a probable tune which would be the theme number of Yeh Saali Zindagi. I hummed one spontaneously and he loved it. Back in Mumbai, I had a music session with Sudhir Mishra, who after hearing the tune, selected it for the film and requested me to use Chitrangada’s voice for the song. It was an exciting recording as my composition was inspired by Bob Dylan’s music and Chitrangada, very successfully, rendered a couple of lines.”

A decade ago, the young and talented composer shot to fame after scoring music for a couple of songs from Gulzar’s memorable albums, Raat Chand Aur Main and Udas Pani. Both were instant hits after which Abhishek made his debut as a composer in the Hindi film industry with Haasil, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. He has scored music for a wide number of serials, documentaries and Tamil films too. Some of his creations have been played internationally on various television channels.

Another excellent creation by Abhishek Ray is his composition, Main Hun Shaher Ki Rani, sung by Shreya Ghoshal for Sudhir Mishra’s Ab Tera Kya Hoga Johny. Says Abhishek Ray, “Sudhir Mishra asked me earlier to compose the title music for Tera Kya Hoga Johny. It was a creative challenge. I experimented with Arabian melodies mingled with flamingo style music and western beats to create the first ever belly dance number. Shreya rendered it in a way that left us all speechless!”

Although classical musician Nishat Khan has composed most of the tracks for Yeh Saali Zindagi, both producer Prakash Jha and director Sudhir Mishra opted for Abhishek’s composition as the theme song as it reflected the essence of the film perfectly. Hailing from Kolkata, Abhishek shuttles between his New Delhi and Mumbai studios, often creating a variety of compositions for films, television serials as well as ad films. He has received formal training in both Indian classical and western music. His idols are Salil Chowdhury, Shankar-Jaikishan and R D Burman.

Speaking about his music, Abhishek Ray says, “Lyrics have to appeal to me. I will never compose tunes for vulgar lyrics. I try to understand the feelings behind the song before I compose my music and zero in on the singers. Remixing tunes is not my forte at all.”

About the singers he has worked with, Abhishek Ray says, “While Abhijeet has a bold melodious style of singing, Kavita is sober and to the point and Shreya is versatile and has a sense of picking up a melody very quickly.”

The to-be-released and long-awaited Shagird, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, has an excellent number, Kaisi Talab Yeh, composed and sung by Abhishek Ray. His best creation has been Pan Singh Tomar for which he has experimented with a rare fusion of folklore of the Chambal ravines, excellently blended with philharmonic orchestras.


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