Keep the passion alive: Anupam Roy tells Gen Y musicians
A lyricist, music composer and singer all at once, his songs and soothing voice have captivated so many hearts that he is now among the best singers of the age. Anupam Roy has done justice to multifarious roles. With a timeline of non-stop superhits, there was no looking back since the release of ‘Amake Amar Moto Thakte Dao’ in 2010. His songs have inspired youngsters to never give up on their dreams of pursuing music as a career.
Establishing himself as the most appreciated singer in the Bangla film industry in less than half a decade, he has also carved a niche in Bollywood with his Hindi playback in Piku. Born and brought up in Calcutta, Roy was deeply inspired by poetry and has also written novels, poems and directed two short films. While he delivered hits like ‘Amake Amar Moto’, ‘Bariye Daao Tomar Haat’, ‘Ekhon Anek Raat’, ‘Gobhire Jaao’, ‘Ekbar Bawl’, ‘Phaka Frame’, ‘Teri Meri Baatein’, ‘Bezuban’, ‘Boba Tunnel’, ‘Bawshonto Eshe Geche’, ‘Bondhu Chol’, ‘The Journey song’ among numerous others, it does not take much to realise how beautifully he has brought melody, nostalgia and romance in Bengali Films. The Anupam Roy Band has become a brand in itself and the members are loved for their energetic performances on stage.
What inspired you to take up music as a career?
Initially, I was attracted to poetry. As I grew up, I started listening to music seriously and found stalwarts like Suman, Nachiketa and Anjan Dutta doing great Bengali music. All of this fascinated and prompted me to write songs for myself.
Gradually, I got influenced by other music bands as well and became more involved with music. I began listening to a wide variety of genres from all over the world and by that time I had already decided to be a songwriter.
Do you believe in competition? Who do you consider to be your toughest competitor?
Yes, I believe in healthy competition. It helps a person to grow better as an individual and I don’t have a single competitor right now!
How did it feel like working on the same set with Amitabh Bachchan?
It feels good and I am happy about it. Getting to work with him was sheer luck and not something that I had in my hands. I’m a music director so I don’t get to choose the cast, it is the director’s job. For this, I’m thankful to Shoojit Sircar who chose me as the music director for Piku.
What is it about Kolkata that you like the most?
I love the way of life here. It’s the food, the language, and that warmth of the people which keep the charm alive. Kolkata is home and I like almost everything about this place.
You must be getting innumerable offers from Mumbai. Do you have plans to settle there?
Currently, I have quite a few Hindi movies in my hand. But I don’t have the urge to shift my base to Mumbai right now. Kolkata offers me a lot more and to be honest, I treat Mumbai as a workplace. I travel whenever I have work and come back if I’m not drowned in too much of work. This city keeps me happy.
Did you train in classical or modern Bengali music?
I’m still taking lessons but when I started off, I didn’t have much training. It was more of passion. Once I got my first break, I started learning what was necessary to hold on to it and since then it’s been a process of continuous learning.
The songs of the film Autograph were a turning point for you, especially ‘Amake Amar Moto Thakte Dao’... How did that song come about?
I’m a typical songwriter and just keep on writing songs about my daily life and people around me. I felt something at that point of my life when I wrote the song and never knew so many would love and connect to the song.
You were working in the IT sector, what propelled this change of plans?
I have always wanted to stay with music and never wished to work as an IT employee. After passing out from Jadavpur University, I went to Bangalore to work as an engineer with Texas Instruments. Although I continued with the job for six and a half years, I was struggling to make a breakthrough and explore music full-fledgedly.
It took a lot of courage, but I finally quit my job and grabbed the right opportunity which brought me here.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming singers in Bengali film industry?
I think there are many talented musicians around us. The kind of voices we hear, are extremely different. I wish everyone good luck so that they get the right opportunity to showcase their talent.
Please tell us about your upcoming projects…
Among the upcoming ones, Pink, which is a Bollywood project, is releasing soon. There will be a couple of more movies next year. Besides them, I have lots of Bengali movies coming up almost every month. Saheb Bibi Golam, Zulfikar, Dhumketu are a few among the ones that are due this year. My albums are also on the cards!
What was your craziest fan moment?
I don’t think I have crazy fans. They all are quite normal.
How do you perceive the future of Bangla music?
To be honest, Bangla music is going through a tough phase especially when it comes to independent music. Things are changing and reliance on film music is greater. Now-a-days songwriters have to work in films to make songs prominent and get played on radios. It seems that the future is quite uncertain at the moment and for individual song makers, scope seems even narrower. However, I believe that things are going to get better in due time.
There is always a problem in fixing the budget as in Bengal we work on a very small budget. This could be one of the reasons why people deviate to someplace where they can make more money. Musicians leave Kolkata because they would get paid more elsewhere. So, there is always this talent drain happening in our city. Bengali music will always face these things but we have to stay strong and get more investors to make things brighter!
What would be your message for the younger generation?
I would advise the aspiring musicians to be honest with music and try to learn as much as possible in their early years. They should practice a lot and keep the passion alive.
Picture credits: Proshanto Mahato