There was a time when music meant movies. Now, with digital content being consumed in a big way and content, concepts and performances becoming more experimental in nature, how can music be far behind? 2018 was a year of many landmarks. New streaming platforms were launched, some epic shows were released and brilliant performances were witnessed. We saw a major change in the music scenario too, for online content. We spoke to few composers who made music that spiced up the shows we loved binging on in the year gone by – Rachita Arora (Netflix’ Sacred Games), Mallar Sen and Ishaan Divecha (Hungama’s Bar Code), Vaibhav Bundhoo (TVF’s Yeh Meri Family) and Yash Narvekar (ALTBalaji’s Broken But Beautiful) – and this is what they had to say.
The current scenario
According to Mallar Sen, who composed music for Hungama’s Bar Code with Ishaan Divecha, the streaming thing is still very new. “It is still at a nascent stage, but it is taking shape. Web series are developing a language of their own.”
Ishaan and Mallar have also worked with Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor for Netflix’ Ghoul. Mallar said, “The idea of music or score is going through a shift. For the longest time, music pretty much meant songs, and now the concept of a score is gaining traction.”
Rachita Arora, who has composed for Sacred Games and loves the series said, “The music scene is growing beautifully. More and more people are getting opportunities new musicians are encouraged to get into it.” Rachita has also worked on Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story of Sunny Leone and Bollywood films.
Vaibhav Bundhoo, whose first original composition at TVF was for Permanent Roommates said, “Things have started picking up, but we are not challenging Bollywood yet. Though, this might not be far away.”
In ALTBalaji’s Broken But Beautiful, the much loved song ‘Laute Nahi’ is a soulful number composed by Yash Narvekar and sung by Papon. “Apart from that, I did a series called Remix on Amazon Prime Video. The music scene has never been better. Till now, whatever music came out was in Bollywood films, which takes people who have already proved themselves and have given big hits. Digital platforms have become more experimental.” Yash has previously done couple of films as a music director/singer/songwriter, such as Mubarakan, Half Girlfriend and Behen Hogi Teri.
Their style of music
Though their creations have their distinct signature, composers for the web medium refrain from narrowing down to one style of music. Ishaan says, “In Bar Code, we had to do a more electronically driven score, whereas in some cases the template or the palette of instruments used is more of an acoustic nature, so it really depends on the kind of show”.
Each of Vaibhav’s soundtrack albums have a variety of genres ranging from alternative rock, fusion trap, French waltz and many others. “I try not to be bound by genres in background scores as well as the music I release independently.” Vaibhav made some unforgettable music in 2018, with Yeh Meri Family.
Rachita, too, claims to have no particular style. “As a composer, I look upon the storyline and create a style according to that.” Rachita has been composing since she was a kid, but professionally, started composing for theater. “I have done a lot of theater work in Delhi. Then, I started giving background score for films, short films and documentaries.” she adds.
Music & Millennials:
As for the kind of music viewers like, Vaibhav feels that majority of not just the Indian audience, but international too, loves sappy music that supports sentimental and big hero moments. Yash doesn’t like making music that will be loved only by a particular age group. “Generally I do not keep an age group in mind. I try to make songs that will appeal to everybody.”
“We have suddenly been bombarded with international standards. Automatically, the necessity and the importance of a score has been elevated.”, says Mallar. Stating the example of Netflix’ Sacred Games, he says, “When Sacred Games came out, people could not stop talking about the score because they were paying attention for the first time.”
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have taken the lead in revolutionizing the OTT scenario in the world. If a musical will be made for an OTT platform, it is a different case. However, for any other show, instead of having songs that would stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of it – breaking the flow, music is now being woven seamlessly into the story.
“You have to keep in mind that a lot of people from our generation are feeding on a diet of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others. The situation now is such that most of the Indian web series that are coming out need to have a contemporary sound or they won’t hold the audience’s interest for long”, Mallar believes.
Lending a conclusion to the story, Yash says that it is not just music, but the entire web platform that is gaining popularity. He says, “It will eventually turn out to be the most popular medium for music. Digital platforms are really helping put music out there to people, without having to go the traditional way of releasing content.”
“It will take time”, Yash says, “but it is happening and it is quite evident.”