Music, as they say, has no language. It is undoubtedly the melody that matters, and not the language. Music, in that sense, is secular.
And the Indian music industry has been a testament to that fact over the years. We've had a number of talented music composers from different Indian states — be it an AR Rahman, Vidhyasagar,Ilaiyaraaja, Yuva Shankar Raja, Avdhoot Gupte, Gurdaas Maan, Jaidev Kumaar, Shantanu Moitra or Arvind Barot. This week, we're taking a look at the 'melody makers' of the Indian regional music scene, who've crossed boundaries of language and geography to make a mark.
Vijay Antony (Tamil)
A well known name in the Tamil film and music industry, Vijay has composed, sung and acted in many films. As a music director, his best known films are Naan Avanillai, Ninnaithale Innikum, Kadhalil Vizhunthen and Salim. His song “Nakka Mukka” remains the landmark of his career. The main characteristic of Antony’s music is that he always composes keeping in mind the likes and interests of youth.
Devi Sri Prasad (Telugu)
This young composer is best known for his work in Telugu cinema. He has received several Best Music Director awards. His most acclaimed tunes are from films like Varsham, Nuvvostanante Nennoddantana, Bommarilu, Gabbar Singh, Attarintiki Daredi and of course Srimanthudu which recently fetched him the IIFA Award South for Best Music Director (Telugu). Many of his popular soundtracks have been dubbed and remade in various other languages.
M Jayachandran (Malayalam)
One of the most sought after composers in Malalayam films, Jayachandran has received the National Award this year as Best Music Director for the film Ennu Ninte Moideen. A recipient of many more prestigious awards throughout his career for films like Celluloid, Pranayam, Karayilekku Oru Kodal Dooram, Madampi, Nivedyam, Nottam, Perumahakkalam, Gaurisankaram etc, Jayachandran has carved a niche for himself in the music industry. His music is an amalgamation of Indian and western classical styles. The orchestration of his songs is a delight! “Pattil e Pattil” sung by Shreya Ghoshal is a wonderful example of Jayachandran's forte.
V Harikrishna (Kannada)
A winner of three consecutive Filmfare awards (Best Music Director) for Gaalipata, Raaj The Showman and Jackie, along with many other prominent awards, this inventive composer has made an exclusive place for himself in the Kannada film/music industry. Most of the films for which he composed went on to become musical chartbusters. His songs from films like Prince, Hudugaru, Vishnuvardhana, Saarathi, Paramathma, Jogayya, Topiwala, Bachchan, Bulbul, Kaddipudi, Gajakesari, Fair & Lovely and Ambareesha are worth listening to, and reflect his ability to keep pace with the tastes of the current generation.
Indradeep Dasgupta (Bengali)
Indradeep has built a distinctive place for himself in the Bengali film and music industry. His success lies in the fact that he is equally capable of composing music for commercial as well as parallel cinema. His scores for films like Chaplin, Bor Ashbe Ekhuni, Kanamachi, Raajkahini, Charulata 2011, Baaishe Srabon, Le Chhakka, etc have bagged critical and public acclaim. Despite being a modern composer, Indradeep has always inserted traditional classical chunks in his music thus making it more interesting. His songs “Mon Bawre” and “Patton ka hai jismo jana” are eminently hummable! His background scores in Chander Pahar and Baishe Srabon have also been appreciated.
Samir Rawal (Gujarati)
A popular name in Gujarati music, the versatile Samir Rawal began his recording career by composing music for advertisement jingles, TV serial title songs and background scores. He eventually went into mainstream films and albums. He composed, arranged and released the first-ever Gujarati rap album Diwani Diwani Diwani which was a super-hit. He composed music for many Gujarati movies, including acclaimed ones like Veer Hamirji, Good Road, The Advocate, Teenager's Gang, Samarpaan, Whiskey is Risky, Koine Keso Nahi, Bhad no Dikro, Dikro Maro Ladkvo etc. Samir has always used the element of Gujarati folk in his compositions.
Babbu Mann (Punjabi)
The multi-talented Babbu Man's fan following is not only restricted to Punjab but has spread worldwide owing to his power-packed music and singing style. A winner of four World Music Awards, this Punjab da munda has had a lot of success with his albums, singles and film songs. His music in films like Hawayein, Rabb Ne Banaiyan Jodiean, Hashar: A Love Story, Ekam — Son of Soil, Desi Romeos, Waagah, Dil Tainu Karda Hai Pyar, etc are fondly remembered.
Dhananjay Mishra (Bhojpuri)
With Bhojpuri cinema becoming popular over last few years, the work of Bhojpuri music coposers too has come to the fore. Mishra is among them, with highly appreciated compositions in films like Pyar Ke Bandhan, Hum Bahubali, Ek Duje ke Liye, Bhoomi Putra, Srimaan Driver Babu, Aj ke Karan Arjun etc. Even his non-filmi music albums — Budhau Baba Maanagat Baade Dil, Pyar Ke Rog Bhail, Fagua — are super-hits as well.
Music director duo Jeetu-Tapan are famous for their music in Assamese movies like Manab Aru Danab, Adalat, Megh, Anutap, Nayanmoni, Manchghar, etc. They always maintained their roots with Assam and their music spread all over the region through movies and albums like Tyaag, Deuta Diya Bidai, Bohagota Nahila and many more. The duo has played a significant role in bringing Bollywood's attention to Assam by working with legends like Subhash Ghai, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar.
It is their experimentation with different forms of music in their scores that has helped this composer duo rise to the top in the relatively early stages of their career. They did an international non-film music album — Vishwavinayaka — which paved the way for their foray into the Marathi music industry. They worked on many commercial jingles, ballets and advertisements as well. Their memorable compositions are many, including Man Udhān Vāryāche, Malhāravārī and Kombdī Paḷalī. They composed the songs and background score for the Marathi film Naṭarang which was influenced by traditional folk music forms like Lāvaṇī, Phaṭakā and Tamāśā.