Sandeep Chowta

Music Director

Music Composers need to tap emotions

India is one of the world’s leading film producing nations; and music of Indian movies is an integral and vital component of the productions. Structured Filmmaking Education thus plays an integral role.

Music is integral to Indian Films. Composers need to tap into emotions and evoke them.

Often, techno-savvy artists allow the gizmos and technical paraphernalia to overpower the emotional content of their music. Music Composers need to bring better harmony / alignment with the visual narrative. There is harmony in everything and one just needs to find it! Primarily, one needs to have a good ear and then learn the techniques. Listening is of paramount importance

Composing ‘Film Music’ is whole different world. The learning and knowledge of  ‘Classical Music’ only provides discipline and appreciation in addition to offering deep dive into nuances. But making music for films is commercial, collaborative and calls for tapping into popular culture and popular taste.

Cinema has changed today.

One must stay abreast with the changing trend(s), approaches and realistic picturization of film songs.  Musical effects necessitate a consistent/unified theme for the entire film. To be able to do that, one has to get inside the film completely and not punctuate.

Personal values vs Business Needs continues to be an ongoing dilemma that artists have to grapple with.

While composers strive for perfection and want to create original and non-repetitive work, often succumb to contradictory expectations and pressure from the producers for songs that lead to huge Box Office Collections.

Resolving The Dilemma Within – Artist/ Identity vs Business

Doing a background score was initially a thankless job and that the end credits never used to mention it. Except for ‘Satya’ and ‘Sholay’, nobody noticed and gave enough credit to sound scores. Today, it is different. The industry is witnessing more professionalism, with the musicians and allied professionals getting adequate and due credits in the contemporary times. Musical/Sound/Audio Credits are coming to foreground with ever increasing need for higher and better technical standards.

Film Music can be severely and actually limiting. The success of a song is rightfully credited to the director, because the film is his vision and the music composer merely enables that. So, if the director wants the music as an interlude, and believes that it has to sound in a certain way; then the composer has to go ahead and render the music. This inherently imposes limitations on one’s creativity.

A lot of music composers are now seeking creative satisfaction by taking up independent projects that are more in non-filmed entertainment space.

 Art (music) has to come from the music director, but then canvas belongs to director. Occasionally director and music director can be indulgent but both have to submit before the producer as it is a commercial project, at the end.

Music and Film Education

There is a clear need for strong, structural and scientific, film making education.

Learning in bits and pieces is never going to work, at least for mainstream film making projects. A holistic approach is needed, wherein a music composer needs to know all aspects of filmmaking. This is what the best film schools focus on. Giving an example for the upcoming ‘Sadak 2’ project (directed by Mr. Mahesh Bhatt), a music director needs to make the director’s vision come true and supplement it by balancing the actor’s needs, music company’s business demands, director’s cinematic vision , story’s stipulations.

Another case in point is the famous BGM ‘The Mood of Satya’ and working with Mr. Ram Gopal Varma – , unless the director has a big role to play in giving the score a foreground kind of position in the film, the audience may never hear it.

The inputs for this blog are based on insights shared by Mr. Sandeep Chowtha during Webinar on

  •  ‘Music, Sound and Audio Industry’ at Annapurna College of Film and Media

Expert Bio:

Mr. Sandeep Chowtha a music director has for over 2 decades composed music that brilliantly speaks to people across the globe across generations and communities. Sandeep has won the Filmfare award twice in 1999 for Satya, and then in 2001 for Jungle.  Some of his notable movies are ‘Satya’ ,’Jungle’, ’Company’, ’Om Shanti Om’, ’Housefull’, ’Paan Singh Tomar’, ’Parmanu’ , ’Ninne Pelladatha’, ’Super’, and ’Bujjigaadu made in Chennai’. His recent project is ‘Sadak 2’.

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The author of the blog and Annapurna College of Film and Media makes it very clear that the knowledge being shared by the expert is for informational and educational purposes only. The questions are designed for students to listen to experience. The blog is written to capture the experience.

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