A musical high

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By An opportunity to compose the music for Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi became the sweetest note in Shantanu Moitra's career
  • Published 25.12.11

One of the major turning points in my life was buying my first acoustic guitar when I was 10. What was even better was receiving an award in school for my contribution to music at a time when my school, Springdales in Delhi, didn’t usually give awards for music. I went on to set up the school’s rock band and in 1982 we hosted the school’s first ever rock show. When I look back now, I think the award instilled huge confidence in me.

The second turning point in my life came when as a teenager I discovered Rabindranath Tagore’s literary works and music. A friend, who was an avid Tagore fan, introduced me to Tagore’s novels and I thought that if they could read and enjoy Tagore’s writings, why couldn’t I? I realised then, that I’d been missing out on the literature of Bengal and the rich cultural heritage of the state.

I also turned to Rabindrasangeet with a passion. Tagore’s literary influences made my family holidays to Calcutta even more meaningful. My association with Calcutta goes back 25 years and from the first time I saw Howrah Bridge, visited the science museum and ate the best Bengali dishes, I was influenced by all things Bengali.

The third and the biggest turning point in life came when I got the opportunity to direct the music of the Hindi film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi in 2002. I would often travel from Delhi to Mumbai when I worked as a client servicing executive for an advertising agency but this trip to Mumbai became a life- changing journey. I was introduced to the world of cinema and that’s when I met lyricist and cinematographer Swanand Kirkire, who had a great influence on my life. With his encouragement, I have been able to use my musical talent to promote folk music in India and I hope to continue in my efforts for as long as I can.

(As told to Varuni Khosla)