Tanishk Bagchi: “I Have Always Believed That Independent Singles Are The Future”
Tanishk Bagchi and Bollywood chartbusters go hand in hand. We’re at a place now where if we see a song soaring, we know Bagchi is at the helm of it. What drives him? What scares him? We find out
The Humma Song, Sweety Tera Drama, Ve Maahi; the list of Tanishk Bagchi’s hits can go on for a good couple of pages. The Bengali boy, who has a musical lineage from his family roots, was working on various other tracks and to make ends meet, producing music for a television channel as well, before breaking into Bollywood. It was Aanand L Rai who showed conviction in him and his partner, Vayu, and gave them an opportunity to work on one song from Tanu Weds Manu Returns. That’s how Banno happened, and Bagchi became a household name instantly.
Seven years and multiple hits later, here he was, a composer, singer, lyricist, and producer, a man with many roles, and we break the ice with a question born out of curiosity — how does he do it all? What’s the most challenging feather in his hat? “They are all challenging in their own respective ways. While the other things come to me naturally because of my background as a music director, I have always been interested in singing. I try my hand at it sometimes, and the response has been overwhelming,” he says, and satisfies our curiosity just a bit.
Bagchi has had many original tracks to his credit too, but his remixes have always stolen the limelight, for all kinds of reasons. The world is divided on the remix debate, but the audience that loves it doesn’t shy away. He has been called the remix king, but Bagchi says he has always identified music being his “foremost forte”, and not remixes. “Whether it is original music or recreations, the music is important to me,” he adds.
When Lata Mangeshkar ascertained that her song, Chalte Chalte, from Pakeezah had been recreated by Bagchi for Jackky Bhagnani’s Mitron, she was exasperated. He has left fans of the originals riled up too, but this never impedes him from adding his touch to classic songs. “When I work on a song, I try to infuse it with an urban feel because we are also catering to a generation that consists of youngsters, who sum up to become a huge group of our audience. Their love for music is different. I want the songs I create or recreate, to resonate with everyone,” Bagchi articulates.
“Since my first recreation, I have noticed two sides of the coin — on one side are people who would like the original, and on the other side are those who would prefer the recreated version. I’ve noticed, with time, that the latter is ever-growing. Constructive criticism is good as it helps you get better at your game; I take it positively and move ahead,” he says.
The line between constructive criticism and simple hate can sometimes be very blurry. Trolling can affect the best of us. But Bagchi says it doesn’t affect him. “For the people who say negative things about my work, I would like them to glance at the numbers my recreated tracks have amassed. They’ll be baffled to realise the demand and the consumption of it. I seldom found someone who criticised songs like Aankh Maarey, The Humma Song, etc. If my fans are liking them, then why shouldn’t I give them what they want?”
He further appends that his latest original song has also been doing very well. “Raataan Lambiyan from Shershaah has now become the first Indian song to hit the Global Spotify top 100 list. I am flattered by the title ‘Master of Recreations’ but honestly, shouldn’t there then be one for my original creations as well?” Bagchi states.
Jubin Nautiyal’s Lut Gaye, featuring Emraan Hashmi, entered the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts, amongst other feats. Bagchi collaborated with the talent on this hit song. “I am ecstatic. I have always believed that independent singles are the future. I have been an ardent fan of Nusrat Sahab, and believe his creations are immortal. Amongst the electronica phase, I was keen to get the Indian rhythm back in business. So, we incorporated electronic elements with the classic element of Nusrat Sahab to create this song,” he says.
So is there a process, or is it about what comes to him at the moment? “I’m what you would call a ‘Man of Mood’,” he quips. This ‘Man of Mood’ has successfully created different tunes with different artistes, and loved collaborating with Zara Khan, Amitabh Bhattacharya, and Vishal Dadlani previously.
Bagchi was born to musicians, Nandakumar Bagchi and Sharmistha Das, so music had been a significant part of his life since childhood. Growing up with talented musicians as parents, the experience ought to have moulded a person, right? “My parents are guitar players, which made music an important part of my life since I was little. I initially did start helping DJs by making bootleg mixes for them, but I also knew this was short-lived, and I was meant to do more with music production.”
Witnessing the evolution of the music industry, Bagchi says, “I have to say that the industry has progressed a lot. People have become more accepting of new things and have evolved. It is no longer an industry that is limited to geographical borders. It is time for the musicians and singers to get their due here just as they do in the West.”
To wrap up this all-about-music conversation, we ask for his take on the number of reality shows, for music alone. While many have questioned the credibility of such shows, Bagchi believes that it is a great platform for budding talents to explore their gifts. “We should definitely support such shows. These shows are giving the talented youngsters the right kind of exposure,” he concludes. I concur.