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Dreams in his eyes

Preeti Verma Lal, March 10, 2013

In conversation

Success calling: Ankit Tiwari, playing a tune on his piano.

From a small town to B’town, Ankit Tiwari has been a real success story in the music industry. Speaking to Preeti Verma Lal, this Kanpur lad talks about his humble beginnings and dreaming big.

One day in a Mumbai saloon, music composer Ankit Tiwari almost screamed. No, the barber had not carelessly snipped off his mane; it was the voice at the other end of his cellphone. An unbelievable piece of news, actually.

A lilting melody that he had scratched on his Korg Triton LE had been concatenated in Vishesh Films’s Aashiqui 2. Tiwari thought his ears were ringing. Or, the blow dryer in the saloon was too raspy. Then, the voice at the other end repeated the news. Yes, the Bhatts had included two of his songs in Aashiqui 2 and he’ll lend his voice to one. He was ecstatic. He wanted to scream. Scream loudly. No, not to exorcise demons of dreams, but to thank the gods for a dream fulfillment. He did not scream. He let the moment sink into his soul.

It was a long wait for a 20-year-old who left his home in Kanpur on December 5, 2007 (Tiwari never seems to forget that date!) for Mumbai. He had no contacts in the film industry. Knew not where to begin. All he had packed was confidence in his abilities and music in every sinew of his being. Music that he was born with. His paternal grandfather is a renowned rhythmist of Kanpur, his maternal grandfather owned a devotional music group; his parents together conduct bhajan sandhyas (devotional evenings). By the age of seven, he could tap the dholak and tabla harmoniously, by eight, he was learning to master the harmonium and soon after took to learning classical vocal, including the difficult Dhrupad Dhamaal.

So, the first sound that Tiwari created reverberated out of a dholak? I question. No, I stood corrected. At three, on the dining table, a little kid was making music out of cutlery. Perhaps he was born with music. Not academics. “I was bad, very bad in studies. But I won so many musical awards for my school that I was never rapped on the knuckles for being so awful in studies,” Tiwari laughs, while recalling his past. In Kanpur, he was winning hearts and awards, but his Bollywood dream was desperate to dig its heels hundreds of miles away in Mumbai.

From a small town to B’town, Ankit Tiwari has been a real success story in the music industry. Speaking to Preeti Verma Lal, this Kanpur lad talks about his humble beginnings and dreaming big

Then, on December 5, 2007, Tiwari boarded a train to the city where his aspirations lay. He knew not many in the melee called Mumbai. With a portfolio of melodies and songs that he had scratched in Kanpur, this Piscean met several producers and directors. After a long spell, ad-maker Pradeep Sarkar gave him, along with other musicians, a chance to work on jingles. That opened doors.

Several doors. Like, composing for Habib Faisal directorial debut Do Dooni Char. More doors were now opening for this 25-year-old. Tigmanshu Dhulia invited him to compose and sing Sahib Bara Hathila, the theme song of Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster.

Tiwari’s Bollywood musical journey had started. Often, his young age went against him. Producers and directors were not ready to take “someone so young so seriously”. From working in a group, Tiwari had gone solo. But he was waiting for that moment when he could scream in ecstasy. One day, that too happened. When filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt met him, introduced him to Aashiqui 2 director Mohit Suri, and then tweeted about him. That was when Tiwari was slouched on a chair in a non-descript Mumbai saloon. And wanted to scream.

Today, his hands are full. His repertoire is spilling with music videos, ads, television serials (Jai Hanuman, CID) and feature films. Of the several film projects that he is working on, one is titled Dee Saturday Night. He is busy finishing the background score for a psycho-thriller.

The Kanpur lad, who once practiced music from 5 am to 5 pm, has now turned a tad nocturnal. In his Mumbai pad, his day begins at noon, ends around midnight. In between, it is all about melody. Nothing else. Tiwari idolises KK and Ricky Martin, loves clanking the black and white keys of a piano, ‘respects and understands’ musical instruments, and is ready “to walk the rough surface to understand the value of a bed of roses”. At 25, Tiwari has already ticked a few dreams as “fulfilled”. However, one lies at the end of tunnel — to join hands with his elder brother Ankur Tiwari (Tiwari describes him as “my strength”) and conquer the world as Ankit-Ankur music composer duo. Keep your ears ready!


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