'I hope the era of 90s comes back'

'I hope the era of 90s comes back'

New beginnings

After composing music for Bollywood films like ‘Page 3’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Traffic Signal’ and ‘Bluffmaster’, Shameer Tandon has now curated India’s first transgender band 6 Pack along with production house Y Films. The band’s debut single ‘Hum Hai Happy’, launched by Sonu Nigam at Yash Raj Studios created international waves. It also has bagged the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival. In a conversation with Metrolife, Tandon talks about his experience of working with the members of the community, hardships and more. Read on.

How did the project happen?
The idea of formulating a transgender band came from Ashish Patil, the producer of the project who runs Y films for Yash Raj Films. We were not sure how educated the transgender in India are and what newspapers they read or what TV channels they watch or what radio they listen to and whether they are on the internet or not? We didn’t know where and how to run a media campaign asking for entries. Hence, we went on with an organic search. We went on traffic signals and railway stations, local trains and shanties all over Maharashtra. We auditioned 200 plus transgenders and finally shortlisted six of them.

What challenges did you face?
We had to deal with singers and dancers who have not had formal training. So the process of recording a song was difficult. Most of them don’t speak English, so songs had to be in Hindi. None of them have ever sung on a mic so it was necessary to make songs that they can easily sing and record. Giving all six of them equal weightage in the songs and videos are other challenges that we faced.
How significant is the project?
This community has been ignored and neglected. And so it’s critical that we bring them in and seamlessly integrate them in mainstream society. Not only give them equal rights but also respect them for who they are.

Any reason why you have been away from Bollywood?
I do selected projects only. I love to do Bollywood and would love to compose for good films that come my way.
How do you see the present scene of independent music in India?
Because of the advent of digital media, Indie musicians are now able to reach out to the audience without depending on television and radio. I hope the era of 90s comes back where there was a robust existence of non-film music and both Bollywood music and
indie music existed side by side. There are now various venues for Indie music to showcase their talent but we still have to go a long way.

Do you think all genres of music are accepted?
Music has been evolving in India since time immemorial. And in recent times, there is an audience for all genres of music. People are doing some great work. World music influences are in but we have also retained our own flavour in Indian folk and classical.

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