Bollywood singer-composer Samira Koppikar on composing for Laal Kaptan and other music projects
If there's any composer who can meld the various notes of funk, folk, jazz and rock altogether, it’s the spunky Mumbai born Samira Koppikar. This effervescent musician, who has been singing and composing since 2010, had a thumping debut in Bollywood with the riveting song Maati Ka Palang that she had strewn together for the hit film NH10, starring Anushka Sharma. Since then there has been no looking back for experimental Samira, who also made a foray into playback singing with two back-to-back hit songs, Aj Phir Tumpe and Mohabbat Barsa De for Hate Story 2 and Creature 3D respectively.
The young singer-composer who also composed for Bareilly Ki Barfi is back in the news for her compositions for Saif Ali Khan-starrer Laal Kaptan and we had a chat with Koppikar about music, Bollywood and more. Excerpts:
From NH10 to Laal Kaptan, all your songs are earthy and rooted yet contemporary, tell us about your music a little bit?
Composing music for films is enjoyable yet challenging. There’s a script, characters and also the director’s vision involved. Be it NH10, Bareilly Ki Barfi or Laal Kaptan, in each one, I have been able to express different emotions and explore a varied palette. I love to use live instruments that bring an earthy, organic feel to my music but it is balanced out with ambient or electronic elements, to keep the soundscape contemporary.
How did you conceive Taandav?
This song is inspired by Saif Ali Khan’s character and onscreen persona of a Naga Sadhu. The track needed to capture the mood of a scene where Saif Ali Khan and Deepak Dobriyal are dancing in mad abandon around a fire, which reminded me of Nataraja, hence I came up with the idea of Taandav which would reflect creation, preservation and dissolution. I’ve used a tribal chant, live percussions and gypsy folk elements to capture the energetic and trippy vibe.
What are your upcoming projects?
There are some film projects in the pipeline including some with Colour Yellow Productions, Jar Pictures and Roy Kapur Films. Also, I am composing for Bole Chudiyaan featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tammanah. Besides that, I’m coming up with a single, a music video and a song that I’ve composed called Dil Nachda in collaboration with SANAM, that will release in November. There’s also an exciting single coming up with Dino James.
Who are your favourite singers?
My all-time favourite voice is Kishore Kumar. Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghosal too have very versatile voices. Among international artistes — Adele, Sia, Imogen Heap, John Mayer, Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran are my favourites.
How do you plan to grow as a composer?
Experiencing different cultures opens one’s mind. I want to travel to new places. It could be a painting, sculpture, theatre, local food or natural landscape that inspire me. I listen to a lot of music and I’ve collaborated with musicians who have a different approach. It provokes me to challenge myself musically.