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The President Opts for Non-Bollywood Score

Rohan Sippy-produced The President is Coming powered by Goldspot and Pentagram tracks

Lalitha Suhasini Jan 19, 2009
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Filmmaker and producer Rohan Sippy has always had a taste for the uncommon. His most recent Bollywood bender is the comedy based on the English play The President is Coming. Slated to release this month, the film’s background score has been composed by recently disbanded Zero’s Siddarth Coutto. The score comprises four tracks including ‘Today’ from Pentagram’s last album It’s Ok, It’s All Good and three tracks by LA-based Goldspot led by vocalist Siddarth Khosla.

It was playwright Anuvab Pal’s (Loins of Punjab) brainwave to use alternative music in the English film starring Konkona Sen and Shernaz Patel amongst others. Pal was sold on the idea of Goldspot when he first heard them at the One Tree Festival this year. “Actually there’s no science to this,” says Sippy at his office in North Mumbai. He explains how the film took shape. “One night when Anuvab and I were discussing a film, the lazy bastard that he is suggested that we make his play into a film and the bigger lazy bastard that I am I said why look for another director. We’ll go with Kunaal [Roy Kapur] who directed the play. Most of the cast too is from the play.” Sippy was as taken in with the idea of producing a film on an America-crazy generation of Indians as he was with working with Goldspot.

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Khosla remembers throwing back a couple of drinks at Mumbai’s Sun ‘n’ Sand with Sippy and Pal when he realised they had a lot in common. It was easy camaraderie from the beginning. “Their brief to me was simple. Make Goldspot songs for the film,” says Khosla in an e-mail interview. ‘Under The House,’ ‘Haath Me Lenge’ and ‘Paper Boats’ (the English version of ‘Haath Me Lenge’) were crafted in typical Goldspot flavour – effervescent, with a dreamy string section opening and a mad riot rhythm section that followed. Coutto, Zero’s drummer, with his madcap sense of humour also fit in with the rest of the crew easily. “I like to work with people I’m comfortable with. Pozy [Dhar, guitarist, Zero] might also do some work for me. It’s basically about having fun,” says Coutto.

“The film is about these young people wanting to shake hands with Bush and America obsession so it made sense to use some amount of independent music. We didn’t want to go down the normal Bollywood route,” says Kunaal Roy Kapur, the film’s director, who also found Goldspot to be lyrically powerful. Kapur says he was exposed to Indian indie at such a close level for the first time and worked closely with Counter Culture Records to source music. “We listened to a lot of their artists but narrowed down on Pentagram’s ‘Today’ because it fit with the film’s theme,” Kapoor adds.

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Would more rock bands be open to working on film soundtracks and composing situational music? The question opens up a debate. Sippy is seriously considering working a lot more with alternative bands. Interested bands can begin applying.

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