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Composer Meghdeep Bose on Writing a Modern Ghazal and Future Projects

Working with artists ranging from Urdu prog band Joshish to composing trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Bose released his second single ‘Maine Dekha Hai’

Anurag Tagat Feb 21, 2021

Composer Meghdeep Bose outside Abbey Road Studios in London in 2020. Photo: Andrew T Mackay

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As someone who was bullied in school and often misunderstood for having contrasting musical inclinations compared to his peers, Meghdeep Bose can confidently say he triumphed over those troubled times. The Indore-born, Mumbai-based composer’s major anchor was his aunt. “My maami was the only person in my entire family and in my entire circle who heard me out, and she saved me from a breakdown, just by being there,” he says. 

Bose’s aunt succumbed to cancer in September last year and her passing left a thought seared into the composer’s mind. He adds, “I started contemplating that what exactly is my purpose as a musician. Over the time, I’ve started seeing life through a bigger picture. As a musician, I feel that I have a bigger mission in life than just writing hit songs or earning money or being recognized.”

Building his career despite hardships and passing on a chance to study music abroad due to financial constraints, Bose gleaned music making from his father Dilip (who was also a producer) and learned piano, tabla and vocals. By 2015, he was working with composers such as Amaal Malik, representing the younger wave of film music soundtracks that spawned songs such as “Besabriyaan” off sports biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and in 2018, “Swag Se Swagat” (for Vishal-Shekhar) in 2017 action flick Tiger Zinda Hai. 

Simultaneously, Bose was working with bands like After Acoustics on their 2019 album Miraya, singer-composer Aditya Narayan and more. He had a long standing association with Urdu prog rock band Joshish’s founder Sameer Rahat, even adding string arrangements to their 2017 album Ird Gird. Rahat was called upon as lyricist for “Maine Dekha Hai,” Bose’s ode to his dearly departed aunt, a profound seven-minute ghazal fitted with contemporary arrangements and the vocals of Pratibha Singh Baghel.

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Written nearly two years ago, Bose had the basic melody which was expanded by violinist Manas Kumar, tabla artist Akshay Jadhav, sitarist Chirag Katti and string sections by Kerala troup Cochin Strings. “I’ve observed them [Cochin Strings] since my childhood because my father used to go a lot to Kerala to record his sessions over there,” he says. Bose adds that he got Rahat to write lyrics based on melodies rather than the usual process of the music fitting the lyrics. “I requested to him that maybe this [song] could be something that makes you look inside, look within and contemplate as 2020 has been for all of us. Sameer is somebody who understands me, and not just as an artist but as a human, as a person,” the composer says. 

Bose sees the bigger picture of music being the same whether it’s for films or for himself or other independent artists, as long as he gets to “make efforts to keep things organic.” He’s released two songs as a solo composer so far — “Maine Dekha Hai” and a rousing fusion track called “Sunrise In The West” — via London/Mumbai label Bohemia Junction Record Co. Up next, he’s working on his own material as well as Aditya Narayan’s repertoire. “I even got to write a big band jazz song for him. That’ll be out on his label [Namaste Records]. I’m writing an orchestral rock track which I’m almost done with. It’s an instrumental single that I’m planning to release in a couple of months,” Bose adds. 

Listen to “Maine Dekha Hai” below. Stream on more platforms here.

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