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Exclusive Release: Veteran Bluesman/Filmmaker Anupam Sen Gupta’s Theme Song ‘Mirza Kaun Tha’

For his latest movie ‘Mirza’s Friend Ghalib,’ the New Delhi-based guitarist and composer is out with a song after nearly a decade

Anurag Tagat Aug 19, 2019

'Mirza Kaun Tha' was composed by Anupam Sen Gupta (far right). Photo: courtesy of the artist

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In 1997, guitarist and composer Anupam Sen Gupta left behind what he calls “the hippie life” in his hometown of Kolkata and moved to New Delhi near penniless. Now 50 years old, the artist was part of Kolkata bands such as Mahakaal and L.S.D. but realized he was living on the streets. “Actual streets. With this second lap of my music career, I’ve been very particular,” he says.

Since then, Sen Gupta also moved from maritime marketing to making money out of music in a different way. He set up a guitar school, worked in sound design and “sonic branding” and even began pursuing work in the film world as a screenwriter and filmmaker. “I have always been composing music, but for the last 10 to 12 years, I’ve only been composing for my clients,” he says.

His latest 30-minute short film Mirza’s Friend Ghalib sees him return to write and release music for himself. “Mirza Kaun Tha” is a grim, suspenseful song that reflects the movie’s psychological drama that deals with art and artistry. Composed by Sen Gupta, the lyrics and co-composition came via Vikrant Malwa and features vocalist Madhumita Sarkar, keyboardist Vinayak Gupta and additional programming and guitars from Sunny Dutta. Sen Gupta adds his own blues guitar touch to the song. “For me, real is dark. The idea was for it to sound like the movie, like the string section we used. I wanted people to hear the song and get an idea of the movie.”

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Understandably, for someone who struggled but still loves rock and roll, Sen Gupta is elated about putting out the song. He still gets together to jam on Creedence Clearwater Revival at clubs in Kolkata once in a while, but is aware that writing and performing your own music is still a difficult career to sustain even decades later. The artist adds, “The idea of doing your own thing after 10 years is a kickass feeling. Sitting and composing is fine, but to take it out there is something else.”

Sen Gupta is also picking back up on older Mahakaal compositions to restructure them and plan a release. “The sound will definitely be the blues, because we grew up on the blues in Calcutta,” he says. There’s also a screenplay for a “music-driven” movie that he’s working on, including inputs for the soundtrack. Sen Gupta says, “At the end of the day I want to be creative, but whatever I do is not in the hardcore consumer space. I still do what I want to do and don’t compromise.”

Listen to “Mirza Kaun Tha” below. Watch the full movie here.

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