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From India To Iran

“Dastaan,” Kolkata artist Tajdar Junaid’s instrumental track, makes it to renowned Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s political satire The President, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival recently

Lalitha Suhasini Sep 05, 2014
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Tajdar Junaid Photo: Ramanuj Das

Tajdar Junaid Photo: Ramanuj Das

When we last spoke to Tajdar Junaid, the gifted multi instrumentalist from Kolkata, two of his tracks had been featured in an Emma Thompson film. The appeal in his music for filmmakers is immediately evident ”“ Taj, 34, who plays the South American lute, charango, is peerless in his craft, bringing virtuosity and feeling in a manner that is perfect for a dramatic soundtrack. “Dastaan,” from his debut album What Colour Is Your Raindrop, released in 2013, for instance, is an instrumental track that stands out for its unhurried, evocative quality that has rarely been heard on a contemporary Indian album. It is this track that was chosen by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and featured in the trailer of his latest film The President. The film is based on the story of a defeated dictator and his grandson, who are on the run from rebels.

Like his music, there is little fuss around how Taj’s music makes it into international productions. Says Taj, “I sent my music links on the contact form on Makhmalbaf’s website last year [2013] and he wrote back saying he liked my music and he also sent me private links to three of his older films. I replied telling him that he doesn’t need to share his work as I had already seen his work.” Reaching out to the celebrated filmmaker was as simple as that and the artist heard from Makhmalbaf’s team this April. Adds Taj, “The producer wrote that Mohsen had been listening to ‘Dastaan’ for the last couple of months while writing and developing the script for his new film The President. I was surprised and filled with joy, but had no idea it would happen so soon.”

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Taj, who recently released a new song titled “Devotion,” has also been in talks with other international filmmakers such as the Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu, known for the Yusuf Trilogy series of films. Says Taj, “I had never visualized ‘Dastaan’ for a Makhmalbaf film, but all along, I knew I wanted to work with honest artists with integrity and who had something very strong to say. I relate to such people who are clear in their vision and are hungry and motivated to speak their story. I want to be a part of this journey as life becomes much more worthwhile.”

Watch the trailer of The President below


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