Filmy ragas

Hindi cinema music is a national passion—elixir as well as annoyance, depending on how inspired the music director is. It can be about unreciprocated love, national catastrophies, elephants, sibling love or political upheavals. While cinema and “Bollywood" are already subjects of cultural research and study in many universities around the world, film music is still largely unexplored academically or in pop-culture writing.

Mumbai-based music historian Kushal Gopalka has tied up with the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) to organize a two-day seminar, “Cine Music: Beyond Entertainment", that will have presentations, discussions, interactions with musicians and music scholars, and demonstrative performances, presenting Hindi cinema as a subject of serious study and research.

There will be presentations on the evolution of lyric writing by Anoop Gadodia, the devotional aspect of film music by Suruchi Mohta, the history of orchestration by Anant Amembal, composition milestones by Sultan Arshad Khan, the impact of recording and technology by Kersi Lord and Gaurav Chopra, the educative performance of percussion instruments by Homi Mullan (he will showcase 25 unusual instruments that Hindi film music orchestras used), and the use of mandolin by Makarand Deshpande.

“We don’t see or hear film music in an analytical way. The purpose of this seminar is to look at orchestration, specific use of instruments, and how film music has evolved. There will be some gup-shup (chat) and anecdotal accounts too," Gopalka says. Legendary radio artiste Ameen Sayani and film historian Raju Bharatan will host the gup-shup sessions.

“Cine Music: Beyond Entertainment" will be held on 7 May, 9.30am-7.15pm, and 8 May, 9.30am-5.30pm, at Experimental Theatre, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai. The registration fee is 1,500. Register at or call 9321027196.