Music composer Shantanu Moitra on his career
Shantanu Moitra is a household name in India. Of Baawra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna To Piyu Bole and Give me some sun of 3 idiots, the National Award winning songwriter has created some of the most memorable songs in the Bollywood film industry.
Not only that, his compositions and melodies have traveled all over the country, and Shantanu has even delivered tunes for a Bengali film. Antaheen, and Telugu and Malayalam film Naa Bangaaru Talli, for which he won the National Film Award for best musical direction (best background music).
Recently at TiEcon Delhi-RCN Resurgence event, Shantanu spoke to his friend and seasoned business owner Aditya Gosh, board member – FabIndia and OYO, to discuss the failure.
The composer remarks: “In my career so far, the first step has always been failure.”
Shantanu Moitra in conversation with Aditya Ghosh at the Resurgence TiEcon Delhi-NCR event
From advertising to the music industry
Early in his career, Shantanu worked as a customer service manager in an advertising agency. In the gym, he recalls, âit was cool to work until after midnight.
On one of those nights of work, he heard a commotion across the office. There were no musicians or songwriters available at the time, and Shantanu was invited to compose a jingle at the last minute by the agency’s creative director at the time.
âI was given four lines and asked how long it would take me to be ready with a compositionâ¦ I was an amateur composer. University canteen mein baith ke gaane bajate la (I was composing music while sitting in my university canteen), âhe recalls.
The Creative Head was intrigued when Shantanu said he would be ready with the composition within five minutes and the only instrument he needed was a table. âI was told that there was a wonderful mahogany table in the conference room, which was generally used to fire people, laughs Shantanu.
After 10 minutes when the Creative Head returned, Shantanu had composed the iconic Uncle Chips jingle – ‘Bole of simple lips, I love Uncle Chips‘. Turns out the creative chef was Bollywood writer and director Pradeep Sarkar.
Shantanu then worked with Pradeep for his film Parineeta.
Shantanu Moitra is WWF India Ambassador for Harmony and Hope for Human and Wildlife Coexistence | Source: Facebook
Road to success through failure
Shantanu’s first notable composition was for Sudhir Mishra’s film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. âWhen I created it, the film came out but not the audioâ¦ Without promotion, nothing happens,â he says. The music did not receive much appreciation when it was released. âIt was my first big failure,â he adds.
A senior government official later heard the song from the movie Baawra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna on the radio. âThis official stopped at the Khan Market music store and asked the trader for the CD of the song. She was informed that the song, while it was on the radio, was not available on CD, âShantanu says.
Meanwhile, the music store called the record store and within days, the record company has created some 200 CDs with the song, and put the song back into circulation. âIt was fate; the song had been written off earlier, âShantanu says.
He adds: âAs artists, we don’t control the fate of what we do. We have to do it to the best of our ability and leave the rest. If we start counting likes and dislikes on YouTube, we’re pretty much done. “
âMy profession created its own destiny,â says Shantanu.
The road to follow
After creating some of the most memorable songs for movies Parineeta, Antaheen, 3 idiots, and October, among others, Shantanu became an author, a storyteller and a traveler.
He also used his creativity to recount his journey through the Himalayas in 100 days. Last year, Shantanu was also announced as the World Wide Fund India Ambassador for Harmony and Hope for Human-Fauna Coexistence.
In the future, he says he will use Bollywood for his brand. But its aim is to work with folk musicians and archives.
âI am eternally grateful for these failures because I wouldn’t have found my purpose otherwise,â says Shantanu.