Working in India changed my approach towards music: Wayne Sharpe (Interview) (With Image)

July 31st, 2011 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Amitabh Bachchan Mumbai, July 31 (IANS) New York-based American composer Wayne Sharpe doesn’t understand Hindi, but he has been composing the soundtracks and background scores for Bollywood films. He says after working on Indian projects, his approach towards music has changed.

“Working in India has completely changed my approach towards music. Most experimentations and melodies here are so rich in the culture of India, which is great. I love the sounds that are generated here and I am thinking of using Indian music in some of my other projects out of India,” Sharpe told IANS in an interview.

Sharpe, who has 25 years of experience in classical piano training and Western orchestra works, composed music for many television shows and over 75 ads in the US including “Pokemon”, “First Person” and “The Martha Stewart Show”.

He entered the Hindi film industry with Prakash Jha’s 2003 film “GangaaJal” and his aoosciation with the filmmaker continued with “Apaharan” and “Raajneeti”.

Does lack of understanding of Hindi language creates a roadblock while composing music for Bollywood films?

“It sometimes slows down the process a little bit, but it’s not such a problem. I get translations and videos with subtitles when I am working. But I feel music is something that has no language, it works with emotions. So sometimes it actually helps not knowing the language because I compose music or background score looking and feeling the visual emotions of the scene, without reading the subtitles,” said Sharpe.

“It is extra work for sure, but not a hassle. I’m learning as much as I can. My director also helps me,” he added.

He has scored for Jha’s forthcoming film “Aarakshan” which puts the spotlight on caste-based reservations in educational institutes and stars Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and Manoj Bajpayee.

Throwing some light on the brief that he was given for this film, Sharpe revealed: “Prakash had taken me through the whole script and practically through each scene. He wanted the sound of the film to be very unique and different. So I experimented with some instruments and got a westernised combined with a folk sound to it. It was very challenging to make sure that the background music sounds different.”

How did he meet Jha?

“I met Prakash in New York more than eight years ago and I showed him my music. He invited me to India for ‘GangaaJal’, then I came here and started composing for him. Now we know each other’s style. I know what he likes and he knows what my style is so it’s a good working relationship,” said the composer, who likes the works of A.R Rahman and Shankar Mahadevan among other artists.

Sharpe, who comes to India only when he has some project in hand, has no plans to re-locate here.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at

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