Hello, folks! In this week’s EP of #BlabWithSandy, we have the noted music composer and singer, Tapas Relia with us. You have heard the much famous ‘Kya Aap Close Up Karte Hain’ or Mumbai Indians’ ‘Duniya Hila Denge Hum’ and loved it! Tapas is the man behind these sensational tracks and many more which have won the ears and hearts of all the listeners. Let’s wait no further and dive into the exciting blab I had with him:
Sandy: Hello, Tapas ji. Hope you are doing as soothing as your music? 😊
Tapas: Hahaha, thanks, Sandy! Yes, all good.
Sandy: Could you throw some sound about your early background?
Tapas: I am from Ahmedabad and did my schooling at Ahmedabad itself till my 12th grade. I was into music from my early years as my dad loved and still loves music. He used to learn Hindustani music and a teacher would come home to reach. With strange reasons, I kind of took to it and started going deep into music. I wasn’t that great at academics but after finishing my 12th, I convinced my parents and moved to Bombay (now, Mumbai) to learn classical piano. In 1996, I came to Mumbai, and it’s been a long journey since then!
Sandy: How did you garner your first break?
Tapas: I had many breaks, hahaha! I came to the city with only one goal, that is to learn western classical piano and I had no other plans as such. I wanted to be a performer and sing on stage. I used to frequent music studios and co-incidentally, the paying guest area where I was staying had a basement and it had a recording studio. The engineer out there, named Vijay Kokre, agreed to let me be there and I got to become a part of the jingles and radio music that used to be created there.
One day, a producer was looking for some basic kind of radio ad jingle on an urgent basis. I took out my keyboard and played one track which he loved.
He was a big radio producer named Ronnie Desai and as fate would have it, I entered the advertising industry and my music clicked instantly. ‘Kya Aap Close Up Karte Hain?’ jingle was created by me, and it became a big hit. Many advertising agencies got aligned to me and I would like to thank my stars, as it was the best thing to happen at that time.
Sandy: Sounds interesting! How did you shift your base towards films?
Tapas: My name was doing quite a few rounds in the industry and somebody from Percept Picture Company was looking out for young and fresh talent. That’s when I got this opportunity to score music for the animation film ‘Hanuman’ which created immense buzz at the box office. That is how my journey with film music kickstarted and it is going well till now.
Sandy: You gained a name for jingles and adverts more than your film music during the initial stages. But with the latest crop of releases that you have had, your film music has garnered great attention. How easy or difficult is that to score music for adverts when compared to films?
Tapas: Honestly, I feel that the difficulty is not with regards to the content, but it lies in the way we got to deal with most people present in the pool. Dealing with people in the advertising as well as the film industry is the difficult thing!
Difficulty can arise anywhere but coming to me, more than music, it’s the people with whom we deal, tend to bring out the easiness or the difficulty factor. In advertisements, there are a lot of people involved and it is more of a business and things need to be done at a quicker pace. While film songs are towards the creative aspect which gives us more time to score music.
Sandy: ‘Lakshmi’, ‘Dhanak’, and the other films that you scored music for – how has the journey been thus far?
Tapas: I am extremely happy and content with the work I have done till date. There is a long ahead of me at this juncture of life too and it isn’t ending. I want to do more work and I absolutely have no hang ups at all. I am proud of myself as I came from a normal background, and I created my own foothold in the industry.
Non-commercial work is not easy projects as I also have bills to pay, and I would like to do work that fetches me money. For that, I do need films and the journey has been kind. Later this year, I have a film titled ‘Goldfish’ with has Deepti Naval in it and it is being readied for the upcoming film festivals. I am getting work continuously and I am game to do more!
Quick Shot Round:
- Biggest fear: Losing my loved ones
- Regrets: No regrets
- Favorite genre of music: Indian, Contemporary, and Classical
- Favorite work of yours: Lakshmi
- Music for ads or films: I would say – Films
- Music of any film that you liked in recent past: I loved the BGM given for Tenet
- Your favorite Singers: Many! Vijay Prakash, Arijit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Hariharan ji
- Actors you’d like to work with: Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Amitabh Bachchan
- If you’d to barter your career for a day, with whom would it be? I’d rather do it with some philosophical gyaan guru! Hahahaha, this is because I am quite infamous in my circle for giving gyaan which nobody needs it
- Good and bad about the music industry: The good thing is that it isn’t that difficult to find work in the industry. The bad thing would be that it is time consuming, and it might take a long time before you can get to do what you really want to do
Sandy: Your association with Nagesh Kukunoor has brought rich dividends. It would be great if you could let us know about your camaraderie with him.
Tapas: Our camaraderie is fantastic! We both understand each other perfectly now and I believe, Nagesh had heard my music when ‘Hanuman’ released, and he met me at a music lounge during the music release of ‘Return of Hanuman’ and he conveyed that he loved my songs. After a year from that day, I received a call from his office asking me to meet for a project.
We met and that’s when I started working for the film ‘Yeh Haunsla’, which unfortunately never saw the light of the day. I worked with Nagesh for ‘Lakshmi’, ‘Mod’, ‘City of Dreams’, and I am also doing his next Telugu web series.
We share a rock-solid association, and he is like family to me. He completely understands me and my music and even with zero communication, we get to deliver our goods with aplomb. It is an amazing feeling to know that we understand each other so well and he gives me a soothing platform to score music for his films.
Sandy: That’s wonderful to hear! What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Tapas: I just had a release in the form of Ajay Devgn’s ‘Rudra’, which is winning love from the audience. I am having a couple of releases this year, so it all looks exciting.
Sandy: Any piece of advice that you’d like to give to the new musicians who are entering the industry?
Tapas: Like I told you, Sandy, I am very good at giving gyaan, ha-ha-ha! One thing would be to never doubt yourselves or question your skills. Understand that in the initial days of your career, you will never get to choose work, so be prepared for what comes your way.
Editor’s note: I had great fun interacting with Tapas Relia. We shared each other’s songs and we got to banter a bit getting into the groove of our music. Wishing Tapas, a soothing journey ahead, filled with peppy tunes and congratulatory beats!
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy
Follow Tapas @tapasrelia
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Rao)