Arunansh Bhatt

Meet Arunansh Bhatt, a Mumbai based film/indie music composer/producer from Lucknow, India. He has assisted music composer Alokananda Dasgupta on the scores of Netflix shows like SACRED GAMES and LEILA. He recently released a new song ‘KHUSHNUMA’, which talks about angst and hopelessness during a pandemic like Corona but ends with hope and a feeling of bringing back all those lost smiles.

Musicmandir – Tell us a about the experience and process of composing music for shows like SACRED GAMES and LEILA

So Alokananda Dasgupta is the composer for the shows and I was assisting her in getting things done on these projects. When I had moved to Bombay in the monsoons of 2017, I was reaching out to a lot of film composers for assisting because I wanted to experience how music actually happens in films. It’s one thing to hear the final master of a track when it releases but a whole other thing to be on the other side of things. Sacred Games was my first assisting project for Alokananda and it is the biggest learning experience of my life. It wasn’t just about music for me but also the whole process of how everything happens. From studio recordings with the best of musicians, to scoring for scenes she gave me to try out, to sitting at the film mix sessions ,it was like a real time music college with super high stakes and no room for error.

Since she was the composer, everything I composed or programmed I would send to her and she would keep the things she liked in the final score with the occasional changes she needed from my end. The best thing about working for her on these shows was that she would almost always give me a free hand in trying out things my way at first before getting specific about things, especially in LEILA where I got to do a lot of composing. The biggest takeaway for me was the experience of studio recordings and again how it all happens. My 2nd studio session with her was the one in which the Sacred Games theme was made and recorded and it was memorable to say the least. The process of composing for a visual at the very core of it, involves first reading the script then a lot of creative discussions with the director. Once they have shot and edited the footage, they give it to the composer to start working. It’s a very collaborative process between the composer and the director.

Musicmandir – What were the challenges in putting the song ‘KHUSHNUMA’ together since it was done completely remotely?

Oh it seemed daunting to pull off at first but luckily the artists I collaborated with made it a lot easier for me. All the singers who sang the song/recorded their videos were in different cities and they dubbed their lines from their respective homes. The song has been mixed/mastered by Prashant Nayar (Sound Forest Studios, Mumbai) and I am really happy with the way it has come out. Technically speaking all the singers had different microphones and acoustic spaces from where they recorded so I needed someone like Prashant (who has also mixed the score of my first feature film ‘Vrutti’ which will release soon) to even things out as much as possible in the final track.
The video has been edited by S. Ashwin (who is also the Director of Vrutti) and again there were some issues regarding the technical aspects of the videos but at the end of the day it worked out well and I am happy with the response I got for it too.

If you are looking for a playlist of Indian Independent artists, we’ve got you covered here.

Musicmandir – How would you describe your music.

That’s actually a tough one to answer but I’ll try.
So my independent songs are a reflection of what I am going through in life personally at a specific point of time. For instance, a few years back I was stuck in a shitty job and I just wanted to run away from everything. That’s when I made ‘Mitwa’ my first indie release. It has that travel song vibe to it lyrically but it’s meant more for a solo traveler. Even in the music video we tried to depict that idea and emotion. Then in December of 2019, there was a lot of violence happening across our country which really disturbed me. That’s when I made ‘Kahaan hoon main’ because I was actually feeling a bit lost in my own country at that point of time.
Khushnuma happened because I was feeling a lot of anxiety mixed with angst and hope due to the pandemic.

Listen to Khushnuma here –

The work I do in films is very different, since it requires you to be genre-less in the first place and also to not prioritise your own personal emotions while working. Music in films is extremely situational to what’s happening in the world of the film. So yeah it’s fun.

Musicmandir – 5 Indian artists you enjoy listening to.

Wow it’s extremely tough to pick 5 out of so many.
Well since I grew up with Hindi film music so I will name my all time favourite Indian film composers starting with

  1. A R Rahman (He’s the reason I became a musician in the first place)
  2. Amit Trivedi
  3. R.D Burman
  4. Vishal Bhardwaj
  5. Vishal Shekhar

You can follow Arunansh on the following platforms –