The Rise and Rise of Shankar Ehsaan Loy

 Mavericks in a World of Mediocrity
Mavericks in a World of Mediocrity

This trio, who have been dubbed in the music world as the Amar-Akbar-Anthony musicians, have brought about a refreshing change in Hindi film music. To use an oft-repeated cliché, they are a breath of fresh air in the stifling atmosphere of mediocrity that seems to exist in the field of film music nowadays.

Let us begin by reading what they say about their beginnings as a trio –

“It was that time – the 1980s when things were different. There was a lot happening in the world of music. Engineering was becoming technology, and music was becoming visual. SHANKAR was busy with his engineering career, EHSAAN with his music, and LOY was thinking and drifting, thinking and becoming.”

This is when DUS happened to them. It was their first film as music directors. Unfortunately the film could not be released due to Mikul Anand’s untimely demise, but the music was released and suddenly it became the anthem for millions of youngsters.

The Early Years – before the union-

Loy was doing music for shows such as ‘The World This week” and “Fauji”. He also played the keyboard for A.R.Rahman. Ehsaan was busy doing jingles for Ads. Shankar began his filmy career by singing for Rahman, and burst upon the solo screen with his song ‘Breathless’. He has also played in a fusion band known as SILK, with such phenomenal artistes such as Louis banks and Sivamani.

The beginnings –

They leapt from the platform of ‘Dus’ to many other Bollywood films and gradually topped the charts with almost every film they delved into. Initial films such as Dillagi, Bhopal Express and Shool sank without leaving any trails behind them. Mission Kashmir got them noticed and they won the Star Screen award for the best film music, but it did not do much in the Box Office charts

Dil Chahta hai onwards –

With Dil Chahta Hai, they moved into the upper strata of the music industry and suddenly we were all sitting up and listening to this foot-tapping music. Aamir, Saif and Akshaye dancing to ‘Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe’ proved that you could actually understand the words of some songs and still enjoy the beat. Nayee Padosan and Ëk Aur Ek Gyarah” were among the films that followed – not too great, and quite forgettable.

2003 onwards –

This year was another watershed in the life of this trio. Hits such as Kal ho Na Ho and Bunty Aur Babli, established them at the top of the ladder and soon you were beginning to recognise their trademark rhythms and music. Kajra Re will probably establish itself as a classic in the genre of item songs’, whereas the music of Phir Milenge and songs such as Dheere Dheere (sung by Shankar) in Kyun..Ho Gaya Na made us realise that they could also produce some poignant music.

Their two latest hits have been Rock On and Luck By Chance, the first directed by Farhan Akhtar and the second by Zoya Akhtar.

Why are they different –

When asked as to why their music was different, Ehassan in an interview with CNN IBN said –

“I would say, to use one word – it’s very eclectic. It’s a mixture of a lot of influences of where we come from and the kind of music that we listen to which is, unfortunately, not Hindi film music. But there’re really a lot of influences, whether Shankar’s classical influence, whether it’s the blues or rock where I come from, or Loy – he has a myriad of things which he listens to.”

They combine various instruments and various musical genres to make one song. They have differing backgrounds and each member of the trio brings his skill to harmonise with the others. There is a fun element to their songs. Rock On, where they claim to have finished the entire soundtrack in a few days, is based on music from the 70s where rhythm was king. Sinbad The Sailor is simply worded, and the music seems so suited to easy singing.

For ‘Taare Zameen Par” they were told that ‘There are no dholaks, no dhol, no Punjabi and no item songs” Their dictat was to do something different, and the whole soundtrack emerged from a desire to match the poignancy of the film. The song Bum Bum Bole marked the entry of Aamir Khan and suddenly the whole pace of the film changed.

Their Future Projects –

This year we look forward to their compositions in “My name is Khan’ and in ‘Kaon Bola’. They also have an Indo-Chinese venture also in the pipeline and they are also composing the theme song for the Commonwealth games in 23010. There is no expiry date on music directors, and we look forward to hearing more about them and from them.

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