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“All is fair in love and war…and music!”

India’s unapologetic hip-hopper Ishq Bector tells Suranjana Biswas about composing his latest song Raina from Fukrey Returns and his love for drama in his songs

In his signature dramatic style, Ishq Bector reveals the brief given to him for Raina. “It was a situation in the film where it is the darkest hour for the characters. All the characters, theirs stories, come to a point where everybody has hit rock bottom. They needed a song to complement that situation, and hence Raina happened,” he says.

But this song doesn’t sound like the rest of his songs. “I am a Gemini, I have all types of phases, I love the challenge of doing new things and exploring new emotions. For me, it is just fun to do different kinds of songs.”

Darting into the realm of imagination, Bector continues, “Like everybody else, I draw my inspiration from life itself. Also, I like imagination and making stories out of it. I look for concepts and the songs should have a bit of dialogue. I just like drama in all of my songs.”

The talented musician says he has already received a lot of positive feedback. “For Mrig the director, Pulkit, Richa, Ali, and all of them… Raina is one of their favourite songs in the film. That is quite a lot of positive feedback. So far, the music reviews of Fukrey Returns have said it is a ‘likeable’ song. I hope it continues like that.”

Aye hip-hopper was a massive hit but the musician knows that life is no bed of roses. “Aye hip-hopper gave me the opportunity to call all music directors like Sajid-Wajid, Anu Malik, Vishal Shekhar, all these guys… I would just call them and say, ‘Pay me or don’t pay me, give me credit or don’t give me credit, I don’t care… can I just meet?’

“I used to end up programming or writing parts or singing parts with them. I was working with Himesh Reshammiya for a while and he suggested that I do my own thing. He asked me to stay inside the studio and not leave without composing 100-200 songs. I applied that formula and, after a while, I got my first project as a music director,” he recalls.

Music is evolving but there are drawbacks too. “It is a very exciting time for music. But it is like a double-edged sword. On one hand, technology has made it possible to create a song on a mobile phone, but it’s also flooding the market. There is just so much content. But I am happy that technology makes it possible to not be dependent on a big studio to get your work done or think about budgets. You can think about making a good product without investing your life savings in it,” he muses.

Bector says he has cracked the remix code. “It is an opportunity to bring back a sure-shot hit. It does not mean that if something was a hit it will be one now. All is fair in love and war…and music!’

Rapping is not just Western, he says, it is local too. “I feel Kishoreda also rapped, before Eminem and Dr Dre. What we hear in Punjabi songs is a kind of rap. Also, the beats in classical songs can also be considered rapping in Indian culture. You just have to make it interesting.”

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