Musician Anuraag Dhoundeyal talks to Bhavi Gathani about his musical journey and his debut project, Silvat
Anuraag Dhoundeyal is not only a versatile musician, he is also a storyteller. A singer, composer and performer, Dhoundeyal has been passionate about music since he was six, when he won his first singing competition at the national level. He is now debuting as a music composer in an upcoming short film titled Silvat directed by Tanuja Chandra.
On his journey of converting his passion into a profession, Dhoundeyal says, “I never really thought I would become a full-time musician though I was performing every once in a while. I started learning music professionally at the age of 11. I learnt Hindustani classical vocal music under three to four gurus. After I graduated in Economics, I started performing.”
Commenting on how he became a part of Silvat, the musician reveals, “The screenplay writer of Silvat, Faraz Ansari, was at one of my live performances for Sounds Of The Sufis. I had co-directed, co-written and done the entire music for them. After the performance, he reached out to me, saying that he had a script and he wanted me to do music for it. He sent me the script, which I loved and I decided to be a part of the project.”
Dhoundeyal experience working with Silvat’s director Tanuja Chandra was beautiful. “It was such a pleasure! She would give me complete freedom to do whatever I wanted to. After that, she would give me a few notes describing the composition and the feeling. It was a very different experience to work with someone so sensitive about music.”
The composer has also lent his voice to multiple projects, covering genres like Western classical, jazz and folk music. According to him, learning Hindustani classical music helped a lot. He reveals, “It is a very important thing to have your grounding in a particular type of music. It is like the foundation of a building. The broader and the wider the perspective of the foundation, the higher it builds. Then you view other genres of music through that. You put yourself in those genres and try and gauge what it means from all the reference points. If you are sensitive enough, you can extract the absolute essence of each genre and get together something beautiful as a result.”
Dhoundeyal credits his mother for his interest in music. “My mother has been my biggest inspiration. She was a Kathak dancer in her time.” He adds, “Other than her, some of the biggest influences I have had in my music are Ustad Rashid Khan, Bobby McFerrin, a US-based musician, and Sting, who inspires me. Eklavya jaisi baat ho jaati hai when you imbibe so many things from people who don’t even know that they are inspiring people like me to be able to make such beautiful music. It is a bouquet of influences that I have been fortunate to have.”