American composer Wayne Sharpe looks at Bollywood

By May 31, 2010 No Comments

While AR Rahman has been looking at the West for the last couple of years, there’s one American composer who has been keen on Bollywood. Wayne Sharpe who earlier worked on the background score for Prakash Jha’s Gangajal and Apaharan, has composed a patriotic song called ‘Dhan Dhan Dharti’ for his latest film. The song begins with portions from Vande Mataram.

“It was a great challenge for me to include elements of India’s national song and then go on to compose a patriotic track,” says Sharpe. “I have learnt various elements of Indian music and I understand Indian music to a large extent. I don’t understand the language though, so Prakash took me through the script and explained the theme of the film,” he says.

Sharpe also has high regards for Gulzar who he has worked with. “Gulzar is an amazing poet. Though I don’t understand Hindi or Urdu, I get translations,” he says.

He worked on the western instruments in Los Angeles, then recorded with the orchestra in Prague and then added the Indian instruments in India. So the song has been recorded in three countries.

Sharpe has also composed for the much-acclaimed movie Lahore and now he is looking forward to two more Indian films— one is a crossover English film and the other is a quintessential Bollywood film. But what prompted the composer to come to Bollywood? AR Rahman is one of the reasons he was drawn to India. “I first heard Rahman’s Taal soundtrack. It just changed the way I looked at Indian music. I’m a huge fan of his and would love to collaborate with him some day,” says Sharpe.

He is also a fan of Ustad Sultan Khan. “I got a chance to work with him. I was thrilled,” says Sharpe, adding, “Working with Shankar Mahadevan and Sonu Nigam was also a great experience. They are amazing singers.”

Sharpe thanks Prakash Jha for bringing him down to India. “He is a filmmaker who makes serious issue-based films which offers me the opportunity to compose some intense music. I love to work on darker and intense soundtracks,” he said.