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“I would love to compose music for a Bollywood film” – Paras Nath

Bansuri has been his constant companion since childhood and today, Paras Nath is recognised as an accomplished flautist all over the globe. He plays Indian classical ragas as comfortably as he works in the Hindi film industry. In this interview, he talks about his journey as a musician, his recent albums, playing for films, desire to compose for films and more.

Your father Pandit Amar Nath has been a legendary flautist, apart from being a music composer and music conductor. Is that the reason you picked the flute as your instrument?

Yes, my father Pandit Amar Nath ji, who also happens to be my guru, inspired me to become a flautist. He has just not inspired me but several musicians across the world who aspire to carve a niche for them in the world of Indian classical music.

Your gharana was known for shehnai vaadaks (players). How did the switch to flute happen?

Actually, the musicians in our family played both the instruments with equal ease. Our gharana was known for people who had mastery over shehnai and baansuri. I was more inclined towards playing the flute and hence, I am more recognised as a flautist.

What is that one aspect of flute that you find most fascinating?

It is difficult to pick that one quality that fascinates me about the flute but I think there is a charm and magnetism about the way it sounds. The sound coming out of a flute is very pure and divine. It directly connects to the heart.

You have played extensively for films, most recently in Manmarziyaan and Kedarnath. Is it easy to align yourself with the vision of a Bollywood composer?

I have worked as arranger, music producer and composer in several Hindi and regional films and non-film albums. I have shared a good equation with all the composers I have worked with so far. If a good opportunity comes along, I would love to compose music for a Bollywood film.

You recently released your single Belonging. Tell us something about it.

It was a great experience working on ‘Belonging’. One of the melodies was originally composed by my father Pandit Amar Nath Ji. He had composed one album many years ago for Indian Airlines. I used to listen to it every day and I felt so connected to it that I eventually ended up using it in my album. As a Child I didn’t realise why but this melody would make me cry every time I would listen to it. At the same time, it used to make me to feel calm and relaxed. I am happy I got the opportunity to recreate my father’s melody in my album and dedicate it to him. I wanted to surprise him by recreating that melody in a different style.

Do you think Hindi film composers are more influenced by western music and Indian classical music is losing its relevance when it comes to film scores?

Indian classical Music is a very rich form of music and it is connected to our identity as Indians. It represents Indian culture all over the globe and it has so much of purity, divinity and spirituality in it which can never affected or corrupted by any other form of music. Film music is just 10% of classical music. Yes, I agree that a lot of composers today rely on western influences rather than being inspired by Indian classical music while composing music for films.

Do you prefer recording in studios or performing at a live concert?

Both are equally challenging and enjoyable and I love being a part of both the processes. While performing live, you cannot afford to make mistakes but you get to the reaction of the audience instantly. In a studio setup, you can go for multiple retakes and experiment with the track in several ways.

What are the ways in which, you think, one can keep the rich legacy of Indian classical music alive?

Sharing the knowledge of our culture and traditional music with the youth will help in taking that legacy forward. Today, the youth is hugely inspired by western culture. Efforts should be made to make them aware about our culture.

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