Tuesday February 20, 2018

Mikey McCleary: Kiwi musician recreating Indian rhythms

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New Delhi: Mikey McCleary comes from New Zealand, but his passion for music transcends boundaries. He has recreated some evergreen Bollywood tracks and infused youthfulness in them.

He says that the Indian rhythms tug at his heartstrings and have now become a part of him.

Now settled in Mumbai, McCleary has brought to the table “Khoya khoya chand”, “Hawa hawai”, “Dhak Dhak” or the recent “Fifi- Jata kahan hai deewane”, making him quite a master at serving old wine in a new bottle.

“Old recordings are beautiful and I love them. But a lot of people, especially the young generation, terms old recordings as old and passes them off as something not from their generation. So redoing the old melodies is a way to make people listen to them. It is a way to appreciate how wonderful old composers were,” McCleary told IANS.

It was a brief rendezvous with India during his professional trips that urged him to settle down in Mumbai, which, to many creative minds, is the City of Dreams in India.

“Gradually I became a part of India and Indian music became a part of me,” he said.

McCleary landed in India with a bag full of several musical influences. Born in Chennai, McCleary did a course at Wellington Conservatorium of Music and Victoria University of Wellington. He then moved to London to work as a music producer at the Trident Studios.

It was a ‘lucky’ coincidence of stumbling upon singer Lucky Ali in London, and that opened doors for McCleary, who was engrossed in Western music, to try his skills in Hindi music. The collaboration gave hits like “Sunoh” and “O Sanam”.

“He (Lucky) came to London to record for some music director, but that didn’t work out. So he introduced himself to me. As his recordings could not happen, I told him to come back and make music with me. We did two songs and then we also did some albums.

“After that I started coming to India for concerts. It is because of Lucky that I got to know more about Indian music and started working with other music directors like A.R. Rahman,” he said.

He is the man behind catchy advertisement jingles for brands like Vodafone, Titan, Lakme and Levi’s.

Bollywood also got a taste of McCleary’s music as he started his voyage in the tinsel town by composing the background score for Dibakar Banerjee’s “Shanghai”, continuing his journey with films like “Shaitan” and “Kahaani”. He also doled out two promotional songs for Anurag Kashyap’s “Bombay Velvet” — “Fifi” and “Mohabbat buri bimari”.

The music producer asserts that he likes to incorporate live instruments to the old melodies to give them a new lease of life.

“I feel that the beauty of old songs is enhanced by live instruments. I try to keep it as live as possible. I feel it is important to try to enhance the beauty of the original songs,” he said.

He may be making music for Bollywood, but McCleary points out that he doesn’t take influence from any Hindi films. Instead, he soaks in vibes from the environment.

“I don’t like to stick with one style. I don’t think my music is influenced by Bollywood. I get influenced by music all around me,” he said.

What about folk music?

“It is very important in Bollywood to have some kind of connection to folk music. I have done some sort of traditional and folk influenced songs like ‘Gannu rocks’, which is a mixture of folk and rock music.

“I want to learn more about Indian folk music to capture the essence of it. It is nice to understand it and give the flavour into your composition,” added McCleary, who won the Best Composer Award at the 9th Asian Film Award ceremony for “Margarita With A Straw”. (IANS)

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Piyush Mishra: The Man Who Is Also Known As India’s, Bob Dylan

Piyush Mishra is undoubtedly the kind of talent which only comes along once in a while

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Piyush Mishra is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Wikimedia Commons
Piyush Mishra is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Wikimedia Commons
  • Piyush Mishra is a born star and his achievements are incalculable
  • Piyush Mishra shifted to Mumbai in 2002
  • Self-destructive in nature, Piyush Mishra admits that his anger drives his creativity

The Bollywood industry has plentiful stars but not like Piyush Mishra. He was born 13 January 1963 and is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Piyush Mishra is a born star and his achievements are incalculable. He started writing lyrics with the film, Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar in 2002 and subsequently wrote for Black Friday (2004), Aaja Nachle and Tashan. Piyush Mishra’s songs gave industry back to back hits like “Aarambh Hai Prachand” (Gulaal, 2009), “Ik Bagal” (Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 2, 2012), and “Husna” (MTV Coke Studio, 2012).

Piyush Mishra’s Life

He was born in Gwalior to Pratap Kumar Sharma. However, living in the authoritative household of his aunt, developed a rebellious streak in him, which showed up in his first poem, ‘Zinda ho haan tum koi shak nahin’ (Yes you are alive; of this, there is no doubt), he wrote in class 8th.

“Zinda ho haan tum koi shak nahin, saans lete hue dekha maine bhi hain,

Haath aur pairon aur jism ko harqatey khoob dete huey dekha maine bhi hain,

Ab bhale hi yeh kartey huey honth tum dard sehtey huey sakht see lete ho,

Ab hain bhi kya kum tumhaarey liye, khoob apni samajh mein toh jee lete ho”

He shifted to Mumbai in 2002, actor, lyricist and screenwriter, and receiving acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Around this time, he began to be drawn to the theatre – it was at places like Kala Mandair and Rangshri Little Ballet Troupe in Gwalior that his talent for the medium was first identified. Piyush acted as Maniac in operation three stars (an adaptation of Dario Fo’s play Accidental Death of an Anarchist).

Also Read: 8 Facts About ‘The Queen of Indipop’: Asha Bhosle

A lost and vile drunkard from the past has today become an almost ideal family man. Climbing from a dark weak background, he emerged as an example of self-transformation. He’s gone on air and has often reiterated in the media as being “ganda” and “neech.”  Now, let the dead past bury its dead; he’s done everything to swap this image. In 2010 he attended a course of Vipassana in Igatpuri.

Piyush Mishra received acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Wikimedia Commons
Piyush Mishra received acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Wikimedia Commons

Here are 20 Piyush Mishra facts that will amaze you about the journey of one of the most talented actors of Bollywood:

  1. When it comes to actor’s past journey, Piyush Mishra is a born rebel, 51 odd years of Piyush Mishra’s life are defined by a mix of disturbed childhood, wasted adulthood and an undeniable genius for arts and creativity.
  2. He grew up in Gwalior and was adopted by his father’s eldest sister at an early age
  3. Growing up in an authoritarian household incited in his rebellion and creativity both. Piyush Mishra attended Carmel Convent School, Gwalior, which according to him was the ‘wrong school.’
  4. Self-destructive in nature, Piyush Mishra admits that his anger drives his creativity.
  5. Priyakansha Sharma was his real name, which he changed to Piyush Mishra, by filing an affidavit when he was in class 10.
  6. Piyush Mishra moved to Mumbai as recently as 2003, before which he spent 20 years as an unruly and alcoholic theatre artist in Delhi. This was the most poetic and destructive phase of his life, marked by 24 hours work, alcohol and women.
  7. Piyush Mishra graduated from NSD (National School of Drama in 1986) and started a theatre group “Act One” with contemporaries like director NK Sharma, Manoj  Bajpai, Gajraj Rao and Ashish Vidyarthi.
  8. After becoming graduated from National School of Drama in 1986, he was considered to play the lead role in the famous blockbuster “Maine Pyar Kiya”. Piyush never made an effort and Sooraj Barjatya signed Salman Khan.
  9. Piyush Mishra did his film debut with Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se in 1998. He played the role of a C.B.I investigating Officer.
  10. Piyush Mishra television debut came with Tele-series, Rajdhani in 1989. He also worked in Shyam Benegal’s “Bharat Ek Khoj” and appeared in a horror TV serial, “Kile Ka Rahasya”.
  11. Piyush Mishra wrote lyrics of the famous musical score “Arre Ruk Ja Re Bande” and it gave him fame as a lyricist and singer. The song from the movie “Black Friday” is perhaps the most popular Indian Ocean song till date.
  12. He also gave stinging music for Anurag Kashyap’s “Gulaal,” And, he’s never had any formal training in music. He composed the music in 8 days and won the Stardust Award for “Standout Performance by Music Director: Gulaal”.
  13. Piyush Mishra songs from the movie Gulaal such as “Ye Shahar Humara Sota Hai” and “Yara Maula” are improvisations of songs Piyush Mishra did during theatre days.
  14. Piyush Mishra wrote dialogues for “The Legend of Bhagat Singh,”; it won him the award for the best Dialogue at the Zee Cine Awards
  15. Anurag Kashyap, Tigmanshu Dhulia, and Sai Kabir are the filmmakers Piyush shares a close bond with Anurag Kashyap, he says is a “Bad Habit.”
  16. If you remember Rockstar you can’t forget Dhingra, the music company owner who reiterates “image in everything… everything is image”
  17. All his dialogues in “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” were self-written. The most famous of which is “Saj Gaye Lute hue sajinda jaise behte hai… aur yaar gaye magar hum besharam zinda jaise behte hain.”
  18. Piyush Mishra sang one of the most memorable Coke Studio India songs, Husna.
  19. Some of the Piyush Mishra movies are Gulaal, Gangs of Wasseypur, The Shaukeens, Pink, Dil Se and many more.
  20. He is well known for his performance in Swadesh Deepak’s Court Martial as Suraj Singh, first with Ranjeet Kapoor (1991) and later under the direction of Arvind Gaur (1996).
    Piyush Mishra shifted to Mumbai in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
    Piyush Mishra shifted to Mumbai in 2002. Wikimedia Commons

    Also Read: The Aspects You Don’t Want To Miss About Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Piyush Mishra is undoubtedly the kind of talent which only comes along once in a while. It’s not an overstatement, hence, when one says that Piyush Mishra is India’s, Bob Dylan. While most of us swoon over his songs and poetry, not all of us know about the roller coaster of a life he’s had. Receiving popularity at a later stage in his life, there are several aspects of his life that his fans don’t know.