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'The prospect of composing for an Indian film was very enticing, especially after I met A R Rahman'

March 04, 2010 12:32 IST

Abhay Deol's Road, Movie is unusual is many ways. It tells a unique story, not one that we've seen on Bollywood screens time and again. And it has some beautiful music by Canadian guitarist Michael Brooke, who has lent his talent to such Hollywood films like Mission Impossible, Transformers, Phone Booth and Black Hawk Down.

Brooke has also worked with the late legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on his album Night Song, for which he also won a Grammy nomination in 1996.

In an e-mail interview, Brooke talks about his work in his first Bollywood film.

You have worked with such astonishingly diverse stalwarts as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Edge and Robert Fripp. You have even worked on a blockbuster like Mission Impossible II and a path-breaking documentary like Inconvenient Truth. What made you sign up a Hindi movie?

I had some connection to the producers from the past, and I believe that Dev Benegal, the director, was aware of my music. Also, the combination of the beauty and emotional resonance of the film and Dev's deep musical knowledge and creative ideas.

Did you do any homework as such, like maybe reading up on Indian cinema, or listening to Indian songs?

Not really, I have heard Indian songs before. I have been enjoying The Bombay Connection Volumes 1 and 2, collections of music from Bollywood films of the 1960s and 970s. Also, Dev gave me the brief of what kind of music he wanted, so it was not that difficult.

Take us through the composing process.

The prospect of composing for an Indian film was very enticing, especially after I met A R Rahman. I was also in Rahman's studio in Chennai and after speaking to him, the lure of Bollywood became even more important for me.

When Dev came forward with this proposal, I knew it was a good opportunity. It was an interesting experience to compose music for the movie. I just went with the brief I got. I have used my invention, the infinite guitar, to create the background score because Dev wanted a more westernized music than Indian. So I just went with it.

A musician you have closely collaborated with, The Edge, says he thinks of effect pedals as instruments, and not as tools to 'colour' your sound. One gets the feeling you have a similar approach to music and to the guitar. Is that correct?

Yes, you can say so. The different patterns which I have worked onĀ guitar are not just to create sound variations but I have tried to come up with a whole new style of guitaring.

Have you discovered new music, new sounds, because of your association with Road, Movie?

I didn't get a chance to experience new music or Indian music while working on this project. I'd say that the dominant aspect of the music is that it is quite distinctly non-Indian and strongly influenced by African music. This was Dev's concept to try and create an exotic but non-specific atmosphere.

Did you come to India for these compositions or did you work from there? How long did you have to work on the film?

I worked from my studio in Los Angeles. For the music part of it, it was less than a month.

Tell us about your other projects right now.

The entire music industry is collapsing so doing film scores makes more sense right now than releasing private albums. But I'm trying to develop a music application for iPhone.

Patcy N in Mumbai