The Classical in the Popular: Understanding Indian Film Music

Friday, February 1, 2019

A large part of Indian music is created within the frame of Indian classical music. The aesthetics of popular music are better understood when its invocations of musical grammar from classical music are recognized. An understanding of Indian classical music and, in particular, the raga system, helps appreciate how popular music is composed, how emotions are translated into music and finally how music is heard.  A focus on the uses of Indian classical music in popular music offers a valuable orientation to a key dimension of Indian culture.

MD Pallavi is a singer, composer, actor, editor, sound designer and filmmaker from Bengaluru. She has Bachelor's Degrees in English, Journalism and Psychology (Bangalore University) and in Hindustani Classical Music (Benares University). She has trained with Pt. Ram Rao Naik and Raj Bhau Sontakke for Hindustani vocal and with Mysore Ananthaswamy and Raju Ananthaswamy for Sugama Sangeetha. She has been performing Sugama Sangeetha on stage for the last 22 years. She has acted in two long running Kannada TV serials, Mayamruga and Garva and won the Aryabhatta Best Actress Award for her role in the latter. She has also acted in the national award winning Indian English film, Stumble (2003) and in the Kannada film, Gulabi Talkies (2008). Pallavi has also acted in several plays in Kannada and English such as Translations, Hamlet, Chidambara Rahasya, Sankranti, Avasthe, Maanishaadha, Fire and Rain, Balidaana, My Fair Lady, Gaajina Gombegalu, Vakra, Good Woman of Schezuan, Picasso, Copenhagen, Swayamvaraloka, The Boy with a Suitcase, C Sharp C Blunt, Muktidhaam and recently Taayavva. In 2014, Pallavi won the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award for Best Actress for her role in C Sharp, C Blunt. Her theatre collaborations include C sharp C blunt, a multi-award winning theatrical solo-performance in collaboration with Sophia Stepf; Tayavva, a theatrical musical with renowned director Prasanna as a part of the protest against the new sales tax on handmade goods, Playgrounds, a multi-award winning short film in collaboration with Shamik Sen Gupta; A Boy with a Suitcase, a theatrical collaboration with Shnawwl (Germany) and Rangashankara (Bangalore) and Tathagat, a street play collaboration with Abhishek Majumdar and Jana Natya Manch and a musical conversation with Bindumalini Narayanaswamy. She is keen on multi-disciplinary collaborations and is currently working on a new bhavageethe album.