Female Composers in Indian Music Industry -Score Short Reads
The future is undoubtedly female and the Indian music industry is not falling behind. There are more opportunities today and women are overcoming inhibitions in every sphere of work. More and more women are taking up composing for Bollywood as well as the web space.
Women today are slowly but steadily being given their due no matter what field they are in and are being taken seriously, hence finally we are beginning to see female composers in the Indian music industry as well. As they are given their due irrespective of their gender, allowing their work to speak for themselves, female music creators are entering this erstwhile male dominated industry.
Expert views differ but some say that Ishrat Sultana was the first female music director of Bollywood. Adl-e-Jahangir is the first movie that she composed music for which was released in 1934. She also composed music for Qazzak Ki Ladki in 1937.
Jaddan Bai, another artist proved her mettle as one of the first few music directors in the male-dominated Indian film industry. She is the mother of legendary actress Nargis. The 1935 movie Talash-e-haq has music scored by her. Though she gave music to only one film, she was one of the first women to step up to the role of music composing and is hence considered a pioneer.
Saraswati Devi has worked as a music director for more than thirty films. The 1936 movies Achut Kanya and Jeevan Nayya are considered her best work. She has many feathers in her cap-along with her sister, Saraswati Devi had a show on All India Radio called Homji Sisters, which was extremely popular.
Usha Khanna is a name to reckon with-she was the first woman to be nominated for the Filmfare award for best music director for the movie Souten. She is considered a legend in the Indian music industry. Her debut film as a music director was Dil Deke Dekho and she has seen a lot of commercial success with superhit songs like Chodo kal ki baatein, Shaayad meri shaadi ka khayal, Zindagi pyaar ka geet hai and Agar tum na hote among others, to her credit. Her last film as a composer was in 2003.
Not many people know that Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar has also played the role of music director under the pseudonym Anandghan for a few Marathi films in the 1960’s like Mohitnychi Manjula.
Ilaiyaraaja’s daughter Bhavatharini cannot be left out of this non-exhaustive list as she has composed music for Mitr and Phir Milenge in Hindi and has even scored music for the Telegu film Avunaa and Tamil film Vellachi.
Among the newer set of composers Sneha Khanwalkar is an inspiration to all the female music composers in the country. She is known for her work in MTV: Sound Trippin’ and for composing the music for Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 & Part 2 for which she was nominated for a Filmfare award for the best music director. She is only the second woman to be nominated for this honour after Usha Khanna.
Jasleen Royal is the sound of the millennial generation and has proven her mettle with several big projects credited to her name. Batti Gul Meter Chalu’s music grabbed attention with the thumping beats of Hard Hard and the soulful Har Har Gange sung by Arijit Singh. She is making her presence felt in Bollywood as well as the independent music scene. She got her big break in Bollywood last year in Veere Di Wedding which featured one of her songs. Apart from that she even worked on Baar Baar Dekho as a composer and for the complete soundtrack of Hichki.
Alokananda Dasgupta did the complete score for Sacred Games, on Netflix India and also for Breathe on Amazon. She is also the composer for the Rajkumar Rao starrer ‘Trapped’.
Rachita Arora composed Dance Capital and Labbon Se Chhukar for Sacred Games. She has composed music for Newton in 2017 and Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz. Rachita is doing a lot more than simply composing music-the entire background score for Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is to her credit.
Parampara Thakur who has formed the first-ever male-female combination with Sachet Tandon. She has worked for Toilet Ek Prem Katha and Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se amongst others.
The Indian music industry has benefited from the works of these music composers and it is time to do away with the gender divide as has been rightly proved by these talented women.