Milind Date learnt how to play the flute at the age of 21. His first teacher declared him a pathetic student and refused to teach him any further. From there on, Date studied under Pandit Ajit Soman and a few years later, his teacher was none other than classical flautist, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.
He has contributed immensely to the field of music, performed in over 3000 concerts and very recently, ‘Among The Believers’, a film where he composed the music, garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary.
‘Among The Believers’ is a documentary that looks inside what goes on at The Red Mosque in Pakistan, wherein Maulana Aziz, a Muslim leader, trains children to devote their lives to holy war. It is directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi. Speaking about the process of composing music for this film Date says, “The music was based on the rushes that Hemal sent me. She sent me the cuts that are in the trailer. I was very disturbed by a few scenes so much so that I did not sleep for a few days. There is also war footage in the film. I have studied different genres of music and I understand the culture of it. I understand what the music is saying and I know where it comes from.”
He further adds, “For this film, since it is about Pakistan, a lot of the music has heavy Punjabi influence. The culture is the same. They share a Punjabi and Sindh culture along with us. There are several Sikh shrines in Pakistan too. I have used classical Indian instruments like the sarod, sitar, sarangi, ektara, flute and tabla. For tabla, I got someone from the Punjab gharana to play since that is a form known in Pakistan and Northern India.”
Prior to this, Date has also composed music for documentaries like ‘Flying on One Engine’ and a film on the Dalai Lama. “When I was composing for the Dalai Lama film, I had gone with the crew to Dharamshala. I wanted to get a feeling of the Tibetan culture which is so different from ours. Their musical instruments are different so I had to study it to make it a reality.”
‘Flying on One Engine’ is a film about Dr Sharadkumar Dicksheet, an eight-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who is confined to his wheelchair and living without a larynx. He performs free reconstructive facial surgeries in camps that are organised by him every year. “This documentary wasn’t specific to any culture. It was about Dr Dicksheet who does such tremendous work. But he really admired Indian classical music so I used those elements in the film,” adds Date.
Here’s wishing the makers of ‘Among The Believers’ all the luck at the Emmys!
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