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Gehraiyaan: OAFF’s Bollywood debut in Deepika Padukone’s Gehraiyaan gave India a reason to celebrate local musical talent

KYabeer Kathpalia, who is widely known as STAFF, began his musical journey in a punk-rock band in his high school in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Today, his song “Doobey” is a chart hit, with over 55 million views on YouTube and over six million streams on Spotify.

But the 32-year-old says he never saw this happen. Despite doing uncountable jam sessions with musical partner Savera, Kathpalia didn’t expect to find her true calling in the industry. “Because of [our band in school]I gradually became interested in music and music theory,” the composer told me. “If I didn’t love music, I would do something related to math or science.”

“In terms of getting into the industry, I don’t know how that happened,” he added. Kathpalia and Savera entered the industry through documentaries and TV series. “At one point, someone paid me to produce music for them, so I said, ‘Well, I get paid to do this,’” he said, adding that it maybe when he started moving to OAFF.

When asked about his artist name, the musician revealed his quirky side. “[In English,] oaf means stupid, silly and clumsy person. So I resonated with it at the time,” he said. “I thought if I called myself OAFF, ​​then I would be able to make any kind of music I want without worrying about anything. I can have fun with it. ”

“Doobey”, from a recent Bollywood movie Gehraiyaan, performed, composed and written by Kathpalia, his musical partner Savera, renowned sound director Ankur Tewari and upcoming singer Lothika. The refreshing pop hit went viral shortly after its release, becoming a favorite on short video apps and launching its creators to overnight stardom.

“I don’t know how we went from just 10,000 views of our songs to over 25 million views overnight,” adds Kathpalia.

Tewari, who plays an important role in the sound team of hit movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Gully Boy, and monitoring Gehraiyaan soundtrack, said he’s been following OAFF and Savera’s music for a few years. “They did some really interesting work in an independent setting [music] scene in India. ”

Tewari revealed that he and Gehraiyaan director Shakun Batra “headhunting” Kathpalia and Savera for the film starring Deepika Padukone. They contacted the duo based on their sound scene and the talented artists they’ve collaborated with in the past.

“From the very first stages, [OAFF and Savera’s] Tewari said, while praising the two artists for their ability to “grasp” the music, the music was very meaningful. “They are very sensitive to storytelling. It feels like they’re working on their first feature, it feels like they’ve done this many times before.”

Kabeer Kathpalia aka OAFF

(Ishaan Nair)

In the last few years, an increasing number of independent musical artists have made up the score for big-budget Bollywood films. The biggest and most famous example would be Ranveer Singh’s 2019 film Gully Boy, continues the story of a struggling rapper in India. The film opened up some conversations and renewed interest in the Indian hip-hop and rap scenes.

The film is based on the true story of two men: Vivian Fernandes, commonly known as the Divine, and Naved Shaikh, who is known as Naezy. Both Divine and Naezy are now the biggest names in Indian hip-hop and rap, doing sold-out tours, creating music for commercials and various films.

Indie and mainstream music are two completely different worlds. But it’s important to understand that they “corrode each other”, Tewari said, adding that mainstream Bollywood music has always referenced indie music to “create their own versions”.

Highlighting other differences, the sound director said the money spent promoting a mainstream song is vastly different from the money spent on an indie song.

When an artist makes music in an independent space, they are doing it for themselves. On the other hand, when “you’re making music for a movie, you’re advocating words on paper/screen, you’re trying to elevate that, you’re trying to serve the director’s vision of and trying to make make it better”.

Sound Director Ankur Tewari

(Prathna Singh)

In case GehraiyaanThe independent music finally hit the mainstream because of the film’s director.

“[Shakun Batra] have a great taste in music. He plays guitar himself and is very interested in music,” said Tewari. “So it was a very good effort for him to create a sound scene that was pleasing to the eye. He’s very sure about the kind of music he wants for this movie. ”

Tewari believes that OAFF’s music will continue to dominate the industry long after that Gehraiyaan, and hopes the film will act as a gateway for independent artists to thrive in Bollywood.

This film will also give India a reason to celebrate local music again, he added. “Their music, which has been relevant and independent for a while [probably]will be adopted by music directors and mainstream singers [in the future]. It’s a mutual exchange and I love it. I love it when this happens.”

Kathpalia, who has previously collaborated with other top independent artists such as Kayan and Kamakshi Khanna, has many projects in the works. In fact, he recently revealed that his song “Duur” will be featured in Netflix’s Fame Game, Scared Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit.

But first, the OAFF said, he’s heading to Goa for a much-needed surf break with Savera and other friends.

https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/india/oaff-gehraiyaan-songs-deepika-padukone-amazon-b2012020.html Gehraiyaan: OAFF’s Bollywood debut in Deepika Padukone’s Gehraiyaan gave India a reason to celebrate local musical talent

Tom Vazquez

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