Mishra’s initial claim to fame has definitely been through advertising music. He stepped into the local market of commercials at a time when it had almost become obsolete. Mishra was not only confined to the musical part of the commercials but also presented a package of concept, copy, visuals and music. Mishra’s creative flair in this field of commercial and promotional works was initiated with ‘Teletel’ a television production house. He was involved in incessant production of jingles, ad-copies, concepts that proved to be a steady financial vehicle for a struggling melodist.
Till date, both locally and nationally, Debojyoti Mishra is incontestably identified as the aesthetic mind behind the success of brands. Mishra has been a regular composer for feature films since 1992. His first venture in films was through ‘Kahini’ by director Malay Bhattacharya. Prior to this Mishra was connected to films as a violinist. In Satyajit Ray’s classics like Piku, Gharey Bairey, Phatikchand, Ganashatru, Mishra played in the capacity of a lead violinist.
Debojyoti Mishra’s tryst with the internationally certified and revered director Rituparno Ghosh can be traced back to the days of their first film Dahan which led to Asukh, Bariwali, Utsab, Titli, Shubho Muharat , Chokher Bali, and Antarmahal followed bymuch acclaim resulting in effervescent melodies for Bengali cinema. Both creative souls shared a symbiotic relationship of learning, experimenting and delivering.
Mishra’s further symphonic associations with directors like Mrinal Sen, Subrato Sen, Abhijit Chowdhury, Urmi Chakraborty has not only enriched him but has also helped to alleviate him as a melodist with a different edge.
Mishra’s foray into Hindi film music came with Govind Nihalani’s ‘Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa’. The second was through the extremely melodious renderings of ‘Raincoat’, directed by Rituparno Ghosh to be followed by Bhavna Talwar’s ‘Dharam’ screened in the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
Mishra added yet another feather to his cap as he composed music for Florian Gallenberger’s film ‘Shadows of time’. The German director is world famous and has bagged an Academy Award in the year 2000 for his short film ‘Quiero Ser (I want to be).
The Kolkata based composer has also crossed the boundary to score music for ‘Ramchand Pakistani’, captured on celluloid by the finest Pakistani filmmaker Mehreen Jabbar.
Theater has always been Mishra’s core passion. As a child Debojyoti’s father took him to plays of eminent theater personalities like Utpal Dutta, Shambhu Mitra. Growing up Mishra also saw the theater of Habib Tanveer, Arun Mukherjee, Ajitesh Bandopadhyay and other luminaries. From his school days when Mishra would actively write scripts and direct plays, theater been yet another aspect of Mishra’s creative manifestation. Since his early days of music-making, Mishra has been composing for stage acts.
Mishra’s commendable individual stage compositions have been:
– Tista Parer Brittanto, Samay Asamayer Brittanto, Raja Lear and Bisharjan – Suman MUkhopadhyay’s theatrical productions Reproduction of Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Falguni’
– ‘Kumari Kurukshetra’ – an Indo-German production from Max Muller Bhavan –Goethe Institute, directed by Peter Von Becker and Eugene Lancier.
– ‘The Child’ , ‘We the living’ and ‘Chirantan’ – choreographic visions of Tanushree Shankar.
Raja Lear – A Euro- Asian musical experience which blends western classical music with Indo Asian sound scale is probably the first ever endeavor of such a genre. The music was widely applauded by the audience and is widely quoted in the theater circle.
Chirantan- Narrated in the baritone of Amitabh Bachchan, Tagore’s texts were showcased on stage in Tanushree Shankar’s choreographic vision.
Debojyoti used music on a global palette which left the audience spellbound by his individualistic approach.
The Child – The Child is Rabindranath Tagore’s first ever collection of 10 English poems which he wrote in one night after watching The Passion Play in Europe as the framework for a film script.When Tanushree Shankar in collaboration with ICCR chose to adapt The Child on stage, Debojyoti used deep and grave sounds in the play’s music. A huge lamentation was created by a group of women’s musical cry. An Indian interpretation of Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria was used and from it the song ‘He Totini’ emerged as an Indian original work in The Child.Without using Tagore’s composition, Debojyoti revisited Tagore’s root of inspiration with his own creativity.
We The Living – We The Living is a tribute to Jalaluddin Rumi and to capture the essence of Rumi’s thoughts and poems Mishra explored different musical styles.
Along with Persian musicality, Mishra developed many folds of Indian music with a distinctive folk style.
A child’s imagination, a distinctive musical style and profound thoughts….Debojyoti mishra’s music matches his persona. Tempered by time and experience, Debojyoti has emerged as a creative person who can churn out the unexpected and the unconventional.
His films have a symphonic force to reckon with. Mishra’s musical scores capture stories that escape the eye, that blend folk strains with neo-classical, light and peppy notes with a pensive mood. The fervor of his music prods the viewers to reflect and remember. Acclaimed Nationally and Internationally, by connoisseurs and critics, Mishra has been identified as a creator of post-modern Indian music that has integrated folk, classical and other popular forms of music with a robust international appeal and acceptance.
Mishra has witnessed 4 acoustic generations as far as sound recording is concerned. Starting from the 35mm technology that involved monophonic recording he has walked through the stereophonic cassette mechanism; 8 track and 16 track analogue mode gradually upgrading to the workstation or the complete digital handling of sound recording. This evolution of technology has not only given MIshra’s music a comprehensive set of perspectives but has also taught him the secrets of craftsmanship. He is prolific at writing his musical scores in the international Staff Notation method; a skill rarely found among his contemporaries.
Mishra has experimented with a variety of musical as well as non-musical sounds and musical instruments from across the globe. But always necessarily their individuality has been carefully preserved with a mesmerizing sense of balance. This quality has explicated the narratives and divergent moods of his films. If the background score of Chokher Bali was all about majesty, Raincoat’s songs were drenched in sweet longings.
The city of Kolkata has an important role to play in the music of Mishra. The city with all its candid moments and eternal frames has proved to be an inexhaustible resource for Mishra’s creativity. For example, chamber orchestra with a very grave, somber tone used in Chokher Bali created a very complex emotional mood. The chamber orchestra here was used as an embellishment of thumri capturing a transcendental moment.
In Raincoat, Mishra employed chorus as ‘conscience’ of Greek Chorus. The basic tone of the title track ‘Mathuranagarapati….is very Indian, woven out of the ragas but the choral vocals and the orchestration are strikingly western resembling Bach’s compositions.
Mishra has imbibed divergent musical influences from world over that have made his compositions versatile and riveting at the same time. In Raincoat Mishra concentrated on folk-sizzled songs written in a traditional dialect. The songs blended richness with the rustic element.
In Shadows of Time, the songs are haunting and resonate with a certain pang.
Antarmahal flaunts the composer’s love for minimalism. The music here is a subtle marrying of baroque, Bengali folk and Oriental sounds where Mishra has incorporated horns, Tibetan drums and even Soprano chorals in the soundtrack.
In Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa on the contrary, a lot of fusing of complex strains were done in order to make it mainstream-ish. Sacred Evil’s music on the other hand reflects a mystical element in the film where he has recomposed an old Hindi classic ‘Tu pyaar ka saagar hai…’ to give it the form of authentic church singing.
Musical folk forms like Panchali (hymns), lullabies, bardic poetries with their characteristic assonance, rhymes, alliteration have time again been utilized by Mishra as well, in search of new forms and a broader canvas of music. The music of ‘Bariwali’ is a perfect example where folklores and lullabies have depicted the film’s creeping undertone intersected by dramatic fluctuation of mood.
Mishra has created music for the Pakistani filmmaker Mehreen Jabbar, which is all about mood and not a musical packed with lip-synched songs. The voices used are of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Abida Parveen and Subha Mudgal. In search of global sounds the instruments that have been used include bouzouki, saaz, udh, cello and viola. However the orchestration is very dynamic and structurally different.
With his film ‘Autograph’, Mishra reasserted his place as a rock music composer with his track “Beche Thakar Gaan” that explored urban sounds while “Chal Rastay” germinated from classic melody syndrome and captured the mood of love.
‘Megher Palok’ a love song from the film ‘Natobar Not Out’ was a runaway hit with its arresting sweetness.
‘Aarekti Premer Golpo’, Mishra’s next film, with its post modern background score allowed all musical elements to bloom.
It is at this time that Debojyoti Mishra started scoring the music for a popular Television serial “Gaaner Opare”. Debojyoti’s stylized musical cadence of Tagore’s compositions on this show, made them popular to the new age generation. Even the establishments loved his experimental presentations and the appreciation was overwhelming. A completely new interpretation of Tagore’s songs became a genre by itself after the tremendous success of the music score of ‘Gaaner Opare’.
In Aparna Sen’s ‘Iti Mrinalini’ , Debojyoti covered the musical era from 1970’s to 2000’s and composed a tune on Sunil Gangopadhyay’s poem ‘Aamake Taan Maare’ from ‘Sritir Sohor’, a ballad on Calcutta aka Kolkata that revealed a deep passion.
While in ‘Memories in March’, the track ‘Bahu Manuratha’ is a post modern interpretative musical tone of our eternal tradition of Radha- Krishna. While in “Kanha Sang Khelo Holi” the rustic folk of North India blends with European chamber orchestration.
For ‘Uro Chithi’ , Mishra used latino beats in ‘Dela Nada’ while also capturing the essence of the Kolkata city in ‘Sohor ballad’.
The ‘Chitrangada’ score uses surreal and post modern sound with a modern interpretation of Tagore And ‘Mia Momo’ along with ‘Mone Porche’ from the soundtrack of ‘Tobe Tai Hok’ are unforgettable tracks that have enjoyed a mass appeal right from its release.
Aparna Sen’s ‘Goynar Baksho’ is a story of 3 generations and so Mishra’s music is dynamic, vibrant and moving. After Raincoat, Shubha Mudgal has lent her soulful voice for the soundtrack of ‘Goynar Baksho’ which also comprises a ‘Bangal Rap’ while the title track is of the British Musical genre and is absolutely hilarious. Rupankar has rendered a romantic song in his poignant voice while Aparna Sen has penned the lyrics.