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Inspiring Music Interview: Pranit Mawale chats first film and teacher A. R. Rahman


Pranit Subhash Mawale iS a mumbai-based Music Director, Pianist, Keyboardist and Apple Certified Music Producer. he is ineffable, he is polite and full of patience; he is quintessence an artist who has learned under the feet of the Oscar winner musician a.r. Rahman. recently he scored a piano track for vikram Bhatt's movie "1921." he has Successfully completed Studies in Western Classical Music Theory and Piano AT KM College Of Music And Technology [DR.A.R. Rahman‘s Music College], Chennai, India. here he also got to study under world renowned pianist and music teacher DR. Surojeet Chatterji - LRSM [Alumnus of the Moscow Conservatory Russia] And Mastered The Russian Style Of Playing The Grand Piano. he has played with km sufi qawwali ensemble headed by dr a.R. Rahman and is an active member. He collaborated with the artistic director of the company theatre Atul Kumar for live music in his adaptation of 'A Midsummer's night dream' called 'Khwaab Sa.'


Rasa Aur Drama theatre chats about his music and more.

Rasa Aur Drama: Do tell Rasa Aur Drama what is sound engineering ?

Pranit Mawale: In simple words sound engineering is the in depth study of sound which deals with physics, technical aspects of sound like sound acoustics, mixing, mastering, recording and, the mathematics of sound etc.

Q2.) Can you talk about your music in Vikram Bhatt's "1921"; aggressive piano piece ?

PM: The Piano piece The Aggressive Piano Theme is my favorite composition, which I wrote and composed as a student at KM college of Music and Technology; while studying the Grand Piano and mastering the Russian Piano Technique. My teacher loves this piece and named it Rhapsody De Scarzando.

This name was too hard for my musician friends to pronounce and asked me for a simple name and I named this piece as Indian Rhapsody. I then uploaded my first piano solo on YouTube. The Piano piece: the Aggressive Piano Theme [the way I play and perform it ] is certainly not an easy piece of music to play and perform with it's complex chord structures and strong left hand arpeggios too. My mentor and teacher Dr.Surojeet Chatterji not only helped me overcome this hurdle but also helped me express emotions through my instrument i.e. The Grand Piano. The piece not only tells my struggles as a full time musician; but I feel every musician in the world can relate to the pain and pathos in this piece.

When I was composing this piece, I wanted to emote how a musician feels working in any situation and all circumstances they face while working with clients and other people in our society. The Piano piece: the Aggressive Piano Theme [the way I play and perform it ] is certainly not an easy piece of music to play and perform with it's complex chord structures and strong left hand arpeggios too.

I met Harish Sagne the Music Composer of the movie 1921 for the first time while recording vocals at my common friend's home studio for a private project. Harish wanted to listen to my piano, so I showed him my piano solo video which I had uploaded on You Tube .

He loved it and was very happy to see my skill on the grand piano. He came to know of my music qualification in music, he was very happy and appreciated my work.

One day, he called me and said 'I have a surprise for you come and meet me at my place.'

This is how I got my first break into the Bollywood Music Industry . I want to thank my brother and mentor Harish Sagane and Vikram Bhatt Sir for believing in my talent and giving an amazing opportunity to a musician like me to be a part of this Bollywood Music Industry.

Q3.) What are some of your influences from western classical music?

PM: I have studied many classical composers like Beethoven,Mozart, J.S.Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninof, Erik Satie at the Conservatory. But Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin and Erik Satie are my personal favorites.

Q4.) What are some of your influences from Indian classical music?

PM: I love to listen to all Indian classical Ragas but I have a soft corner for the ragas Des, Puriyadhanashree, Kirwani, AhirBhairav, Todi and Charukeshi [which I love to play too.]

Pranit Mawale

"...Amazing, wonderful and I got to learn under legendary musicians," says Pranit


Q5.) How was training at KM Conservatory in Chennai ?

PM: Life changing, amazing, wonderful and I got to learn under legendary musicians like Dr A.R.Rahman, Dr.Surojeet Chatterji, Adam Greig, Brain Clark, Gills Denizot, Munna Shaukat Ali ji and Deepak Sugathan. I also got to learn from my batch mates, classmates who were incredibly talented musicians from different parts of the country and abroad. So there was a cultural exchange, jamming, learning sessions with friends from KM.

Pranit Mawale

"There are so many special moments and incidents with A.R. Rahman"


Q6.) Any special moment with your teacher A.R. Rahman ?

PM: There are so many special moments and incidents with A. R. Rahman Sir, meeting him for the first time was very special. I remember one incident when we had dinner with Rahman Sir after our Annual KM Day concert, we asked him "Sir its' very difficult for student like us who come from small villages and towns to study music in Chennai and what about our future ?

I still remember his answer, he said:

Every musician is a beautiful soul, try to be original, don’t copy any one, be a good person . It doesn't matter where you come from, where you take it and go is what all matters.”

Second incident when he heard us perform in our Russian Piano Studio in our classroom, he quoted:

“When you guys play the piano with your Russian Technique it feels like a Sufi saint is praying to the Almighty totally into the feel of the music "

and named us 'Sufi Pianists’.

Pranit Mawale

"Every musician is a beautiful soul, try to be original, don’t copy any one, be a good person," says A.R. Rahman to his students.


Q7.) You told Rasa Aur Drama about learning "patience" from A.R. Rahman. Something more that you learned from him ?

PM: I learned spirituality while performing with the Qawwali Ensemble headed by Dr. A.R. Rahman Sir and Munnah Shaukat Ali Sir. It helped me in becoming a good person and changed my perspective to music creation. It really healed me when time was not good and created a positive approach in living the life of a musician.

Pranit Mawale


Q8.) How was performing with the Bollywood Symphony orchestra of India?

PM: Beautiful, and a dream come true moment for me. I always wanted to play with the legends of our Bollywood Music Industry, and at Bollywood Symphony Orchestra of India which was conducted by the ace music conductor Yogesh Pradhan Ji, I got to learn so many things like how professional musicians work and the wisdom of the musicians. I want to thank the director Sanjay Mahale Sir for the opportunity to perform with the grand Bollywood Symphony Orchestra produced by Happy Lucky Entertainment.

"When you guys play the piano with your Russian Technique it feels like a Sufi saint is praying to the Almighty totally into the feel of the music," says A.R. Rahman


Q9.) What is KM Sufi Qawwali Ensemble by A.R. Rahman?

PM: KM Sufi ensemble consists of all the best male vocal and musician students from KM [who like me] want to perform and learn Qawwali. They are selected through an audition which is headed by Dr. A.R. Rahman and Munah Saukat Ali Ji. It is taught for free. These Qawwali Ensemble perform all around the globe with Dr. A.R. Rahman Sir himself, singer Javed Ali and Munah Saukat Ali Ji.

Arun Titan photo for thestar in Toronto, Canada

A.R. Rahman, two time Oscar , two time Grammy winner for Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle


Q10.) Tell Rasa Aur Drama about your early life, before joining KM Conservatory?

PM: I belong to a small city in Maharashtra which is Akola in Vidarbha region. Here people are more inclined towards Indian Classical Music; I too love Indian classical music and got access to it through my amazing musicians and friends from Akola.

I could be the only kid learning western classical music from You Tube at that time.

I also wanted to read and learn more about the history and origin of western classical music. There was such a need to study under a western classical music teacher that I could not get in my beautiful city Akola.

Pranit Mawale


I started performing live shows after my 10 standards. After a great score in the CET (Common Entrance Test), my parents urged me to become a software engineer.

I was also a gold medalist in computers in my school and college. All my teachers and friends loved my knowledge, but I decided to go with the music.

It is what gave me satisfaction when I performed before an audience. I always wanted to be a concert pianist like music director A.R. Rahman Sir. My parents forced me to study computers and I got easily admitted in B.C.A (Bachelor of Computer Application.) I was so unhappy. One day I saw A.R.Rahman concert on Doordarshan with his students.

This is how I came to know about KM Music Conservatory I googled everything about it, applied for an audition and got selected in the first attempt itself. I am a dropout by choice and very happy with my decision now.

Pranit Mawale

"Watching me grow my parents gifted me a good Arranger Yamaha after scoring good marks."


Q 11.) Would you like to share with Rasa Aur Drama something about your family; influence at home?

PM: I have no background in music and no one in my family is into any form of art. My mother and father both are government servants. My father serves as the Block Development Officer at Bhusaval and mom is a Head Master in government Marathi medium school in Akola. It was studying in upper KG that my uncle and aunt gifted me a toy piano keyboard on my birthday. I started playing it as a kid and discovered that I could interpret my listening on that keyboard. It fascinated me and my curiosity to learn the piano started.I studied at a missionary school Mount Carmel High School where we had an instrumental music competition every year.

I won my first gold medal here for the solo keyboard competition. It motivated me more, and I practiced more and kept trying to win the gold medal till the tenth standard. And, I won every year! At school my teachers used to ask me to perform at all the annual events, composing parent day songs and performing with my teachers and classmates. At Christmas too, I performed at the school church. Watching me grow, my parents gifted me a good Arranger Yamaha keyboard after scoring good marks in my SSC 10th Exams.

Pranit Mawale with his teacher A. R. Rahman


Q 12.) What should the world know and get inspired about from A.R. Rahman?

PM: Be simple, grounded and satisfied through your work. "Don't speak through your mouth but let your work or art speak for itself." This is what I have learned from him and his work.

Q 13.) One of the songs by students [Qutub-e-Kripa ]of KM Conservatory got shortlisted for the Oscars [Lake of Fire]. Any thoughts?

PM: I am very happy and proud of my friends whose piece got shortlisted for the Oscars. It is the same belief that Rahman Sir has on his students and the world class facilities and teachers at the Conservatory. I want to thank A.R. Rahman Sir for building this Music Conservatory in India which helps us to achieve and fulfill our dreams as musicians. As the song goes:

" Dil hai chota sa, choti si asha, Asama no me udne ki asha."

Q14.) Can you please tell us about playing in a theatre piece "Khwaab Sa”?

PM: I was always fascinated by theatre but never got to study or watch it before coming to Chennai. I got to watch theatre with my friend Khamosh Shah while studying at the KM Music Conservatory. The first play I saw was Hamlet at the Museum Theatre in Chennai. There I saw Atul Kumar Sir and Pooja Sarup Di perform live. It was an amazing experience. Khwaab Sa is an experimental dance drama which is an adaptation of a Shakespearean play A Midsummer's Night Dream. I got an opportunity to learn theatre very closely and play and explore sounds on my Synthesizer Workstation keyboard [Korg Kronos 2] for his amazing hilarious and sensual play. I made new friends touring with this play. [Learning also how a masterpiece of art is created through a lot of research and development. It was constantly adorned by a hardworking team of talented actors, dancers, musicians and the director himself. Then learning to improve the piece with every performance.] Two things that I learned from Atul kumar Sir is getting things done on right time and multitasking.

Q15.) It was an experimental Shakespeare piece, what portions did you give music for ?

PM: I played the keyboard for the lead actress Anamika Tiwari in the Kamasutra scene song named Omiya and the actor Gagan Dev Riar for a song named Kamdhanush and aalap and adleap in Rag Bhairavi. The soundtrack being very experimental, I also played live Piano especially Electronic dubstep wobbles, Synth bass Drops , synth lead , Heavy Synths, Sounds SFX Sound Effects for Ron [Puck] in all the electronic Dance Music portions to make it more lively. All this with my amazing friends Showmik Biswas on drums and Arunji on table and percussions.

"...played live Piano especially Electronic dubstep wobbles, Synth bass Drops, synth lead, heavy synths, sounds SFX Sound Effects" for play "Khwaab Sa."


Q16.) How was it performing live on stage with theatre?

PM: It was not at all easy for me to remember so many musical ques while we were practicing and rehearsing at Kamshet [The Company Theatre Workspace]. A lot of mistakes happened as I was new in theatre but finally managed to remember all the ques in a few days of rehearsals.

I learned that spontaneity and presence of mind is a must while performing in live theatre . At the same time it was fun exploring my musical ideas and skills with the sound track of this piece .

Q17.) Would you like to play more for theatre ?

PM: I would love to play more and more for theatre and try to learn and explore my musical and artistic ideas through performing live music in theatre.

Pranit Mawale: Facebook:

Pranit Mawale:

Pranit mawale:


About the Blogger:

Deepak Sinha is a theatre critic and has written for MyTheatre Cafe, International Business Times, Wildnest (blogs) and Loud Applause.

He loves to organize TEDx conferences and is an organiser at TEDxPune. If you liked this story click on the image to email him!

Twitter: deepaklazuli


Instagram: Pune_theatre_guide

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