The music of Gupt was and is still a pathbreaking departure from what Hindi film music used to be, before 1997. The film is still known for its twist (the identity of the killer) and its trail-blazing music, by composer Viju Shah, son of composer Kalyanji Shah of composer-duo Kalyanji Anandji. It’s however unfortunate that Viju Shah wasn’t able to capitalize on Gupt‘s spectacularly successful music to become one of the leading composers of that time.
The soundtrack of Gupt itself, however, holds a lot of gupt. It’s interesting that none of the tunes in the soundtrack have been copied or inspired, but this was an album heavy on sounds – and the sounds have been as memorable as the tunes themselves. So, let’s take a look at some of the sounds ‘sampled’ (to put it charitably) by Viju Shah, across Gupt‘s soundtrack. If you listen to the source sounds for the first time, chances are you’d go, ‘Hey, that’s from Gupt!’ And the soundtrack is a veritable world music feast!
Let us start with the title song. The ‘Gupt Gupt’ song that plays over the opening credits is heavily influenced by Deep Forest’s very first song, from their eponymous debut album! Deep Forest, consisting of French duo Eric Mouquet and Michel Sanchez, is known for its new-age world music, also referred to as ethnic electronica, and their music has been sampled in many other Indian film songs across languages. In the Gupt title song, the core tune (the “Yahan Wahan Dhuan Dhuan” part, if that can be called as the main tune) remains Viju’s original. But the extended prelude is directly inspired by Deep Forest (starting 0:35).
Listen to ‘Gupt Gupt’, title song (1997):
Listen to Deep Forest, by Deep Forest (1992):
Next up is the song that plays first, in the movie (after the title credits) – ‘Duniya Haseenon Ka Mela’. The song that displays Bobby Deol’s impeccable swagger opens with a persistent flute’ish piece, that also plays elsewhere in the song, like a motif. That piece is sampled from Japanese new-age, electronic music artist Kitaro’s song, Matsuri. Kitaro’s music has been used by other composers in Bollywood too, incidentally, like Nadeem-Shravan. Matsuri was part of Kitaro’s 1990 album, Kojiki. Listen to ‘Duniya Haseenon Ka Mela’ (1997):
Listen to Matsuri, from Kojiki (1990):
The 3rd new-age/world music artist that Viju Shah borrows from in Gupt is Mike Oldfield. For the song ‘Mushkil Bada Yeh Pyar Hai’, Viju concocts his entire extended prelude based on Mike Oldfield’s famous ‘Tubular Bells’ (1973). The piece is also very popular because it was used as the theme music of the 1973 horror film, The Exorcist.
Listen to ‘Mushkil Bada Yeh Pyar Hai’ (1997):
Listen to ‘Tubular Bells’, by Mike Oldfield (1973):
A minor, but a noticeable sampling that also happens in the same song is from Scottish music artist Edwyn Collins’ song from 1995, ‘A Girl Like You’. The song gained even more fame when it was subsequently used in the film, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, in 2003. Edwyn’s song has a guitar piece that plays multiple times in its play time; Viju adapts that piece on a saxophone, for the 2nd interlude in Mushkil Bada. Listen to the 2nd interlude from Mushkil Bada Yeh Pyar Hai (1997):
Listen to ‘A Girl Like You’, by Edwyn Collins (1995):
And finally, a desi-sampling in Gupt. Viju uses a small, but easily recognizable flute piece in the prelude of ‘Yeh Pyaar Kya Hai’ that also plays in the first interlude and towards the end of the song. The flute piece is also used in the film’s background score, most notably in a scene early in the film, when Priya Tendulkar explains how she happened to join the family of Governor Jaisingh Sinha (played by Raj Babbar), along with her son, Sahil (from her earlier marriage). That flute piece goes back to 1978, to the movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram! It plays briefly in the prelude to the superhit song, ‘Yashomati Maiyya Se Bole Nandlala’, with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal! Listen to the flute piece in Yeh Pyaar Kya Hai (1997):
Listen to the flute piece from Yashomati Maiyya Se Bole Nandlala (1973) here.