When Raghav Sacher picked up his father’s harmonica for the first time at the age of four and played back a tune that his dad had just been performing, his parents knew the boy had an astonishing musical talent.
Every birthday after that, Raghav’s father bought his son a new instrument and today the Bollywood music director plays 34, including the didgeridoo, which he learned while studying in Australia.
“The best thing that has ever happened to me was moving to Australia,” Raghav explains.
He says that studying a Bachelor of Music and Composition at Monash University gave him the technical knowledge and confidence that he needed to build a successful career in one of the world’s toughest movie making industries – India’s Bollywood.
Amidst Mumbai’s chaotic traffic and iconic landmarks, Bollywood is the world’s biggest movie making hub (by volume), churning out more than 1,200 films annually and attracting a steady stream of new and aspiring actors, musicians, directors and producers.
“When so many people come and ideas come, the sound also changes rapidly, so to keep up with the sound is another challenge,” Raghav says. Since moving to Mumbai in 2003, Raghav has produced the score for 13 films and has released his own albums. He credits his Australian education as the secret to his sustained success in Bollywood.
“For me as a music director, the only thing that doesn’t change is the education that I have, which is my core strength and within that I can branch out and do anything.”
Studying abroad also expands students’ horizons in unforeseen ways and for Raghav, his time in Melbourne, one of Australia’s multicultural meccas, it was also an opportunity to immerse himself in a world of diverse sound.
“In India we are a little closed as far as world music is concerned and I am all about world music,” he says.
His live performances and recordings are filled with the diverse sounds of the many instruments that he plays and has been exposed to during his studies and subsequent travel. And, he has become increasingly passionate about sharing these sounds with a growing audience in India.
“I want people to be educated about world music, I want them to know how different sounds are,” he says.
“My agenda is to get Jazz musicians from around the world that I have grown-up listening to and create with them in an Indian set-up … that’s the kind of stuff that I would love to do throughout my life,” he says.