The Indian film industry has proven to be an exciting experience for Eumundi musician Gavin Hamburger.
The Indian film industry has proven to be an exciting experience for Eumundi musician Gavin Hamburger. ALEXANDER JOE

Musician rubs shoulders with stars

GAVIN Hamburger has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest and brightest stars in the world – but you probably wouldn't recognise their names.

As a film score writer, the Eumundi musician has worked on blockbuster Bollywood films and television shows watched by millions worldwide.

His music has provided the background to countless break ups, love triangles, illicit affairs and dance numbers and has also topped India's music charts.

While he knew he wanted to be a musician from a very young age, Mr Hamburger said he never expected to work in the film and television industry.

“I wanted to be a musician since I was about five years old, so I've been playing since then,” he said.

He had already spent years travelling with his band through Europe, the United States and Asia when he got his start in the Indian television industry.

“I was over there performing and I basically made some contacts over there and they asked me to score music a hospital based TV show…from there it grew into film."

The long-time expat said he didn't have too much trouble adjusting to life in India but he did face “very interesting challenges” working with different types and forms of music.

He has countless fun memories of his time working in the fast-paced and unpredictable Bollywood movie industry.

“It's always bizarre. The way Bollywood makes things happen is quite funny sometimes,” he said.

“We had to record a harmonica player who liked to throw himself around as he played.

“We ended up having to tape the headphones to his head so they wouldn't fly off during the recording.

“I just remember watching him pop up and then disappear before the studio window as he played.

“It's the closest I have got to recording a cartoon character.”

In the seven years he spent in India, Mr Hamburger worked on several hugely successful films with some of India's best film makers, actors and musicians.

“I have been lucky enough to work with some of the finest ethnic, jazz and world musicians the planet has to offer,” he said.

His career hit an all-time high when he wrote the film score for Kal Ho Naa Ho, which in 2003 was the second highest grossing movie in India and the highest grossing Bollywood film internationally.

“One of the (other) major movies I did was one of the biggest movies ever,” Mr Hamburger said.

“It was awesome, the numbers are staggering. It's almost surreal.”

But all good things must come to an end and Mr Hamburger turned his back on Bollywood two years ago when he moved to Eumundi with his wife and kids.

He has since been teaching and mentoring young musicians and writing music scores for Australian television.

Mr Hamburger will be doing a workshop for local kids as part of the eMergeMusic program, beginning today.

“It's very exciting; we're doing a special workshop on writing for cinema and writing for TV.”

He said he wanted to show young musicians that the music industry offered many possibilities and performing on stage wasn't their only option.

“I really want to give back,” he said.

“Most don't realise how vast the industry is.”


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