India met a crushing defeat against Australia in the Cricket World Cup final in November, but the evening gave Achint Thakkar a reason to celebrate.

Aditya Gadhvi sang the Coke Studio Bharat track Khalasi live during the match. Composed and produced by Thakkar, who performs as Achint, and written by Saumya Joshi, Khalasi is Coke Studio Bharat’s third most streamed song on YouTube.

Between Khalasi and his earworm theme for Scam 1992 The Harshad Mehta Story, Achint has become one of Bollywood’s most sought after composers. His credits include Rocket Boys and Scoop. His score for the recent Disney+ Hotstar series Lootere punches together 1970s rock and roll and Somalian pop.

“The score was inspired by a lot of Arabic pop, Somalian disco, films like City of God and the opening sequence for Lord of War,” the 34-year-old composer told Scroll. “The theme track was cracked on the second or third attempt. Other versions became part of the score.”


Achint’s recognisable style includes a talent for traversing genres and mashing them idiosyncratically. The Scam 1992 theme, for instance, was unlike any Indian web series scores at the time.

This makes Achint a perfect fit for Vasan Bala’s equally genre-hopping films. After the soundtrack for Bala’s Monica, O My Darling (2022), Achint is working on the director’s upcoming Alia Bhatt-starrer Jigra.

“The music will be quite brooding and angsty, blending contemporary rock and pop,” Achint promised. “It’s something I’m doing for the first time. You will also see Vasan Bala’s filmmaking in a new light.”

Mumbai-born Achint’s earliest musical memories go back to the 1900s, to AR Rahman, Jatin-Lalit and Nadeem Shravan. “I really liked Roja and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar,” Achint said. “As Channel V and MTV came, I got exposed to Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears. Around 12, I discovered rock and roll, Elvis, The Beatles. I picked up the guitar.”

The album that pushed him to become a musician was Green Day’s American Idiot (2004). “The internet made music more accessible,” Achint said. “American Idiot was a turning point. It was the gateway to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, grunge music.”

Achint became the lead vocalist and guitarist for Rosemary, a three-piece band just like Green Day. Rosemary competed at college festivals and played in pubs across India until they disbanded in 2011.


By this time, Achint found renewed interest in Hindi film music. “Amit Trivedi had just come in,” Achint recalled. “Dev.D and Rahman’s Delhi-6 both came in 2009. Rang De Basanti, particularly, which had a punk rock vibe, really appealed to me. I was 16 and impressionable when it was released. That’s when I began considering film music.”

He enrolled in a two-year sound design course at the Whistling Woods International film school in Mumbai. Although he dropped out after six months, he continued composing for films made by the institute’s students. Along the way, he met some of his future collaborators.

Harshvir Oberai, cinematographer on Rocket Boys, was a classmate. Oberai introduced Achint to Jai Mehta, who roped him in for Scam 1992, and, later, Lootere.

The Scam 1992 theme, which sounds like it was made with the sole intention of communicating stockbroker Harshad Mehta’s rise and fall, was something Achint pulled out randomly from his hard drive. After his first pitch for the theme didn’t work, Achint reworked the old tune in two hours to pacify Jai Mehta.

Does the right tune take its time or do musicians keep tinkering until they succeed?

“I have to wait to be in the right frame of mind – keep my mind blank,” Achint explained. “I swim or play with my dogs to feel that. A tune can come to you at any time. Most of the time, I just play some nonsense, record it, and never use it. Sometimes, things click.”


Overthinking creativity can be a hazard, Achint realised, when he worked on his debut solo album. Shalimar (2015) is a collection of mixed-genre pop tracks and instrumentals featuring sampled vocals.

Shalimar was the first thing I was putting out, so there was a lot of insecurity and anxiety,” Achint recalled. “You build it up in your head way too much. It didn’t do much for my career but I understood the importance of keeping it minimal.”


Following Shalimar, Achint assisted composer Mikey McCleary on commercials and web series for two years. “Mikey has been a mentor of sorts,” Achint said. “From him, I learned to have a vision to execute and not just blindly do something, lots of tricks of the trade, how to deal with producers and directors.”

In 2018 came the second album Achint & The Khan Brothers, a Rajasthani folk-fusion eight-track affair, featuring Bhutta Khan and Multan Khan. The next year, Jai Mehta tapped Achint for Scam 1992. Clearly, lead actor Pratik Gandhi and Achint’s score were the standout stars. Both made it to an ad film as well.

“The master rights of the score are with [the show’s producer] Applause Entertainment,” Achint said. “I get some royalties via IPRS [The Indian Performing Right Society Limited].”


Like many rising film industry composer-producers, Achint is also venturing into the music business. He has launched Night Song Records with his friend and manager Parth Pandya. The company’s name is a nod to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s 1995 album.

“It was Parth who pushed me to do a Gujarati track for Coke Studio,” Achint said. “Through our company, we are curating composers and musicians who deserve a shot. We have worked on ads and have done a song for the series Chamak, and we are doing a song for Nikkhil Advani’s Vedaa.”


Achint is happy to work with filmmakers who give him the time and space to experiment. “It all depends on the intention of the makers,” Achint said. “A theme for a web series or a song for a film both have the task of giving a boost to the project. I see this work as any other department of the filmmaking process.”