Indian-American musician Siddharth Khosla, the composer behind hit television drama "This Is Us", credits his love for old Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar songs for igniting his interest in music.
"This Is Us", the NBC drama revolving around a family, is one of the biggest hits in American television and Khosla's tunes play a huge role in elevating some of the most pivotal moments of the story.
Khosla, a second-generation immigrant, says when his parents left India in 1976 to build a new life in America, they brought all their cassettes and he grew up listening to old Bollywood songs.
"I'm a huge fan of Rafi, Kishore, Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey. I grew up listening to the compositions by SD Burman and RD Burman. My favourite music in the entire world is old Rafi and Kishore songs. That's the soundtrack of my life. These singers were the people who taught me how to sing," Khosla told PTI over phone from Los Angeles.
The composer, who is also the founder of band Goldspot that toured India multiple times, says his parents recognised his knack for singing and nurtured it. His frequent trips to meet his grandparents in India also played a huge role in his interest in music.
"Old Hindi music is a huge part of my upbringing, musical life and education. The years spent in India really formed the person I became," he says.
Composing music for "This Is Us", whose finale episode will air in India tomorrow at 10 PM on Star World Premiere HD, has been a creatively satisfying experience for Khosla, who is amazed by its connect with people in the US, India and around the world.
Khosla believes the reason behind the massive popularity of the show is its celebration of differences in an era dominated by divisions.
"We were able to see the divisions in America over the course of a really rough election cycle. We are divided on different lines. But the beauty of this show is that it is able to transcend those divisions... And the best part is that it does not make a big deal about it.
"Those who feel their voice is not being heard, the show gives them a voice and reminds us that the love and pain that we feel and the idea that we all struggle in life, are the commonalities that exist between people. This is why it has connected with people in America and around the world."
Khosla says he came onboard the show through creator Dan Fogelman. Friends since their college days, both started their respective careers together in Los Angeles. The composer says he was hooked to the story right from the beginning.
"Dan called me with the script and I read it and was so inspired that I wrote a piece of music and sent it to him. That was the beginning of it.
The early challenge for Khosla while composing for the show was making the audience aware about the jumps in time through music.
"We jump back and forth in the '70s, '80s, '90s to the present and it was important for the audience to know these transitions early in the season. This is why I decided to create something that is timeless, something that would live in any decade."
It is rare to find something that is both critically acclaimed and commercially successful but "This Is Us" has done that.
Khosla says he loves composing for the show as the story has inspired him to come up with great music.
"There is no question that this is one of the best things that I have ever been a part of. I feel fortunate that I get to write music for this show. There are very few times in your career when you get to work on something that is both critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
"I am writing beautiful music. I am inspired to work on this show. I wake up thinking about it and I go to bed thinking about it. I sometimes spend all my working hours on creating music for the show because I love it so much.