Anuj Rastogi made his mark in feature films with Surkhaab. Set in Toronto, it was screened at international film festivals. But the film composer, producer and musician was making waves long before that, ever since he opened for Talvin Singh, considered a pioneer in the Asian underground music movement in Britain.
Live performances, new releases, background music and title tracks for several short films helped him make his mark in a very competitive field.
Rastogi has also produced and performed with a number of big name artistes who are leading the movement in sound.
He represents a new generation of composers and musicians who balance the nuances of many cultures in their music, but he does not like a hyphenated identity.
“In Canada, someone might introduce me as ‘this Indian musician’ and when I’m in India, I’m seen as Canadian. I am very proud of both the parts, they make me who I am, but when identity is so fickle that it morphs based on where you are, I prefer to describe myself as a Toronto-based musician!”
Born in High Prairie, a small town in Alberta, he grew up in what was then a very white, Anglo-Saxon Edmonton. It’s a different world his daughter is growing up in.
“Our parents came here to provide better opportunities for us,” says Rastogi. “While we may never understand first-hand what they endured, we owe it to them to give life our best shot.
“I am fortunate, but I have also worked very hard to establish a body of work.”