It is being said that Himesh rocked in the first half of 2006 but Anu Malik is ruling the second half
I don’t want to be compared. And I feel everyone is doing a very good job. But having said that let me tell you that this has been my biggest fight-back because people did try to write me off. Either they wanted to write me off or they didn’t believe in me. I said there were only two ways of reacting to this situation that either I should throw in the towel and say that it’s not happening or to fight back. When it was five composers it was a different ball game but today when there are fifty thousand composers and all are trying to do a good job. I think to make your producers, directors, audio company believe in me I had to believe in myself. A few people called me and said that hey you are out of the news. But I told to myself that I want to come back through my work. And today I have Clawed my way back to the position that I see myself in. I have worked my heart out. If you look at ‘Jaaneman’s’ music or ‘Zindaggi Rocks’ and now the response to ‘Umrao Jaan’ has been fabulous.
You are composing for Umrao Jaan…Quite Unlike Anu Malik
The music of Umrao Jaan was a big challenge. It’s a period film and you can’t play around with the sound. When people are buying the CD of ‘Umrao Jaan’ then they know what they are buying. There’s a great help coming from JP Dutta. The motivation and faith that he had in me was amazing. He never discussed or reminded me of any other song. And that was a big boosting for my compositions. I had to work very hard as Javed Saab insisted that he would write the songs first. Now what it means is that Ghazals have a meter (Beher). I said ok sir. Today Lata ji told me that she has loved the songs…Then Amit ji started humming ‘Salaam’. Even the media is loving it. And that’s a big compliment. It was a challenge as I felt today’s audience had to listen to melodies that will be heard for ever and ever.
Khayyam Sahab read Rusva’s novel ‘Umrao Jaan Ada’ before composing. What preparations had you done?
I would say a lot of preparations had gone in making the music. First JP Sahab had lots of sittings with me and explained the mood to me. Even Javed sahab is also well versed with the culture also said that you’ll have to go deep into the culture and the mood of the song. I browsed through Rusva’s novel and felt drawn towards the culture. As far as Raags are concerned it was not deliberately planned that I would compose a particular song on a particular Raag. For e.g there’s a song ‘Main Hum Gum Kisi Ke Ghum Mein’. I was just humming it when JP sahab entered and was tying his shoe laces. He asked me to sing it again and said that you’ve just composed a tune in 15 seconds. I am motivated by great words. I am a natural born composer. It just flows.
You’ve composed some of your biggest hits for J P Dutta
It’s very simple. He has always allowed me to be myself. He has believed in me. If he doesn’t like something to just move on. I am very comfortable. Who would buy a song: ‘Tumhari Aankhon Mein’…And when I said ‘Salaam’ he just loved it. He said that with this film you will evolve from a music director to a music composer.
Aishwarya is looking gorgeous in all the songs
I would love to generously praise Aishwarya. She was a motivating factor while composing. She is a very beautiful person. Exudes a lot of warmth. A typical scorpion like me. So, we did click in a big way. Even in ‘Josh’ we had clicked. She came for the recordings of ‘Umrao Jaan’ as well.
You won a National Award with ‘Refugee’ what are your expectations from ‘Umrao Jaan’?
Honestly…What do you think…Everyone who has heard it has said that you deserve all the awards because you are keeping the culture of our music alive. Awards are a big boost for your hard work. Awards tell you that you are going in the right direction. It keeps you going.
Sonu sounds brilliant in all the songs of ‘Jaaneman’…
With due regards to all the singers but when Sonu and I work together…When I sang the ‘Jaaneman’ songs to him he took a fancy for the tunes. He said that ‘Jaaneman’ songs will die with me. I think that was a great compliment from a very versatile and talented singer like Sonu. Apart from that I believe that if the song is well composed then it works on the singer psyche. When I sang ‘Dekha Tumhe Aisa ki’ from ‘Umrao Jaan’ he said that you don’t know what you’ve done for me sir. It’s an amazing song for me at the right time.