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i n t e r v i e w

is duniya ke sitaare - Interview appeared in 'Is Duniya Ke Sitaare' on Star Plus 2/2/99 -  part 2

Well your fans and all of us would like to know everything about you.

My father was a music director in Malayalam films and Tamil Films.At the age of 4 or 5 I learnt music from him.My father used to be a very busy music arranger and composer.When I used to go to school, he would go for his morning session since he worked from 7-1,2-9,9-5.He sleeped only for 2 hrs.He died when I was very young due to sickness and I had a very bad childhood.I was forced into music since music was hereditary.I remember this incident when he took me to his friend's house who was a musician and he put a cloth on a harmonium and he made me touch it and he asked me which was E and which was F and when I answered he was thrilled.I was too young to realise how good music would be and then I was going out for session and I was playing as a keyboard player with lot of music directors in the south.In the age of 16-17 I was playing for college bands.

Do you find it difficult to compose for 3 languages as you are doing now?

Composing in tamil was easy for me since it was my mother tongue.I'm learning urdu now,so its getting easy.The telegu songs are dubbed from tamil,so there is not much of a problem.I'm not doing this language dubbing anymore since it is not working and everything is so different in hindi language and I'm requesting my producers not to do it.

Sometimes the lyrics are given first and then the composition ,and then sometimes the compositions first and then the lyrics which do you think is better and how do you do?

I worked with lyrics first initially before I was a film composer and then when I came into films people would always, ask give me a tune and then the lyrics, because they want to hear what is happening in the song first which in a way is good, but at one point of time your sense of meter is same always.When you have lyric ,your tune follows the lyric and its expressions.But for dancy kind of tunes, the tunes should come first and the tunes are much shorter.

During composing you work only in the night .Is it true?If its a secret,let me know.

Usually there is no time for creativity and when something doesn't happen extend the time.How it happened as I used to work in the day and when I extend to 2 O'clock then 3 then 4 and if I sleep at 4 I'll miss my morning prayers.So I thought why not work at nights and sleep during the day.

How does your family react to this kind of a schedule?

They are also used to it.My daughter sleeps at around 2 O'clock.Its not daily ,sometimes there is a break and that time its normal life.

When you are composing they are all up awake.Do they come around to disturb you?

No they dont.My studio is in the backyard of my house and its very strict and they know they cant come in when I am working.The only problem is that we make other people suffer.They dont mind because the work is done.

When you work hard in the nights and days and when you find a film not doing well like daud and even Dil Se which didn't do as much as you must have expexted it to.Do you feel let down?

No its a kind of experiment.When a film doesn't run well and when they see it after 5 years they say "its good why didn't run?", like Raj Kapoor's film 'Mera Naam Joker' which was supposed to be a flop and then now people say it is one of the best films and maybe even Dil Se is not in the frequency of the people and may be people would see it later,but of course I dont depend on that and there was a lot of good work and people appreciated it very much.

We have heard a lot about your stage shows.Would you tell us about your experience in stage shows and do you plan any more stage shows in the future?

I just did one stage show in Malaysia and it was in 1996 and the recent one was in Dubai and this was the second and I dont intend to do more shows because it takes me 3 months to prepare and 20 days to get out from the role of performing artist to a composer and to get all the things out and start.So its not good for my composing career.So I dont have future plans for stage shows.

Do you have plans of going international and creating records there also?

I'm slowly going into the west.Some of the films like fire and earth got good name for me also.But I would like to remain here and work and shuttle around (giggles) because I feel at home with my food and my people.

How important are awards which you have won ?

Awards come with the blessings from god and it encourages you.At the same time it is not the end and its a promise and you feel ashamed and ask yourself "What have I done to get this?".

Tell us about this great album you did with the Late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan?How did that happen?

It was a co-incidence that khan saheb had a concert in delhi city and we went to that concert.We wanted to do 3 songs for 3 colours, one for the saffron, one for the white, one for the green.Maa thuje salaam was for saffron ,vandemataram was for white and the third was the peace song .My friend Bharatbala said why dont you team up with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for this song and so we got kids from England and Nusratji from Pakistan and me singing.So it was like a South Asian peace song.

Your first Hindi film was 'Rangeela'.How was the experience working with Ram Gopal Varma.

He is a very mad guy(laughs).Mad in the sense that he is completely obsessed with work.So it was great fun working with him because he is not normal because he likes something very good or hates it if its bad.Initially we did some tunes and we did a song and then we thought it was not on the right track.Then we came with the Sound Of Rangeela and thought this is the Rangeela song ,this is the Rangeela instrument and then we made everything like that and finally it was a new kind of a music that was evolved and it was like a teamwork.

What about Mr.Subash Ghai's much talked about film 'Taal'. Interesting combination of you and Subash Ghai.

We worked on a film called 'Shikar' and I nearly completed 5 songs and later he decided to do 'Pardes' before 'Shikar'.At that time I was extreemly busy with 6-7 films and I told him that I need to give priority and if I do that I cant do all these films.So I said let me finish all this and we'll work on that.He said O.k but asked me to give full priority in the next film so I said O.k.

Mr Subash Ghai speaks, followed by Taal piece 'Sa Sa Ri Sa Sa'

In this movie 'Taal' 90% of the songs are composed for lyrics.Working with Bakshi,I have learnt a lot from him, I learnt how not to butcher hindi lyrics (laughs) so I think I said, let the lyrics come out very well and I think that was a very good point.I am just seeing how a person is completely immersed in music.I just saw a bit of 'Taal' and saw how well he is used to music and he is like a school guy himself because he is so much involved in music that I learnt a lot from him.

Could you just tell a few of your favourite music directors?

Recently I heard some good songs like the song in 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' of Jatin-Lalit and Vishal's song and some of the other songs because I dont know the composer's name because I see them in T.V.I think its good to see that a lot of good things are happening.

Aren't you listening to the old film music also?

I like Naushad sir's music because there is a lot of feel in it and Madan Mohan and of course R.D.Burman.

How do you relax?

Mostly I finish a film and I take my family to a dharga where we pay our repects and these kind of trips and when I'm working I meditate and sometimes Internet.I like to see what people talk about me,bitch about me(laughs).Find the good things in it and you get a feeback from people.

How would you like to take your leave? Would you like to say something to your admirers who are watching you?

In Music I would like to say what Jatin-Lalit said "Appreciate good music and not everything.Good musicians will have better respect and better oppurtunities." "Love Peace"

other interviews | part one

 

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