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Interviews |  07 Sep 2010 18:55 |  By harpreetkhokhar

Lalit Pandit - "Munni Badnaam Hui marks my second innings in the industry"

Together with his partner Jatin, they have given few of the most memorable music of Hindi cinema, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to name a few. It's been four years since composer Lalit Pandit branched out to embark on a solo music career. But his calling came with the recent hit 'Munni Badnaam Hui' from Dabangg with its unabashed lyrics and added glamour quotient provided by Salman and Mallika Arora Khan in the video. Talking to's Harpreet Khokhar, Pandit excitedly converses about 'Munni.. and the changing pattern of the industry over the years   

You have been in the industry for a long period. How has music in films evolved over the years?

I have been with the industry for over 20 years now and within this time frame the industry has evolved a lot. New sound has also been brought and the listener today is exposed to a several genres of music from across the world. Also, technically, the sound has improved a lot over the years  

'Munni badnaam hui' from Dabbang has become a big hit. How were you approached for the track?

I have composed for several Salman Khan films including Khamoshi, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya and we have a hundred per cent success ratio together. For Munni, I was approached by Arbaaz Khan who is the producer of the film along with the director Anubhav Kashyap. They wanted a folksy and retro item... number. Arbaaz gave me a situation and I came up with this song. I made them hear the demo and they were flabbergasted with the music. Later Salman also heard the track and absolutely loved it. It was exactly the kind of song they wanted. We wrote the wordings and since it was a fun song so we necessarily didn't need a shayar for it. We all gave our inputs for the track and it turned out to be one of the biggest hit of my life.

We are very happy with the way the song has been received by the audience. It is touted to be one of the biggest item numbers since 'Beedi' from Omkara. The song has also given a major fillip to my solo carrer    

You have earlier mentioned in one of your interviews that you try and stay away from item numbers and as observed your albums hardly contain the genre. So what made you agree to Munni? Is it because of the current trend in Bollywood.

My style of composition has always been melodious, sophisticated with have Indian essence in it and I don't think that can ever be removed. A music composer who knows his job must know everything from composing a melody to how it should be sung and by which singers and for what reason, and how it should be treated, arranged and programmed. It is imperative to mold oneself at every stage of the career otherwise the audience might reject you. With changing times, I had to make alterations in my style to suit the listening patterns of the audience.

The song has given a  kickstart to what I call is my second innings. I am overwhelmed with the response it has received. It has provided me the perfect opportunity to put myself back on the track 

Do big banners matter to you while zeroing in the projects?

Whatever said and done big banners matter at the end of the day. Had Munni been pictured on unknown lesser known actors it wouldn't have got the same mileage. So it is equally important to package and promote the product well.

Which is more difficult in terms of composition, the background score or song sequences?

For me songs are more challenging. Everybody puts their sweat and blood but not all songs hit the bull's eye. A lot of time and energy goes into making the songs of a film. Sometimes the schedule for one film can stretch upto six months. At times I had to decline several other movies because I was busy composing music for a other film. Also in India, music is a very important factor for the success of the film. So doing the kind of work that will be appreciated by the audience as well as crowd puller for the movie is very challenging.

As a composer how important is lyrics for you?

Lyrics make the sound of the song referred to as phonetics. Every component of the song has to be in place, melody lyrics etc. to make it appealing. But the mastery of song writing has become limited today. Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, Gulzar and Javed Akhtar were part of the golden era where lyrics were given a lot of importance. And I have had the honour to work with a few of them. But from today's generation there is still no one who has gone up to the dizzying heights that these wordsmiths touched 

A lawsuit has been filed against the producer and director of the film for using the word 'Hindustani' in an allegedly derogatory manner in the item song.

A lot of hue and cry has been raised in some pockets regarding the lyrics of Munni. It is a fun song and should be taken in the right spirit. People should stop over reacting and interpreting the words in a wrong way 

Reality shows seem to have flooded the television space. Do these shows have the potential to hunt new talent as they claim?

Reality shows provide a good platform to discover new talent and it ofcourse tests your singing credibility. Infact even I been a judge on one of such shows. But not all the singers from these shows deliver. Some of them can only sing the covers well. When you offer them original work they fail to come upto the mark 

Your take on plagiarism prevailing in the industry?

Originality is a serious question these days. Musicians are exposed to a lot of world music which gives them easy access to copy work. It's one prerogative whether to do original work or copy it. But at the end of the day it will reflect on your work 

What are your views on the cliff between the musicians and industry over royalties? Do you get royalties for DDLJ, one of the biggest blockbuster?

Cracking royalties has been the most difficult thing for Indian musicians. It is very sad that the copyright law is not in place and we are unable to generate revenues. Every penny of the hard work put in by us goes to the labels. We need support from the government and the media to help the music fraternity. DDLJ has been one of the biggest musical hit of Indian Cinema, even Kuck Kuch Hota Hai and as composers I havn't received a penny for royalty  

You have long been separated from your musical partner Jatin. Does that hamper your style in any way?

No, it does not affect my work in anyway. Infact it gives me liberty to explore myself as a musician and experiment with different genre of music. Now I do not have to look for second opinion or approval and can make music according to my sensibilities.

What are your future projects?

After Munni's success I have received several offers. Lot of film makers who I had worked earlier are approaching me once again. It has opened the gates for me. I have been approached by Sanjay Dutt to work on one of his films. There are alse several other offers but I cannot talk about it at this juncture. I also plan to release my album next year.

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