Comments (0)
Powered by
Sponsored by
Interviews |  13 Sep 2016 19:18 |  By Mallika Deb

No matter which film I am doing, my composition should be honest to the script: Amaal Mallik

MUMBAI: Amaal Mallik who started 2015 with a bang with the song 'Sooraj Dooba Hai', has been creating magic with his melodies ever since. Music runs in the veins of this promising composer. He is however also unafraid to speak out his mind, as his recent social media posts prove. 

His string of hits runs through ‘Main Hoon Hero Tera’, ‘O Khuda’ (Hero), 'Sooraj Dooba Hai' (Roy), ‘Soch Na Sake’ (AirLift), ‘Kar Gayi Chull’, ‘Buddhu Sa Mann’ (Kapoor & Sons) to ‘Sab Tera’ (Baaghi), ‘Bol Do Na Zara’ (Azhar), ‘Salamat’ (Sarbjit), ‘Sau Aasmaan’ (Baar Baar Dekho), and now the complete album of ‘M.S. Dhoni : The Untold Story’.

Amaal has established his versatility at a young age and there is no looking back. In a  rare heart-to-heart conversation, Amaal Mallik shares his early days, musical journey, his first solo album M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ and a lot more.

You have been in the news for your Facebook comments on the 'vicious cycle of the music industry'. Do you feel that strongly about it?

Ah well. I feel there is so much of melody inside me. But, at times, it is not commercial enough for the labels or the producers.

We are over and done because of others who decide whether we will compose for a certain film or how the sound will be, where the music needs to be a blockbuster or not, whether it is profitable or not, and so on. Somehow, we are trapped in these new social hooks, which we can't do much about, but we can at least work towards making newer music. 

Neeraj Pandey is one director who is the captain of his own ship. You need a visionary to do something creative; for me, Neeraj Pandey is visionary. He is the only director I have worked with who didn’t listen to what the label had to say. Neeraj listened to Bhushan Sir's suggestion but had his voice until the end of time. He was very clear about his requirement; also he didn't reference stuff, he let me create my world with the songs.  He actually gave me complete liberty so that I could create stuff on my own. It is always there on my mind that no matter which film I am doing, my composition should be honest to the script.  

"My compositions are my reactions to certain things. Be it distressing, joyful or whichever, I react to certain things which are happening around me."

Did your family background influence your choice of career?

It was never a liability. I was keen on music since childhood. Knowing the fact, my mom gifted me a Casio at the age of seven. It was a pretty minimal one on which I have learned the basics of piano. My mother was overjoyed and then enrolled me in a music class. I was a part of garage band as well in school.  I have composed several jingles before approaching Bollywood.

How would you differentiate the music of ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ from your previous films?

My first song for a biopic was 'Salamat' for 'Sarbjit', and before that 'Soch Na Sake' for 'Airlift' which was based on true incidents. But this is unique and of course special to me. Composing for M.S. Dhoni is a dream come true as Dhoni is the single personality whose biopic has been made during his lifetime. Being a fan of Dhoni itself and Chennai Super Kings too, it was madness!

Dhoni’s album is a fine blend of rock and soft rock, apart from the romantic numbers. Also, I intended to create such tracks, which can stand out.

According to my knowledge, this is the first time that there are seven songs in a biopic film, but initially, we produced 27 songs for the film. We used to jam for six - seven hours every day and songs were ready in less than three months. Frankly, this seems like not my style, it became my style. I got to learn so many things as I had to ensure the director’s approach as well. In a specific expression, I would say the sound of ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ is commercial yet inspirational too.  

"The creative process works on the go (smiles).  When I am in my car, driving around the city, I turn up the music and I shut the world outside. I just need my keyboard, microphones, laptop and my headphones and I am good to go."

Your music is exquisite; how do you incorporate so many things altogether?

I have to remember that I am not making music for myself; I am making music for the people who are demanding and expecting the same.

I make use of several instruments while making a song. For example, the film Noor’s sound.  The sound is minimalistic; also, there will be tracks with a fine blend of trap, hip-hop and electronic, which never happened in Bollywood, I assume.

How does the creative process work?

My compositions are my reactions to certain things. Be it distressing, joyful or whichever, I react to certain things which are happening around me. Mahesh Bhatt once told me, “Create music which can make people cry or dance on their feet.” I try to stick to it. My music has out-and-out transparency. I create it and keep it as a memory. I am not a bank. Music is something you don’t plan, right?

I am not an early riser. I get up by 12 pm, and then I start my day. The creative process works on the go (smiles).  When I am in my car, driving around the city, I turn up the music and I shut the world outside. I just need my keyboard, microphones, laptop and my headphones and I am good to go.  

P.S. In 2015 when I was struggling with my music career, my friends used to say that I have become ‘Matlabi’ (selfish). One day while jamming, I told Kumaar Ji that I was somewhat upset about the fact. He wrote the song Sooraj Dooba Hain which starts with the word ‘Matlabi’ right at the jamming session.

"Personally I don’t like doing recreations. Undertaking someone else’s work is tricky; however, I will only go for recreation if I can do better than the original one."

The independent music scene is booming, what’s your take on that?

I like the way the independent music industry is booming at the moment. Honestly, there is less scope of seeing the sights of different genres when it comes to Bollywood, however, non-film space is huge. That’s why I wanted to curate some different tune while composing for commercial films.

‘Parwah Nahin’ from M.S. Dhoni is sung by Siddharth Basrur, who comes from a rock and metal background, which is far away from Bollywood. Skyharbor famed Keshav Dhar had also worked with me on this song. Blending metal or rock music in Bollywood is something unique I believe. These musicians are great to work with; also, I hope to be more versatile over the period.  

Many music composers are keen on recreating/revising old popular numbers. How do you see that?

I believe undertaking someone else’s work is tricky. Personally, I don’t like doing it; however, I will only go for recreation if I can do better than the original one.

I did Kar Gayi Chull for Kapoor & Sons, which was originally composed by Badshah. After that, Badshah called and said that he doesn’t like his version anymore. You can say recreation is a way to pay tribute, however, if you can’t do better than the original version, you shouldn’t recreate or revive any song to make fun of yourself.

It's challenging when you have work on references, and I try to give it a shot if people give me other song references. But, if someone references me my own compositions, I end up losing interest. But it's our industry's way of working, so you have to see the best you can do within the limitations.  For example, if someone is referring someone else’s work, yes I would try to make it all-round, I would say better. But, if someone is asking me to recreate Sooraj Dooba Hai then I can’t help it. Before anything, I need to connect with the essence of the song. Soch Na Sake, Kar Gayi Chull, if you undergo by the book there is something innovative and I can vouch for that.

 

Games