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Interviews |  31 Jul 2019 12:14 |  By Namrata Kale

I faced difficulties for being a young music director, says 'Judgementall Hai Kya' fame Arjuna Harjai

Arjuna Harjai is an Indian singer, composer, music director and above all a consummate musician. He is among the youngest composers in India to have received Abby’s Gold and Bronze Award for scoring for the television series- Prisoners of War: Banddhi Yudh Ke. Arjuna has also been acknowledged with the Best Music Director award at MAMI 2016 for his notable work in Nikkhil Advani's short film Guddu Engineer.
Arjuna also holds repute as a distinguishable composer in the advertisement industry and has lent his music and voice for some of the most noteworthy campaigns like ‘Congress Main hi Toh Hindustoon Hoon’, ‘Zee TV’s Aaj Likhenge Kal’, ‘Dettol Dettol Ho, Sab Amazon Wale’, Quikr, Make My Trip, Cadbury, Nescafe, Google, Axis Bank, etc. many of which were in close association with Amit Sharma, who is the director of Baddhai Ho.
Arjuna’s musical journey started at an early age as music ran in his family. The musician adheres to the philosophy that life gives everyone enough experiences and it completely depends on us how we extract inspiration from our successes as well as failures. He believes that one must surrender completely, internalize the experiences, which will in turn lead to an effortless music flow, thus leading to one creating wonders. This relentless musician had a beautiful tale to narrate when Radioandmusic caught up in a candid conversation with him about his journey. 
You are among the youngest composers in India to have received Abby’s Gold and Bronze Award. What makes you stand out from the rest?
My experience of working in the advertising  industry for major brands and giving them popular tunes has made me an extremely versatile and quick composer. If given a situation by a director, I can present a melody to suit their taste and situations within a few hours.
Tell us about your journey in music?
Music runs in my family as my parents are accomplished musicians. So, family support was always there for me.  Being the Mr popular in school, I remember winning accolades in music and also meeting my wife, Divya Harjai, who by the way happened to be among my first few fans. Soon after school, I moved to Mumbai, where I pursued Indian classical music from my guru Suresh Wadkarji. I also did sound engineering from SAE, Mumbai alongside Trinity grades in Classical Piano. These were the most developing days of my musical journey and led to the commencing of  my career in music. 
What has challenged you the most in your career?
Being a young music director I faced a lot of difficulties and was not taken seriously. I would knock at the doors of numerous studios and production houses only to be told that I was too young to go solo and that I should assist bigger names. The conclusions came without them even listening to my compositions. It was a crime back then to be a young music director. 
Any major influences on your music?
As a child, I was exposed to various genres of music, especially ghazals by artists like Madhuraniji, Mehedi Hassan Sahab, Hussain Bux Sahab and Gulam Ali Sahab. They were the earliest influences in my musical journey. Later, I was exposed to a lot of Hollywood film scores and pop music. I, therefore, tried to absorb whatever I could. 
What are some of the motivational mantras that you follow?
Never quit when you are the hardest hit. Also, my favourite among others by Sadhguru is, ‘A seeker of truth shall never know the comfort of conclusion. Only intensity and seeking.’ This is how I relate to my musical journey. 
Suresh Wadkar had mentored you in the phases of your career?
Yes, Suresh Wadkar has been my inspiration as a guru. With his guidance and mentoring, I am able to sail through the tides of my musical journey. 
Who else has been a positive influence within the industry? 
Lyricist Kumaar, director Amit Sharma, Nikkhil Advani, Rajesh Saathi, and Vasan Bala are the pillars that have built my foundation of success. 
How has your recent experience of working on a song ‘Judgemental Hai Kya’ been?
It is my first project with Balaji and they have been extremely supportive and appreciative of my work. The song happened soon after director Amit Sharma recommended my name to producer Shailesh Singh, who introduced me to Balaji, This led to my meeting with the director of the movie. Prakash Kovelamudi. I am glad that the song made its way to the hearts of millions of listeners and also gave me an opportunity to work with the talented UK based artist Surabhi Dashputra.
What are your upcoming projects?
Other than brand collaborations and singles, a lot is happening on the film music front. You will probably hear my music soon in a Nawazzudin starrer. Another interesting project will mark my debut as a singer-composer in South with Tamanna Bhatia's Mahalakshmi; an official remake of the movie Queen. 
If not a composer, what would have you been?
I would have been a mad scientist. Haha!