'Enough pat on our back'

Music directors Justin Yesudas and Uday Ninjoor have signed their first Kannada project. The two, who have composed music for Bollywood films like Hijack and Sikandar, were in the City recently to work on this project. “The film is still in the initial stages,” Uday tells Metrolife.

Hailing from Udupi, Mangalore, Uday is delighted to be composing songs for a Kannada film while Justin says, “Bollywood is a different equation altogether. But we don’t know how the Kannada film industry functions.” 

Justin and Uday studied in the same school in Mumbai. “We had formed a small band in school and used to play Hindi and fusion music,” says Uday. Slowly, the duo began composing jingles for various advertisements. After making jingles for nearly 15 years, the two finally got their first film project when ad film-maker Kunal Shivdasani approached them to make music for his directorial debut Hijack, which released in 2008.

The duo enjoys making music of any kind. “Music is music after all, and we would love to compose anything,” says Justin. “After doing 40 or 50 seconders for 500-600 ads for many years, making music for films is very exciting. It’s a lot of creative liberty,” he quips and adds, “but more than songs, it is the background music that takes time.”

The two have many interesting projects in their kitty now. “We are producing a pop album for singer Shibani Kashyap,” informs Justin. Then there is the pop album of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa finalist Twinkle Bajpai. The two are also making music for Kunal Shivdasani’s next project, and working on the music of a comedy tentatively titled Kabhi Aage Kabhi Peechey.

They even have a fusion band of their own called The Fuzitives, which will be out with an album soon. “We make commercial fusion music, that people of all ages can enjoy,” says Uday.

The two have extremely similar tastes when it comes to music. Uday adds, “Our earlier inspiration was rock so we would listen to Sting, Guns And Roses and Peter Gabriel.” Amongst Indian musicians, the two love the works of A R Rahman, R D Burman and Illayaraja. When it comes to Kannada music, Uday’s favourite music directors are Hamsalekha, Gurukiran and Mano Murthy.

Despite being appreciated for their music in Hijack and Sikandar, the two admit that their journey so far hasn’t been easy. “Mumbai is an ocean where you have to struggle every day. By the time people identify you, half your life is gone,” feels Justin.

He adds, “Even though Hijack didn’t do well at the box office, its music still plays on the radio and has become popular amongst masses. While Sikandar was critically acclaimed.” However, Justin says that critical acclaim doesn’t provide one any opportunities, only “pats on the back”.  He laughs, “We got so many pat on our back for Sikandar that our back is still hurting.” But on a more serious note, he adds, “Even though it’s great to compose music for an acclaimed film, the real challenge lies in making music for a commercial film and catering to the masses.”

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