Poised comeback

Poised comeback

interview

Poised comeback

His latest director, Sharat Katariya of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, laughingly narrates how music composer Anu Malik creates great tunes in front of him. On a serious note, he adds, “But I admit that we had sittings with several composers, none of whom could give what Maneesh (Sharma, the producer) and I wanted. So we thought of making the film without songs, till Adi (Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films that presented the film) asked them, “Why not try Anu Malik?”

Says Anu Malik, “Adi had told me long ago, after I had repeatedly expressed interest in working with Yash Raj Films, that he would consider me when the time was right. And he kept up his promise.”

The production team has also addressed him in the film’s promos as ‘Maestro Anu Malik’. Which is a fitting title for a composer who began 37 years ago with a small stunt-film called Hunterwali, and went on to rule the charts with Ek Jaan Hain Hum, Sohni Mahiwal and Mard in the first round of success.

He was almost written off for a while, but he stormed back with Sir, Baazigar and Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee to rule the music scene for over a decade, and show humongous range in music compostion with Border, Tamanna, Ishq, Judwaa, Virasat, Duplicate, Biwi No.1, Filhaal, Munna Bhai MBBS, Ishq Vishk, Saaya, Murder and Main Hoon Na. His latest film, so far 2015’s biggest success, has received rave reviews for its music. For the first time in eons, we have scores heartily designed for the film’s needs, not for the charts.

Inspiring incidents

Anu crows, “Suddenly I am relevant again. I have received reports that people throw coins at cinema screens when Dard Karaara comes on in the end. As for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage, its singer Papon, who has sung the male version, hugged me after I sang out the tune, stating that he rarely gets a chance to croon such a heartfelt melody.

Monali Thakur, who has sung the female version, wept when she heard the song. Later, her eminent musician father, Shakti Thakur, told her that I had shaped her career with this song.” On the other hand, 90s topper and old associate Kumar Sanu has sung two songs for Dum Laga Ke Haisha. “He was nervous when he entered my room, and so was I. And to think we had ruled the 90s!” Anu points out.

The composer credits his second comeback to many factors (apart from Aditya Chopra’s faith): Lord Ganesh, the blessings of River Ganga on whose banks the film is based, his wife Anjani’s unflinching faith, and his daughters Anmol and Ada, who kept him in touch with trends, besides his education. “I first rid myself of venom against filmmakers and stars who had deserted me after I had produced hits with them,” he says passionately. “I realised that all my contemporaries had disappeared. I saw a tomorrow when I would be gone, too, just like legends C Ramachandra, Jai (Jaikishan) uncle, R D Burman and Laxmikantji. So I pulled myself together and started music composition even when I had no films,” he confesses.

Anu is now scoring some songs for Welcome Back (an old assignment) and composing the entire music of Hera Pheri 3. “I will work wherever I get izzat and a complete film,” he declares, and adds, “Indian Idol and Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, my television shows, kept me going and in the news. But it is another thing when Vidya Balan calls up to say, ‘I just love, love, love Moh Moh Ke Dhaage!’”

In his opinion

Unlike what he has done for Aditya Chopra, composers no longer exert themselves for big banners or filmmakers. What does he think of this trend of music losing out on importance? “Yes, there is a certain indifference to music. That’s because the sound design has become the hero. When they celebrate the latest 100-crore-grossing film, they do not pause to ask if it has any music to speak of. There are a few directors with conviction, like Mansoor Khan, who removed all the 100 instruments we had recorded with and just retained Alka Yagnik’s voice and a guitar for the song Haaye Mera Dil from Josh.”

How much has Anu adapted to the musical paradigm changes in recent years? “I look upon them as a challenge. This is the age of working on Logic and laptops, and using freelance programmers who give songs a nondescript shade. So, while I adapt, I ensure that the core melody is strong and completely mine.”

Anu Malik concedes that he can compose a tune instantly. “That’s a gift from Above. When the situation warrants, I even come out with semi-classical songs though I have not studied classical music deeply. But that’s not me, it’s God at work.”

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