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Pritam speaks on films and music

 
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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Monday, December 18, 2006
Nation may have crooned to Himesh Reshammiya songs for a major part of 2006 but the man who stood up to the challenge and delivered hits after hits over the months has been none other than Pritam. Some quality scores like Ankahee followed by critically and commercially acclaimed Gangster and Woh Lamhe in addition to the mass pleasing scores in Pyaar Ke Side Effects, Dhoom 2, Apna Sapna Money Money, and now Bhagam Bhag - the list continues to grow. Over to the smiling man who knows what and when to deliver!

Yet another film [Bhagam Bhag], yet another hit! It seems to have been an exceptional year for you.
That's right; Bhagam Bhag is my favorite music currently. In fact I would place it even above Woh Lamhe. (Smiles) Though there have been quite a few, including my own assistants, who think that my earlier score with Priyadarshan for Garam Masala was better, personally speaking I like Bhagam Bhag more.

So how would you rate your personal favorites in the album?
See we can give ratings but then it is eventually the public opinion that matters. Nevertheless, if you ask me to do so, this is how I would rank the songs. 1) Title song, 2) 'Khudkhushi' (which I believe isn't in the film), 3) 'Tere Bin', 4) 'Signal' (ironical that the biggest hit of the album comes so late in my personal list) and then 'Afreen', which is a situational number.

Some even feel that Apna Sapna Money Money, your last release, had much more fun.
To be honest, even I was surprised with the kind of great response that the music got for itself. 'Guitar' has been a superb hit and it did well not just in Mumbai but in entire West and North India. I have heard that audience; especially in single screen theatres, were clapping and whistling along with the song. While walking on streets, taporis have come to me and said, "Boss, gaana mast hai! " Now that's a high!

But along with highs come lows like Ankahee and Naksha!
Ya, I still don't know why the two soundtracks didn't sell as much as they deserved. It has been a good year so far but non-performance of music of Ankahee and Naksha still pinches. Those who heard the score liked them but probably the promos were cut in such a manner that the score didn't reach out to the music lovers. Though Ankahee didn't even pick up; Naksha still worked but only to a certain extent.

What could have gone wrong?
The music came too close to the release of the film and as the film turned into a washout; so did the music along with it. Now look at the song about which I was most excited - U and I. It started getting promoted through a music video barely 10 days before the film's release. On one side I was proclaiming it to be next big superhit, while in actuality it wasn't even heard by many. I was left wondering about my judgment there. I guess a song takes a certain amount of time to pick up but in case of Naksha, there was not much time for the songs to be promoted. It hurts when you work so hard and the effort gets wasted.

What went against Ankahee?
I believe dated look of the promos was the reason why they didn't catch many eyeballs. 'Aa Paas Aa' has been one of my best compositions but it depresses me when I realize that there is hardly anyone aware about the existence of such a song.

Even last year saw a good album going unnoticed - Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena.
Oh yes, the music of EKEH went simply unnoticed. Till date I like the score so much but unfortunately it wasn't a success. This is why I remember what Adi [Aditya Chopra] used to say when I was composing for his Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai. He said that 'har gaane ki ek kundli hoti hai'. At the time a song is born, it is decided how it is going to perform in the future. He used to add that factors like orchestra, backing vocals, singing and even marketing - all these things contribute to make a song a hit or a flop.

So which is that song where you were surprised to see it becoming a hit?
Now that's a tricky one, I don't know what to answer! [Pauses] Hmm, well if I had to pick one song which genuinely surprised me after becoming such a big hit this year it has to be 'Pyaar Karke Pachtaya' [Pyaar Ke Side Effects] . Another song that I can recollect is 'Kiss Me Baby' [Garam Masala] . Me and my musical team weren't too happy with the execution of the song since we were expecting it to be something very different. Guess it was the Adnan Sami factor that worked in a big way for it to be a chartbuster.

 Any other track?
Yes, there have been a few songs for which I was expecting them to be successful but not as big as they turned out to be. Let me pick the case of Gangster. While I was betting on 'Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai' all the time and Anurag was confident about 'Bheegi Bheegi', beech mein kahin se 'Ya Ali' aa gaya, and the album was never meant to be the same again [laughs]!

How about your first big soundtrack, Dhoom?
Again, Dhoom had hit written all around it. We knew that regardless of the songs being good or bad, they would be hits. Yes, I was a quite apprehensive about the title song 'Dhoom Machale'. There was a big question mark that I had regarding its prospects. Being pessimistic about my own work, even if you come and tell me that so and so number will turn out to be a success, I won't comment till I actually see that happening. Same happened in case of 'Dhoom Machale'. While people around me were confident about the song, I was just praying that what all of them are thinking just turns out to be true.

In comparison, isn't it ironical to have the music of D2 being such a good success? The music has been ripped apart by the critics but audience seems to think otherwise?
I was always confident that if the movie will run, the music will run too. 'Crazy' was always meant to be a chartbuster while we were sure that other songs will follow suit too. As a part of the strategy, it was decided that the music would be underplayed before the release of the film and promotion would heat once the film is on screen. The result is there for everyone to see!

So where do you go from here?
Straight into Anurag Basu's Metro [laughs]. It is one of the most challenging assignments I am working on. I have been going crazy all this while in search of a band that I need to create for this film. This band forms the spinal chord of the film.

What's the relevance of this band?
This band features as a part of the film, just like Pankaj Udhas was there for the song 'Chitthi Aayi Hai' [Naam] . There are going to be 6 songs in all and we would be making 4-5 videos just like 'Bheegi Bheegi' in case of Gangster. This band appears with a song at crucial junctures of the film and is there throughout the film. Let's see if I am one of the members of the band.

What kind of songs does this band play?
They are all rock tracks and we are able to pull it off well, it is going to be the USP of the film. This is the reason why me and Anurag [Basu] are trying to make it doubly sure that we come up with nothing but the best for this soundtrack. The band is going to comprise of all men and we both are tearing all the hair off our heads to find these men. So far we have auditioned more than 35 people to make a band comprising of 3-5 men.

But what are you looking for in the people you are auditioning?
Beyond the basic requirement of them being good singers, they need to be presentable. By presentable, I don't necessarily mean good looking, but then they should have a rock attitude.

Going back in time, what happened to your pairing with Jeet? You two started as a composer duo.
Yes, it didn't quite work out. We were spending quite a lot of time together but eventually decided to go our own way. Anyways, it is not compulsory to stick around when you are not enjoying something. Now he has moved to Bengali films and is doing quite well there as a composer with number of hits under his belt.

Topics: pritam
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