Sohail Sen, 29, finds the meaning of his existence in music. Sohail, introduced to Bollywood by legendary Ashutosh Gowariker, believes in quality than quantity. Instead of taking up many projects at a time, he chooses projects which suit him and gives his heart and soul for those albums. Influenced by every great musicians in the world, Sohail is here to find his own space in world music. His latest music from 'Gunday' is contemporary, classy, extremely riveting and fresh. The songs from Gunday has already found their places in the hit chart. Sohail Sen speaks to One India about his new film Gunday featuring Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, his composing methods, his working experience with Ashutosh Gowariker and the trends in the industry.
Gunday title song song is suprisingly fresh and original. One would expect a folk dominated title song for such a movie. But you have given a modern feel for the song. What was the director's brief on the song?
Actually, when we started working on the track and the kind of situation I got from Ali Abbas Zafer, so he was very clear from day one that he needed tracks which are very contemporary. Even though plot of the film is situated in 1970's and 80's , the film is getting released in 2014. so even the youth of today should connect with the song. That's why we kept it very contemporary. Especially, in the songs like 'Tune maari entriyaan', Saiyaan and Jiya,we maintained a certain kind of edginess in them.We decided that the structure of the songs should be Indian. But we prefered to treat them with modern sound. That's what we aimed during the music making process. That was the brief given to me by Ali.
Which is your favorite track from Gunday?
Many tracks from Gunday are my favourites. But there are three of them which I like much. They are Tune Maari Entriyaan, Jiya and Man Kunto Maula. We were trying to compose a couple of romantic songs during the music making process but Ali was sure that it shouldn't be just another romantic song but it should have an under current of sadness, complex emotions and deep romance. So we were trying to capture that feel. Even if you hear the sound of the mandolin which is playing at the start , it gives a deep under current tone to the song
You have earlier opined that you find it difficult to compose item dance numbers. But Gunday also has two item numbers, if I can include 'Tune Maari Entriyaan' and 'Asalaam E Ishq' in that genre!
I would call them as 'full on masti song' (Tune Maari Entriyaan) and cabaret number (Salaam E Ishq). Because both songs belong to different genres- in terms of melody and sound. Though Tune Maari Entryyaan was the easiest one to crack, we took time for Saalm E Ishq because Ali (director of Gunday) wanted some specification to the song as it was a 70's cabaret. It should have a sensuousness and a special attitude in terms of singing and other nuances which is added by Mr Bappi Da (Bappi Lahari) who gave it an exact 70s and 80s flavor. To bring that flavour into our song was a tough task. It took me time to compose this song.
Continue to read the interview in the slide show...
How was Gunday experience with YRF? Both composing and programming the songs in Yash Raj studio?
I basically program the songs myself. Jiya, Saiyaan, Tune maari entry - all these songs are programmed by me. Basically I do it. But this is first time I worked with Abhijeet Vahaani. He is one of the best music producers we have in the country today. So He programmed my songs like Jashne Ishqa and Gunday title track. Working with him was also a new experience for me and it was, all in all, a great experience to get new people on board with whom I haven't worked yet.
Gunday Had Rap In Title Song. Is That You Following Trend?
The story of Gunday is about two boys, two young boys. How they became the coal mafia forms the plot and this was the song which comes in parts in the movie . It didn't have to be lip syn. So Ali told me that I can go all crazy and compose this title track . We didn't want a cliché track. I composed a song which has both a dubstep feel (a genre in electronic music) and country feel too. At the same time, it has that Anthem-ish feel too! Ali said that we can even use rap, so there is this new guy called king rhymes. He did the rap for Gunday title. I think he did a fab job. Whenever you work on a specific song in a film , it is always a collective creative effort. The director, composer, producer, lyric writer - we all decided what is good for the film and its script. On the basis of these decision,we selected the songs. Thats how I work on i
Are you in anyway influenced by maestro A.R. Rahman
Yes. I think he is an inspiration for all of us. As the newcomers of the industry, we have grown up listening to his music. Not only just Rahman and I even listen to every composer and try to get inspired from it. Whenever a new album comes out , I go and buy the CD and I hear it. And I try to get inspired by them also. And of course, Rahman saab has been a huge influence to me. Not only him, but every other composer.
Now Our Music Scene Has Gone Through A Transformation. How Do You See This Change?
There were no music channels or radio channels, then. The frequency of listening music for a normal person was less. Today competition level is too high. Its challenging for all of us. There is so much music happening in our industry right now- Both pop and film music. I believe in giving my best and in today's times, getting noticed as a composer is itself a sort of achievement. I feel so. Everyone is doing good work. But it's challengin
Tell Us About Your Composing Experience With Irshad Kamil, Lyric Writer Of The Film.
It was a great experience and I have a great rapport with him. Earlier I worked with him Mere brother ke dulhan. This is my second outing with him. And with the director too. We worked together in 'My brother Ki Dulhan' too. The kind of team and comfort level we have - I exactly know what Irshad bhai is going to write and whenever I gave him a tune, I k now he is going to do full justice to it. He knows my nature and the kind of composition I do and he writes it beautifully. I think I have a great comfort level to work with him.
Each Music Director Used To Bring A Unique Sound For Their Music, Which Makes Their Song Sound Different. Did You Have Such A Conscious Design For Your Debut Movie ?
In my opinion, the music of each and every movie has its own sound. The way I operate is like this- I try to live with the script. For example, Gunday took an year and half time to compose and program. I don't do many films at a time. I like to focus on one album and I believe in giving my heart and soul to the work I am doing. So yes, 'What's Your Rashee' was challenging. We have names like Ashutosh Gowariker and for a new musician like me , it was a great opportunity. That was the turning point of my career. I didn't get a lot of recognition for that movie but I learned so much from Mr Ashuthosh Gowariker. I was a little bit tensed because I already knew that he usually works with A.R. Rahman . I didn't know how he is going to tackle me and take the best from me, so there was a kind of tension in me in the beginning. How am I going to satisfy him was the big challenge for me but he is one of the most down to earth person to work with. He has a very good sense of humour too. So it was indeed a great experience to work with him.
I'm Sure It Was Very Challenging To Go From What's Your Rashee To Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se Which Was Period Epic Drama.
Absolutely. 1930-uprising is the plot of the film. So we needed the kind of sound the movie required. Vey Indian songs. The kind of songs that has a semi classical quality. Now the music industry is depending so much on computers . But in that album, we have almost 90 percent Indian instruments . We hardly used any electronic stuff . So that was challenging because we, in the industry. Especially in Hindi film industry, we don't have musicians who can play good cellos, violas or violins. Because lot of things are being done by computers nowadays. To find the right person, was a difficult task . I never knew that we don't have a complete string section in film music section until I did Khele Hum Jee Jaan Se. So that was a tough task.
A Girl In My Office Thinks That You Are Very Handsome, She Asked Whether You Have Plans For Acting In Movies In Future.
(Laughs) I think I have to thank my mom and dad for this. I got it from them . I don't have such dreams such but I am planning an album by the end of this year where I am gonna perform, sing and compose. I do have that in mind. Because I still remember when the music launch happened, when the pictures came out , a lot of my people were asking me 'why don't you try for acting'. But I feel like everybody has their own thing. God created Sachin Tendulkar for cricket, and like that, I think I am very happy doing music. This is something I enjoy but am open to acting offers too (laughs). If somebody gives me a film, then why not? Because everyone is doing everything, in today's times. So the field is very open. So you never know what future has in stores for you.
What Are Your Future Projects?
Now I have Guns of Banaras which is a South remake. In South Dhanush has done it and here Karan Nath, son of Rakesh Nath is doing it. Shekhar Suri is the director who is also from South. I am also going to Chalo China, which is a sequel of Chalo Dilli and a lot of projects are in pipe line.
What Kind Of Music You Enjoy
I listen to everything. I listen to John Willaims to Quincy Jones to Gulam Ali, to Madan Mohan, R.D.Berman, Lakshikant Pyarelal to rahman. I listen to young musicians like Sachin Jigar and to Midhoon too. I listen to world music basically.