It's been a while. Rumours insisted that the late composer Chitragupta's sons had gone their separate ways. Going by the tradition of musical duos over the years-from Shankar-Jaikishan and Nadeem-Shravan to Jatin-Lalit and Nikhil-Vinay-it seemed as though Anand-Milind too had to split.
Milind corrects the assumption. "But we're very much together. My brother and I get along fine. We live in separate homes and meet in the music room. It's true that we had our differences for a while-which two brothers don't have issues? But it never got serious. I sing his tunes, he sings mine. At one time we were so busy that Anand would be recording in on studio while I'd be recording in another. We're now very much together. I pray that we get another lifetime to be brothers and make music together. "We're now coming back to composing," says Milind. "We're coming back with a film to be produced by Rajendra Patel. He's making a film to be shot entirely in England. He has asked me and Anand to compose the music. And Lataji will be singing for us. You know, she had sung our very first composition," Milind gets emotional. "Lata Aunty and our father were very close. Do you know she named me Milind? And a few years ago she named my house Swar Ganga."
Milind gets nostalgic about the first song. "It was a number called Raja tere raste se hat jaoongi for Pankaj Parasher's Ab Ayega Mazaa. At that time we were forced to compose like Laxmikant-Pyarelal. We had no choice. We had to go by the trend. It took us a while to come into our own with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak."
"I admit we were over-worked. We started in 1982. So we complete 25 years this year. We decided to keep our distance from the industry mainly because of the trend of multiple composers for one score. For Feroz Nadiadwala's Kartoos we were told we'd have to share the score with Bally Sagoo and Jatin-Lalit. We never returned . ...We lost a lot of films because of this trend. We had composed a beautiful song for a film called Dehak. Before we knew it they got Aadesh Shrivastav to do two songs. In Jaanam Samjha Karo, the late lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri's son who directed the film, got Anand and me to compose, then got Anu Malik into the soundtrack. We requested Anu not to fall for this trend. Now of course everyone including Aadesh and Anu are against the trend of multiple composers."
After giving hits in Jaanwar and Dulhe Raja ...Anand-Milind were eclipsed. "We did songs for a lot of Mithun Chakbraborty films, and got typed in that kind of (lowbrow) cinema. Even after doing films like Mrityunand with Prakash Jha and Mrityudaata with Amitabhji we went into a shell."
Anand-Milind have composed music in about 225 films. "In our career so far we've done all kinds of songs , from the chalu Main to bhelpuri kha raha tha in Coolie No.1 to the semi-classical tunes of K. Vishwanath's Sangeet...I feel we did a lot of work. But like our father Chitragupta we never got our dues. Our father never worked with a Raj Kapoor or Dev Anand. But he did a low-budget comedy like Kali Topi Lal Rumal where every song was a hit."
Milind laments the lack of good singing talent today. "Nowadays no one knows who the singer is. I wish we could go back to the era of Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Ashaji. Even when we composed the songs in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak people knew they were sung by Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan. Luckily we've Lata Aunty to sing for us."