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Friday, April 21, 2006
They started as guest composers with Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi and Kaante, got noticed with Jhankar Beats and arrived with Musafir. Today they are ruling every possible musical chart. Allah Ke Bande, Dus Bahane, Ek Ajnabee, Right Here Right Now, Meter Down... the list goes on. Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani or simply Vishal-Shekhar are undoubtedly one of the most creative composers of today. This talented duo sure is bankable. So much so that their association with any project off lately guarantees a musical hit.
IndiaFM caught the duo in a candid mood for a hearty conversation. And we must add the duo have a remarkable sense of humor. Ok now as Abhishek Bachchan would put in, over to the hip-hop fakers, Vishal and Shekhar.
How did the association of Vishal-Shekhar start?
Vishal: Honestly, I can't tell the story again! Let's just say we made a commercial agreement! Ek saath kaam karte hain aur paisa baat te hain!
Shekhar: Garibon main!
Vishal: Main garib tha aur ye bhi garib tha! (laughs)
That's Vishal-Shekhar for you. Funny as ever! But honestly, which was the first movie both of you did together?
Shekhar: Pyaar Main Kabhi Kabhi
Vishal: Actually we worked separately. For the title track, we decided to work together. We have worked together, since.
Did a lot of advertising work happen before both of you got into films?
Shekhar: For me, yes. I did a lot of advertising work with Mukul Anand.
Vishal: For me, Pyaar Main Kabhi Kabhi was the first non-rock work. I sing with a rock band called Pentagram.
Not many might know that you'll were guest composers for Kaante. Which was the song you composed?
Vishal: Read the credits! What a question!
Shekhar: The song Chhod Na Re, which Mr.Dutt sang for us.
Tell us about your association with him.
Vishal: We have been lucky to have him as a friend. He is the coolest guy ever!
Shekhar: He is the only rock star in the country!
What makes it easy for the two of you to work together?
Vishal: Trust me! It's not easy! Jokes apart, I think the both of us don't take ourselves and our jobs seriously. We work for fun.
There is always a meeting point for two music directors. What is the meeting point for Vishal and Shekhar? In terms of musical tastes or any other criteria?
Shekhar: We both listen to different kinds of music. My father played at a lot of concerts with Mukeshji. It was his hobby to play the accordion. It was his profession for 3-4 years. So I used to hear that and also Kalyanji-Anandji and S.D.Burman's music. Because of Vishal, I get to hear a lot of cool, edgy, hip-hop music.
Vishal: The fact is that both of us are open to new sounds. It's a learning process where we learn from each other.
Jhankar Beats gave you'll recognition as music directors? How did that film happen?
Vishal: Sujoy Ghosh came to us out of the blue.
Shekhar: He came to us with a full bound script and gave us a narration of what he wanted. He told us that it was a tribute to R.D.Burman.
Vishal: The film actually happened a couple of years after that. It took him a couple of years to actually find finance.
Shekhar: The more time we had, the better it was for the songs. So the overall album was good. There was no deadline
Vishal: At that time it wasn't like our phones were ringing continuously, like they are now. We had the luxury of time. We could keep re-recording and wait till we got the right lyrics and stuff.
Did you'll choose Amit Kumar for the album because R.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar always worked together?
Vishal: He has a fantastic voice.
Shekhar: He is so dedicated. Sujoy took us to meet him. The next day itself he came to the studio, learnt the song and finally recorded two songs!
You'll zeroed in on Sudesh Bhonsle for the title track. Whose idea was that?
Vishal: We heard him in Khallas. It was bang on. We told him to keep it as close to R.D. as possible since it was a tribute to R.D.Burman.
Also not many might remember that Allah Ke Bande was composed by you all. It is still remembered as a Kailash Kher song.
Vishal: Well you have to understand it that Allah Ke Bande is primarily a Kailash Kher song. He put a lot of soul in that song. We composed it and he put a lot of emotions in it.
Shekhar: A.R.Rahman appreciated Allah Ke Bande. Now that is a big thing for us of course.
The song is sort of like a catharsis for people. They feel their emotional turmoil, listening to it.
Vishal: I think it gives you a perspective. It tells you to accept that there will be some downs in life. I believe in that philosophy. But at the end of the day, things will be all right. People have told us that this very thought helps them when they are down. It's a gift from God that we are a part of it.
Which according to you is the song that introduced Vishal and Shekhar?
Vishal: I think that was Tu Aashiqui Hai. Even though Woh Pehli Baar and Musu Musu from Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi were also popular, but it was after Tu Aashiqui Hai that everyone was like who are these guys? The next thing you know, Allah Ke Bande happened, followed by Supari.
Vishal, Is it true that you were inspired by your wife to write Tujhe Chand Chahiye?
Vishal: That's true. But the actual song I wrote for my wife was Woh Pehli Baar. Raj Kaushal heard that and said that I had to do his film. I write everything for her! I'm always in a state of mind to write when I am around her.
What about you, Shekhar?
Shekhar: Well, I used to write for my wife. Now I write for my daughter, Bipasha! She is three and a half years old.
Vishal: Actually, I write for his daughter too! She is really cute!
Shekhar: My wife is our biggest critic!
Vishal: She's mean! If she hears something which sounds familiar to something else, then that's it!
Which is Bipasha's favorite song right now?
Shekhar: Its Bunty Aur Babli. All the songs from that album! Lip sync happens when the songs play!
And among your songs?
Shekhar: She loves Dus Bahane and Meter Down.
Do you guys have fights like couples?
Shekhar: I think we have passed that stage!
Vishal: We are like an old couple! Like those 80 year old couples you see!
Do you guys ever go away to compose?
Vishal: No we have never done that! A lot of our hit songs have been composed while driving around Mount Mary! That road is very lucky for us. About 10 hit songs have been written there.
Share some interesting incidents that happened between the two of you while recording.
Vishal: For Dus Bahane, Kay Kay and Shaan had done their bits. We needed a chorus. So we were looking for a couple of people who could do it. Finally Anubhav Sinha (the director of Dus), his assistant and myself were the chorus. Cheap and best! There was another guy but I had to throw him out because he could not sing!
And what about you Shekhar?
Shekhar: (still thinking)
Vishal: It can't be that memorable if you have to think about it so much! (laughs)
Shekhar: Ok I thought of one! Post Jhankar Beats, we got a call from a person who said that he was making a film with Aamir Khan. He wanted to come and see us. We were like if Aamir Khan is in the film we can come and see you! He came to the studio wearing tattered pajamas! So we thought he is some arty guy!
Vishal: So he pulls a cassette out from inside his shirt! It had the picture of a blonde chick with an ice cream!
Shekhar: We were wondering what he was upto. And then he tells us that this was his music.
Vishal: He told us he is the music director, camera man, actor and story writer and his shooting is in progress! So we figured that he had just left a camera on a rock since the entire crew was in our studio! After ten minutes, he tells us that no one does tandav nowadays.
Shekhar: His eyes popped out and he started performing tandav! He scared us!
Vishal: By that time we could not take it anymore and we were rolling on the floor with laughter! It's been six years and we still talk about it!
Apart from tandav, what kind of music do you guys enjoy?
Vishal: I am very big on black rhythms, Latino rhythms and groovy music.
Shekhar: For me it's, Machli Jal Ki Rani, because I hear that all day! (To Vishal) We should do that soon!
Is there some music you guys are dying to do, as far as Bollywood is concerned?
Shekhar: With every song, we are trying to do something which has never been done before.
Vishal: Even if it's something small, it should stand out and be different from all other stuff.
Now there is a market buzz about you. Every one knows that Vishal-Shekhar can churn a hit. Is there pressure building up?
Shekhar: We don't get into the commerce of the song. If we are dancing in the studio, we just have a good feeling about it!
Vishal: If a song fills up a room, we're done. That's it. There is no pressure because we do one film at a time. We have worked earlier with the people we are working with currently. We all hang out together. It's all cool!
The recent 'different' treated song was Right Here Right Now. One had to hear it a few times before it caught on...
Vishal: No, no! My phone rang three days continuously! I promise you I could not hang up the phone for three days non stop, day and night. Because people from all across the world were calling. It was insane. It was the first time that there was a genuine hip-hop production in India. Visually as well as in terms of sound. Of course, the fact that Abhishek sang it and it was his first song also greatly helped.
Shekhar: When the song got out, complete madness happened in our lives. You know, Abhishek only listens to hip-hop. It's in his soul! The song has so much attitude! And us being in the video also helped! Vishal: (laughing) When we came on the sets, Farah (Khan) told Rohan, 'Where will I put these guys in my video? Look at how they are dressed! Don't spoil my video!"
Who are your favorite Indian directors and singers?
Vishal & Shekhar: Sunidhi Chauhan rocks! Shaan, Kay Kay, Sonu, Sukhwinder Singh, Richa Sharma, Javed Ali, Amit Kumar, Shreya Ghoshal, Shankar Mahadevan and of course A.R.Rahman in terms of his singing and music! We feel so good about working with such talent. Also Sanjay Dutt, Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra. We worked with Bappida as well. What a legend!
What's different about working with a legend like Bappi Lahiri?
Vishal: What was really different was that he was so cool! There was no legend bull#