At 18 and 22 years respectively, brothers Armaan and Amal Malik have already done what most youngsters their age wouldn’t have even dreamt of. Sons of music composer Daboo Malik and nephews of singer and composer Anu Malik, the duo marked their entry into Bollywood with Salman Khan’s latest release Jai Ho. While Amal has composed the music for the film, Armaan has sung three tracks, including Tumko toh aana hi tha, Love you till the end and the title track of the film, along with Wajid (of Sajid Wajid). Here, the musical duo speak about working with Salman Khan, their musical lineage and their camaraderie:
While Amal Malik (right) has composed the music for Jai Ho, Armaan has sung three tracks, including Tumko toh aana hi tha, Love you till the end and the title track
The two of you got a chance to start your career with Salman Khan. How does it feel?
Amal: It’s unreal. The day Salman told me I want the songs, Tumko toh aana hi tha, Love you till the end, I was taken aback. I thought I misheard. It does not get bigger than this.
Armaan: We could not have asked for a better start to our career.
Both of you are really young in a very competitive industry. Do you think you are mature enough to face it?
Amal: I have been working as an assistant since the age of 16 and I’ve seen and learnt a lot about this industry. Competition is good. I will only bring out the best in me and I’m up for the challenge.
Armaan: All over the world, people are kickstarting their careers at a very young age. Competition exists in every field today. One has to strive to only better one’s own work. Maturity lies in understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, and I think Amal and I have a good understanding of both.
While growing up, were you always inclined towards music? Did the atmosphere at home encourage the two of you?
Amal: Since childhood, Armaan and I have seen musicians at home, music sittings, and cassettes, CDs, keyboards and guitars everywhere. My grandfather Sardar Malik has been a major influence in my life and I have learnt all the Hindustani Classical music from him. I took up the piano and western music at Trinity College of London. I am a computer addict, so that encouraged me to learn how to make music on the computer, which is also how I started producing music. There was no one in my family who could read and write music the way people in the West do. It was my father’s dream that I learn music the proper way. It was my inner calling as well. I was in love with the idea of creating something. I started making random tunes at the age of 12 and by 16, I was out there working with music directors from the industry.
Do you take advice from your father and uncle?
Amal: Both Dad and Anu uncle are very different personalities and great composers in their own right. I have not confided much in my uncle but my father has always been encouraging and he gives me the right guidance. If he does not like my song he will be honest with me. He understands my style and respects how I envision a song. But their experience is priceless. So I take in the advice and see how I can incorporate the ideas.
Armaan: My Dad always gives his valuable inputs and we incorporate and fuse it into our music in our own way.
You both have worked with each other and there is a comfort level between you both. Would it be as easy singing for or composing for other musicians as well?
Amal: I am currently working on a background score with Salim and Sulaiman. We have been working with others for a while now, and we are loving it without any hiccups. It's a learning curve.
Armaan: I have been professionally singing from the age of eight, with all the leading music composers of our country such Salim-Sulaiman, Vishal-Shekhar, Shankar Mahadevan, Amit Trivedi among others. The key to working with different composers successfully, is to adapt yourself to their requirements and delivering the song to the best of your capability. There definitely is a comfort zone with Amal, but at the same time, we have our creative differences, too.
Armaan, you have recently released a private album as well. But the market for private albums isn’t doing that well. How do plan to change that?
Armaan: I think the change is just round the bend. It’s already happening. Many singers are coming out with their own independent singles and albums. I’m sure that very soon, independent music in India will come up in a very big way, just as in the West.
As brothers, where do you think the other’s strength lies?
Amal: I think Armaan is a gifted singer and he is an amazing guitarist. He is very focused for his age and when he sings, he puts his soul into a song. He is one of those few singers who can make a good song into a terrific song. He is a taiyaar (ready) singer and is extremely versatile. He can tackle a raag-based song or an R&B pop song with as much finesse.
Armaan: Amal is a very gifted musician. He has a flair for writing lyrics. His strength lies in his ability to bring a certain freshness and a youth appeal to his compositions and his arrangements. This is evident in his compositions for Jai Ho too. He is also an amazing pianist.