Competing with himself
“I wanted to enhance story telling with my music. So it wasn’t a career choice, it was a fulfillment decision,” says the musician behind melodious numbers like Bas Ek Pal and Maula Mere Maula. The music composer, who admits that he likes to work at his own pace, talks to CS about his songwriting process:
Setting his own benchmarks
I firmly believe that the minute competition comes in, music dies. When Beethoven wrote the Grosse Fugue, he was slammed by the critics. This was after his 9th symphony which was highly successful. He felt like reinventing himself and came up with this revolutionary way of writing, and was completely panned for it. Today, that piece is an institute of orchestra writing. What I'm trying to say is that if Beethoven would have thought that there are many young guys coming in and I should be more commercial, Grosse Fugue would have never been written. I admit we're living in a much more modern world, but the essence should be the same. I've never seen music as a competition, and the day I start doing that, it will be over for me. You can't interfere with the process of songwriting. It's like you can't hurry a pregnancy, similarly you can't hurry songwriting. People who havn't understood that haven't understood music.
Script is king
Songwriting is great fun. A good filmmaker will also be a storyteller and a storyteller will always want good music to just exaggerate the emotion at a particular point in time. A song is like a stimulator. I hear out the script and choose a genre based on the look of the film. The rest is what I would feel at that point of time. The concept of a story is for humans and the purpose of music is to communicate human expressions. That's also the reason why I chose to become a music composer.
After Raaz 2 and Murder 2, I'm also doing three songs of Aashiqui 2. But I don't let that pressurise me in any way. I don't feel pressurised because the way I see my music is so different. My process of songwriting is out of that pressure zone. And that happens with any film I'm doing. Nobody can catch my Phir Mohabbat or Ae Khuda and say it was an emotionally weak attempt. If there's anything that pressurises me, it's my own standards I've set for myself.