Their names may not have hit the headlines for a while, but their reticence need not be mistaken for their absence from music-making. On the contrary, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have been neck-deep in work, bringing life to several big-budget Bollywood offerings that will be unveiled in the upcoming months.
Apart from the much-discussed Farhan Akhtar-directed venture Jee Le Zaraa, the trio also has Meghna Gulzar's Sam Bahadur, Zoya Akhtar's The Archies, and Avnish Barjatya's Dono, in the pipeline. In an exclusive interview with mid-day, Noorani gives us a glimpse of how they have been juggling the multiple offerings.
"We've completed the compositions, and will soon start working on the background score," he says of Vicky Kaushal-starrer Sam Bahadur. "While composing the soundtrack, we wanted to encapsulate the glory of Sir Manekshaw. [The music] needed to replicate how majestically he worked for the country during the Indo-Pak war in 1971. We've tackled another film based on the army, which was Lakshya. We had to be careful while working on these movies, because we can't use random elements in them. Because his [Manekshaw] story is based in the early '60s, we've used sounds [that belong to the era]."
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Meanwhile, fans of the trio have their eyes set on their work in Jee Le Zaraa, Akhtar's next outing, which is being touted as the female version of his 2011 film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. However, it will be a while before fans can get a dekko of the music given that "even the writing sessions have not commenced". "Only after that is done will we work on the music. The team intends to kick off the sessions in a couple of weeks," he promises. "However, for [Zoya's] The Archies, we have commenced working on the background score. The songs have been completed and shot, but they have yet to be fine-tuned."
Apart from the decades of experience that they rely on while composing music, the trio would also, perhaps, employ tropes to retain novelty across multiple projects. Noorani agrees. "When the script is being narrated to us, we try to be vigilant and attentive. Each time that we sit to compose, we think about the scenario and the script so that each and every thing aligns with the scene that we are dealing with. The music needs to match the scene. In each album, some experimentation is involved. SEL is all about experimenting with new sounds, and music. We try to avoid repetition of any kind. We are also attentive to the needs of the audience for whom we are creating the music."
Vicky Kaushal as Sam Manekshaw in the film
Apart from adapting their styles to fit the scene, Noorani says the trio also benefits from the wealth of information that a director brings to the table. "We have had a terrific time working with all our directors. Each of them is distinct in his own way. When we work with Farhan, we find him to be highly enthusiastic, and amusing. Aamir Khan would constantly work towards making the process easier for us while we collaborated for Taare Zameen Par. So, each director has a working style that's unique."