A director's man, through and through
This year, the self-confessed "diehard romantic" composer Pritam mashes up melodies for Dhoom 3, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2, Shootout At Wadala, Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani. He assesses his work in a candid chat with Itee Sharma
You won the Asia Pacific Award for Barfi. Do you think this will act as a catalyst for more awards to come your way? Will you be disappointed if Barfi! doesn’t bag many more awards this year?
At the Asia Pacific Film Festival, the jury comprised people from all over the continent. At the after-party, jury head Christian Jeune told me that the jury’s choice for Barfi! was unanimous. I was touched. The music for Barfi was not composed with any award in mind; but when I am awarded, I feel elated, of course. Barfi is a beautiful story immortalised on celluloid; when you compose for a film like this, you are in a different zone altogether. You touch a chord, universally. But, even when awards don’t come my way, I take it in my stride. Every time you hear your song play is an award of sorts.
Between Cocktail and Barfi!, which would you pick as the highlight of 2012?
Last year was a beautiful one. Cocktail, Barfi!, Jannat 2 and Agent Vinod have topped almost every chart. I have made a 50 per cent contribution to most charts. But, if I must choose, I will say that I would love to have a heady cocktail and a barfi together!
Like the film, Barfi!’s music was quite offbeat. Did you have to fight to include the ghazalnuma song Phir le aaya? And were you ever tempted to include a ‘Dhoom machale’ kind of item number?
Both Anurag (Anurag Basu) and I love ghazals. So there was no question of having a fight over it. The film did not require a Dhoom machale. While composing music for a film, I follow the director’s vision, and songs added for the heck of adding them disturb the vision. If Anurag wanted an item number, he would have asked for it.
Barfi! is your hat-trick with Anurag after Gangster and Life…In A Metro. What makes the team work?
Anurag is my friend. We have grown together in our careers to become who we are. When we speak, we understand each other in our pauses. With Barfi!, Anurag opened a window for me. For me, listening to a man with a vision is akin to a spiritual encounter.
After composing for Race, you are now doing its sequel, Race 2. Have you found something similar to the hit, ‘Pehli naazar mein’ in this one, too?
We aimed to make Race 2’s score as per the requirement of the film. The music is not based on the comparative analysis of a previous hit.
You are also working on Dhoom 3. While the first two films were directed by Sanjay Gadhvi, this time, it is Vijay Krishna Acharya. Will the music sound different this time?
Yes, the music will follow the director’s narration.
Despite the success of the music of Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal, Imtiaz Ali moved on to AR Rahman for Rockstar. Were you hurt?
When I work, I choose a voice depending on my composition. That doesn’t mean I don’t like other singers. The same goes for any director and who he wants to work with. It is his choice and I respect that.
You have been keeping a low profile for a while now. Does being in your own space have a positive effect on your music?
I have never given it serious thought. But now that you mention it, I’ll make note of it.
What inspires you to make music?
Everything. Good, bad, sadness, nature, you… (smiles) I am a very emotional person. For instance, when I chanced upon people from around the globe coming together to form my online community and standing up for me and my music, I felt these fans are worth more than a million awards. I love them, compose for them, live for them. The musician in me gets an adrenaline rush from their words.
Do you like the sound of music your competitors make?
I love music. Never mind who makes it.
There are numerous accusations of your music being ‘inspired’ from international songs. Come on, give me a break!