Amaal Mallik: Anthem deals with Saina's personality

Updated: Dec 10, 2018, 18:17 IST | Shaheen Parkar

Amaal Mallik, the composer of the film based on shuttler Saina Nehwal's life on why, much like the actor, a musician must also study a sportsperson when working on a biopic

Amaal Mallik: Anthem deals with Saina's personality
Shraddha Kapoor plays Saina Nehwal

After composing for MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016), Amaal Mallik is now scoring for yet another biographical sports film based on the life of badminton champ, Saina Nehwal. Amole Gupte's directorial venture has Shraddha Kapoor play the ace shuttler.

Unlike creating music for any other movie, a biopic, the composer-singer says, warrants a distinct approach. "You are dealing with real people. They are role models; idols with legions of fans. They have participated in international competitions and brought glory to the country. We read about their victories and defeats. They are constantly under the scanner, so you have to get into their mindset."

Amaal Mallik
Amaal Mallik

In a typical Bollywood potboiler, actors break into a song just about anywhere ­- from bedrooms to beach-fronts ­- and at any time. They don't need a reason to shake their booty and croon. As Mallik puts it, "The audience is aware that it is fiction. In biopics, you not only have the audience in mind while composing. There is an added challenge - you have to think of the person on whom the film is based, as well as the viewer."

Considered the youngest composer in Bollywood, Mallik, 27, has been working on the Nehwal biopic since a year. Referring to Amole Gupte as a director "with a keen ear for music," Mallik has been composing for lyrics penned by Manoj Muntashir. "The songs are related to the story. One is an anthem that deals with Saina's personality, her passion for the game and how she approaches it. Yet, it is not preachy. The second song is about emotions, and what a family endures while moulding a champ. It is also about the relationship between a parent and daughter."

Mallik, who has musical lineage (his father's Daboo Malik and grandfather Sardar Malik) adds that when it comes to penning songs in a biopic, a fair amount of time is spent on understanding how its muse talks. "We have to observe [the protagonist's] mannerisms. While composing for MS Dhoni, I would always wonder how the cricketer would react to a situation. Similarly, in Saina, I had to understand the sportswoman's personality, her passion for the game, and the fire to succeed."

Mallik has not met the champ, so watched her interviews instead, apart from banking on Gupte's vision. "The songs are simple melodies." Unlike in masala films ­- of which, Mallik has composed many ­- where a song can be created based on an existing number, he says in this film, he needed the film's footage to compose.

While in the Dhoni biopic, he enjoyed complete freedom on the entire soundtrack, he acknowledges that today, there is a tendency to have multiple composers work on a film. "It is ultimately the maker's call to select the composers. At the end of the day, it should be a great album."

Mallik, who broke into Bollywood after composing for the Salman Khan-starrer Jai Ho (2014), is also working on the Ajay Devgn-starrer De De Pyar De, and Shahid Kapoor's Kabir Singh.

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