Candid chat with Bollywood music composer Palash Muchhal

Jun 01, 2014, 05:40 IST | Nilesh Rao

Unlike most 19-year-olds, who prefer to spend their time partying or glued to their textbooks, Palash Muchhal has his life figured out. The young composer, who has struck a chord with music lovers, speaks to hitlist about why age is just a number, how he balances studies with his work and his future plans

He is just 19 but holds the distinction of making superstar Amitabh Bachchan dance to his tunes. Records are not new for him. He entered the Guinness Book of World Records about 15 years ago as the youngest guitarist and now he has made it to the Golden Book Of Records as the youngest music composer.

Palash Muchhal strums his guitar at his Andheri residence and (below) Palash at his studio	Pics/Ronak Savla
Palash Muchhal strums his guitar at his Andheri residence and (below) Palash at his studio. Pics/Ronak Savla

Meet Palash Muchhal, the man, errr, boy behind Party Toh Banti Hai from Bhoothnath Returns and Tu Hi Hai Aashiqui from Dishkiyaoon. He was busy at work at his studio in Andheri when hitlist caught up with him for a freewheeling chat. Excerpts from an interview:

Palash Muchhal

Music in my blood
My fascination for music began when I was barely four years old. Once my sister, singer Palak, performed in London and brought back gifts and chocolates for me. I thought I would also get such goodies if I sang like her. So I joined Kalyanji-Anandji’s Little Stars group. My guru is Anandji Shah and I have been a part of his world tour music projects.

Family support
I belong to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. My family shifted to Mumbai a few years ago so that my sister and I could pursue a career in music. Palak guides me in my work. She sang for me in Dishkiyaoon. It was an emotional moment for me. We have a lot of fun at home as siblings but once we enter a music studio, we like to keep it professional. We always make it a point to catch the first show of our films.

My role model
AR Rahman inspires me like no one else does. I met him some time ago. Since I am involved in Ashutosh Gowariker’s next, I hope to work with him. I also look up to Madan Mohan, Manna Dey, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Himesh Reshammiya, Sajid-Wajid and Sohail Sen. As far as singers go, I have many favourites — Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Lucky Ali, Atif Aslam, Adnan Sami, Aditi Singh Sharma, Anmol Malik and my sister, of course! I find Arijit Singh very down to earth; he never has a problem if I ask for re-takes. I also listen to Bryan Adams, Van Halen and Michael Jackson.

Changing gear
I had acted in a few ad commercials. That is how Ashutosh Gowariker spotted me and signed me up for Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey as an actor. Basically, he liked my curly hair (laughs). He told my mother that I would grow up to be an actor but she said I would stick to music. Eventually, mom won. When my song, Tu Hi Hai Aashiqui (Dishkiyaoon), released, my family got emotional. My parents’ eyes welled up while listening to it on the radio. I got several compliments from fans in India, Pakistan, US and Dubai.

Serendipity strikes
I had composed Party Toh Banti Hai for the promotion of a gymming product. The gym owner happens to reside in the same building as Bhushan Kumar and made him listen to my song. He liked it so much that he called me up and asked for that song for Bhootnath Returns. The Meet Brothers were already on board. Collaborating with them was a great experience. It was all the more exciting as Amitabh Bachchan danced to the tunes. During the success party of the film, I met Amitabhji and asked for a photograph together. He said, “Let’s take a selfie!” It was overwhelming, to say the least.

Belying his age
Age doesn’t matter in this industry; your work speaks for itself. You would be amazed to know that the singers I have worked with, be it Arijit Singh, Mika Singh or Javed Ali, call me ‘Sir’ during song recordings. Had I been in their place, I wouldn’t have taken a 19-year-old seriously. I feel lucky that people respect my work. However, there have been times when people have dismissed me because of my age. But after listening to my songs, they have signed me up for their projects.

On my plate
I will be composing music for 18 films, of which four to five are releasing this year. I don’t bother about the banner or budget. My aim is to give my 100 per cent to a project. I am also doing Shilpa Shetty’s next film and handling all her projects. She treats me like her brother. My next release is Amit Sahni Ki List in July. I have four songs in it, two of them are romantic. Raghu Dixit has composed the rest. Other projects are Tere Aane Sey, Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho, Dream Hopes and Bollywood, Life Is Calling, Ghoodu and Ashutosh Gowarikar’s three films.

Currently, I am learning DJ-ing. I believe it will help me in my career. Right now, I am following David Guetta’s music and my room is adorned with his posters. I wish to introduce his kind of music in India.

Being versatile
I can play around 10 music instruments — guitar, piano, drums, pianika, harmonica, tabla, dholak, congo, bongo, flute and violin. But I like the guitar the most. Holding one looks stylish, too.

Juggling studies
Since music keeps me busy, studies (he is doing his B.Com in an Indore college) take a backseat. I cannot go to college so I study however little I can while travelling. Thankfully, my principal, teachers and classmates have been very supportive; they provide me online notes and course material. But, I’m not studious. I scored 79 per cent in my class XII boards.

Chilling out
During the weekends I watch films with my friends. I also play cricket and football with them. They suggested me that I introduce dubstep (an electronic dance form of music) in Bollywood and I have tried that in Amit Sahni Ki List. They are also quite curious about my experiences in the industry and also want to start earning at a young age.

There is a great pool of talented singers in India but not everyone gets a platform to make it big. I want to tap that potential. I feel I have a responsibility towards them. Everybody should have the opportunity to live their dream, like I am doing now. The key is to never give up.

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