Pritam: Must work on many projects at one time

Updated: Oct 08, 2019, 15:35 IST | Sonia Lulla

Juggling a sports film, a superhero fantasy and a drama can be daunting. But The Sky Is Pink composer Pritam tells us it's the only way he can work

Pritam Chakraborty
Pritam Chakraborty

Even though it is the story — inspired by actual events — that's the biggest draw of The Sky Is Pink, composer Pritam Chakraborty has managed to keep cinephiles further invested in the film owing to his score. In an interview with mid-day, he discusses what went behind composing for the Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Aktar-starrer, and juggling multiple films.

When you have the biggest production houses wanting you on board, what are the parameters you consider before taking up a project?
Generally, I have two ways to decide whether I want to take it up. The first is if I want to collaborate again with friends whom I have associated with in the past. The other is the script. If the script is exciting, [I] look forward to working on it. In the case of The Sky Is Pink, I had heard very little of the story, initially. When Shonali [Bose, director] approached me, I turned her down because [my diary was] choc-a-block. But, when I heard the story of Aisha [Chaudhary], and saw the way Shonali spoke of the film, I felt for the family. Doing this was an emotional [decision].

While Gulabi Sky and Dil hi toh hai have released, can you take us through the other songs in the film and the genres you've explored?
[Much like viewers] I also thought that the film would offer many opportunities to create emotional songs. But there aren't many. There's one song called Zindagi, which is my favourite. The others are feel-good [songs]. Dil hi toh hai is a celebration of love. Gulabi sky is [a play on] the film's title. Nadaniya celebrates Aisha's emotions. I thought there would be more emotional numbers, but Shonali wanted to cut through the heavy emotions with [a] brighter [palette].
Also, collaborating with Gulzar sa'ab [was fantastic]. Every moment is a fan moment when working with him. I'm always in awe.

You have mammoth projects like Brahmastra and '83 in the pipeline. Do you work on them simultaneously?
I don't like to work on one project at a time because I can't sit on one thing constantly. I have a [limited span of] attention, which helps me, in a way, because I can take up multiple projects. I can easily move in and out of the sound zones that I allot to different scripts. If I don't juggle projects, I get bored. I usually devote no longer than two days for one song. After I finish one track, I'll move on to another, from another film. Also, I am very moody. I won't do something if I'm not enjoying it in that moment. The job is difficult. The projects I do are varied and I must keep each soundtrack [suited] to the script. Even if two films that I'm simultaneously working on release together, they should sound different, like it was in the case of Jagga [Jasoos] and Harry Met Sejal, or Barfi and Cocktail.

Is there a soundtrack from your recent releases that has stayed with you?
Jagga Jasoos. I don't think I've worked as much on any project as I did on it. Generally, projects that do well don't remain a favourite. See, you are likely to focus your attention on a person who is talented, but still under-performs [laughs]. I wish it [Jagga Jasoos] had done better. Then, there are songs from [well-performing] films, that [go unnoticed]. There's Ghar, from Harry Met Sejal. It's close to my heart, but didn't do very well. It was also not promoted.

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