Sanchit Balhara: Spent sleepless nights finding authentic tunes

Feb 13, 2018, 11:04 IST | Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari

Sanchit Balhara discusses working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Padmaavat's background score

Sanchit Balhara
Sanchit Balhara

Like he does for a gamut of other creative aspects, Sanjay Leela Bhansali also likes to take charge of the composition of his films' soundtracks. Yet, the man he turns to for the creation of his larger-than-life projects' background scores is Sanchit Balhara. The Rohtak-born musician has worked with Bhansali on his last three projects -- Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat. The first marked his debut in Bollywood.

Deepika Padukone in Padmaavat
Deepika Padukone in Padmaavat

"When you get to debut with a legend like Sanjay sir, you gain confidence," says Balhara, dismissing suggestion that working with the filmmaker can be stressful. "Instead of calling the task demanding, I choose to look at it as a challenge -- the challenge of living up to the expectations of one of the greatest directors of the industry."

Working on the background score of Padmaavat wasn't easy, Balhara tells mid-day. "Since Bajirao Mastani was also a period epic, making the score of Padmaavat sound distinct was the greatest test. Also, given that the film is set in the 13th century, and India had limited technical advancement before the 17th century, I had limited options to explore while maintaining authenticity."

Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Sanjay Leela Bhansali

His love for folk music helped him crack the formula. "It was important to use folk music because we had to represent specific cultures. Since the Khiljis travelled across Turkey, Afghanistan and Delhi, I spent sleepless nights trying to find an authentic middle-eastern tune. I blended the Turkish, Iranian and Afghani music to portray their culture. To depict the Rajput culture, I played with instruments like Sindhi sarangi, murli, narh and the algoza," says Balhara, adding that Bhansali's inputs helped him with the score. "I could discuss instrumentation and arrangement, something that a musician can rarely do with other directors."

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