May 04 2016

Interview: Himeshji talks about Salman bhai and making music

Published by at 12:31 am under HR Interviews


As much as he may wish well for his heroines, fact is that as an actor Himesh himself hasn’t been able to create a buzz. Tell him that and he counters by saying that the perception has changed after Anant Mahadevan’s thriller The Xpose. “The film did well because my films are made within budget and have a set recovery with the music,” he explains. He reveals that a sequel is in the pipeline. His next acting venture includes Vishal Mishra’s Heeriye.

If as an actor he’s trying new things, he admits that as a composer he doesn’t have the guts to experiment. He agrees he has to let go of his insecurity. He mentions he did experiment once with Banaras: A Mystic Love Story. Critics loved it. But that’s the only flop of his career. Ask him if that means he will only cater to the masses and he argues, “Main jahan rahoon isn’t massy. Aashiq Banaya Aapne won me the Filmfare Award for Best Playback Singer.” He reveals there is a lot of money riding on brand Himesh Reshammiya. He has composed for 120 films and has 650 songs to his credit and that he says is a huge benchmark to live up to.

He owes his journey as a composer to Salman Khan. When he was 16, his father signed Salman Khan as an actor. That film never happened. Salman promised to give him a break after listening to the songs that he had composed for the film. He kept his promise with Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya (1998). Himesh went on to compose for other Salman starrers like Hello Brother, Bodyguard, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa and Tere Naam. The title track of Salman’s recent Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (PRDP) last year won young singer Palak Muchhal many awards. Says he, “Salman is like my elder brother. He also has a great sense of music. He’s a fine human being. I can’t describe how generous he is. He has been a guiding force. I value his advice.”

He’s choosy about the films he signs as a composer and says after many years at the top he doesn’t care about the rat race anymore. He composed for just two films last year – PRDP and Sanam Teri Kasam (STK). Unlike PRDP, STK was a small film with a new director and new actors. He signed the movie only to test if his music would work in a movie like that. Thankfully for him, Kheech meri photo and the title track did well. Ask him to name new talents in the business and he says he likes Arijit Singh, Amaal and Armaan Malik. “I’ve worked with Badshah in the song Teri yaad (Teraa Surroor) and with Yo Yo Honey Singh in The Xpose.” Himesh’s known to give breaks to newcomers. He’s launched singers like Palak Muchhal, Darshan Raval, Aman Trikha, Vineet Singh, Akasa Singh. “I like to reinvent my music by collaborating with new voices,” he reasons. He reveals that this stance of promoting new talent has come from Salim Khan. “Salim saab says you need to give back to the industry. He, as a writer, had promoted Amitabh Bachchan saab. Salman Khan has always promoted new talent including me.”

Himesh handpicks his singers keeping in mind the composition. Also, he doesn’t believe in singing all the songs he composes even when he enjoys a carte blanche over it. He didn’t sing Bekhudi and Main woh chaand in Teraa Surroor but sang Teri yaad from the same film. He considers a singer to be almost the hero of the film and says he’s as important as the composition. “I knew Hookah bar (Khiladi 786), Chalao na nainon se (Bol Bachchan) or the title song Aashiq banaya apne were right for me. A low-pitched Mann ka radio (Radio) was apt too,” he says dismissing his detractors who prefer him as a composer rather than as a singer. He boasts his songs click because the listeners can relate to the feeling inherent in each composition. He reveals he uses a pakki bandish, which he learnt from his father. He says his father was the pioneer behind the use of electronic instruments in the Hindi film industry. “My dad is my hero, my idol. I owe every composition to him. Guru bina gyaan nahi hai.”

In an earlier era, a single composer created an entire movie album but now times have changed. Himesh strangely guns for the change. “Bhushan Kumar is a visionary who took more than one music director in Roy and delivered such fabulous music. It might not be a healthy thing for a composer because you have to share credit with five others. But if I’m the producer of a film I wouldn’t mind that at all.” He doesn’t live in a bubble and believes that every composer or singer has a shelf life. He says earlier, getting a break was difficult. Today what’s difficult is to sustain. He names piracy as the culprit behind the demise of the music industry. “Piracy is killing revenue. That’s why our music industry is not being able to reach the next level,” he opines. Right now, what’s consuming him is the upcoming release of his international album @ Da Edge in 122 countries.

He cautions young composers about being lax and mentions they need to form a bank of tunes in order to survive. He also warns them against getting into an ego tussle with the filmmakers. “I’ve a bank of 300 tunes and I’m going to compose 300 more. I’m prepared that out of that 570 will be rejected. The rest 30 could be liked.” Himesh composes at least one tune a day, which means around 30 tunes a month. He reveals his first song Pyaar kiya toh darna kya was difficult to compose because the phrase was already an iconic track. To take the Mughal-E-Azam tune out of people’s memory and recreate something new was a challenge. He claims his tracks for Namastey London were also ahead of their time. “Same is the case with Sheeshe ki samundar from The Xpose, sung by Rekha Bharadwaj. The critics loved it but the masses remained unaware of it. I’m sure it will be known after five years.”

Article Credits:

Twitter/Facebook: HimeshRcom


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