The latest duo in showbiz has been thick friends ever since they came together to work on the music of plays and jingles a decade back and also assisted first Rajesh Roshan and then Pritam. They may be contemporary youngsters, but they have come up the classic film composer way, being arrangers and programmers after a base in music with formal training and doing music shows before taking the plunge. And so it is no coincidence that like the old school they prefer composing the complete film, that is, songs and background music both, for a film they take up.
Unhurried about their professional ascent, the two Gujarati youngsters have been rewarded for their focus on quality and hard work with choice assignments: the just-released ABCD – Any Body Can Dance, Tips Films' Jayanta Bhai Ki Luv Story, Tips Films' Ramaiya Vastavaiyya directed by Prabhudheva, Maneesh Band Baaja Baaraat Sharma's next for Yash Raj Films, Saif Ali Khan's Go Goa Gone directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. and a special song in Sajid Khan's Himmatwala.
On a conference call (Jigar, just married to lyricist-singer Priya Panchaal, is on a pilgrimage) the duo gives insights into their musical journey. Excerpts from an interview:
ABCD – Any Body Can Dance is your second film with Remo D' Souza. How different was it from working on F.A.L.T.U. , when both of you had still to make a mark?
Jigar: Remo-sir removed all pressures from us by simply stating, 'We cannot do the music of F.A.L.T.U. again.'
Sachin: Actually, Remo-sir asked us for the vocal track of 'Saibo' and called us a few days later to listen to how he had mixed it with some Western dance music number and made it very danceable. The message he gave us was that a good danceable number need not have fast tempos and grooves, need not be a Punjabi folk-based number and could even be a soft melody played on a piano or tambourine!
Jigar: He added that they needed artistic songs, that the film was to have dance interwoven sensibly into hero Prabhu Dheva-sir's story, and the film was absolutely rooted – in a middle-class area of South Mumbai. 'The element and the heart are Indian,' he told us. The film's message is that there was a dancer in every one of us. Remo was clear that the dance numbers should not be irrelevant items and was confident that his film would grow by word-of-mouth.
Jigar: Yes, the album has nine songs, but we added some songs later into the background score needed words. We need to be convinced about when songs need to be used, and this time we had to convince Remo-sir the other way too!
The music of both your recent films, ABCD and Jayanta Bhai Ki Luv Story has seen limited and late release on physical CDs. And F.A.L.T.U. was the first to have an exclusive Digital Release. Your comments?
Sachin: We know that physical sales are down, but we are disturbed all the same by this trend because downloads in the MP3 format simply cannot match the fidelity of what we have recorded and the amount of hard work we have put into the production.
Starting with our parents, who do not want to download music even though we have Wi-Fi at home, so many people do want a CD in their hands.
Jigar: Sachin is right. You know, we record with 16 bits, but in the MP3 format, the sound is not even half of that! The case of F.A.L.T.U. was completely different. The sound reproduction there was immaculate. Vashu (Bhagnani, the producer)-sir had tied up with a company to produce Wave tracks with the highest possible bit rate.
Of late, you have been composing piecemeal too, with one track each in Himmatwala, OMG – Oh My God! , two in I Me Aur Main and you even arranged a song in Ajab Gazabb Love.
Sachin: Jackky wanted us to arrange the song in Ajab Gazabb Love as it was a folk number. We are open to programming songs by others even today if someone really wants us. Yes, we have done one or two songs when someone has requested us. In OMG!…, the case was simple: we had composed the music for the play on which it was based, and we made 'Hari Bol', the Hindi version of the Gujarati song that was there in the same situation in the original.
Jigar: The song for Himmatwala was a tune of ours that Sajid Khan-sir had heard from those lying with Vashu-ji. Sajid-sir had already thought of the hook that fitted the meter, 'Thank God, It's Friday', and tweaked the rest of the song. We took permission for Sajid-Wajid though – they actually encouraged us and said that this would be a major break. They had signed a contract for four songs that had been done in any case.
A song is made or marred by the casting of the singer. Do you face interference there?
If corporate companies are involved, there are no issues. But individual producers do have favourites and we try and fit them in. But yes, there are times when we have to stand our ground even if we are not in the big league. The singer is very important! Every singer, and for that matter all of us composers, have specific strengths and limitations and one must keep them in mind.
From a film starring Prabhudheva you are now working with him as a director too.
Jigar: Prabhu-sir is looking into every musical and vocal note and the lyrics. It's a project he is emotional about as it is the remake of, Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, his debut film as director. He's just superb! On the other hand, when ABCD was being made, he was professional enough never to come as he was not the film's director!
Yash Raj Films is an early conquest for you.
Sachin: We are very excited about the Yash Raj film. With Adi-sir (Aditya Chopra), we thought that he will want the most commercial music we have ever done, but he is so open-minded that we have ended up composing our most experimental score!
How do you view technology in music today?
Jigar: We see it as a boon, right from the software employed to give our filmmaker a very close idea of the final song. Technology allows us to experiment and new talents to make a mark as music directors. Speaking for us, the need for technological upgrades eats away most of our remunerations but we do not mind that and will not change things in any way!
Sachin: Having said that, at the end of it all one has to go back to acoustics or live musicians. The same notes on the same guitar will have a completely different feel from different musicians.
Jigar, this question is for you: a lyricist as your wife is a very unusual situation for a composer. How will this affect the casting of a songwriter?
Jigar: Priya has been a team member with us for a long while now, because she is also a singer and a musician and our bouncing board for tunes, singers, arrangements and obviously lyrics even when she has not written them. We have worked with Mayur Puri in ABCD and the two films with Tips, Amitabh Bhattacharya in Go Goa Gone and now Jaideep Sahni in the YRF film. So it is not that Priya will come into every film?
Sachin: Shall I tell you something interesting? Priya's parents and Jigar's parents were simultaneously looking for matches for them and there was a joke that it was a race between Priya and Jigar about who would get hitched first as nothing was happening for a good while. One day, when the topic came up, I spontaneously asked, "Why don't you consider each other?" Of course, a long awkward silence followed! But everyone was glad that it all worked out!