The Bhatts are known to use cross-border talents to churn out hit songs in their movies. And Jiya dhadak dhadak jaye from Kalyug is yet another testimony to that.
The composers of the track, Faisal Rafi and Rohail Hyatt, run a music production company called Fried Junkies in Karachi, Pakistan. They compose film music, produce songs and also manage artists like Jiya dhadak singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan -- the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's nephew -- and Ustaad Saami.
The Fried Junkies have composed many a jingle in Pakistan, for biggies like Pepsi, Coke, Nestle, Lever Brothers, Citibank, etc. Faisal, a drummer, has been in the music business for over 10 years. Rohail founded the famous Pakistani pop band Vital Signs.
In fact, Jiya dhadak dhadak jaye was part of Rahat's yet unreleased album, being produced by the Fried Junkies.
Faisal is a very good friend of the Mahesh Bhatt family. That turned into a professional equation for Kalyug. Co-composer of the by-now-rocking track, Faisal speaks about the making of the song and his association with the Bhatts.
Did you have any reservations about releasing the Jiya dhadak dhadak jaye song before the album?
Rohail and I normally don't like giving out songs to films before an album's release. But [Mahesh] Bhatt saab really liked the song. And he has a keen ear for music.
Does your hesitation about films stem from your being left out of the credits of Paap?
That was certainly a disheartening experience. Man ki lagan was a beautiful song, and we were surprised to see Anu Malik credited as the music director. But Pooja Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt are two different entities. In hindsight, I guess it's ok. Paap was in 2003; [when] the relations between India and Pakistan were not that good. Maybe Pooja felt the need to use the name of a famous Indian music director to sell the music.
It was interesting to hear the flute in a romantic song like Jiya dhadak.
True, a flute is normally not associated with romantic songs. There's a technical reason behind the flute. Jiya dhadak is based on the Pahadi raga, and the tabla and flute are normally used in northern Punjab, where the raga originates. Still, we were unsure. We tried a lot of instruments, including the violin, but the flute sounded perfect. Incidentally, the flautist for the song is the very talented Ustad Shaukhat Ali's son.
You use sparse instrumentation in your compositions.
We apply the formula of sticking to the melody. Man ki lagan was recorded using only four instruments. For Jiya dhadak, we recorded in a room with two percussionists, one flautist, one guitarist and one bassist, with Rahat singing.
Film music, both in India and Pakistan, typically tries to sell the 'grand sound' using a 40-piece orchestra. We believe that less is more; in fact keeping it simple requires more intelligence and talent.
Why did you insist on recording the song in Pakistan?
That's because we have our own studio and that would allow us undivided concentration without having to worry about time or financial limits. Plus, I felt that the style of the musicians there [in Pakistan] suited the melody. I knew in Pakistan, we would be more in control. Such music cannot be created if you're limited by time and practicalities.
Do you bother about a film's premise and where your song will be placed?
We research details intricately. This is another reason why we shy away from most films -- there is little control over how the song will be used and its picturisation. We have to be careful. Even Nusrat saab had to face threats in Pakistan because of the Afreen afreen music video with Lisa Ray. Since we know the Bhatts well, we know they'll honour our opinions as well.But the Bhatts are known for their controversial subjects
Yes, but Kalyug sends out a strong social message. There have been similar incidents in Pakistan, where innocent people have been made victims. There was a lot of controversy about this a few months back. In fact, like in the film, an innocent victim committed suicide. The film sends out a social message that we support.Have any other Bollywood directors approached you?
Yes, many. Mahesh Manjrekar too approached us, but we refused. He wanted a few disco and remix songs, which is not up our alley. Our songs are more classical and qawali based.
Do you thing music is bringing India and Pakistan closer?
As long as millions like and accept your music, it doesn't matter what five negative people have to say. Now, even the gates of the LoC [Line of Control] have been opened. From here on, there's no turning back.How do you feel about our music facing an overwhelming Western influence?
It is surprising. Countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have a musical heritage dating back thousands of years. And I think songs like Jiya dhadak prove that a commercially viable song can be created within a classical structure.