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Inkaar's Other Corporate Connection

Last updated on: February 8, 2013 12:10 IST

Inkaar's Other Corporate Connection

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A Ganesh Nadar in Mumbai

'The easiest recording experiences have been with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle...'

'They ensure that the atmosphere in the studio is light, not just for me, but even my team of musicians, who may want to make a correction or express a critical point of view and are free to do so...'

'And they obey as a new singer would.'

Composer Shamir Tandon charts out the milestones in his Bollywood journey.

The backdrop of Sudhir Mishra's recently released Inkaar isn't its only corporate connection.

Shamir Tandon, who composed the song Lavj in Inkaar, is a former CEO of Virgin Music India.

Tandon has composed the music for four Madhur Bhandarkar films -- Page 3, Traffic Signal, Corporate and Jail -- and also collaborated with legends Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle and Jagjit Singh.

In this interview with Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar, he travels down his musical journey in Bollywood.

What do you make of this trend of having several music directors working on one film?

I am personally very uncomfortable with this format, given that all my earlier films were as an independent composer.

It's important to have one music director throughout, who understands the fabric of the film and delivers the requirement of the producer/director.

This probably happens because some songs are generic. Love songs and item numbers are independent of the film and can fit in any scenario.

Given a choice, I would personally stick to doing only solo films, but we have to acclimatise ourselves to changing times.

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Image: A scene from Inkaar. Inset: Shamir Tandon


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'The easiest recordings have been with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle'

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TTell us about your experience of working with Manna De and Jagjit Singh.

I am extremely blessed to be the only composer of this generation to have such legends sing for me.

Manna De was 86 when I worked with him, but his voice was surprisingly in good shape.

It was very difficult to convince him, but when he heard the melody and the fact that his voice was being picturised on old men in the film, he understood my point and agreed to lend his voice.

He rehearsed the song in advance, came to the studio before time and sang the full song in one go.

His contribution to the song was not just as a vocalist; he made valid suggestions which helped us improve the song.

Similarly, with Jagjit Singh, he lived the song for a few days, rehearsed it with me, gave valuable inputs and delivered the song in one go.

He also made me feel extremely comfortable, asked me to correct him and ensured that I got what I wanted.

Was it intimidating to make Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle sing?

Surprisingly, the easiest recording experiences have been with the two sisters.

Whenever they come for a recording, they bring steaming hot food for us, and make the atmosphere extremely friendly. They have made me a part of the Mangeshkar family.

They ensure that the atmosphere in the studio is light, not just for me, but even my team of musicians, who may want to make a correction or express a critical point of view and are free to do so.

And they obey as a new singer would.

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Image: Shamir Tandon, right, with Lata Mangeshkar.


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'If talent is genuine, it finds its way'

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How different is the corporate world from the film world?

Not different anymore. The entertainment industry in the past decade has seen a sea-change. There has been corporatisation in the working culture.

Thorough professionals have come into the business and a film is looked at as a project put on an Excel sheet and watched very meticulously, keeping room for creativity.

How do you deal with young singers who come to you for a break?

New talent is always welcome. We are in good times where there are no entry barriers in the entertainment industry.

If talent is genuine, it finds its way. I have worked very closely with a lot of new singers.

My only concern is that sometimes some of them need a little more focus in terms of technicalities of playback singing and expression.

While A R Rahman always experiments with new singers, you have used known names. Why is that?

I do work with the new lot. In fact, in my debut film Page 3, I gave a break to Shabab Sabri in the song Yahaan Zindagi Ek Alag Zindagi Hai. Shabab now sings for most Salman Khan films.

In Traffic Signal, I got Yogita from Maharashtra to sing a romantic song.

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Image: Shamir Tandon, left, with Jagjit Singh.


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'As long as technology is used in the right manner, it's an advantage'

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Has technology killed original talent? Now anyone can be made to sound good.

As long as technology is used in the right manner, it is an advantage. Using gadgets to turn non-singers into vocalists doesn't last forever. Only genuine talent sustains.

Being from the corporate world, have you thought of making your own movie?

For now, music is my focus.

Indian music directors have often been accused of stealing tunes from international musicians, but never the other way around. How come?

Since I have never done it, I wouldn't like to comment on it.

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Image: Shamir Tandon, right, with Manna Dey.

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'It is very difficult to predict the next decade'

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Have you written your own songs?

I've co-written a song with Brett Lee on the album Asha and Friends. But that was just a one-off thing.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In the unpredictable era that we are in, it is very difficult to predict the next decade.

I would certainly like to explore musical opportunities in commercial films, continue my collaborations with artists from the West, do non-film albums with vocalists who inspire me, and create a mixed repertoire, some of it driven by market forces and some of which comes straight from my heart.


Image: Shamir Tandon

Tags: Brett Lee

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