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The Rediff Interview / Ismail Darbar

'If Sanjay and I work together, history will be created!'

March 10, 2005

Music director Ismail Darbar scored music for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas. His songs topped the music charts, but Darbar was not signed on for Bhansali's forthcoming film, Bajirao Mastani.

In the previous part of this conversation, Darbar felt bitter about the fact that though his music was better than A R Rahman, the latter composer was getting all the international acclaim and bagging awards.

It is obvious that Rahman is not the only one who has incurred Ismail Darbar's wrath.

Darbar tells Contributing Entertainment Correspondent Patcy N why he had a bitter fallout with Bhansali:

Ismail DarbarSanjay Leela Bhansali may have felt I am not capable of giving music for his movies anymore, and that is why he gave Bajirao Mastani to someone else. That is perfectly all right with me. He will realise what Ismail Darbar is!

I know what I am. Even if K Asif were to come to me, I would not be scared. I am not scared to do a Mughal-e-Azam now. I will not even take a second to think how I would do it.

We were friends. I talk in past tense because he is now among the 'was' friends list! And we have ourselves to blame for that. I think God meant for our friendship to last only this long.

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I left 30 movies after Devdas even though people were willing to give me whatever price I demanded. People were crazy about me. But I thought if Sanjay not given me Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas, I wouldn't had got those 30 offers. My loyalties lay with Sanjay because he gave me work when I needed it the most.

Today, I am what I am because of him. He had the guts to take me. He presented my work beautifully. So just because he didn't give me a film doesn't mean he is bakwaas. I got a [high] standard because of him.

The truth is he offered Bajirao Mastani to me and I gave him my dates. All of a sudden Subhashji (Ghai) asked me for the same dates. So I said yes to Subhashji and informed Sanjay about it.

Sanjay was very hurt about this. It would hurt anyone. But I explained to him that he was working on Black, which did not have any songs!

So instead of sitting idle, I wanted to prove myself by working outside Sanjay's banner. Besides, since the Devdas days, Sanjay and I would argue on small issues. Sanjay rekindled his past grudges by telling the media not to interview me. But even after that, our friendship continued.

Sanjay Leela BhansaliHe gave me a film. That was his greatness. Even my (greatness) that we came together. We were to start work on two projects -- Bajirao Mastani and Humari Jaan Ho Tum. The second was a title that I had suggested. I had suggested the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam title (and the film went on to become a hit). He was confident that whatever title I give him will work for the movie.

But since I said yes to Subhashji, there was a clash of egos.

I feel sad because Sanjay could not understand my problem. That is why we were not on talking terms. I feel bad I am not in his next project because I know if Sanjay and I work together, history will be created!

I am not saying his songs won't be popular as he is shaukeen (talented) when it comes to music. But history will not be created.

I am always satisfied with my work Allah maaf kare mein apne samne kissi ko kuch samajhta nahi hoon aur mujhme koi ghamand nahi hai (I don't think I am less than anyone. I am not egotistic). But it is a fact. People think I am egotistic because I let people think anything about me. I don't consider myself to be weaker than anyone. That is my specialty.

My grandfather and my father could not achieve what I have achieved. I have achieved (a lot) at a early age. It is the grace of God. My family background is a big zero. I came from Surat to Mumbai to learn the violin under Ram Prasadji who was Pyarelalji's father.

After six years, I became Ganeshji's (Pyarelal's brother) student for four years. Then I learnt under another teacher for three years. After this, I entered the industry as a musician. My first movie was Qatl, starring Sanjeev Kumar, Sarika and Marc Zuber. The music directors were Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

My first project as a music director was the television serial, Itefaaq, directed by Hanif Sheeba. Then I did an album with Kamal Mukutji. But neither released. My godfather was (singer) Kunal Ganjawala.

I have only small budget movies in my hand now. My greatest wish is to work with Aditya Chopra, Yash Chopra, Karan Johar and Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

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