'When I was composing Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein. I started the song from Uuf Teri, Dillagi, Dil Ko Jalaane Lagi, Dilruba, Tu Mujhe, Nakharen Dikhaane Lagi...
Ratanji liked it, but I was singing it slowly, as I was trying to make a love song. He asked me to increase the pace and make it snappier.'
'There were 16 bars and rhythm, Kumar Sanu was singing brilliantly, but still I felt it was empty.'
'So I wrote the rap: Main Mila, Tu Mili, Tu Mili, Main Mila, Duniya Jale To Jale. 30 years ago, rap was new in India.'
Baazigar will turn 30 on November 12, and it's a film that made many stars.
Shah Rukh Khan was just starting his career, having made his movie debut just the previous year in 1992.
Kajol, who had also made her debut in 1992, was just one film old.
Shilpa Shetty was making her debut.
Directors Abbas-Mustan had just scored a hit in their first film Khiladi (1992).
Anu Malik had been in the industry for a while but going through a low patch at the time.
The music composer looks back at this film, which got him his first Filmfare award.
Interestingly, he shares his birthday with Shah Rukh, and tells Patcy N/Rediff.com, "We are Scorpios, and there is a mad determination in us, that we have to fight against all odds and come up. If a film doesn't work, we bounce back with the next. I have always done that."
'Baazigar is a very harsh title so I thought, why not make it romantic'
I had no work then, since things were changing, and new composers were coming in.
One day, Ratan Jain, with whom I was working on an album, called me for a function.
He said there was a new boy, he's come from the television series called Fauji and has done a film called Deewana. He said there was something sparkling about him. Also, he said there is a young girl called Kajol, who had done a film called Bekhudi, which had not done well.
He also spoke about director-brothers Abbas-Mustan, who were fresh from the success of Khiladi and were looking for something different to do.
He asked me if I would like to come over and listen to the script.
I was taken aback because I had no work at that time and here was someone who was offering me work.
I was newly married at that time, and had a wife to take care of.
Even though I had done hits films like Ek Jaan Hain Hum and Soni Mahiwal. I had no work.
Manmohanji (Desai, Director) gave me a big film (Mard) but unfortunately, left me for another composer.
This industry is like that -- you are there one moment and not there, the other.
It's very tough industry, and there are many players vying for the same goal.
And you can't even blame anybody.
Mahesh Bhatt did try to give me work with Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee, but people were not warming up to me; the film also didn't do well.
I remember I was at Tulip Star (a hotel in Juhu, north west Mumbai) -- it was called Centaur at that time -- when I was offered Baazigar.
I excused myself from the party, I asked Ratanji 10 times whether I am confirmed for the film.
When he said yes, I scaled a wall and ran down the beach to my house, which was close by, to give the good news to my wife.
While running, I started humming the tune of the title track.
Baazigar is a very harsh title so I thought, why not make it romantic.
I wrote the initial words too, and the very next day, I landed up at Ratanji's office. When I played the tune on my harmonium, he gave me a big hug.
He asked me to keep the words Baazigar O Baazigar as it is.
He didn't expect me to come up with such a brilliant tune, and signed me immediately.
'I won my first Filmfare award'
Abbas-Mustan narrated the script and I found them to be brilliant directors and even more brilliant human beings.
They had prepared a bound script.
Shah Rukh, Kajol and Shilpa (Shetty) were raring to go.
When I was composing Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein. I started the song from Uuf Teri, Dillagi, Dil Ko Jalaane Lagi, Dilruba, Tu Mujhe, Nakharen Dikhaane Lagi...
Ratanji liked it, but I was singing it slowly, as I was trying to make a love song.
He asked me to increase the pace and make it snappier.
When I sang with the actual mukhda, he liked that I added 'tu ruru tu ruru' to it.
This was the first time a song was recorded without orchestral arrangements, it was digitised.
There were 16 bars and rhythm, Kumar Sanu was singing brilliantly, but still I felt it was empty.
So I wrote the rap: Main Mila, Tu Mili, Tu Mili, Main Mila, Duniya Jale To Jale.
The late lyricist Dev Kohlisaab retained those lines, and later I rapped it.
30 years ago, rap was new in India.
I won my first Filmfare award after working for almost 20 years in the industry. Kumar Sanu won the Best Singer for Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein.
I don't know how awards happen. Refugee got me a National Award but not the Filmfare.
Everyone got an award for Border except me. Can you believe that?
Sandese Aate Hain was composed by me. The singers got awards, but not me.
My songs were used for the background score, and the man who did that got an award!
But I don't harbour ill feelings towards anyone.
'People tell me they grew up on my music'
Kitabein Bahut Si was written by the late Zafar Gorakhpuri. Originally, it was for the album that I was going to record for Ratan Jain, it was supposed to be a ghazal sung by Pankaj Udhas.
When we decided to take the song for the film, I made it fast and changed the singers to Vinod Rathod and Asha Bhosle.
Ashaji took the song to a different level, and it became very popular.
Aye Mere Humsafar was sung by Vinod Rathod and Alka Yagnik. According to Vinod, it was my best creation.
Chhupana Bhi Nahi Aata is sung by Vinod Rathod and Pankaj Udhas. There are two versions. The second version by Udhas was only in the album, not in the film, as it did not suit Shah Rukh Khan.
I was impressed with Rani Malik's lyrics, and added a waltz kind of beat.
It's a stage song and I am caught in the camera -- how I looked 30 years back can be seen by everybody even today (laughs).
There were two other songs which were in the album, but not in the film -- Samajh Kar Chand Jis Ko sung by Vinod Rathod and Alka Yagnik, and written by the late Zameer Kazmi. He was a school teacher and came to me with the mukhda, Samajh Kar Chand Jisko, Aasman Ne Dil Mein Rakha Hai, Mere Mehboob Ki Tooti Hui, Chudi Ka Tukda Hai...
It was beautifully written, so I made him write the full song.
The other song not in the album is Tere Chehre Pe sung by Kumar Sanu and Sonali Vajpai.
All the songs were a hit, and withstood the test of time. People tell me they grew up on my music.
'Shah Rukh really made the film believable'
I went on the sets of Baazigar when they were shooting the scene where Shilpa Shetty gets killed.
That's when Shah Rukh, Kajol, Shilpa and I were getting to know each other.
We had two premieres in India, Mumbai and Delhi, and I travelled with them for that.
But Shah Rukh and I became close to each other in London, when we flew together for the premiere.
We have maintained a warm relationship over the years.
I have been fortunate enough to work with him in a number of films like Main Hoon Na, Chahat and Duplicate.
He really made the film believable, the way he formed in Baazigar.
Shah Rukh and Kajol took the songs to another level.
'Shilpa Shetty is a born star'
Shah Rukh is a phenomena. He had set his eyes on the goal where wanted to reach at a young age.
He knew what films he had to do, what kind of subjects he wanted...
He is a very motivated person.
I'm not surprised, as we share the same birthday.
We are Scorpios, and there is a mad determination in us, that we have to fight against all odds and come up.
If a film doesn't work, we bounce back with the next. I have always done that.
Kajol also really proved herself and she is one of the most outstanding actors of the Hindi film industry today.
Shilpa Shetty is a born star in her own way. She wanted to make it big and she did.
Kajol and Shilpa Shetty are around even today.
'Baazigar still lives on'
Abbas Mustan have a tremendous ear for music. If you see my music with them, whether it is Baazigar, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke or Soldier, every song stands out because they worked really hard on the script.
They always came with a bound script, they knew what the characters should say.
If I hummed a song for them and if they got goosebumps, only then would it be in the film.
They are soft-spoken. They do not tom-tom their achievements.
When Shah Rukh and I won the Filmfare awards -- which were held at SNDT Grounds in Juhu (north west Mumbai), we got out of the stadium and went to Bhindi Bazaar (south Mumbai), where Abbas-Mustan resided, and started shouting their names at 3 am! We woke them up and they came down and hugged us.
I have a lot of respect for Abbas-Mustan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and especially Producer Ratan Jain, who give me that break, which was very much needed at the time.
Baazigar still lives on.