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Updated: May 18, 2012 18:39 IST

The Saturday Interview — Desi boys are back

HARSHIKAA UDASI
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Tuning in.... Anand-Milind. Photo: Special Arrangement
Tuning in.... Anand-Milind. Photo: Special Arrangement

Rewind to Bollywood of the 1980s and 1990s, and two names you can't ignore are Anand-Milind. In the circuit after a sabbatical, the music duo say their upcoming work will continue to bear their stamp

When an iconic song such as ‘Papa Kehte Hain' is part of your repertoire, expectations are sky high. Such was the case of music composers Anand Srivastav and Milind Srivastav (sons of the 1960s music composer Chitragupta), who were names to reckon with through the 1980s and 1990s. They seldom let their listeners down. They were the ones to look to dial when a new star was being launched, and the siblings created record-breaking music for the first-timers' debutant's films. Right from Aamir Khan-Juhi Chawla (“Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak”) and Salman Khan-Nagma (“Baaghi”) to Akshay Kumar (“Saugandh”) and Karisma Kapoor (“Prem Qaidi”), the stars have a lot to thank this composer duo for.

Anand-Milind's signature style has largely been Indian melodies and folk music. They have had close associations with lyricist Sameer, given Madhuri Dixit some of her best dance numbers (‘Channe ke khet mein', ‘Dum duma dum', ‘Kolhapur se aayi hoon' and ‘Dhak dhak karne laga', among others) and been an asset to the David Dhawan-Govinda combo too. In spite of this, the composer duo phased out of the Bollywood scene around the turn of the Ccentury.

Now, the a film called “Yeh Khula Aasman” (releasing May 25) is bringing them back into the reckoning. Dealing with the sensitive issues of children in a stressful education system and of the increasing schism between parents and their kids, the film has given the duo the scope that they were looking for. Kunal Ganjawala's rendition of the theme song, ‘Har Ghadi', is already climbing up the popularity charts, and the brothers are excited with the reaffirmation in their talent. Excerpts from an interview.

What were the reasons behind your exit from the industry?

Milind: Many. One of the biggest was that producers started taking multiple music composers for a single film and we weren't happy with this concept. Now we are open to it. Also, producers who preferred making films with us, stopped making films altogether. Moreover, newer filmmakers and newer composers came into the market.

How much has the industry changed since your exit?

Anand: Every three to five years, the flavour of music is bound to change. But technology has advanced without being put to good use. A good song is made of two parts: good melody and good writing. Nowadays, composers select the loops first and then fit the baseline. Ten days later, they inject the melody. This is a reverse process!

‘Yeh Khula Aasman' (YKA) is a sensitive film. Was designing the music for it a challenge in today's fast-paced music world?

Anand: We enjoyed composing music for ‘YKA'. We used to get narrations for gangster films where the directors would have no clue about where to ‘fit' the songs. In fact, we recently had a subject discussion with a director who plainly told us that we needed to compose a one-and-a-half-minute song which he ‘might' use as an item number! When Gitanjali Sinha (director of ‘YKA') came to us with this subject, we realised the story had scope for music. We have composed six tracks for it, and each has a unique setting ranging from romance to a lullaby. She had just one instruction: ‘I don't want anything orchestrated, leave aside what anybody says about the music sounding old'. We were impressed.

‘YKA' happened to you after nine years without anything interesting in between. How different was the experience?

Milind: We were excited to compose for ‘YKA'. There are no forced songs in it. What usually happens is that if one ‘Munni badnaam hui' gets popular, every producer wants a replica. But what they don't realise is that a milestone is a milestone. If repeated, it loses its flavour. Gitanjali was very open to fresh concepts. She never said no to the lullaby saying it's not commercial. I had complete satisfaction while composing for ‘YKA' as much as for a ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak', a ‘Dil' or an ‘Anaari'.

Would you agree that a not-so-commercial film will impact the reach of your music?

Milind: I believe good cinema gets good audiences. Yes, times have changed and the biggest change is that publicity is required for everything. Getting it across to the audience is a huge task and we hope the maximum number of people listen to our songs.

Are you open to the idea of composing for commercial cinema too?

Anand: Of course, we are. We hope to impress our listeners with music that bears our stamp. We have straddled all genres successfully.

Which are the names that have impressed you with their musical skills?

Anand: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Pritam.

Milind: Lyricists Amitabh Bhattacharya and Irshad Kamil.

@Ayan:
You've made the right point. Nobody with talent likes to copy songs in total...A-M had to do it or get kicked out...which was the fact. Even ARR lifts tunes and melodies and presents them with no alteration...and generally escapes criticism by getting "inspired" by so many songs all at once! Yet these are all very talented composers...so nobody really cares if they lift a tune here or there. A-M's best efforts were stupendous (Sangeet for instance) and without blemish. We all love them for their great contributions...and listen to their songs even now.

from:  Zeinab
Posted on: May 24, 2012 at 23:12 IST

Its not good if you just see where were they inspired from others... You should also see how many people they inspired..... I am one of those...

from:  Himanshu Joshi
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 15:41 IST

Hariharan, The way you have used the term "they used", it seems that it was told to you that it was their own brain child to work on certain south indian numbers which is in fact not the case at all. You might be aware of any thing, everything related to an Illyaraja or an ARR but there are some facts about Anand-Milind, which you people need to make it straight rather than pondering upon the same old myth that they made a living out of those. It was AM's misfortune that they were part of most of the remakes of sounth indian films which were happening those days. The most astonishing fact is that most of the producers, directors were from South only. Now who stopped these film makers to use the original composers instead of AM? It was all these makers, the audio companies who always wanted them to rework on these regional titles. When it came to Beta, it was told to them that "Do it or leave it". It was always the audio companies, film makers who have dictated these terms.

from:  Ayan
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 16:14 IST

Just one correction - the song "dhak dhak karne laga" - was not an Anand-Milind original - they used Ilayaraja's tune for the Telugu film song "Abbani teeyani debba". Infact, they have used quite a few of Ilayaraja tunes in their movies.

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 08:07 IST
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