In a candid interview with Planet Bollywood, the young music director of What’s Your Raashee, Sohail Sen speaks about the making of the music, his views on the industry and his approach at composing.
What’s Your Raashee? releases worldwide on the 25th September 2009.
First of all, do you believe in zodiac signs?
Yes I do.
What was your first reaction when Ashutosh Gowariker offered you the project?
Wow, this is great. It was like a dream come true.
Each song has a distinct tune (except for ‘What’s Your Raashee? - Chehre Jo Dekhe Hain’). How much time was involved to be so precise in creating a new feel for each song?
Hours, days, months, and whole soul into it.
How many of the tunes are from your ‘bank of tunes’? What’s basically your approach at composing; do you prefer to come with fresh tunes all the time?
Well all the tunes were made fresh according to the script. I have a bank of hundreds of tunes but I prefer to make tunes according to the situations given to me by directors.
How was the experience working with Javed Akhtar? Were the lyrics written first or vice-versa?
Javed Akhtar saab himself is a legend and it was was great working with him. It was vice-versa.
Was there any interference in your work during the making of the music? If yes, how did you handle it?
You can say that it was as good and valuable suggestions from Ashutosh sir as he himself is a very musical person and incorporating his ideas while making What’s Your Rashee’s music was fun.
If I tell you, that your voice suits Harman Baweja to the T, and if you receive offers to sing for him, would you go ahead?
Yes, why not but only if I am composing (laughs).
Udit Narayan has been singing in each of Ashutosh Gowariker’s movies, except for Jodhaa-Akbar; from the melodious ‘Dheere Dheere’ in Baazi (1995) for Anu Malik, the catchy ‘O Rey Chhori’ in Lagaan (2001) and the funky ‘Yun Hi Chala Chala’ in Swades (2004) for A.R Rahman. It appears that ‘Sau Janam’ from the soundtrack has been specifically composed to suit his voice. Would you agree?
Udit Narayan ji’s voice was perfect for this song so he sung it very nicely as usual.
Can you tell us about your favorite song in the soundtrack?
All are my creations, so it’s obvious I will like them all.
There are no remixes in What’s Your Raashee, except that ‘Aaja Lehraate’ has some funky beats and an upbeat ‘mukhda’. What are your views on remixes?
Remixes are good but till an extent, they don’t last for long.
You are the fourth generation of the Sen family getting into music. Your father, Sameer Sen from the duo Dilip Sen – Sameer Sen composed some remarkable tunes in Yeh Dillagi, Aaina, and had numerous hits like ‘Pardesiyon De Pooch Pooch’ (Kartavya), ‘Tu Maange Dil’ (Aflatoon) and ‘O Hasina’ (Ziddi). However, the pair never really got their due in the industry. What went wrong?
There are many in this industry who don’t get their due but are liked and loved by the audiences through their work and the same go for them as well.
You earlier sung ‘Tujhpe Fida' in Sirf - Life Looks Greener on the Other Side and you have sung 9 tracks out of 13 in the soundtrack. Since you come from a family where music runs in the blood, did you receive any training in singing before?
Yes we do, from the age of 7 I was trained in all aspects that can help me in creating music.
In Sirf - Life Looks Greener on the Other Side, you shared the credits with Shibani Kashyap. How do you find this arrangement of multiple music directors in a project?
The arrangement for multiple music directors in a project is not that okay.
Your work in Sirf - Life Looks Greener on the Other Side went completely unnoticed. Do you think it’s the marketing or the star value that counts?
Destiny you can say.
The 'antaras' in ‘Sau Janam’, ‘Pyaari Pyaari’, ‘Jao Na’, ‘Bikhri Bikhri’ and ‘Koi Jaana Na’ are a class above. How do you come with such antaras?
Even I don’t know; it just comes out of me when I am composing any songs’ 'antaras'.
On the other hand, you have composed some beautiful interludes, especially in ‘Jao Na’ with the crisp guitar sound. In an era where interludes are being neglected, do you believe that a nice interlude adds value to a song?
Interludes do add richness to a song but defer from song to song.
Our music reviewer has given the soundtrack a rating of 8.5, and the songs have been ruling the PB Top-10 charts since its release. Overall, the reviews have been positive. Do you believe in constructive criticism?
Yes I do. But I think it’s all the work that speaks. At the end of the day we are making music for our audience whether it’s class or mass.
Many of the current music directors have been repeatedly accused of lifting songs, or borrowing a few bars for the ‘mukhda’? What are your views on plagiarism?
I don’t think that at all, as I think everyone is doing great job.
What are your views on the current state of the music industry? Who are your favorites; music directors/singers?
The current state of music industry is good and spreading worldwide. People are loving Indian music and appreciating it worldwide. My favorite music director is first my grandfather Shambhu Sen, then I like Madan Mohan ji and Lata ji. I think a combination of Madan Mohan ji and Lata ji is just perfect.
A lot of live instruments were used like the piano, guitar, saxophone and flute. Do you use any specific software in producing your music?
As per the need of the songs I have used live instruments and nothing specific for software as such. I do use Logic for programming.
At this early stage of your career, you have already worked with one of India’s finest director, a well-known lyricist, both of your released soundtracks are with Sony Music and you have sung an amazing 9 songs in your big break. Can it get bigger than that? What are your plans ahead?
I have just kept my fingers crossed and pray that everyone loves my music. As per now I have not made any plans.
What other projects do you have in hand and have you signed any new projects?
Right now there are talks going on. You will come to know it soon.
It was a pleasure talking to you Sohail. All the best!
Thank you .The pleasure was all mine.
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