When did you start working on the music of Shivaay?
About a year-and-a-half ago, I got a call from Ajay Devgn. When I met him, all he said was that he was making a very intense film and one that was very high on emotion. He wanted to work with me because he felt that I was a musician who conveyed a lot of emotion through my music. We met again, and I told him I would really like to score the music of this film. That’s how it began.
What was your first meeting with Ajay Devgn like?
My first meeting with Ajay was very smooth. He is a man of few words. I too don’t talk very much. It took off smoothly because he was clear about what he wanted and why he wanted to work with me. He gives you a lot of space and does not intimidate with his aura. Also, he is a very good listener and comes up with ideas.
I got a positive vibe in the first meeting itself. The good thing was he gave me a lot of time. It wasn’t a last-minute decision. There was a lot of pre-production time and I take time to make music, so this really worked in my favour.
Since the music of this film is different, were you given a specific brief for the title track, Bolo har har har?
The brief for the title track was one of the most unique briefs I have ever been given! Anyone who listens to the song will swear that it’s miles away from what I am known for. Ajay Devgn wanted to draw me out of my comfort zone.
He pushed me to do something I have never done before. At the same time, he believed that I could do this. Obviously, he inspired me a lot. The character he is playing, of Shivaay, is inspired by the characteristics of Shiva. With the narration sessions we had, he set the mood for me, of what kind of character he is, how impulsive he is, how genuine he is with his daughter, how caring and soft he can be, and how he can transform when his family is at stake.
All these characteristics had to be conveyed through the song. We kept in mind the energy that Shiva represents. One important thing is that we didn’t want to restrict it to one culture or religion. Its more about a jaazba and zeal. That’s what the song is all about.
There is a lot of trance in the music. Was that an attempt to attract youngsters as they are into that genre of music?
I never do anything deliberately. It should always be natural. I have always seen music from an organic perspective, as in, I do what the song needs and not what the listener needs. Whatever was done was done for the song, keeping in mind the space of the film.
Certainly, Ajay wanted a global sound for the soundtrack, and we spent time doing some research for the production quality. I tried to create that hybrid using traditional Indian sounds and merging them with dub step elements. I just let my music breathe and do whatever I think is the best for the music.
The song comprises high-pitched singing, shloks and rap. Was it difficult to merge these elements?
It was very interesting and a rare opportunity to do something like this. I would like to give credit to Ajay Devgn, who gave me that freedom. There were no restrictions ki mujhe aisa he karna hai, or I had to follow a particular pattern. I was allowed to experiment and that’s how I hit upon the idea of bringing in the shloks. We have put together different genres of music that convey the same thought.
So, for instance, the shlok Yaksha swaroopaya jatta dharaya describes the personality of Shiva and Mohit Chauhan says, ‘Aag bahe teri rag mein, Tujhsa kahaan jag mein.’ So different genres celebrate the same theme. That makes the song universal for me.