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“I live with the script for a long time!”

Singer-composer Mannan Shaah, in conversation with Bhavi Gathani, reminisces about the journey of composing music for Namaste England and his approach to the songs

The music composer of action films Commando: A One Man Army and Commando 2: The Black Money Trail, Mannan Shaah now enters the romantic genre with the film Namaste England. Taking us through his journey for the film, the singer-composer says, “Four years ago, when I was working on the first installment of Commando, we were supposed to use two songs of that film in Namaste England. But when I played them to the director of Commando, Dilip Ghosh, he loved them. They were Saawan bairi and Lutt jawaan. Since Dilipji liked those songs, we went ahead and used them for Commando. Vipulji (Shah) was gracious enough to give them to us. Later, in 2016, I started working afresh on two other compositions that Vipulji liked. I started sitting in on script narrations and also read the script four to five times. Designing situations for the songs was easy, yet very challenging. It’s all thanks to Vipuilji that I got this stage to show off my abilities and my musical talent.”

Speaking about how he approaches his songs, Shaah reveals, “I am more of a script-based music composer. I like to live with the script for a very long time so that I can give my 200 per cent to it. Ultimately each and every nuance is also very important. Small moments make the song. You need to understand the narrative with accuracy and clarity so that you can deliver songs accordingly.”

On the inevitable comparison between the music of Namaste England with Namastey London, the musician says, “In terms of the script, Namaste England is different from the first part. Though it belongs to the same series, it’s not a sequel. It has a separate story altogether. This is a completely new story about a new couple. The first film was mainly shot in London, about 70 per cent and the rest was shot in Punjab. Here the film is shot not just in Punjab but it also travels to different locations. The couple travels from Dhaka to Paris. From there they go to Brazil and then to London. There is a long journey.”

He adds, “Apart from the locations, this time we have more of Punjab in the film. So there is a strong Indian element that is involved. I have used both Indian as well as western elements - Indian classical music and underground UK music are explored. It’s more versatile; the previous film had a select few genres, while this one has five to six genres together.”

Shaah reveals that post his work in Namaste England, he has Commando 3 in the pipeline. He also mentioned working on another film for which he is doing the whole soundtrack. Details about the same are expected to be announced soon.

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