This music composer duo, and siblings to boot, is in perfect sync with each other – as they have been for 15 years. With several foot-tapping chartbusters to their credit, Sajid-Wajid speak about Bullett Raja and working with Tigmanshu Dhulia
Wajid: We have known Tishu (Tigmanshu Dhulia) for years and we have always wanted to work with each other. We even did a few sittings with him for one of his projects but things didn’t work out then. One day, I read in the newspaper that Tishu was making a massy, commercial film titled Bullett Raja, and I thought we should work together on this project. Oddly enough, that very day, he called me, saying he wanted to meet us for Bullett Raja.
Sajid: When we met him, we told him we still had the song we had composed for the earlier project. He was thrilled because he loved that song, ‘Don’t touch my body’. We had created it almost seven years ago and now it’s the opening song in Bullett Raja. Then, during the very first sitting, we made him listen to Saamne hai savera, which was locked instantly. I really love his films and I think Bullett Raja is the perfect mix of Tigmanshu and Sajid-Wajid.
You mentioned you were to work with him on a project that didn’t pan out. Which one was that and why didn’t it work out?
Wajid: I don’t remember the film’s name but it was back in 2007-2008. We also wanted to work together on Paan Singh Tomar but the budget of the film was too low.
You have always worked with commercial directors but Tigmanshu is from a very different school of filmmaking. How different was it to work with him and what role did he play in the music of the film?
Wajid: Tishu makes script-oriented films. His scripts are always more important than the performers. But all films hinge on the director’s vision. Tishu is a guitarist himself and he loves music. That helped us create the music for this film. He understands the ascending and descending process of composing but he is always true to his story and doesn’t take liberties. So you compose music according to the demands of the script.
Sajid: He is very clear about what he wants and doesn’t negotiate with his script. There is a song called Satake ke thoko. He came to us with a five-page screenplay and told us, ‘This is the screenplay and I need a song out of it.’ The song takes the story of the film forward.
It’s been 15 years since you started your career and you have seen many composers come and go. What has your experience taught you?
Wajid: Our father always told us ki lambi race ka ghoda bano, short term pe toh bahut kuch aayega, but those who sustain are winners. He said, ‘Over the years, you will experience success and downfall; there will be things to be learnt and always be open to learning new things. Never assume you’re the best.’ We have always followed his words.
Sajid: Also, it’s not about one film or five films; it’s about creating something new till your very last breath. Mashallah, it’s been 15 years and still we have 10 films in hand.
Wajid: I usually compose and Sajid arranges. But sometimes he also composes and I do the arrangements.
What if both of you don’t stick to one note?
Sajid: We argue but these are healthy arguments because all we want is for our product to be the best.
Wajid: I listen to him if something doesn’t suit him because he has very good taste in music. If it’s not working, we can the song and work on a new tune.
While composing a song, do you keep the actor in mind?
Sajid: It’s not the actor but the director who we keep in mind because we are putting sound to his vision. Then comes the script. We need to see where the script belongs; which land; the genre of the film; the situation; and does the script need a loud number or a soulful number.
How particular are you about raagas for the mood of a song? Songs today scarcely include raagas and it’s all about repeating lyrics.
Wajid: We keep everything in mind. The sweetness of a song should come out of every song whether it’s an item song, a romantic song or any other type of song. Every song should have sur. For example, if you have dalda as well as desi ghee, which would you chose? Desi ghee, of course! Similarly, raagas and taal add the same taste to the music of a film when you set it in classical music. Why do we remember old songs? Because they were based on sur and taal, which increases the longevity of the music.
Sajid: Many people blame today’s youth but I would like to clarify something. The youth today don’t like only rock music; they listen to everything. If you pick up someone’s iPod, you will find everything in it, from old Hindi film songs to classical to international music. Today’s youth drive you to make something new and different all the time. India is very rich in music and we have music from so many States. There is space for all kinds of music. It is a challenge to make your song a hit when there is so much to choose from.
Music has made so many films super hits. Do you think composers get due credit?
Wajid: There are many filmmakers who don’t give composers due credit. Among our filmmakers, I think Bhatt saab gives every musician due credit and that’s why every film he delivers is a blockbuster.
Do you think it makes sense to have many composers working on the music of a film?
Wajid: I don’t believe in that because you’re killing the versatility of a composer. If you tell him he has to compose just one song, he might not take the work very seriously. People deliver their best when they are hungry to deliver quality work. Unfortunately, today, filmmakers assume they will get variety by appointing multi-composers but that is not true. If a single composer works on a project, he will be able to stay true to the script.
What’s next from the two of you?
Sajid: We are composing for Jai Ho, Main Tera Hero, Heropanti, Daawat-E-Ishq and Arbaaz Khan’s next project.