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No Child’s Play

Vishal Khurana, the music composer of Pihu, talks to Padma Iyer about making the music of this experimental thriller, the process he followed and the challenges he faced

Vishal Khurana made his debut as composer with the Sonam Kapoor-starrer Neerja. And it was his work in this film that led director Vinod Kapri to approach him for Pihu.

Pihu is not your average film and making music for such a movie was a challenge. Asked about his first impression of the film and its concept, Khurana says, “He (Vinod Kapri) first asked me to watch the film, which was largely edited by then. He had briefed me over the phone, that it was about a two-year-old who is trapped in the house. It seemed like a very interesting concept, almost like an impossible concept to achieve. So I thought this film was an opportunity to make an interesting soundtrack.”

In Pihu, there are portions that have no background music at all. Asked about how he had taken that call, he said, “The decision was taken after discussing it with the director. We have discussions but before that, I create themes. After I saw the film, I worked on the music for three weeks. I made six to seven themes. I played them to Vinodji and sought his opinion before I started scoring the film.”

The music in thrillers is usually dramatic and sometimes even over-the-top. But what makes the music of Pihu stand out is the calmness of the track. Asked if this was a conscious decision, to make the music calming with an Indian feel, Khurana reveals, “The film has its jump-scare moments and I did not want the music to ride on top of that. That is why I decided to have emotional themes rather than scary sounds. The Indianness in the music is because of the ragas that have been used. But the instruments are primarily of non-Indian origin – charango, guitar and piano. The flute is probably the only Indian instrument used,” he says.

Khurana is full of praise for Kapri and Siddharth Roy Kapur, the producer. “I took almost two months to score the film. I told them I would take the time I needed. They did not interfere with my work and were very supportive.”

Talking about his future projects, he mentions 5 Rupaiya directed by Piyush Panjuani, which stars Shabana Azmi. “I have done the background score as well as the songs. Javed Akhtar has done the lyrics. And, of course, there is my advertising work as well.”

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