At a Versova music recording studio, Annu Mallek (his spelling, not mine) is getting a phone call a minute. At long last, he jabs it on the silent mode, allowing me to ask:
In terms of film music scores, aren’t you in near oblivion?
I’ve been keeping away from the media purposely I didn’t want faltu hype. Now I have enough to talk about. I’m doing Tere Sang, Love Story 2050, Anamika, Woodstock Villa, Follow Your Heart Hanste Hanste, The Family Picture, Tere Liye ( a Pakistani film) and Good Luck. The third Indian Idol season is doing fabulously its TRP ratings are breaking it earlier records. I’m enjoying my responsibility as a judge.
<b1>Didn’t you get the Pakistani film on Gulzar’s recommendation?
Of course, I did. Isn’t that sweet of him? He rang me up one fine morning and asked me to do the film. I’m in such awe of that man that I can’t say no to him. The subject is also good because Gulzar saab is writing it.
What’s this talk that you’ve hired an agent in Hollywood?
Yes. I have.. soon I’ll be doing a film there. I can’t talk till the project is finalised.
Why haven’t you cut a private album in nearly six years?
I know. Many people have pointed this out to me. I’m working on it. It should be out by the end of this year or the beginning of 2008.
Right now, you’re all over telly.
Correct. And that hasn’t come easy. I’ve pushed myself a lot for Indian Idol. It has taken so much effort to be objective and polite and establish a connect with the audience. I don’t know about the other shows, but Indian Idol is a brand. The increasing number of contenders every year speaks for itself. Satish Kaushik and Sajid Khan freaked out while watching the show. They said I’m carrying it on my shoulders.
Doesn’t competition from young composers disturb you?
Listen. I’m 45 today I started out when I was only 16. I had to struggle to find work Laxmikant Pyarelal and RD Burman ruled the scene. Imagine having them for competition. That made me strong, determied.
I’ve always reinvented my style and technique. I’ve done wide ranging scores from Virasat and Judwa to Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi and Main Hoon Na. I’ve delivered cult songs. I’m an original composer.
The music of all my films has done well forget the film’s commercial results. With such a track record even if there are 70000 other composers floating around, I will still remain Anu Malik. I’m a brand name. I don’t even remotely think of competition today.
Do you feel your late father (Sardar Malik) ever got his just recognition?
No. In fact, when I won my awards, especially the National Award, I’d take the trophies to him. He saw me achieve what he didn’t.
It’s said that you got Sonu Nigam and Farah Khan out of Indian Idol.
False. I don’t know who’s spreading these rumours. Why would I be so cheap?When we started shooting, I don’t know why they weren’t there. Later, I found out that Sonu had his America tour around the same time and Farah was too tied up with her film to be on Indian Idol.
It’s also said that you make fake promises to contestants...
Rubbish! The show gives contestants their first platform. Then, it’s upto them to go wherever they want to. Prajakta Shukre, Abhijeet Sawant, Monali and Rahul Vaidya have got decent amount of work in terms of shows and private albums. Rahul, Prajakta and Monali have sung for me. I do fulfill my promise. So does the show.
Some news channels have often beamed videos showing you with Dawood Ibrahim.
They have. Later when they realised what they’ve done, they withdrew the video. That proves their guilt. I have a clean conscience. That’s why I don’t turn around and attack TV channels with derogatory comments.
<b3>What’s your equation with the Alisha Chinai and other judges on Indian Idol?
We’re all quite sincere. Disagreements are inevitable. None of us takes it personally. My relations with Alisha, Udit and Javed
are absolutely professional. I don’t go out there to make friends or enemies.
Like Himesh Reshammiya, would you be tempted to act?
I don’t mind acting at all. In fact, Satish Kaushik once told me that he would love to offer me sensible roles in his films.
Personal best ¦
Jaan-e-Mann (2006), Main Hoon Na (2004), Ashoka (2001), Aks (2000), Fiza (2000), Refugee (2000), Josh (2000), Border (1997), PhirTeri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993), Baazigar (1993)