Welcome has music by three music directors. Yet, it is your songs that are topping the charts. How does it feel?
Great. It was a big boost that a top-ranking director like Anees Bazmee approached me for the film when I was still to prove myself.
There was a lot of pressure on me to perform since I was up against ‘hit' man Himesh Reshammiya. Anees's faith in my talent kept me going. I'm so glad I could match up to his expectations.
Is Himesh upset that you have out-scored him?
There can be competition between two music directors only with regard to strategy, not style. Everyone gives their 100 per cent to their work. After that, it's for the audience to decide whose songs they like best. This time they opted for mine and now the responsibility to keep performing has increased tenfold.
What do you think of the present trend of one composer singing for another?
I sang Billo rani for Pritam in Goal too. At the end of the day we are all artistes. And I believe that anyone who can sing should sing. Period.
What in your opinion is your USP that allowed to leave the competition behind in Welcome?
All my compositions are very different from each other. Uncha lamba kad from Welcome has a Punjabi feel to it. Yet, it is not a typically Punjabi song. I haven't used the dhol at all. Kiya kiya is also far from conventional. Bollywood music lovers have welcomed my songs because they are a refreshing change.
<b1>You are a lyricist, music director and singer. Which of these roles do you enjoy the most?
In my heart of hearts I have always wanted to be known as a singer. After the audience accepted my voice in Kiya kiya, I decided to include eight songs in my private album as opposed to six. I'm ready to sing for anyone.
You brought in the New Year with a stage show. It was all work and no play, huh?
That's right. I had planned to go on a vacation with my family to bring in the New Year. But then Blue Sky Media invited me to perform on the night of December 31. They even named the show ‘Welcome 2008'. This was my first show in Delhi in 15 years.
Any new movies you've signed after Welcome?
I signed three films for Sanjay Dutt's home banner. I'm also doing Bunty Walia's Just Punjabi. There's also a three film contract with Kumar Mangat. That's it. I'm being rather selective.
Despite giving several hits, you've still not entered the big league. Why?
A hit song is lost unless backed by a big banner. Had my earlier numbers been recorded by banners like Yash Raj and Base Industries, they would have become cult songs today. It hurts when your good work is overlooked. I've come to realise that strategy is more important than emotions. And now I'm choosing my projects with care.