‘I’m publishing my first work at the age of 15’ | music | Hindustan Times
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‘I’m publishing my first work at the age of 15’

Azaan, Adnan Sami’s son who has composed the title track of Bumm Bumm Bole, could be the world’s youngest music director.

music Updated: May 16, 2010 14:18 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

At 15, you are perhaps the youngest music director in the world. How big a pressure is it living up to expectations?
The pressure is not living up to people’s expectations but their image of you. I don’t want parents to look at me and say, “That kid ruined his life so we are not going to let our child pursue his dreams too early.” That’s the reason I haven’t let my grades suffer.
I may not be able to attend school regularly but I have tutors who make sure that I keep up. I intend to make a career in music but at the same time, I want a solid educational base. May be I can do my masters in music.

You’ve composed just one track in Bumm Bumm Bole, right?
Yeah, the title track. And let me tell you it didn’t come easy. Priyansir (director Priyadarshan) when narrating the story to me, told me that he wanted not just a catchy tune but also a song that would convey the intensity of diverse emotions and tell the story in an antara that was particularly hard to compose. He wanted a perfect blend of lyrics, melody and arrangement. It was a tough call but from my grandfather I have inherited a nothing-is-impossible attitude that carried me along.

And just how hard was it to come up with this perfect mix?
Well, we went through the entire trial-and-error process. Sometimes I liked a tune but Priyansir didn’t, when he did like something, he still wanted something more. Then, one day, around the beginning of the year, I was in the recording studio when suddenly, I started humming a tune. My team liked it, and wonder of wonders, even Priyansir did. After that stroke of epiphamy, things fell into place more easily. I owe a big thank you to John Stuart and Arun Kumar from my team. They were my backbones.

We had a Bum bum bole…’ earlier too…
Yes, in Taare Zameen Par and that was also a Darsheel Safary film. It was a peppy number too and really popular. That was actually my biggest challenge, playing around with the same words and coming up with an all-new song. Dad (singer-composer Adnan Sami) was apprehensive. He was out of town when we finally got the song right. I played it for him and he was amazed and delighted.

How do people react when they hear that you are Adnan Sami’s son?
Most of the time they don’t believe me. I remember shifting to a new school in Karachi in 2006. For two months, I didn’t mention dad. When I did, my schoolmates were like, “Yeah sure, you are Adnan Sami’s son!” When they found out it was true, their attitude changed to, “Why didn’t you tell us before?”

You realise there are going to be the inevitable comparisons with your dad?
Yeah, and I’m prepared. We both have music in our genes but our compositions are very different. And you have to realise that the songs we know dad by were only composed when he was around 30. And I’m publishing my first work at the age of 15. You have got to make allowances for my age. If I score a love song tomorrow, it’s not going to be a polished Bheegi bheegi..

They might even say that your dad composes the songs himself and lets you walk away with all the credit?
People will talk and you can’t stop them. But the fact is that dad and I have a pact. When either of us is in a recording studio, the other doesn’t wander in. Also, if I go to him all excited about a new tune and he doesn’t like it, he’ll respond with a “It’s bad!”

What next?
There are some endorsement deals and a couple of projects that should be announced soon. I’d like to compose for South Indian films some day. And then there’s an album coming out next month. It was supposed to hit the stores in January but has been delayed. One of the peppy numbers I’ve composed, an official cover version of an old English classic, Sway…, made my ailing grandfather jump up and start dancing.

‘I composed my first song when I was five’
My grandfather had just bought me a guitar. I was fidgeting around with it, making a lot of noise. One day, I was playing with it when suddenly, I came up with a tune that has stayed with me all these years and is now a part of my album. I can’t divulge too many details because there’s a rights issue but it was the first song I ever composed. It didn’t sound too great earlier. A teacher in school told me it sounded like a novice creating a ruckus. But over the years, I’ve worked on it and slowly, it has got me compliments from those who understand music.

‘In my heart there are no boundaries’
My father lives in India, my mother in Pakistan. Pakistan is my first home, India my second. When I’m on stage, I carry with me both countries because I love them both equally. If I was recording abroad and I got a call from Pakistan, I’d rush back. The same is true for India. The batwara (partition) was a political issue. But in my heart there are no boundaries.

‘I keep teasing Darsheel about the girls’
Darsheel and I are almost the same age and buddies. I keep teasing him about all the girls after him. Sometimes he’s shy, sometimes he shoots back, “There are too many of them to talk about.” Do I have a special someone? No I don’t. But I’m 15 and I’ve had crushes on movie stars. I don’t want to talk about them in print and risk my parents reading it too.

‘My mother still threatens to pull my cheeks’
My mother, Zeba Bakhtiar, is an iconic figure in Pakistan. I grew up in the film industry there and though it’s much smaller than Bollywood, I learnt not to let my ego rule. I liked acting too. I’ve done 27 plays when in school, the first one when I was six. I was required to sing in that too and hearing me, mom got me a singing coach.

She also got me every musical instrument I wanted on the condition that I would not neglect my studies. I made a lot of noise growing up but she never complained. I’m sure she must have bought 500 CDs of Bumm Bumm Bole already and has been distributing them around.

When I was about 10, I stopped her from dropping and picking me up from school. It embarrassed me. Even today, she gets me to toe the line by threatening to show up and pull my cheeks.

'I didn’t know my dad for the first 10 years of my life
Dad and mom had separated. I stayed with my mother (Zeba Bakhtiar) in Pakistan and did not know my dad for the first 10 years of my life. Coming from a broken home made me mature for my age but it also led to some painful moments.

I remember once during Father’s Day, the teacher gave all of us sheets of paper on which to draw something for our dads. While everybody else was drawing, I sat quietly staring at the blank sheet before me. What would I draw? I didn’t even know my father?

That day, I returned home in tears. When I told mom what had happened, she picked up the phone and set about locating dad for me. He was in a recording studio and delighted to hear from me.

The first meeting was awkward but after that we gelled well. Music was the common bond. He didn’t know music was a passion with me too till one day, I invited him into my room and he saw the guitar, piano and drum set there.

Right now, dad is honeymooning with his new wife. I haven’t spent much time with her but she seems a nice person. He’s just been through a really messy divorce. I barely knew Saba and I know only as much as I read in the papers. I hope this marriage works out well.