He broke into B-Town’s music scene (as a solo music director) with Dhoom (2004), which was a huge musical hit. He followed it up with music for Gangster (2006), Dhoom 2 (2006) and Life In A Metro (2007). There has been no looking back for composer-singer Pritam Chakraborty ever since. Having spent over a decade in Bollywood, Pritam has several awards to his credit. His soundtracks for Dilwale (2015) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) were sweeping hits. And now, he is composing music for around seven films. Here, Pritam talks about his journey , how film music has changed, and more.
How do you look back at your journey in Bollywood so far?
It has been eventful. I am blessed to have worked with the best, and to have received so much love from the audience.
You have been taking up fewer Hindi film projects. Is there any particular reason for that?
Yes, I want to take up fewer projects so that I can concentrate on one album at a time. Earlier, I used to do every film that came my way to maintain my relationships. I didn’t know how to say no to anyone. I am also consciously doing more live shows now; that’s something I really enjoy.
Do you think the struggle to get into the industry today is the same as it used to be in the past?
There are many more ways of breaking into the scene now, as the industry has opened up to newcomers. Earlier, it used to be ruled by a few people. However, producers and directors today are looking for new voices and ideas. But, it still takes a lot of effort to prove yourself.
What are the changes that you have observed over the years?
Earlier, the melody, lyrics and voice were of prime importance in a song. Nobody used to pay much attention to orchestration. But today, orchestration and music production are of major importance. They have become the fourth important factor in a song.
People say that the sound of Bollywood music has changed now. What’s your take on it?
I don’t think the sound has changed much. There was more of a change when we moved from acoustic instruments to electronic. During that phase, composers who only worked with acoustic instruments found it difficult to cope up with the digital recording system. As a result, an increasing amount of pop sound made it into Bollywood’s music scene. I remember, rock was not really popular in the past. Life In A Metro (2007) was the first album that had a complete rock sound, followed by Rock On!! (2008). Then the entire rock-pop sound, and the approach to songs, changed from early 2000. Moving from analog acoustic to digital music was the first change that happened in the ’90s. It saw the sound of AR Rahman gaining prominence. Later, the pop-rock sound took over in early 2000. These two were the paradigm shifts in sound.
What do you miss from music of the yesteryears?
I miss longevity. I think nowadays, most film-makers lean towards instant hits, more than longevity. The result is obviously a decrease in the number of songs that are able to withstand time.
There have often been plagiarism allegations against you. How do you react to that?
Yes, I did make mistakes initially. But once I realised it, I have been particular about my music. However, people keep making false allegations, because it’s easy to do that. Since the last three years, I have stopped taking false allegations seriously. For example, the Iranian band that said I had plagiarised ‘Pungi’ (Agent Vinod; 2012) had to give an apology in court for using my name falsely.