He blushes on being asked how he deals with his new status of ‘eye candy' after his stint on TV as a judge for the music show Sa re ga ma pa. Perceived as the reticent one of the Vishal-Shekhar duo, Shekhar Ravjiani, steps out of a recording studio to tell us how long he thinks his collaboration with Vishal Dadlani will last.
So many movies and no serious charges of plagiarism… are you sure you're composing for Hindi movies?
(Laughs) We're here to make original music, we're happy with the kind of work we're doing. Fortunately, back in the late '90s, when we started, the movie making scene was changing. We ended up doing a lot of mad stuff which was accepted and that felt great.
Do you believe that every composerduo comes with an expiry date?
With such a working relationship, it's destiny and not a formal commitment. If it has to happen it will. Music direction is a gift; no one can teach you that. Vishal and I are friends. When we make music, there's good chemistry at work. To put it shortly, I'd say magic happens, man.
How long it lasts, only God will decide. It won't be a decision Vishal or I will make.
What is your role in the partnership?
Sometimes he comes up with the entire mukhda and I do the antara, sometimes we take it line by line as in Allah ke bande. I've learnt Indian classical, I can play the piano and like rock music. Vishal is exposed to international music, likes ghazals and old Hindi music. At the end of the day it's all , a fusion of our talents.
You're working with big banners. Are you picky now?
No, in fact, we don't want to pick and choose. Fortunately we've met the right people. Siddharth Anand, Farah Khan and Sujoy Ghosh are the people we hang out with. We're happy to accept any work that comes our way. We haven't turned down any work so far but we do only one film at a time.
After Sa re ga ma pa, your fan mail must have increased, what with girls gushing about your smile?
(Laughs) I don't know about that but we're taking our job seriously. We want to find some singers for the industry guide them like ... we were guided. But the popular perception is that judges entertain only when they spat on air...
This show is strictly for the benefit of the singers. Till now it's been smooth sailing, we've been making sure it stays that way. The judges are getting along and are spending quality time with the contestants. We all try to make sure they get a chance to work with us.
Is there anyone who you'd like to work with but haven't so far?
I've been dying to work with Lataji. I have a feeling it'll happen soon.
All your songs get a nod from your wife or daughter…Does it hurt then, when they tank or do you take it in your stride?
I always look for acceptance. If my wife's response is cold I know I have to start again. She has a great ear for music. If my daughter starts humming a tune soon after I've played it for her, I know we have a hit on our hands. But if she forgets the song within 45 minutes, I've had it.
We've always been satisfied with the final output. Thankfully the response has never been completely thanda. People always talk about our songs. Vishal was the face of the duo before Sa re ga ma pa happened... I am still media shy. Personally, I believe if you try too hard to be in the limelight, it doesn't work and I've never done that.
Vishal is a part of India's leading rock band which is why he's been more popular than I have been...from even before we started working together.
Is it difficult to work with a partner?
If you make it difficult, it's difficult but if you go with the flow then there shouldn't be a problem. Whenever Vishal and I argue, it's always for the sake of the song. It's not an ego thing. He's a friend first.