After A R Rahman hit pay dirt with Slumdog Millionaire and then got Kylie Minogue to sing for him in Blue, the Indian music industry has been abuzz with talks of international collaborations.
But the prolific music composer duo of Vishal-Shekhar has been oddly silent. But from what Vishal Dadlani has to say, the duo seems on the verge of closing major deals with producers in the US.
“We’ve been having talks for over a year now and are currently in various stages of negotiation with a big hip-hop music producer in the US, as well as one of the world’s leading R&B divas,” says Dadlani. “We’ve never spoken about any of this so far because we haven’t yet signed on contracts yet. We don’t believe in making noise unless we can back it up.”
Dadlani goes on to reveal that the duo has been to Los Angeles earlier this year, where they met with A-list artistes and producers, and are heading to the US again next week to possibly close a couple of deals. “AR Rahman has opened the way for Indian musicians,” says Dadlani. “Western artistes look at musicians from India with great respect now. In every conversation that we’ve had with labels in the US, we’ve found that they want to tap our industry as much as we do theirs.” The composers, who’ve had only one release this year with Aladin, have been careful about choosing the right international projects and have even turned down offers to compose for a couple of disapora films. “We’re very clear about one thing,” Dadlani spells out. “We will not work on an international project unless we receive equal billing on it. We want to collaborate as artistes, and not as producers — we would ideally like to bounce around in concerts with an artiste we end up working with. Till then, we are happy being big fish in a small pond.”
Till that happens, the duo is happy working on its upcoming projects — Dharma Productions’ I Hate Love Stories, Siddharth Anand’s Anjaana Anjaani and UTV’s Arjun.
And Dadlani also seems to be enjoying his newfound innings as a playback singer. The composer, who doubles up as the lead vocalist for rock band Pentagram, has sung for Vishal Bharadwaj in Kaminey and Pritam in Dhoom 2, among others. He is now burning the airwaves with Kurbaan, where he has sung the angsty-rock title track. Dadlani plays down his playback singing assignments, saying he just “happens to have” a unique voice and attitude. “I’m a bad playback singer and everyone I work with knows that.” But, of course, point out that he’s the vocalist of one of India’s biggest rock bands, and he says, “I was just talking about playback singing. When I perform with Pentagram, I’m the best f**king singer in the world!”