HT City Vibe of 25: Ismail Darbar - ‘Sanjay and I fought on everything’ in HDDCS - Hindustan Times
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HT City Vibe of 25: Ismail Darbar reveals how a 'dheela thanda' song became the soul of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

ByMimansa Shekhar
Feb 24, 2024 07:27 PM IST

HT City Vibe of 25: As HT City completes 25 years in 2024, we mark the feat by celebrating Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam which also turns 25.

"When I did the music of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (HDDCS, 1999), people thought I'm a 60-70 year old man", Ismali Darbar quipped, pointing at the film's timeless compositions.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam stands tall in the discography of music director Ismail Darbar.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam stands tall in the discography of music director Ismail Darbar.

In a chat with us, Darbar looked back at the blockbuster, which also marked his entry into Bollywood as a full fledged music composer. "Sanjay and I fought in every recording. But we also managed to strike a long lasting friendship," he said.

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In his words, HDDCS wasn't an easy project. The first time he met Bhansali was through singer Kunal Ganjawala. "Truth is I wasn't even Kunal's friend. We were just acquaintances. He randomly recommended my name to Sanjay," Darbar said. A popular violinist, Darbar had played all the songs of Bhansali's Khamoshi (1996).

The 59-year-old music director shared that Bhansali asked for a music sitting. "I had composed an album which never came out," Darbar shared. He made Bhansali hear those tunes. Then, Darbar wanted him to hear a song he liked. That was the title track.

"Sanjay was the first director who complimented the title song, otherwise every big filmmaker had previously called it 'dheela and thanda'," Darbar revealed, lauding Bhansali's strong sense of music.

Title track 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' was sung by singer Kavita Krishnamurthi.
Title track 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' was sung by singer Kavita Krishnamurthi.

But Bhansali refused to officially get Darbar onboard even after four months, leaving the music director impatient. "After four months, I gave Sanjay an audio tune which he heard nine times and even cried. That song was Tadap Tadap Ke. Sanjay said 'today I've completed my film'. It was such a powerful song. According to Sanjay, he now knew the film's interval and the end," stated the musician.

The director finally signed Darbar after six months, when he composed the classical number Albela Sajan.

Looking back, Darbar feels Chand Chupa might sound like a simple composition, "but even today people can't sing it correctly."

HDDCS was a risk for Darbar because that was the era of AR Rahman supremacy. Though he believes, "if I had thought AR Rahman's style would work, this album would've never been made," giving credit to Bhansali's confidence in him. "He might fight with you but he'll listen to you too. We had a different kind of madness which I'll always cherish," Darbar added.

Darbar revealed that the film was originally titled 'Duvidhaa' which he didn't like. When he questioned Bhansali, the filmmaker changed it to 'Afreen'. Darbar again point out that for a film based in Gujarat, having an Urdu title didn't work. Upon his suggestion, the movie got its final title - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

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