I’ve never claimed all my songs are original: Pritam

Updated on May 14, 2007 04:58 PM IST
He has been on a winning streak with Chocolate, Garam Masala, Bhaagam Bhaag, Gangster, Woh Lamhe, Dhoom 2 and Metro.Rachana Dubey chats up with Pritam.
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Himesh Reshammiya is up to herogiri...Annu Mallik is all over telly...

A R Rahman is more out of the country than home..meanwhile, he’s been burning up the hit parade charts. Pritam--the Dhoom dude has been on a winning streak with Chocolate, Garam Masala, Bhaagam Bhaag, Gangster, Woh Lamhe, Dhoom 2 and Metro.

The appointment is scheduled for 5 p m. At 4:59, I enter the wrong Juhu hotel.. mistake, mistake. At 5:05 pm, I do a P T Usha into another hotel..the hirsute music composer is at a poolside table of the Sun n Sand hotel. Phew. Over haapus juice, I want to know:

What are you doing popping up right in front of the camera in Metro?
It was a publicity strategy I’m real ly not into acting. I didn’t have to speak a single line of dialogue..my screen time in Metro is just about 12 minutes. There are six songs in the film spread over two hours.

So, it looks as if my band and I are there throughout the film. Anurag Basu wanted the band to push the story narration ahead. Only he could have made me do something like that. Otherwise, I would have thought a thousand times before showing my mug on screen.

In any case, this isn’t the first time that a composer has popped up on screen... but yes, it’s the first time that a composer links the different stories together..

Will the three-member band last?
Actually four. Soham Chakraborty is also a part of it. Initially, it was just for the film. But in the makeup van we’d have discussions on Pink Floyd and all sorts of rock music..which took me back to my college days when I played for a band in Kolkata.

So, I intend to continue with the band, we’ll be recording an album independently .

Despite chartbusters, aren’t you being criticised constantly?
Obviously that means I’ve arrived. I don’t mind being under the scanner. There was a time when Annu Mallik, Jatin Lalit and Nadeem Shravan were at the butts of criticism. That’s a part of the profession. I love it, I love criticism.

What about the charges of plagiarism?
Have I ever said that all my songs are original? Whenever I’ve been inspired by a song, I make sure to acknowledge its copyright. I don’t do anything illegal, I don’t massacre a song..

It takes as much effort to recreate a song as it takes to compose an original. My job is done when people dance to the songs I create. If the issues of copyright are sorted out, blind plagiarism will be eliminated from the music business.

By the way, have other filmmakers approached you to make on-screen appearances?
Have you lost it? I’m horribly camera conscious. I’ll send you a VCD of a short film I acted in. If anyone sees that, no one will dare to even think of casting me in a film. Himesh Reshammiya is a different ball game. He has attitude, he looks cool in the promos of his film (Aap ka Suroor), I’m sure he’ll be a good actor.

Will you pop up in Anurag Basu’s next film?

We know each other for years. Our association is much more than that of a filmmaker and music composer. Something’s brewing .. if he asks me do his next film, I will.

Wow..okay what’s the deal about top banners coveting you as a music composer?

Look, I’ve started with the big daddies..Yashraj and Vishesh Films. Aditya Chopra has fabulous taste in music. He’s always given me creative freedom.. he’s spoilt me with his support. Vishesh Films too.

What about other film production companies?

I’m cutting down on my work. After mid 2008, you will see a lull in the number of films with my music. I’ve had five releases in the last three months, I’ve been working non-stop for a year. No complaints. But at this rate, I’ll get stuck inside the recording studio.

If I don’t go out in the real world, I’ll miss out on new music trends.

You seem to be partial to KK’s voice.
(Laughs) Really? Once, I was told that I’m obsessed with Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan. It was even pointed that I was fascinated with male voices because most of my hits have been with male singers.

Frankly, I haven’t been into just any one singer at any point of time. Remo Fernandes, Usha Utthup and Amit Kumar made their comebacks with me. I rediscovered Labh Janjua..

You’ve often been sidelined at award ceremonies. Right?
The moment you start paying attention to such slights, you’re finished.

Has your ex-partner Jeet been in touch ?
No, he’s busy with Bengali films. I’m busy here.

Would you do a film score which also features other composers?
As a matter of policy, I don’t work in multiple-composer projects. Onir must be glad that I left Bas Ek Pal. He got such lovely tunes from Mithoon.

Just a few months ago, you sprung a surprise by getting married suddenly in Kolkata..so how’s life with wife?
Beautiful. But life’s not very different really. Smita and I’d been going steady for five years. I’d propose marriage to her practically every second day ..but then I’d call off the wedding at the last minute.

I guess I had marriage phobia. Then, her mum and my dad in Kolkata weren’t keeping well. They asked me, “Son, when will you make us happy?” So, I took the plunge.

Today, my harshest critic is right there at home. Smita has amazing taste in music. I wouldn’t have ever married a singer..(laughs) because she would have insisted on singing every song I compose.

Finally, how did your wife react to the tabloid items that you had taken off on a secret honeymoon?
She was shocked. I’m aware of the media’s tactics, she isn’t. She didn’t believe that I hadn’t given the information. Honestly, I just took off for a short break after our wedding ceremony. She couldn’t digest what she read. I could because I’m used to gup shup.


Noteworthy Right notes:
Life in a.. Metro (2007), Dhoom 2 (2006), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Woh Lamhe (2006), Gangster (2006), Pyaar ke Side/ Effects (2006), Garam Masala (2005), Chocolate (2005), Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina (2005), Dhoom (2004)

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