“DJ was conceived on 31st December 2000!” – Nitz N Sony

Nitin Arora and Sony Chandy speak about the music of Hey Bro and how it was fun working on the album.

Hey Bro has released on March 6th and though the film didn’t do well, the music had already been declared a smash hit. Did you expect this to happen when composing for the film and how are you feeling right now about this success?
Thank you so much for this interview and for appreciating the music. Though we wished the film had done well too, but as the saying goes, “Every film has its own destiny”. Anyhow, we feel “satisfied” that we did a good job and that the music has been a success. We “expected” to make good music and wished for it to be a success. The makers had entrusted us with the music of the film and we did our best to fulfil our responsibility. Now our music has been very well appreciated by the industry as well as the audience and it feels great! It is very motivating to see our songs on the top of the charts and also that the audiences are humming our tunes. We take it as a thumbs up to keep going and keep creating more music.

The songs are peppy, catchy and addictive. Is that your forte or did you just follow the brief given by the makers?
Well, the only brief we got from the makers was, “Give us hit music!”. We don’t really bank on the word “hit” as no one can predict that, but we got their drift, which according to us translated to “commercial”, “sellable”, “danceable”, “catchy”, “peppy”, “addictive” “having a long shelf life” and “popular” music with “hit potential”. We tried our best to do just that and I guess we’ve done okay. Our forte is original and good music. We are not restricted to any particular genre or form of music. We try and understand the demand of the makers and create music accordingly. We have also composed South Indian classical music earlier for an art film Swami, released in 2007, starring Manoj Bajpai and Juhi Chawla, which got us a lot of critical acclaim. So it’s all about delivering to the need and I feel we try our best to achieve a sound judgement of the requirement before we cater to it.

You have previously worked with Ganesh Acharya in his last three projects. How does it feel, considering the stiff competition in the industry? What rapport do you share with him?
Our first project with him was his directorial debut Swami, then his first commercial outing Money Hai Toh Honey Hai and now Hey Bro with him as an actor. So this is our third association with him and I would say that the reason for repeating us is the faith he has in us and our music. We got critical acclaim for our music in Swami and the music of Money Hai Toh Honey Hai was also appreciated a lot. The producer Mr. Kumar Mangat was very happy with our music and so was Ganesh ji. Sadly the films didn’t translate into Box Office business. But I guess we did our part of the job well on both the projects and hence Hey Bro. We believe in doing our best and wishing well for the rest.

All the five songs are distinctive and very individual. I mean to say there are no repetition of hook lines and each song carries a unique style. What was the process to make each song stand out?
We treat every song of ours as a story in itself. Having a certain theme, a situation, a beginning, middle and end. We don’t need to repeat hook lines as we create a fresh one every time. So every time, when we “tell a story” through our songs, it has to be unique in its own way. Hence we decide on a theme first, then base it in a virtual premise, create a visual in our heads. Set the mood, place the characters and then give them language. We also try to keep the genre of music specific to the theme and mood. Then we create the required orchestration to justify the mood, theme and genre of music and lastly get in the right voices. Even our mixes are treated differently from song to song as well as the choice of our Mastering Engineer for the finale.

The soundtrack brings big names like Anu Malik, Himesh Reshammiya, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and Mika Singh together. Describe the experience working with each one of them.
We have been very lucky and blessed to have worked with many of the stalwarts of the music industry. Our first song called “Sharaabiyon” for the film Teesri Aankh released in 2006, starring Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel was sung by none other than Asha Bhosle ji. So we started with her blessings. Then we worked with KS Chithra ji and Hariharan ji in Swami. Money Hai Toh Honey Hai gave us the opportunity to work with the likes of Daler Mehndi, Adnan Sami, Kunal Ganjawala, Master Saleem, Labh Jhanjua, Shaan, Suraj Jagan, Rekha Bhardawaj, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shruti Pathak and Harshdeep Kaur. This time we had the pleasure of having three famous music directors singing for us i.e Himesh Reshammiya, Anu Malik and Ali Zafar apart from legends like Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and Mika Singh. All of them are mighty voices and we are blessed to have had them sing for us. It was a wonderful experience working with all of them.

Sunidhi ji is the most versatile female voice we have ever heard. We have worked with her before, but this time she has outdone herself with her rendition of “DJ”. The way she has sung the song has given it a soul. The tone of voice she chose itself spoke of her genius. She is truly of an international league and I’m sure we will see her soon topping the Billboard Charts. Also we whole heartedly wish it is one of our compositions! Moreover she is so lively and sporty. Amazing personality, beautiful, an amazing performer on stage, A real rockstar!

Shreya Ghoshal is an amazing combination of sweetness and power. It is a rarity to have both the qualities together. She has a velvet voice combined with electricity! The power she exuded in her rendition of “Bulbul” while still keeping the melody and sweetness intact, is out of the world. Another quality she has is “expression”. The detailed nuances and expressions she added in her rendition speak of a very versatile actress within her, who understands the character singing the song. And just like her voice, she is a very sweet person, very humble, soft spoken and professional. She’s aptly called the Melody Queen!

Coming to the legendary Udit Narayan ji, he was our first and last choice for “Birju”. We had decided on him seven years back when we had composed the song. I don’t think we would have enough words to comment on his vocal prowess. We have literally grown up listening to his voice. His voice melts in the ears. And what an amazing person. The most humble singer we have ever met. Considering his experience, stature and place in the music industry, he comes across as a very simple man who is so down to earth, sweet and connected to his roots. We are very thankful to him for blessing our song and wish to work on many more songs together in the future. He is indeed The Baadshah of Melody!

About working with Sonu Nigam, all we can say is that there is no other singer in the industry today who could have sung “Hu Tu Tu”. The song is our most challenging composition till date, with multiple tempos and multiple voices. He sang the song in around nine different voices, and it felt like he had a lot of amazing singers living inside him. They would come out one by one, sing their part and go back in. We still wonder how he manages to do that!!! He is truly blessed. An amazing voice, with so much command, versatility, perfection, expression, nuances, detail, energy, passion. He is the most versatile singer we have in this time. He is incredibly sweet, humble and supportive. The Vocal Maestro!

King Mika Singh! He is rightfully crowned the King. The attitude he carries in his voice, announces the rising of a king. He “takes over”. He comes, and he conquers. Apart from a thunderous voice, Mika Praaji has a lot of character and attitude in his singing which makes him unique. There is none other to match his style of singing. We had him sing two songs on the album and what a contrast! Wherein he adds gravity to the words “Lala…” In the song “Birju”, he gives a lazy, reggaeton swirl to his words in “Line Laga”. We feel that he has many jewels in his voice, yet to be explored and many more facets of his voice to be unravelled. We wish we have the honour, again and again. Personally he is a dynamic personality, a true blue large hearted Punjabi who is essentially “Mika Praaji” to us and will always be.

Now the name Himesh Reshammiya speaks for itself. A successful music composer himself, a singer, an actor, a brilliant business man and a unique voice which has registered its presence strongly. We wanted a voice for “Bulbul” which was unique, piercing and which had a lot of “personality”, which announced “I am here” and that is exactly Himesh Reshammiya! No one could have sung “Naach meri bulbul ke paisa milega” better than him. He sang it as if he actually meant it. There is so much conviction in his voice, so much passion. That it justifies the lines and makes it assertive. The way we wanted it. Plus he was very humble and comfortable to work with. He gave us as many takes we needed and asked us every time if we were satisfied or wanted more. Also, it was very generous of him to sing for us. It was a pleasure to have him on the track and we’re very thankful for his gesture.

We got lucky when it comes to Anu Malik ji, as he is a very senior music composer and a very well known personality in the music industry who has given so many hit numbers himself and has an extensive résumé. Having him on the track “Line Laga” was icing on the cake as he has a very “peculiar voice” which deserves to be used exquisitely, and we feel we got lucky there. His voice “floats” in contrast to Mika Praaji’s voice and having them in a never seen before combination was an accomplishment of sorts. We are very happy that we could balance both of them well in the song “Line Laga” and do justice to their respective statures while making sure it added to the song. And it did! Anu ji is a very chilled out person in real life and is very sharp. He was very quick to understand what we wanted and delivered it in no time. We are grateful to him for being the icing on the cake.

It was a very good experience to have Ali Zafar on our song “DJ”. Again he is a multitalented person, an accomplished actor, a singer, a music composer and a super star in Pakistan. In fact his presence on the track has got us a huge fan following in Pakistan. We wanted a voice for the male part in “DJ” with Sunidhi ji and we wanted a unique voice to match the spicy texture Sunidhi had given to the song. Well, I guess salt and spice go well together! As that’s how we would like to put Ali Zafar’s voice. Plus a very different accent to top it up. His accent, his salty voice texture and his folkish style of singing went very well for the part and added to the entire sound spectrum. Personally it was fun working with him as he is a young easy going guy with no starry air around him. It was like he was on a beach. He is very approachable, calm and relaxed. We’re thankful for his support and the lovely gesture and also thankful to his fans in Pakistan for sharing him with us.

Have you seen the movie? Are you satisfied with the picturisation of the songs?
We have seen the songs. As far as the visual treatment of the songs is concerned, I don’t think we have a reason to even comment on it, when the National Award winning choreographer Mr. Ganesh Acharya himself is involved. Although these songs have been choreographed by his assistants Rahul and Sanjeev. This is their first film, and they are very talented, hard working and have done their best. As we said, we stick to doing our best on our job, that is making good music and then entrust the rest to the concerned technicians and wish them well. We don’t judge.

“DJ” is a rage and is an electrifying dance floor number with bumping beats! Sunidhi Chauhan has outdone herself, while Ali Zafar’s contribution is equally good. Tell us a little more about this song.
Sunidhi Chauhan has literally outdone herself and as mentioned earlier, she and Ali Zafar make a salt and spice combination. This song was conceived a very long time ago, on the New Year’s Eve 31st Dec 2000.

Nitz: While I was managing a 5-Star resort back in those days (before I moved to Mumbai), I also used to deejay once in a while. So this New Year’s Eve I was playing in the discotheque with a majority Punjabi crowd. It’s very normal in discotheques for people to come up with requests for the DJ to play their songs. Now this eve, while I was playing, a Sardar ji came to me and said “Praa ji mera gaana baja do”. Apparently he was a little drunk, and while I figured the other requests already on my table. He came back (after few more drinks I guess) and said “O veer ji mera gaana baja do yaar”. After a few more minutes he got impatient and came back again and this time it was “O baai, mera gaana bajaayeen”. Now I got a little flustered as the gentleman had come from praa ji to veer ji to O baai. So I started searching for his track which by the way was Mika Praaji’s “Saawan mein lag gaye aag”. By the time Sardar ji was fully loaded and was just swinging front and backwards, looking at me with a ferocious stare. Before I could play his song, he lost it and shouted “O DJ (beep!) mera gaana bajaa de” and yes I did play his song. Now this incident stayed with me and when I met Sony in Mumbai and we started making music together, I shared this incident with him.

Sony: I heard the incident and laughed my head off, but then I told Nitz, that this could be a great song!!! Every person who goes to a night club would connect with it and every DJ would “feel it”. Moreover it will be a tribute to your “deejaying days” and fellow DJs! And we composed the song. But we recorded it now after so many years when we felt that it fit the project. So it’s dedicated to all those DJs and party people out there. Let the music play!


“In ‘Gun Pe Done’, I play a struggling actress” – Tara Alisha Berry