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“I never thought about creating a better soundtrack than Tum Bin” – Ankit Tiwari

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After a few false starts, Ankit Tiwari shot to stardom with “Sun Raha Hai Na Tu” (‘Aashiqui 2’), a song which was composed and sung by him. After belting out several chartbusting tracks in the last three years, Ankit finally receives a solo album to his credit as a composer. The songs of ‘Tum Bin 2’ are fast climbing up the popularity charts and the singer-composer who has put together eight songs and the background score for the film could not have been happier.

‘Tum Bin 2’ is your first film a solo composer. The songs of the first part are still very popular. Did you feel burdened by the responsibility of composing the music for the second installment of a popular franchise?
When I signed the film, I realized that people would have huge expectations from the music of the film as, like you said, the songs from ‘Tum Bin’ are popular till date. Having said that, I never thought about creating a better soundtrack than ‘Tum Bin’. The only thought I had in my mind was that I would try my best to compose music that will linger in people’s mind for a long time. I did not carry any pressure with me and just concentrated on making good music.

You have recreated “Koi Fariyad”, sung by the late Jagjit Singh in Tum Bin, as “Teri Fariyad” for this film. Was it difficult to create a fresh composition while retaining a portion of the original song?
It was an interesting and a lengthy process at the same time. We had to digitize the manual tapes on which the track was recorded fifteen years back. I composed a fresh tune which had some new couplets written by Shakeel Azmi. We merged the two tracks in a way that it would complement the situation which it is placed in the film.

Not too many people are aware of this but you used to compose music with Meet Bros and Anjjan Bhattacharya and all of you had together put together the music of ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ before you split up and went solo. How did that association happen?
I came into the industry with the intent of becoming a solo composer. But, you have to make a start somewhere. I teamed up with Meet Bros and Anjjan to compose the music of ‘Do Dooni Chaar’. It was a very good experience but after that I decided to take up projects as a solo composer.

The music of ‘Tum Bin 2’ sounds very fresh but until recently, there was some criticism against your compositions sounding similar to each other. Did this make you introspect?
I am not sure if people had that notion about my music. I have always tried to offer something new to the listeners through each of my compositions and have made sure that my music does not sound repetitive.

You always wanted to make your career as a music composer but now, singing has become an integral part of your professional life. Do you identify yourself more as a singer or a composer?
I love to sing but I identify myself more as a composer. Earlier, singers used to get more recognition than music composers but now, times have changed. The kind of fame and recognition Mr. A.R. Rahman has got is a testimony to this fact.

You have sung for several music directors including Ismail Darbar, Himesh Reshammiya, Krsna and Mithoon. What differences do you observe when you sing for other composers and when you sing a song composed by you?
Since I am a composer myself, I have a fairly good understanding of what a composer wants when I sing for him. I understand the technicalities well and thus, the process becomes quite smooth. All the composers I have sung for are big names in the industry and it has been a huge honour to sing for each of them.

Though you got singers like Arijit Singh and K.K to sing for you in the past, you have rendered most of your compositions. In ‘Tum Bin 2’, you have lent your voice to just two songs. Was it a conscious decision to step back as a singer this time around?
As I told you, I prefer being a composer first. When you compose the music for an entire film which has as many as eight songs, it would be unfair if you sing all the songs. Different songs have different requirements. As a composer, it is important that I get the right singers on board to sing for my compositions.

The title track of ‘Tum Bin 2’, which you have sung yourself, sounds completely different from the title track of Tum Bin. Was it a conscious decision to compose a title track that would have no bearings to the original?
Yes, we wanted to create a soulful title track that will have an identity of its own. The only similarity between the two songs is that they convey a similar thought, that is, ‘tum bin jiya jaaye kaise’. Both the songs convey the sorrow of a woman who is pining for her lover. The title track of ‘Tum Bin 2’ is my interpretation of this thought as a composer.

Your music video “Badtameez” became a huge hit and your performance in the video was also appreciated. Did that make you think about acting as a career option?
As they say, one should never say never. I enjoyed the process of shooting for the music video but I have not really given much thought to acting as a career option. I have started doing solo projects now, so there is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders as a music composer. Right now, I would just like to focus on my career as a singer and a composer.

‘Baadshaho’ is your next film as a solo composer. Milan Luthria is known as a filmmaker who has a good ear for music. How is the music of the film shaping up?
I feel very fortunate that I got to do work as a solo composer with filmmakers like Anubhav Sinha and Milan Luthria, whose films have always had memorable music. Putting together the entire album for a film is something brings along huge responsibility and I am thankful to them for entrusting me with this job. It is too early to talk about the music of ‘Baadshaho’. Owing to the genre and subject of the film, the music will be very different from the kind you have heard in ‘Tum Bin 2’. People will also get to hear my songs in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Yaara’ and a couple of other films which will release soon.

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