“Recreating old songs for every film is not a healthy trend” – Raghav Sachar

After picking up his first instrument, a harmonica, at the age of four and learning to play it all by himself, Raghav Sachar went on to play as many as thirty-three musical instruments. Composer, musician, singer and a multi-instrumentalist, Raghav is known for composing hit songs for films like ‘Kabul Express’, ‘Sunday’, ‘One Two Three’, ‘Bittoo Boss and ‘Rustom’, among others. His songs from the soon-to-be-released ‘Guest Iin London’ have caught the attention of the listeners and the man, who wears several hats and plays a variety of instruments, could not have been happier.

Composing music for a film, which is essentially a situational comedy, could turn out to be a tough job. How was the process of putting together the soundtrack for ‘Guest Iin London’?
It was quite a lengthy process but I guess that is the case with most films these days. Earlier composers would sit with the directors and put together the score of a film. Now, they mostly follow a template wherein the music directors are asked to compose for specific situations. We are just asked to give them a romantic number, a dance track or a wedding song. Since music plays an important role in the promoting a film, the makers want to try out different songs before finalising the ones which they think will become popular. I ended up being 18 or 19 songs out of which three made their way into the film. “Daru Vich Pyaar”, of course, is a recreation but it took us four months to get the track approved. The record label tried different arrangers but ultimately they used the version which I had created.

You have recreated Taz’s “Daru Vich Pyaar”, originally used in ‘Tum Bin’ (2001) for the film. Most of the films these days have a recreated version of an old song. What are your thoughts on this trend?
If one gets to hear a recreated track once in a while, then it is fine. The basic idea of recreation is a familiar melody presented in a new way. I have recreated some old songs in the past which have released as singles. When I recreate a track, I try to turn things around and offer listeners something which they have not heard before. A lot of recreations these days, unfortunately, end up sounding just like the original track. I personally do not think it is a great idea to create recreated versions of old tracks for every film as by doing that you are not letting new music come into the industry. All the composers are capable enough to create good original tracks. The industry adheres to a herd mentality. If a particular trend works, people start following it blindly. “Khoya Khoya Chand” was sung in a slightly awkward fashion in a television commercial and it became so popular that people started remixing and singing old songs in a similar fashion. ‘Shaitaan’ had a similar track which worked but after that a lot of these songs did not work. Then, came “Baby Doll” and composers were asked to come up with a “Baby Doll” like track. But, every song cannot become “Baby Doll”. There are multiple factors that make a song work. Recreation is not the only way in which you can get a hit song in your film. Recreating a song might create a bit of a buzz because the original is already a popular song. Recreating old songs for every film is not a healthy trend.

You play as many as 33 musical instruments but one does get to hear saxophone and flute in your songs. Do you have an affinity towards these two instruments?
Flute and saxophone are my main instruments. They also help in summing up my signature sound. There is a bit of modern funk in the songs I create. You will get to hear that sound in “Daaru Vich Pyaar” but I have not used either of these two instruments in “Dil Mera”. It has a different orchestral arrangement altogether.

You have worked as a musician with some of the biggest names with the industry. Is there any composer you share a special equation with?
Rahman Sir is one person I have always looked up to. He is a phenomenal musician and every time I work with him, I get to learn something new. I share a good bond with most of the composers I have played for. When you work with like-minded people, the entire process of creating music becomes better.

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