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“The music of Happy Bhag Jayegi has a mix of traditional and contemporary sound” – Sohail Sen

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In his eight year long career as a music composer in the Hindi film industry, Sohail Sen has left his mark in the industry and is someone whose name is associated with quality music. Though his filmography does not boast of too many films, he has scored the music for films like ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’, ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and ‘Gunday’, among others. He has dabbled in different genres and in a very short span of time, has worked with reputed filmmakers like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Kabir Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar. Two years after his last film as a solo composer, ‘Gunday’, came out and a few months after he delivered a hit track “Taang Uthake” for ‘Housefull 3’, Sohail is back with a full-fledged album in the form of ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’. In this interview, the young composer talks about the music of his new film, shares his experience of working with a director who also happens to be a lyricist and explains his stance on doing solo projects.

Long after ‘Gunday’, the music of which was very successful, one heard your composition “Taang Uthake” in ‘Housefull 3’. Now, ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’ is your first solo album in two years. With so many new composers coming in, do you ever feel insecure?
No, I have never felt insecure about this. The day I start feeling insecure I would not be able to work properly. It is very important for an artiste to have a peaceful mind and be focussed on what he does. There is a lot of competition today and all the composers are doing a great job. Such a competitive scenario actually motivates you to do something different and unique which would set you apart from the rest. Every composer has its own style, so I do not see any reason why there should be any insecurity.

You have always preferred doing the entire soundtrack for a film. Now that you have done a song in ‘Housefull 3’, can one assume that you are open to doing films which have more than one composer?
It depends on the kind of offers I get. My target has always been to be a solo composer. Composing the entire soundtrack for a film helps me to show my versatility. If I can do a song like “Tune Maari Entriyaan” (‘Gunday’), I can come up with “Kaisa Yeh Isq Hai” (‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’). Once a song becomes a huge hit, you get typecast and people ask you to do similar kind of songs for them. If producers want a dance number, they go to a certain number of composers who have delivered hit dance numbers. A composer who has done an item song might also good at composing romantic tracks but he does not get the opportunity to do so as he has already been typecast. ‘Housefull 3’ was produced by Mr. Sajid Nadiadwala, who is like a father figure to me. He has been a close friend to my dad for a long time and he treats me like his own son. This song was special to me as it was written by my dad. Sajid Sir liked the song and he decided to incorporate it in ‘Housefull 3’.

The director of ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’, Mudassar Aziz, is also a lyricist. One would hope that he would have a keen sense of music as well. How was the experience of working on the film?
Post ‘Gunday’, I received a lot of offers from different filmmakers to do a song or two in their films. Most of them wanted me to compose a song like “Tune Maari Entriyaan” as it was a huge hit. I used to tell them that that it has been already done and I would rather create something fresh. During the period when I was not taking up any project, some friends from the industry advised me to take up whatever opportunity I was getting. They said that if I did not do any work for a long time, people would forget me. Those who have followed my work right from the time I did ‘What’s Your Raashee’, expect me to come up with an album that offers something new to them. ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’ was the only film I signed after the release of ‘Gunday’. As it was the only project I was working on for a long time, I had no deadlines to meet and no burden to carry on my shoulders. Mudassar Aziz, the director of the film, is one of the best writers I have come across. He has written all the songs and without him, the album would not have turned out to be as good as it has. A director has a lot of authority in his hands. Apart from deciding what kind of music the film is going to have, he selects the songs that will be used in the film. Mudassar has a good ear for music and is a proficient poet as well. I had a great time working on the film. If you notice his writing from the beginning, you would realize that it carries a lot of depth. He has written for composers like Himesh Reshammiya and Lalit Pandit. ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’ is set in Amritsar and Lahore and he has a very good command over the language that is spoken in these areas. “Sarhadon ko na hoga awara, ke mile dil se dil koi aawara, main parinda hoon tu hai sitara, main apna aasmaan chunun, tu apna aasmaan,” – very few lyricists write such meaningful lines these days.

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