“The term sufi rock was coined by me” – Akhil Sachdeva

Very few people get to have the kind of debut Akhil Sachdeva had. “Humsafar”, a song written, composed and sung by him from the Varun Dhawan-Alia Bhatt starrer ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ is on everybody’s lips. The popularity of the song has only increased with the film getting tremendous amount of love from the audience. In this interview, he talks about the three year long journey of the song, getting Alia Bhatt to sing for him, coining a new genre of music and future projects.

“Humsafar” was composed three years back. How did it make it to ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’?
I met director Shashank Khaitan at an Eid party organised by Huma Qureshi, who was my classmate in college. He got to know that I sing and asked me if I have any original compositions with me. I made him listen to “Humsafar”. He liked the song and decided that whenever his next film gets made, this song will be a part of it. At that time, he was halfway through the script of ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’. As soon he finished writing and the project was green-lit by Karan Johar, he asked me to get on board. So, it all started with the promise Shashank made to me the day we met. Except for an extra line that I added later, the song was incorporated in the film just the way it was written and composed three years back. I guess it was destined to be a part of the film.

While your version of “Humsafar” turned out to be a chartbuster, the one rendered by Alia Bhatt have become quite popular too. How was the experience of recording her voice for the alternate version?
“Humsafar” turned out be a dream debut for me. It was the first song that I wrote, composed and sung for a Bollywood film and it turned out to be such a huge hit. Then, to get a chance to make Alia sing the song in her voice was an icing on the cake. When Alia heard the song a year back, she loved it and was keen on singing a female version of it. I changed a few lines and made some minor alterations in the melody and then recorded her voice. Alia loving the song my voice was an honour in itself. I was fortunate to have got two tracks to my credit in my first film.

The Punjabi verses, sung by Mansheel Gujral in “Humsafar” sound very good.
Actually, those lines were not supposed to be there in the track. We did not add those lines while recording the song for the first time. Later, I told Shashank that having a female vocalist sing a few lines in the beginning would take the song to another level. We thought we would give it a try and see how it works. We recorded those lines in Mansheel’s voice and the track sounded better than it initially did.

Apart from composing and singing “Humsafar”, you also wrote the lyrics for it? Do you plan to write lyrics for all your songs or would like to collaborate with other lyricists?
I would like to clarify that I did not come in the industry to become a composer. Singing is my priority. Whenever I feel like writing or composing, I do it. But, I want to be primarily known for my voice and singing. I would continue to write and compose songs but I am also looking forward to collaborating with other composers and lyricists.

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