RMIM Archive Article "166".
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
# RMIM Archives..
# Subject: Annu Mallik - Music is Life
# Posted by: email@example.com (siddharth taparia)
# firstname.lastname@example.org (Dev Mannemela)
# Source: G Magazine and "India West", 1996
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
Is the Anu Malik magic fading?
Dr. R.M. Vijayakar
It's been an eventful twenty-four month for Sardar Malik's son.
Ever since Anu's rapid escalation from zero to ten in 1993, the
music director has been on a high. The flak has been relentless,
the competition ruthless, but by sheer pernacity and hard work,
the man has stayed firmly in the saddle. The '93 - 95' period has
seen the exit of Burman, and the eclipse of Laxmikant-Pyarelal,
not to mention the near-annihilation of Bappi Lahiri and (despite
Hum Apke Hain..Kaun!) Raamlaxman. On the other hand, A. R. Rahman
has zoomed in as the latest cyclone while Rajesh Roshan, Nadeem-
Shravan and Jatin-Lalit have overcome a dull phase. Anu Malik has
withstood the barrage and cashed in on the fact that, Rahman
apart, there is nothing stimulating emanating from any of his
Early this year, amidst the Alisha Chinai controversy, Anu Malik
went on with the recording of his first international album,
Eyes. And even as his film music became quite repetitive, and
many of his albums (Hulchul, Ahankar, Gundaraj, Surakshaa, Baazi,
Beqabu) mediocre Anu had a lot to crow about too. Mansoor Khan
decided to repeat his music in Najayaz, Yaraana, Akele Hum Akele
Tum and Takkar kept his stock high. His films with Vinod Khanna,
J. P. Dutta and Feroz Khan are running smoothly, he preens. He
has signed an international Hindi film with one of showbiz's big-
gest names, whose songs will be recorded in America. (The name's
How would you evaluate yourself today vis-a-vis 1993 in the im-
mediate aftermath of your comeback?
See, life's definitely become more interesting for me. I've
signed up films with major banners and It's almost uncanny, I'm
enjoying my work more than ever. I've always loved music but to-
day now I enjoy composing it more and more. Yet, I feel I can do
much better. I feel that my music for Akele Hum Akele Tum is a
thousand times better than that of Baazigar. People tend to
think, "What will he do beyond "Baazigar o baazigar' or"churake
dil mera?' There are so many critics who are welcome to their
views and who want me to fail. But the public response to my
music has confounded them. You see, I know critics whose criti-
cism is never constructive, but destructive and full of personal
vendetta. I'm sure that nine-and-a-half out of ten critics who
lamburst a composer do not know what they are talking about. All
they can write is from where such-and-such a tune has borrowed or
copied from. I have yet to hear a critic say - "This Anu Malik
song was in H-sharp. I wish it had been composed in G-scale -- it
would have sounded much better.' Or I wish a critic would write -
"Why couldn't Anu Malik have used a different raag for this si-
tuation and not Bhairavi?'
Why this grouse against critics?
Because they never stop hounding me. They are not keen on analys-
ing my work objectively and fairly. Recently a critic said I'd
reached the end of the road merely because Venus had signed
Nadeem-Shravan again. I was highly amused. A few days later the
Venus people informed me that, "We are launching a new film
called Josh for which we've signed Mansoor Khan and he wants you
to compose the music & I'm the first music director Mansoor has
But does somebody with your status and talent have to use a com-
position, other than your own, as the base for your song?
On what grounds is this question based?
For example "Mera piya ghar aaya' from Yaraana is by Nusrat Fateh
Ah... you do not have your facts right. You can quote me on this.
Do you know that this is a very old Punjabi folk song "Tu chhup
rehnnaa main tenu ghar leke jaanda?' Naushad, who is one of the
greatest composers of all time, has also adapted folk numbers.
Even Shakespeare was not orginial. Even a composer as brilliant
as Salil Choudhary lifted a symphony to compose "Itna na mujhe to
pyar jataa'. Does it make these composers bold? There are so many
talented composers who were inspired.
Panchamda was a monumental talent who was often inspired this way
- his "Mehbooba o mehbooba' from Sholay was a straight lift. This
doesn't mean that Panchamda was a chor - you cannot take away
Panchamda's credit for it. A R Rahman recently went on record to
call my "Churake dil mera" a great song. Thank you very much. Prabhu
Deva also called it one of his favourites. Thanks again. And
that's not stolen from any song anywhere - it's 100% Anu Malik.
See, look at the circumstances and the atmosphere we're working
in - they want a hit song every day! It's just not possible! So
we have to resort to such things.
What I do is, I hear a song, catch its hookline and change the
rest of the format totally. In fact, I recently was told to re-
work two major hits. I agreed but placed my conditions, I said I
would change the antras, including the koda!
I don't want to pick up a fight with any hero, music company or
film-maker. But I tell them, "main poora gaana nahin maar sak-
taa.' I don't enjoy borrowing music from other composers. (Nusrat
Fateh Ali Khan is a living legend) -- but I have to do this to
survive. But there are film-makers who want me to remain orginal
too. "Dil mera churaya kyoon' from Akele Hum Akele Tum. I love
the original - "Last Christmas'. But I changed everything after
starting with "Why did you break my heart', why did you fall in
For example, Vidhu Vinod Chopra. After Panchamda's 1942.., Vidhu
had gone on record to say that "Without Panchamda, I didn't want
to make another film, till I met Anu Malik.' Now that's a compli-
ment, isn't it? We've recorded two songs and received the best
compliment. Aditya Chopra who said - "I've heard your songs for
Vidhu's film Karee and have gone berserk!' It was a fantastic
compliment. The man is himself on a high after Dilwale Dulhania
Le Jayenge, so he obviously meant what he said!
Were the lyrics written first ?
I first composed the tune when I redid the song. And Majroohsaab
is phenomenal. Writing romantic lyrics like, "Rani ko dekho
nazrein mili to nazrein churane lagi' - makes one look in awe.
His contribution to Hindi films is incomparable.
When you made an announcement that you were the first Hindi com-
poser to bring on an international album, Eyes. A colleague of
yours claimed to have released one before you... comment.
No Hindi film composer has written, composed and sung an English
album. Those jealous of my success, have been accusing me of
copying their songs. Well, this is one album where no one can ac-
cuse me of copying a single song. Those who have heard me are
amazed at my singing -they say I've a split personality, one In-
dian, one English! Tell me, which Hindi film composer has sung-
or written-more than a couple of lines of English, that too words
beyond "I love you, I want you or I'll get(!) you'? And I've
signed my contract in London under British law, where one can be
sued if one plagiarises or copies more than 8 bars from any song!
I am recording another album there now.
During the production of Baazigar you had vowed not to take on
too many films. But you did and your music suffered... Well,
I'm both - the best as well as the worst music director. A direc-
tor should know what music he wants from me. Mansoor Khan took
the music of AHAT from me intelligently, patiently and aaram se.
He knew what he wanted. Others do not. I've made it a policy to
work only with select people, and work with good banners. I'm do-
ing films for Venus, Tips, Time, Indra Kumar, Feroz Khan, J. P.
Dutta and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. I don't work with directors I don't
vibe with. Music that is drab is the result of a lack of under-
standing between a composer and a filmmaker. I can handle 1000
films at a time if I have good directors.
Of late people have been blaming you for too many things. Like
Rajkumar Santoshi accused you of ditching him for these extra
tunes for Ghaatak?
The truth is that Rajkumar Santoshi told me that five songs had
been recorded by R.D.Burman. You see, it doesn't look good to
have a credit line that reads - by R.D.Burman and Anu Malik. It's
not fair to Panchamda. But as far as Mazhar Khan's Gang is con-
cerned Panchamda recorded just one song but Mazhar told me that
he wouldn't be using it. So I accepted the film.
Are you very God-fearing?
I am treading on a path made for me by Him. I believe in God in
any form and I think it is HE who inspires me to create good
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Anu Malik from "India
West", a california based weekly. After I typed in a few paragraphs, I
noticed there was an identical article in the G magazine (which was
also posted on rmim). I don't know who copied from who, but this
article has a bit more stuff.. The "G" one seemed like an much edited
version.. So I typed a couple of interesting questions (and answers)
which were missing from "G".
Music director Anu Malik is on a high despite an array of flops
like Ram Shastra, Yaraana, Hulchal, Ahankaar, Gundaraj and Surak-
sha and indifferent scores like Beqabu.
For one he's without real competetion from any of his colleagues
- Anand Milind are low-key even if they are consistent and the
rest have still to matter. A.R.Rahman is no busybee. Moreover,
A R Rahman is yet to be taken seriously as a full-blown Hindi film
His international album "Eyes" makes him the first Hindi film
composer to write, compose and sing a full-fledged pop album in
English. The international response has been lukewarm, but he
claims the album sold well in India's urban centers like Banglore
and Delhi. Anu is doing a series of big films too. Feroz Khan,
JPDutta, Indra Kumar, Tips, Time, Venus, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and
Mahes Bhatt are among his new employers.
He's also totally excited because of his two new assignements.
Anu Malik is the first composer to be repeated to be repeated by
filmmaker Mansoor Khan. And he will be doing a Hindi film for
Shekhar Kapooor, whose songs will be taped in the Unites States.
The film is being shot for international audience.
Shuttling between Bombay and Madras (the first Bollywood composer
to do so) to complete his assignements, Anu does find an hour for
me at Bombay's Sahara. he talks straight from the heart.
Here are the excerps from his interview with India-west.
Q: How do you evaluate yourself today vis-a-vis the beginning of
your second phase?
A:...... For instance, I feel that my music for AHAT is 1000
times better than my songs from Baazigar....Those who criticized
me have been confounded.
Q: But why this grouse against the press?
A: Because they're after Anu Malik, they are not evaluating my
music. And they do not know what they talk about, All they can
write about is which composer which song. Why can't they write
genuine criticism? Like ' I wish Anu had not used Bhairavi again
in this song' Or 'I think this song would have sounded better in
the G-scale than it does in H-sharp.' They amuse me and inspire
me also to do my best.
Q: But why copy? Like 'Mera piya ghar aay..'
A: [interrupts] yes-let's take that song. They say I have copied
it from Nusrat Fatey Ali Khan, just because I took a few bars
from there. But even here they've got their facts wrong. This
tune is a vinatge Punjabi folk number - "Tu chup rehn main tenu
ghar leke jaanda". Everyone needs inspiration. If Nausdhad can
pick up folk numbers and Salil Chowdhury can s symphony from the
West as the base for "Itna na mujhse pyar", who is Anu Malik?
But try to understand - I do not copy wholesale. I change the
opening music, the first music, the second music. I will even
change the koda after taking the hookline. This is the condiudi-
tion under which I rework my songs. I refuse to copy outright.
Look, you must understand the situation today. They want a "hit"
tune everyday, from us. It's not humanly possible. We have to
resort to such things. And I'm here to make a living - I don't
want to fight with a major star, a major filmmaker, a major music
company. I don't enjoy taking someone's music even in part. And
luckily there are filmmakers who want me to be original.
A: Like Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The man paid me a tremendous compli-
ment, do you know that? He said after Panchamda's death that he
did not want to make another film - till he met me. And we have
done two fabulous songs. In fact, when I telephoned Aditya Chopra
to invite him for the release of "Eyes", he complimented me and
said, "I have gone berserk after hearing your songs in Kareeb".
And he is not even working with me.
Q. Why are you recording so much in Madras?
A. Because there is discipline there. Incredible, but true that
work begins at 9A.M. After lunch between 1 PM and 2PM, when no
musician will play, the recording is through by 7PM. I'm having
dinner there in my hotel by 9PM. There are fantastic
singers there - Chitra, S.P.B. There is this girl I'm particular-
ly optimistic about - Shubha. who was one of the singers in
Bombay's song "Hulla Hulla". She's tremendous. All these pop di-
vas of Bombay can't hold a candle to her.
The atmosphere there is full of devotion to work. Singers remove
their footwear before recording. No one smokes. The workplace is
a temple for artists. In SPB's Kothandapani Studios, there is a
huge blow up of Latabai on one wall and another of Rafisaab on
the opposite side. The man (SPB) himslef is a legend, singing
since I was a boy. He even anxiously asks me if he has sung my
song well or whether he should sing it again. The same holds true
for Chitra and all the others. Well, frankly it's a change from
the atmosphere here where singers think they are doing composers
a great favour by dropping in for a hurried take and rushingoff
to their next song without even bothering to inquire whether we,
the composers of that song, are happy with the recorded version
Q. So music is inspiration..
A. Yes, I work on instinct. I work on the spur of the moment. I
don't want to sit on the harmonium and piano and make music - I
can music at any time. People laugh t me for this. I don't have a
huge stock. The directors inspire me with the situation. The oth-
er day Pritish nandy came to me - he wanted a song for some ad
film on some village theme or something - I hummed out the tune
and words even as we were discussing. He was amazed. "I can't be-
lieve it. You made this song in front of me", he said..