In India, royalties don't reach the music composer - Arko Pravo Mukherjee

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The recently released song, Dariya, from Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra starrer Baar Baar Dekho instantly won hearts of all the music lovers. The song is sung by multi-talented composer Arko Pravo Mukherjee. Arko hit to fame with his big Bollywood debut in Jism 2. Then there was no looking back, the composer went on to give music for films like Yaariyan, Hate Story 2, Jazbaa and many more. His latest hit song is Saathi Rey from Kapoor and Sons, which he even crooned. He even composed Tere Sang Yaara for Akshay Kumar's Rustom.

Excerpts from the interview: 

How did the song Dariya come to you?

I used to write the songs and then sing by myself like a songwriter. I first sang the song and then wrote it and it was used in the film without any changes. That happens very rarely. Like since Jism 2, which was my debut, till now, so many singers have sung for me who are like amazing playback singers in India. When I met Karan Johar, he loved this song Dariya and then I met Nitya Mehra (director of Baar Baar Dekho) and then Excel Entertainment. Nobody asked me to change anything - lyrical or introduction. Then the conversation arose about the singer, and they loved my voice and told me you should go ahead with it. I feel that there are few songs which are actually very organic, and have more natural feel to it.

Baar Baar Dekho is the second film of yours with Dharma Productions after Kapoor and Sons. So, how was your experience working with them again?

It was great. Coincidentally, Dariya was the first song that they had loved and taken from me. Saathi Rey, they took later but it released first in Kapoor and Sons. This melody was loved by Karan sir and he kept saying that don't change anything in it, we will use it exactly as it is. The film is about time travel and it's quite interesting that the time lapse is used in the film. So, the song if you notice the lyrics, it's quite metamorphical. I am talking to the ocean about my lover or my love story as if it is the third person talking, which is quite interesting. It wouldn't suit maybe all songs, but in this film, it blends in really well.

Tell us about your journey from Jism 2 to Baar Baar Dekho.

It's been nice. I have been part of all ensemble albums. I cannot make all kinds of songs. I prefer to make the songs which I like and I am comfortable. This kind of setting suits me. Unless it is a very different film, I think that multi-composers are well. After Jism 2, I did Allah Waariyan (Yaariyan) then Aaj Phir Tum Pe (Hate Story 2) which was my first remix. Then I did one song for Akshay sir last year, Meherbaani (The Shaukeens), then I did Paani Wala Dance (Kuch Kuch Locha Hai) and then JazbaaKapoor and Sons. In Rustom, I did Tere Sang Yaara for Akshay sir again. Sometimes, my songs are promotional songs like Tere Sang Yaara or Aaj Phir Tum Pe. Sometimes, it is not like Saathi Rey, which they couldn't release because it comes during the crucial point in the film. I feel that these things are more co-incidental you know. But I am comfortable working in the multi-composer set up as the people that I am working with, are my friends like in Kapoor and Sons it was Amaal Malik and Badshah and now with BBD it is Jasleen Royal. Even for Rustom, Ankit Tiwari is like my brother and even Jeet Ganguly. There's no friction and negativity, we are very comfortable working with each other.

You started off as a composer in Bollywood and now you are venturing into singing too. What do you enjoy more?

I was writing and composing most of the songs. I will tell you frankly, India has such unbelievable singers that I must be ranked 10,000 among them. So, unless it is a song like Dariya, which is very natural and organic kind of expression. In that case, the style of the singer-songwriter works. But it won't be applicable in most of the songs. I am more comfortable singing in English and my first English single in the mainstream pop music that will be out this year in October. Except in few cases like Dariya or there are few more songs that are coming in my way. So, if once I feel that I can really do justice or it sounds nice in a simpler fashion, then I go ahead and sing it. Otherwise, in Hindi, I am not that confident singing like I do in English. I don't rate myself that high.

You have worked with both newcomers and established singers. How different is it working with the freshers than the experienced singers?

The one major difference is that newcomers have a lot of time, interest, focus and are ready to come back and repeat and correct it. For them, it is practically feasible. Whereas, when it comes to Sonu Da (Sonu Nigam), Atif (Aslam), Arijit (Singh), KK who sang my first song, obviously if I try to call, they will make time and come back. But, it is difficult for them because they are already big stars and touring around the world and singing for big films. So, naturally, they are busy. When it comes to newcomers, it's like the biggest moment for them. So, they give their 100% to it. Having said that, experienced singers and newcomers have a different style when it comes to studio singing. There are nuances of studio singing, which these newcomers don't know. I didn't know when I started five years back. I have also learnt with time and I am sure they will too. There are two sides to the coin. For me, it would be easier and quicker to dub with the already established and experienced singer. It would take me longer, more patience and more explainations with a new singer. But, also another side is that I can keep calling them back and keep making corrections, as they have more time.

One actor, you want to do playback singing for.

It is a very difficult question. I have never thought about it. (thinks) I think Ranbir Kapoor because he is my favourite actor. I think among all the new actors I like him a lot.

What's your take on actors venturing into singing?

Yes like Alia (Bhatt) and Shraddha (Kapoor). I don't mind as it depends on the song again. Like some of the songs require very raw and untrained approach to it. There are songs which turn out beautiful if sung simpler. So, in that case, it is fine, there is no harm in it. I am sure there might be few songs which they will find difficult to sing. In that case, it is not a great idea. Whatever works for the song, I feel that song is the king. So, a person who sings it and writes it should do it well. 

Do you agree that singers and composers are not given the importance they deserve?

Singers are big stars, they do a lot of shows. Composers in our country don't earn very good because if you see in places like America and Europe, composers earn from royalty and that's their main way of income. But here our royalties don't reach us. If I was only a music composer, it would have been very difficult to survive. And also, we are not focused upon by the media. It is like singers are more like actors and composers like directors, who are behind the scenes, guiding everything and are answerable to everyone. He has to handle 25 things and deliver the final master. The work is different, but I wouldn't mind if composers get their due royalty and credit and little more mention and respect. First royalty, then credit and respect, these are must. 


They deserve royalities. Indian laws need to be revised .

Media needs some guidelines in terms of coverage. They just run after ltd personalities and ignore a whole bunch for whom readers are really curious but their is not much mention.

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