Till Airlift happened, I was considered a one song wonder - Amaal Mallik

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If you cannot stop humming songs like Sooraj Dooba Hai, Main Hoon Hero Tera, Soch Naa Sake, Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon, Buddhu Sa Mann, Kar Gayi Chull and the latest release Sau Aasman, then you have one person to thank, and that is music composer Amaal Mallik. He started off at a young age of 23 and within a short span has made a mark for himself in Bollywood. In a candid conversation, Amaal shares his journey about composing songs, why Main Hoon Hero Tera is special, how Sau Aasman from Baar Baar Dekho happened and the details of his most ambitious project - M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Read on...
Sau Aasman is out and people are loving it and can relate to it....
I like making music which connects to me and the real situations in life. First of all, I had to thank Karan Johar and Azeem Dayani, who is the music supervisor for Dharma Productions. He had brought me on board for Kapoor and Sons. Karan sir liked my work on that film and hence he connected me to Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar and Nitya Mehra. It was initially going to be composed by Amit Trivedi, but he backed out due to date issues. They decided to go with multi composers after that. All other songs were done, except one. It was in this situation - the honeymoon romance number. But they didn't want a regular number.
What was the thought behind this song?

The way my song is shot, I don't think anyone could have shot it this way. Even if someone gets angry with me, but I have to say that this is my best shot song till date. Nitya Mehra has got the right feel and vibe to the song. She has made familiar places look unfamiliar. And that was Nitya's brief to me as well. She wanted me to make a romantic and dance number together. That was difficult. For me to be different, I fused country music in this song. It is used rarely. Just guitars, mandolins etc. I wanted to break the monotony as well and didn't want it to be a club track. I didn't want it to sound like a remix. We wanted it to be more of a beach party kind of a song. It is the love song that I love. My other love songs have been very emotional. This one will connect to the audience of today, who is more practical in love. And that is how Sau Aasman happened.

Were Neeti Mohan and Armaan Mallik your obvious choice for the song?

For all my songs, I keep changing singers till I am not happy. That is how it is and this norm has been followed by all the directors too. And the scratch version of all my songs are sung by Armaan, because he is my in-house singer. Neeti Mohan was my obvious choice, because she hasn't sung a song like this as well. I love experimenting. When I made the song, I felt Neeti's voice was the most suitable because she adapts differently to different songs. I played this song to her and when she sang it, I was confident people would like her voice. I wasn't sure if Armaan's version would be retained, but with her I was sure. The minute she sang, I thought Í have found my singer'. For Armaan, Karan, Excel, Nitya, Ritesh, Farhan sat together and thought that his voice suits the best.

2015 was a good year for you and now 2016 has been better. Are you happy?

Last year, more than film songs, I had more of singles. I mean Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon was one of the most loved romantic songs of 2015. When that worked, I thought I should experiment more. This year I got very varied films. I did a romantic number in Airlift and then a patriotic number. After that I moved on to Sanam Re, Kapoor and Sons, Baaghi, Sarbjit, Azhar and now Baar Baar Dekho. I am happy that I am managing to do this kind of work. For me Kapoor and Sons has been very special because that is where I made good friends. And there was no jealousy between the composers and that helped the album become one of the most loved albums of this year. Although Kar Gayi Chull is a bigger track, I loved Buddhu Sa Mann more and also the other tracks. Kar Gayi Chull was a crowd puller. Same was the case with Main Hoon Hero Tera. It became so big that other songs never got recognized. I feel so sad that even though I have won all the awards for Sooraj Dooba Hai, I have always had this special place for Main Hoon Hero Tera. I think that song also deserved something.

Can we say that you are one of the most bankable composer of today's times?

I don't think I am the most bankable, but you can say that I have made a good headway in a short span of time. It takes lot of years for a composer to make a name. Like the people whom I idolize, Pritam, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and all have struggled hard to be at a place where they are today. So bankable I don't know, but as a newcomer, in two years I have at least managed to reach out to the audience with my kind of music and have a certain following. And I am winning new followers everyday because I am also adapting and trying new styles everyday. I am happy that this has happened. In 2015, my whole year was dependent on just one song - Sooraj Dooba Hai which sky rocketed and changed everything. 2016 has been a beautiful year for me in terms of music. It has been a satisfying year for me as a musician. Airlift changed a lot of things for me. It is a difficult film to make hit songs. So when I was able to crack that, I felt nice.

Please continue....

In fact, I was the youngest on the sets of Airlift and Bhushan Kumar, Akshay Kumar, Nikhil Advani and Raja Menon were playing around with me. They gave me a challenge, that if I do justice to the Patriotic song, then they will give me the other song. That is when Tu Bhoola Jise happened, and it is undoubtedly the most respected song of mine. When they heard the song, they felt 'haan yeh ladke ko kaam aata hai'. People took notice of my work and that is when I was offered bigger and tougher films. Till Airlift, I was considered a one song wonder. 

I had a tag on my head that he is 'The Sooraj Dooba boy'. I had become stereotyped. Hence I wanted to make different songs. And I have had varied songs this year. So sometimes people don't pressurize me but they expect me to churn different music every time, which I have done till now. The audience too has lapped up my work. So I feel this year, I have gained responsibility as a composer, but bankable will take sometime. About that we will speak after 5 years (laughs).

Are you happy that your mentor Salman Khan is proud of you and your brother Armaan Mallik?

Completely! We started our journey in Bollywood because of Salman Khan. Jai Ho was my first film as a composer. I had thought I will take time to debut and would be able to do that only around 29-30 years of age. But I was able to become a composer at 23 only because of Salman Khan. If he hadn't pushed me, I don't think I would have been here. A lion always teaches his cub how to walk. Just like that, Salman pushed me. I fell few times, but he let me get up on my own. My first few films, didn't fare well with the audience. I stumbled in the start, but Salman Khan was very supportive. He is like family to Armaan and me. For me, I didn't want to fall in his eyes. It was very important to prove my potential to him. He trusted in me so much! It was tough for any star to give chance to a new guy, whose name no one has ever heard. He has only launched Himesh Reshammiya and Sajid-Wajid in two decades. I had heard people tell him 'Arre bachcha hai... Why you supporting him?'. But he believed in me and that made me believe in myself too. There were many articles that had come out initially when my music didn't work, that I have fizzled out and that my music wasn't at par with Anu Malik or Dabboo Malik. These things started playing in my head. There were also articles that said Salman Khan wasn't supporting Amaal Mallik, because I wasn't part of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Kick or Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. But that wasn't the case. He wanted me to make my own way. These things pushed me into such a bad corner, that I had plans to quit the industry. I was planning to go to New Zealand and pursue my Masters. That is when I met Bhushan Kumar and then Roy happened. 

And then...

Salman Khan has been a messiah for lot of people. I didn't want to be the burden on him. I just wanted him to be proud of me. So I stopped calling him often. I never asked for help. I moved out. When Sooraj Dooba Hai became a huge hit, my mentor called me up and said that 'You have done a good job and you have made me proud'. My awards don't mean that much to me, but that phone call was very special. Not because he is a star, but because he is my mentor. Then we did Main Hoon Hero Tera where we broke records. So the next time that we come together, it would be insane. Whenever I get stuck, I ask him. He is always there for me. And even Bhushan Kumar has been an amazing mentor to me. I owe it to both these guys.

What's next?

After Baar Baar Dekho, it is M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story which has been my toughest and most ambitious film. I am going to surprise people with this one. People who think that this one is a biopic and there is not much scope for music, let me tell you there are 7 songs in it. Out of them, there are 3 romantic songs. No one knows Dhoni's life yet and it is going to be a visual treat to all. Working with Neeraj Pandey was a tall task. The music of the movie is closely knit to the script and yet they are commercial. We have chosen 7 songs out of the 27 songs that we made. I worked on this film for almost 2 years. After Dhoni I have Force 2 which is with Sonakshi Sinha and John Abraham. I have one song and might have another one. Next year would be little more fun. I am doing Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Noor. The music of that film has a YJHD vibe. It will let me do that kind of music. I have done one song for a Hansal Mehta film, called Simran. Let's see if it becomes my solo film. It is an interesting line up. Right now I don't know but I played few songs to Varun which I made for Badrinath Ki Dulhania but I think he liked them more for Judwaa 2 and he might use them for it.


Yes, he is Anu Malik's nephew, Daboo Malik's son. Daboo Malik is a nice guy, he acted in Baazigar.

Is he related to anu malik?

Amal Malik is a good musician and his voice is very powerful. I watched his performance at Mirchi Music 2016 and it was really great. I am a big fan of hiand his brother Arman, wish them all the best.

His dad is Arrogant plagiarized Mallik! So he ought to be a winner.

I think you took him as Anu Malik's son. He is related to Anu Malik but his family don't have good relationship with him.

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