Jeet Gannguli Unplugged

Jeet Gannguli's performance
‘Aashiqui 2’ is the latest entrant to the Rs 100-crore club, but Jeet Gannguli seems to be quietly soaking in the success. As I walk in to interview him at his office in Andheri, suburban Mumbai, he wastes no time in ordering a special Bengali roll for me the moment I tell him that I am from Kolkata. Over a cup of tea we chat about life before and after ‘Aashiqui 2’. Excerpts from the interview:

‘Aashiqui 2’ has joined the Rs 100-cr club and everyone is talking about the film’s music. How does it feel?

‘Aashiqui’ was a huge hit and when I was offered ‘Aashiqui 2’ I was honestly a little scared. It’s been more than 20 years since ‘Aashiqui’ and people still remember the music. Initially, I was undecided whether I should accept the film but after the music release I felt on top of the world.

What do you think was so exceptional about the music, that everyone loved it?

I think the music of a film works only when it has melody and soul. The ‘Aashiqui’ franchise is known for two things; eternal love and melody, and that was imperative for this film too. I tried to think of what kind of music this generation likes. I guess the orchestration and Irshad Kamil’s lyrics really clicked with the young audience.

The film has three different composers, how did the whole album come together?

The complete credit for this album goes to Mohit Suri (the director). Even though there were three composers -- Mithoon, Ankit and me -- working on the film, the music is seamless. The songs he has chosen have the same texture and there is no jerk at any point. His songs selections are completely apt to the situation.

People are now talking about Jeet Gannguli after the film’s phenomenal success - How was your struggle before that?

I came to Mumbai in 1996 and initially worked with Pritam-da on films like ‘Tere Liye’ and ‘Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai’. After we split up, I have worked on quite a few Bengali films. The thing is I don’t want 50 releases every year; a maximum of four projects a year is more than enough for me. I want to work with films that have a good subject and want to make memorable melodies.

Is there a possibility that you may work with Pritam again?

It’s better if we don’t work together. Pritam-da and I separated because we had very different sensibilities and styles of working. We are both doing well and I guess, we are better off working on our own.

A lot of music directors face accusations of alleged plagiarism. What’s your take on songs that have been ‘inspired’ by others?

There was a time when Bollywood made only a few songs every year but now the industry produces almost 20-30 songs daily. There are times when some notes overlap and that might not be intentional. However, I definitely agree that completely lifting a song from elsewhere is wrong.

After the phenomenal success of ‘Aashiqui 2’, what are your future plans?

I will definitely do Hindi films but my priority will always be interesting projects.  Even if I am offered a project from the South I am keen on working on it because that will be a new challenge.

Among the contemporary music directors, who would you say has been a trendsetter in Bollywood?

I love Amit Trivedi. I feel he thinks very differently and that’s why his music stands apart. Amit doesn’t think in terms of how to compose a hit song but he is always trying to experiment. His music is not typically Bollywoodish and that’s why his music has such appeal.