Anu Malik, in his 35th year as a composer, has re-bonded with two old associates for the love story “Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai.”
The film is produced by Ashim Samanta, Anu Malik’s friend and neighbor from college days. It introduces Ashim’s son, Aditya, as a leading man. Ashim’s father, the late Shakti Samanta, was one of Hindi cinema’s frontline filmmakers and Ashim has named his banner Aradhana Films after one of his father’s biggest hits and this latest movie after the chartbuster from “Kati Patang.”
Anu feels privileged that Ashim fulfilled his years-old promise to the music director that he would score music for his son’s launch vehicle, considering that his market value is down. Their association dates back to “Aakhri Baazi,” a Hindi-Bengali bi-lingual in 1989 even when the banner’s favorite R.D. Burman was active. Subsequently, Anu has worked with Ashim in “Ahankaar” (1995), “Aankhon Mein Tum Ho” (1998 – incidentally Ashok Kumar’s last appearance) and “Don Muthuswamy” (2008).
Since the 1969 “Aradhana,” the late Anand Bakshi remained the lyricist for all but a handful of films in the banner’s prolific output including Ashim’s first three films “Amne Saamne,” “Main Awara Hoon” and “Paley Khan” and later Anu’s “Ahankaar” and “Aankhon Mein Tum Ho.” And Anu had a tryst with nostalgia when he went with Ashim for the music sittings to a hill resort.
“We were discussing the good old times and the way S.D. Burman, R.D.Burman and Anand Bakshi worked for Ashim and his father. I had told Ashim clearly that I wanted to maintain the dignity of the banner’s musical record and make true melodies disregarding current trends. Ashim said, ‘Anu, I have a surprise for you,’ and handed me a sheet of paper. It was a song written by Anand Bakshi, Pyar Karna Na Tha, Pyar Karna Pada, whose rights Ashim had bought from Bakshi-saab’s son!” Anu recently told India-West over the phone.
Having done around 20 films with the late lyricist including hits like “Sohni Mahiwal,” “Chamatkar” and “Yaadein” and composed Bakshi’s last recorded song in his lifetime (for a Subhash Ghai film “Majnu” that never took off), it was another touching moment for the composer. “When I was reading the words, written as only Bakshi-saab could — who else could have such a thought? — a tune just flowed out of me as I sat on my harmonium. Somehow, I felt that Bakshi-saab would have wanted me to compose it exactly that way. And I chose Mohit Chauhan for the male version and Shreya Ghoshal for the female one.”
Anu, who earlier this year scored music for “Gali Gali Chor Hai” as well as composed the chartbusters “Tinku Jiya” and “Chamki Jawani” in “Yamla Pagla Deewana” last year, would prefer to do complete film scores. “I cannot be inspired doing just a song or two while others are doing the rest,” he declares. “I did it for Sunny Deol in ‘Yamla…’ because we are very close, and have just recorded a song for him in Anil Sharma’s new film. Otherwise I am insisting on a contract that states that I will be solo composer of a film, and on this precondition I am likely to sign two films this week.”
The composer is a bit put off by the indifference shown by the industry to his talented singer daughter Anmol Malik, who has sung in so many of his recent films. “I think that she is pretty underrated. Look at the way she has sung ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’ in ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai,’” he says.