As a 14-year-old working in the film industry, he once saw composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal at Mehboob Studio. Overawed, he ran away, wondering how he could ever compete with such names.
“But there was a spirit to excel right from childhood.AIt was not easy to get even one film considering people like RD Burman and Laxmikant-Pyarelal were doing such excellent work,” remembers music composer Anu Malik.
It may be almost 45 years since the incident and he may have composed music for more than 400 films, but Malik, who won the National Award for Best Music Direction for ‘Refugee’ and has carried home several trophies for Music Direction, working with filmmakers across generations, insists that consistent hard work and striving for excellence has kept him relevant all these years. “My struggle is my strength,” he smiles.
At present working on the score for Priyadarshan’s ‘Hungama 2’, starring Paresh Rawal, Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan Jaffrey, Malik, the music composer, who also worked with the director in ‘Hera Pheri’ and ‘Virasat’, tells IANS, “I am pretty excited as I have done the entire score for this fun film. Priyadarshan is an amazing director and it is always a pleasure working with him.”
Talking about the drastic changes he has witnessed in the music industry, Malik, who belongs to the Kapurthala Gharana recalls that from a live orchestra comprising hundreds of musicians to the present age digital technology when he is making songs sitting at home — it has definitely been a 360 degree change.
“At the age of 55, I had to regroup my life and understand that in order to survive with such great talent around me, I have no choice but to master technology. Today, ‘A minus’ can be turned into a ‘B minus’, ‘S Major’ song can suddenly be turned into a ‘D Major’. You can even auto-tune your voice — would this all be possible without high-end technology?” asks Malik, who grew up listening to the Beatles and finds solace in Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt.Ravi Shankar and Kishori Amonkar.
Considering he has been a consistent face at talent shows, Malik, who made his debut as a music composer in 1980 with the film ‘Hunterwali 77’ admits that walking away with the winner’s trophy does not really guarantee sure-shot success in the film industry. “Remember, there is much talent in the industry and the competition is always very fierce. Talent shows bring the spotlight on you, but to truly arrive, there is a long struggle. You have to consistently sing extraordinarily and continue to practice.
Malik, who recently spoke during a virtual chat series organised by Columbia Pacific Communities on how music plays an instrumental role in keeping ageing minds happy, adds, “I have always felt deeply for seniors, so I am bound to like the Living Room concept by CPC.”
All for professional music institutes, the composer, citing the example of Berklee College of Music adds, “I may not have learnt professionally, but it makes a lot of sense to have a great institute, boasting of top faculty, devoted completely to music. After all, we have colleges for sciences, no?”
Admiring young singers releasing singles on YouTube, the music composer says it is refreshing to listen to so many new voices. “It is an excellent platform to showcase your skills, and I am glad they are using it to its full potential. Not only are they getting a sizable fan base, the medium is also exposing them to many music composers and directors.”