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‘I’m looking for challenges’

| | in Sunday Pioneer
‘I’m looking for challenges’

Arjunna Harjaie, who has recently given music for Lucknow Central and won the Creative ABBY Awards GOLD, speaks with SHALINI SAKSENA about his musical journey & importance of a background score in a film

Tell us about your musical journey.

I am from Delhi and belong to a musical family. My mother is an artist at AIR and my father composed songs. I was two when I first started learning from them — ghazals and semi-classical. Slowly, I graduated to learning musical instruments like tabla and piano. With correct guidance, everything fell into place. I did vocal training. By the time I was in Class XI, I was very popular in school for my singing. I then shifted to Mumbai and stayed with Suresh Wadekar and his gurukul. I learnt music there and pursued sound management as well. I was lucky as far as opportunities were concerned. While at the gurukul, I got a chance to work in Wadekarji’s studio and observed how composers like Vishal Bharadwaj worked and grasped a lot from there.

You have had hands-on experience and professional training. Which is more important?

There has to be a balance between hands-on experience and training. Music is not maths. Being a composer, one can’t decide how one will go about a song. One can’t say: ‘This song needs to be approached in a particular manner and play this cord or that one’. The training helps in the arrangement part of music. Most people use their training element to initially compose which may not be the right way. The experience comes later.

Projects you have worked on.

I have worked on Lucknow Central. Then I composed music for Titoo MBA. The movie had a small budget but my work — O Soniye — was appreciated. I have done several jingles for Myntra, Amazon Prime, Jio Prime, Samsung and Sony.

You have had a long association with Nikhil Advani. Tells us about that.

My association with him began three years back thanks to Kumaar (sir), the lyricist. He plays an important role. I met him after my first film and he told me that my song O Soniye was something that he would have loved to be a part of. That’s how my association began with him and he introduced me to Nikhil Advani for a project called Guddu Engineer released under Zeal For Unity festival. My work convinced him to give me more work POW-Bandi Yuddh Ke. Working with Nikhil is great since one gets to learn a lot.

Challenges of working on Lucknow Central.

The movie is directed by Ranjit Tiwari and produced by Nikhil Advani and yes the music is a little different from what one hears. It was Ranjit who came up with the idea of making a film on some true events. He gave me a brief on the entire movie. I was restricted in this movie since the protagonist is in the jail and maintain the rusticness of the background. Therefore, there is a sound of trash cans and body percussions. This project was very different. Most people want one dance song, one love dance, one this and that. The music in Lucknow Central were hot for a different reason. The songs were a part of the story and therefore they were all blended.

What kind of music would you like to create since you said you were a little restricted with Lucknow Central?

It is good to be restricted. That’s how I found my niche. I am looking for challenges. I have an ad background and worked on every kind of music that is my forte. My mantra is — tell me what you need and I will deliver.

What is the importance of background score in a movie?

It is really important but not so much in India. But background score adds to the overall aesthetics. If you see Hollywood, since they don’t have songs like our movies have, they rely on background scores.

 
 
 
 
 

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