Salim-Sulaiman: Monopoly of music labels has killed the joy of making music

Salim: I think even films are not being made where we can experiment and bring in some traditional music. Today, music has completely become a money-making business. Some characters have come alive in the play, which were almost non-existent in the story. I think this is a positive byproduct of the chaos within the industry. In today’s time, everybody is happy apart from the musicians and composers. It is a beautiful composition. Sulaiman: The process is pretty much the same but the difference comes when you are composing the background score for a play. You don’t know if the actor will take an extra breath or change expression or anything. Advertising

Salim: Recently, there was a song called “Nindiya”. But the sad part is, very few such experiences are happening. As a composer, that is my dream but I am not ready to recreate someone else’s music. There are a lot of nuances which were not in the film but were there in the book – Umrao Jaan Ada. It is spontaneous. So, it has become a rat race than a creative process. More Explained

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Sonu Nigam had said long ago that the industry is living and breathing in the monopoly of music producers. Salim: While making the play, we were sure people will ask us that how come we are remaking or recreating the songs from the classic film. 0
Comment(s) Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Umrao Jaan the film is iconic. Yes, it has been an interesting journey. But are such kind of films being made today? Salim: It is absolutely an alarming situation. When we thought of creating a musical equivalent to what happens abroad, we wanted to do it with Umrao Jaan majorly because of its iconic music. We as composers are a few in a billion and what we create is heard by millions. But when you will watch the play, you will know that we have kept every nuance of Asha Bhosle’s voice and tune of Khayyam sahab intact. It creates drama that makes the play pretty interesting. Is it also because we are failing to churn out something new? Advertising

Directed by Rajeev Goswami, the musical Umrao Jaan Ada is adapted from the Urdu classic Umrao Jaan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa. It is a pretty song and has a timeless quality. It is a racket of record labels. But we try to achieve plan A. These days, a lot of independent music is being made. In fact, it was an introduction to classical music for me. The only change is the screenplay because we have gone by the book. “Dil Diyan Gallan” was pretty good too. We have not followed the films (Umrao Jaan starring Rekha in 1981 and Umrao Jaan starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in 2006). We have taken the orchestra to another level. In fact, every musical instrument is being played live. As of now, the joy of creating or listening to music has simply vanished. Was it exciting to give music to Umrao Jaan the play? Sulaiman: Umrao Jaan Ada is a completely different story in a lot of ways. Popular Photos

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How different is it composing for plays when compared to films? Apart from that, I liked some songs here and there. In the age of remixes and recreations, are you also bringing a new twist to the music of the play? You cannot stick to a plan with the music. Sulaiman: I have not done a mainstream film for a long time now and that is purely because it has a recreated song. A few others are in the same zone. It is our responsibility to educate people about different music. We have tried to follow the book and to keep its authenticity and stay true to its writing. Advertising

Salim: It is incredible for me to create Khayyam sahab’s music. Today, a listener has a playlist that’s a mix of independent and Bollywood songs. It is the responsibility of record labels to feed music to the listeners. But here, it is all live. Umrao Jaan’s music became a textbook for me. They are cheating the listeners and holding them back from having a better experience in terms of music. It was like a childhood calling for me. Sulaiman: There is no sort of contamination of music in the play. At the age of 8, I embraced music. The three-four people responsible for creating music are delivering filth to people. There is always a plan A, B and C. It gives us complete chills but that is why we rehearse so much. In the past few years, Punjabi music in Bollywood has grown. The duo sat down with to talk about the play, the music industry today and much more. Apart from the existing music, we composed three original songs for the play. So, even listeners are not happy. Sulaiman: Honestly, the fault lies with the record labels and not composers. Please understand Umrao Jaan is incomplete without “Dil Cheez Kya Hai” or “In Aankho Ki Masti Ke”, so we have taken absolute care of every tune, instrument and singer. Sooner, more and more people will move to independent music scenario. You have often expressed your opinion on remakes. Any recent track you heard and felt – wow, this sounds different. These people are making music to create their fan base and are not associated with Bollywood. Is that the reason why experimentation is not happening? Maybe the Punjab industry does not have such qualms. It has become a matter of choice. However, it hasn’t stopped. We have not tried to make anything different to what the original songs sound like. People even now ask me about Dor and its music. Today, everybody is running towards fetching views and likes on social media. For a film, the scene is set and the edit is locked. It was a challenge but yet exciting. The monopoly of music labels has led to this saddening situation. Is it an alarming situation? The music for the play has been composed by Bollywood’s ace music directors Salim-Sulaiman. We have been as authentic as possible.