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Chit Chat

We gave Salman Khan a break: Meet Bros

1-Anjjan-Bhattacharya-Harmeet-Singh-Manmeet-SinghBolly composers Harmeet Singh and Anjjan Bhattacharya of Meet Bros’ Anjjan were in town for the music launch of Partha Chakraborty’s Kkoli, in which they have composed three songs. The composers, who are still riding high on the success of their hits like Hangover, Pink lips and Baby doll, spoke to CT about Salman Khan the singer, the Sunny factor in their lives and Honey Singh, the bhai!

Do you listen to Bengali music?
Anjjan: I am a Bengali, a Bhattacharya, born and brought up in Kanpur. But my summer vacations were always spent in Kolkata, as my extended family lives here. I have grown up listening to Kishore da, Manna Dey, Salil Chowdhury, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, as my father would only allow those songs at home. Their notes and compositions have stayed with me. Then I came to this city in 1995 and stayed for three years, in which I won a reality show too. So, my musical journey started from here. I hoped that some day I would be able to compose music for a Bengali film.I’ve been friends with the Meet Bros for the last 15 years. After some songs of ours became hits, I told them, let’s do a Bengali film. They were like, ‘Nahi yaar, kaha Bengali abhi! Let’s concentrate on Hindi for now’. But when Kkoli came, I said let’s do it. So, they made me promise that I will also have to pitch in for a Punjabi film, which I agreed to and we did a Bengali and Punjabi film back-to-back.
Harmeet: Actually, we realized that he has good hold of Bengali language and melodies. So, Kkoli is a pet project of Anjjan. Moreover, traditional Bengali music se meetha music kahi nahi hai. Its melody is the best in the world. I am telling this after being a Punjabi and a lover of world music.

Punjabi music has been there in Bollywood since ages. But do you think its popularity has increased these days?
Anjjan: Punjabi songs have been Bollywood chartbusters for the last 10-12 years. Even Baby doll is 50% Punjabi. Still, it was a hit all across India. Harmeet: Usme namak hai, tarka hai. Aaj ke log namak, mirchi, masala chahte hai, and that’s where Punjabi music scores.

What was Salman Khan’s reaction after listening to Hangover?
H: It can be gauged from the fact that this is the first time in his 25-year-old career that he has sung a song. After listening to it, he said ‘Yeh to main hi gaunga, aur kisi ko gane nahi doonga.’ So, after working with acclaimed music composers, if he debuts as a singer with us, it’s a big compliment for us. He practiced hard for three days to perfect it.

How was he as a student?
H: Sher hai bhaiya; unko kaabu karna is like taming a lion. But he can beat any singer in terms of dedication. He used to sing each line 100-150 times in different styles. The only part where we had to correct him was the pitch, because obviously he is not a singer. We told him to go slow on the energy, as it was a romantic track and not a rock number. But then, he worked really hard. He told us not to let him go till he perfects it. We felt as if we were training a new singer. So, we can credit ourselves for giving a break to Salman Khan (winks).

Who’s the decision maker in the trio?
A: We have a democratic process; we ask our whole team, and then vote. Mostly, the two brothers are never on the same side. If we aren’t sure, we listen to the song again after a week and let it brew in our heads. We go ahead with the track only when we are sure.

Do you three sing the lyrics together?
H: Yes. Someone sings at a high scale, another low, the third, in the middle. So ek alag tone nikal ke aata hai. Doing a regular job of one person singing is very easy, but three people singing the same song together is rare. The technical treatment is a trade secret.

Is that your secret mantra for a hit song?
H: It is our time. Samay chal raha hai to sab theek hai. A: We are a mix of Bengal and Punjab. Plus, we have dedication. Jo hum karte hai, dil se karte hai.

Do you think people these days have short-term memory when it comes to songs?
A: These days, teenagers are constantly asking, ‘what’s next?’ Moreover, earlier, two films released a month; now there are four releases a week. Earlier, people had success parties when the film ran for 25 weeks; now they do it in three days! H: There is also a technical reason. Melody takes time to grow on you. Simple catchy words like Pink lips aren’t long-lasting, but are catchy, as even a child can sing it. If you want melody, you have to give it time to grow on you. And people don’t have time these days.

What’s next for you?
A: We just released Singham. After that, we have 25 films coming, of which we can’t reveal 21. One is Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene with Zahid Khan. One is Babboo Ki Jawani. Then there is Leela with Sunny Leone and Remo D’Souza’s Amar Must Die of.

But Meet Bros Anjjan and Sunny Leone have become a hit team!
A: Yes, humara team ban gaya hai. Now, if anyone wants to cast Sunny, they come looking for us. In office too, people have many colleagues, but ek ke sath tuning baith jata hai. We’ve met so many people, but Sunny ke sath tuning bani. H: Sunny too had worked in 10 songs with many music directors, but I guess our destinies are intertwined. As soon as we came together, the songs started becoming hits. Now, the situation is that we are doing four films with her. In fact, we are composing all of Sunny’s upcoming songs. We also have a personal Punjabi connection with her, which we can’t reveal (winks).

There have been many item girls. What do you think makes Sunny unique?
H: Public wants masala. Sunny is not a diet food, she has namak, tadka and mirchi. A: Then she is beautiful and hard working. Add to that she is an international figure and very professional. She is a full package and has also proven herself. H: People ask us whether we find her hot. But surprisingly, we find her sweet. Sunny is mishti doi. People who judge her should meet her. She is very nice and straightforward.

What was Sunny’s reaction when she heard Baby doll?
H: She thanked us with a peck on the cheeks. Doesn’t that say enough!

Do you consider Honey Singh your competition?
A: No, we are good friends! In fact, we did a song in Boss together. Bhai hai apna! H: He has a separate genre, which we really respect. We are versatile, we do Punjabi, Bolly, thumri, Sufi everything. Honey sings party songs. If we start thinking of each other as competition, we won’t go anywhere. We believe in spreading love through music.

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