Pritam on Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and why he delivers music at the eleventh hour
For the uninitiated, the disheveled hirsute appearance of Pritam conveys a lot of things. A music composer is last on people’s mind while a recluse always guarantees mystery. But the man, who has been churning out melodies for years, vehemently denies the tag which media has bestowed on him.
“Do I? I don't think I am a recluse at all. To the media I may be shy as I don't come out and party. May be you are right when I think about it. I am a workaholic and I like being in the studio but I am not recluse at all,” says Pritam in his defense.
Just as producers consider the Khans as a ticket to success and box office bonanza, Pritam too has made a similar reputation by sheer dint of his hard work. The next three months will witness three most awaited films of the year, and all have music composed by Pritam. True to his reputation the man is still busy giving final touches to music of Salman Khan’s next release Tubelight somewhere in Khandala.
There is also a running joke about the composer, about delivering the music only at the eleventh hour. While Shah Rukh Khan took a jibe at him during one of Dilwale song launches, Salman Khan did the same during the trailer launch of Tubelight. “I think that's because I keep working on a track till it's snatched out of my hand that's why they get it at eleventh hour,” is the explanation from Pritam’s side.
But more than the soundtrack of Tubelight and Jab Harry Met Sejal, it’s the 20-plus songs of the Ranbir and Katrina starrer Jagga Jasoos that’s keeping him both nervous and excited.
The combo of Anurag Basu-Pritam is back again, and the last time the two shook hands, it was music to ears. So is it the Bong connection or is it the plate of fish? “It’s understanding between two of us. Anurag is a genius, the way he makes his films. He used to tell me that I have shot some sequences without songs. When he saw the final film, he again remarked that had he got the songs earlier he would have shot it differently,” he says.
Pritam also takes advantage of this friendship as he often takes liberty of changing songs at the last moment. The best part is Basu often accommodates, as he knows him in and out.
And yes, they do share a plate of fish together.
The conversation with Pritam also throws light on the functioning of Anurag Basu. According to him Basu is a laugh riot and does weird things with people around him. Pritam also discloses a favourite prank he often plays on people. “He can quietly take somebody’s phone and, without him or her knowing, he will send messages to multiple people. That’s why when Anurag is around I get panicky and hide my phone.”
The Jodi of Ranbir and Pritam has always worked at the box office to any producer’s advantage. Be it Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani or Barfi, the two have always delivered. He thinks that with Ranbir Kapoor, it’s always a matter of give and take as he becomes part of the studio and interacts with everyone.
Pritam in the past few years has also become the melody destination for the Khans of the industry.
Be it Salman, Aamir or Shah Rukh, if the quest is of popular music, the only name that crosses their mind is Pritam. His compositions for films like Dangal, Sultan, Dilwale, Tubelight, and When Harry Met Sejal only reinforce the faith that the triumvirates have imposed in him. So how daunting is the task of composing music for a film that features any of the Khans?
“There is always pressure. Music in any Khan film is always dissected and it’s very difficult to satisfy any Khan fans, as they want only the best for their hero. Sometimes they become blind and fail to see the restrictions in the film. You need romantic love stories with angst to get music like Ae Dil Hain Mushkil.”
But one actor Pritam is really fond of is Salman Khan. Pritam is a fan of Salman’s candid behavior. A typical music setting with Salman Khan involves Pritam playing a few songs, which brings out an immediate reaction, varying from ‘I love you’ to ‘wow, what a song’ to ‘freeze it’.
“He gives suggestions which sometimes look a bit odd at that point of time and then I say to myself that let’s do it. But strange enough, whenever I have looked back at his suggestions they all feel like gems now which is very weird to me.”
He cites an instance of the Character Dheela song, when he had just a solo male voice in mind. It was Salman who suggested that it should be a duet. Pritam resisted it till the end but went ahead with Salman’s suggestion. Now he admits that it was a very smart decision, because according to him, the moment the girl in the song says the same thing the frivolousness goes away and it becomes more of a romantic song.
Pritam has been on a spree for the past few years and judging by the momentum it only seems fair to conclude that the juggernaut of hit songs is not stopping any time soon especially when he has stars like Salman, Shah Rukh, Aamir and Ranbir to back him.