New kid on the musical block
That's Mithoon Sharma for you, all of 21 and making music and waves in Bollywood with his catchy tunes…
One of the youngest music directors in the Indian film industry, Mithoon Sharma has proved he's a chip off the old block. He's music director Naresh Sharma's son and at 21, has already composed music for runaway hits like Tere Bin from Bas Ek Pal and Maula Mere and Toh Se Naina Lage from Anwar. The barely-out-of-teens director started his foray into Bollywood with a rework of Pakistani band Jal's song Woh Lamhe, from the film Zeher. The song went on to become a chartbuster. With The Train, Mithoon has, for the first time, composed music for an entire film and has turned singer too. A chat with the promising musician:
Tere Bin was a runaway hit. So were two other tracks that followed…
It feels nice to hear that. Appreciation is always welcome. It is satisfying when people say they like your work. Music for me has always been a form of personal expression. It's never been about capturing markets and doing business. It feeds my soul.
Though the songs have been hits, unfortunately, the films haven't done too well commercially. Are you apprehensive about The Train too?
You're right about the first part. The films haven't done too well. But that is not my criteria for composing. I always look for good stories. I have to like the story before I compose for it. Both Bas Ek Pal and Anwar were such stories. Bas Ek Pal is about seven couples and Anwar also had a powerful storyline. Both Oni and Manish are such wonderful directors. My Brother Nikhil by Oni and Matrubhoomi by Manish were different from the run-off-the-mill stuff. This is what motivates me. My music should complement the story. The Train has a great story and I am hoping the film does well.
Your music is quite different from the others in the industry. How would you define your music?
That's a tough question. I had seen an interview of Illyaraja some years back and he was asked the same question. And he said he cannot define music because it is divine. I agree with him. My father also says the same thing. You can't describe music in a word or a phrase. There are no explanations. It's just a form of expression. It's easy for a listener to differentiate music and describe but when it comes to composing, it's only about how you feel and how you relate to the tunes.
You started by reworking a track for Zeher. What are you more comfortable doing – adapting music or creating your own?
I prefer original compositions. I did Zeher and Kalyug because my father wanted me to. He wanted me to understand how music works, how the vocals are set and all the technical aspects before I took the big leap. And yes, I did learn a lot. But I don't think I will do it again.
We hear that you plan to do only two films a year. Given that others are doing 15, won't that affect your career?
Not at all. I don't quite understand this competition, especially in something as abstract as music. I don't believe in the number game. As I said, music is a mode of expression for me. I do it the way I feel is right. But it's nice to be appreciated by fans. I get fan mails from people as far as the Bahamas. It was heartwarming. I got a call from someone who said he listens to Maula Mere ten times a day and he can't sleep before listening to it once. That is more satisfying than any awards.
You are one of the youngest in the industry. How has the reception been to that?
It's been good. After Bas Ek Pal, people appreciated my work. There have been people who called me even though they don't know me just to say I have done a good job.
You composed music for a Malay film. How different was it from composing for a Hindi film?
Initially, I was quite nervous about the project. But the directors were very understanding and they helped me understand the trends in that country. I had to do a lot of research. But they were confident that I would do justice to the music. When there is a merger of cultures, the result is usually different. I enjoyed my time there.
You have got into playback now. Is there another Himesh Reshammiya in the making?
Now that's a tricky question. Playback happened by accident. It was more of a stop gap arrangement. I had composed the music but the shooting dates were near. So we had to record the songs fast. So I sang the songs so the shoot could be completed. The intention was to re-record the songs once everything was settled. But after the shoot the director told me my voice sounded nice and suited the song. My father also said the same thing. They would not let me record the songs again saying it was fine.
Are you singing again in your forthcoming films?
I wanted to be a composer. Singing just happened and when it did I was apprehensive. By God's grace the songs turned out well and were appreciated. My confidence level has certainly increased and I might sing again after all.
What new projects are you working on? Any albums coming up?
There's this film called Agar I am working on. It's a Shyam Bajaj film and is being directed by Anant Mahadevan. The lyricist again is Sayeed Quadri. Besides that I haven't really looked at anything. The answer to your second question is no. I have no plans of an album right now because I'm too busy with my present assignments. But I would love to do albums after a couple of years.