I see the two films as one single album – Krsna Solo
Krsna Solo, Music Composer of the recently released entertainer Tanu Weds Manu Returns, talks about his journey from Tanu Weds Manu to it’s sequel, working with Anand L Rai and his process of making music.
Tell us about experience of composing for Tanu Weds Manu Returns.
It was almost like reliving my debut. Tanu Weds Manu itself has so many memories associated to it. It was a special journey which had ended and here I had the opportunity to relive it again. I was enjoying the process. The journey of a debut can’t be repeated ever. But with the sequel I could extend it a bit.
Especially with Aanand Rai (Director), you know the journey will be enjoyable as well as memorable. These days not many directors want to make melodious songs. They just want market-benefiting songs. Here I had so much to do creatively and so many genres to work on. Instead of following up with what I did last time, I wanted to give something new, I yearned for new flavors. Even though it’s a sequel the music had to sound different. Composing is always a heaven like experience for me so I won’t say it was difficult. In fact how you orient yourself to the story of the sequel holds importance. With my debut, there was a certain restlessness as I had things to prove to myself and others. It was undoubtedly an exciting challenge. We had qawaali, semi-classical songs but here in the sequel I wanted to keep it simpler. The only thing common between the two films is that they are both based in North India and have Indian melodies. With the sequel, we have retro, jazz, rock fusion – a variety of genres. I see the two films as one single album. If somebody watches the two films together there won’t be any melody, genre or type that is repeated. Every song is distinct from itself, fitting to the situation in the character’s life.
I had to continue weaving the threads from where I had left them, rather than start all over again. This time I wanted to keep melodies simpler and more approachable to the audience. In the first film we had no boundaries. All of us were new and for Aanand too it was the first big recognition, so we never had anything to follow. We were all on the same platform working towards a common goal. This time we had a responsibility and had to keep things simpler to reach a large number of audiences and I think we have been successful in that.
How was it working with Aanand Rai on both the films?
He always works with people he believes in and makes everyone a part of the family. Movie making is a long process, it takes a year to anything more than that. So you need to feel connected to the person you are working with. And Aanand inspires you a lot, never tells you what to do. He is good in his craft, and trusts others with theirs. He will react to things you create but not command you to work according to his thoughts. He gives feedback like a friend and that’s appreciable.
While composing my first song for Tanu Weds Manu, I hadn’t even met Aanand nor did I have any narration or brief. I met the lyricist, it was his debut too, and I almost snatched the lyrics from him to compose the song and pitch myself. I was meeting the lyricist for the first time so he was hesitant. But I finally did compose the song and it reached Aanand the next day. He called me up after listening to it and said, “Beta, I heard your song. Who are you?” He was astonished that how can someone, without knowing anything about the story or having received a narration, compose exactly in the lines of the story. I asked him if I could meet him and he completely baffled me by saying, “I will come and meet you. I want to meet the person in his space and setting where he is comfortable the most. So I will come see you!” He didn’t have to do that. He already had two films behind him, still he came to my place to meet me. And the next thing he said was, “I don’t want to know what you have done before. If you can do this in one night with one song of mine then I know that you are the guy. Can you do this film with me? There is a lot to do. Can you handle it?”
I showed confidence and belief in myself and he took the chance of trusting me. And that holds true to many of us who were first timers. Aanand respects talent a lot and trusts his people tremendously. So you push yourself more to work harder and better. Once when I went to meet him for feedback on the second song for Tanu Weds Manu, I confidently said that it’s a ‘hit’ song. He actually pinched me and said, “Never ever say that it’s a hit’ song. Make a song for the film, forget everything else.” We don’t want to cater songs to the market but make a film with passion and soul which will cater to the market. We want the songs and the film to work together and not have just one of them becoming a ‘hit’.
Can you throw some light on your process of making music?
I prefer making music on the words, the lyrics first. I realized that it doesn’t work the same way for other music directors. They come up with a melody first and later fit in the lyrics. For me, I believe words give me inspiration to create. If I know what I want to convey through a song by understanding the lyrics, I can deliver better music. All my songs have been like that except two of the songs in the whole franchise. Lyrics and melody should compliment each other. If words are written I can take the music wherever I want. But lately I have started composing melodies first as well.
You have also composed music for the documentary, India’s Daughter. How different is it working on a documentary versus a feature film?
Documentary is a highly regarded audio-visual medium in the West. It’s equal to or sometimes more than a film. The biggest filmmakers want to make documentaries. It has such importance in their world. It’s a difficult job as there is no fixed structure unlike fictional films. Everything depends on the footage you have shot. It cannot be fictionalized and dramatized for effects.
The documentary I worked on had producers from the West and it had a global approach, so I was catering to an international audience. I had to keep that in my mind and the music had to be subtle, minimal, specific, functional, balanced and not over-emphasized in anyway. It’s a tough job at the end of the day. You can’t go haywire with your music, you have to be really realistic and also emotional. The amount of time invested is also long. We were working on India’s Daughter for three years. At the end of the project we had made so much of music and had evolved considerably. I feel the music for documentary has to be engaging rather than interesting. It’s a different craft altogether. This is what I have learned working on the documentary.
What are your upcoming projects?
I don’t want to pinpoint anything right now. I am waiting to see the response to Tanu Weds Manu Return’s music. I have committed to three directors but have kept them on the hold. Also, I am pursuing international projects which will be announced shortly. One of my independent projects with R&B should surely release this year.