Q. What drew you to the music industry?
I think the kind of era we are in right now, there is space for everybody. And in any craft, even when it comes to music, there is good space for music directors, good writers and singers. So I think we are in the right era - and everything is digital, also TV shows are happening. Different films have unique content and I think there is a paradigm shift which has come into every field in our country. In the case of music, it is also the same and I thought that I have a very simple way of composing and writing which is also a different way to kind of compose songs. I composed Kudiye ni four years ago and took a little while to understand things, the processes. I took a while to collaborate with the right people, collaborate with the right music label, collaborate with the right female playback singer and music arrangers. You need to kind of tick all the boxes right and have a genuinely good product. So here it is, and people are connecting to the song very well and I can't feel more blessed about it.
Q. What inspired you to do Kudiye ni?
My kudiye ni is my wife, Akriti. She is definitely the biggest inspiration behind this. Having said that, I used to compose a lot of songs when I was a radio jockey. I used to do a lot of musical segments where I would write and compose and sing. That was actually one of the inspirations when I thought doing all this back in the day when I was not an actor. I was doing so much music and was also listening to a lot of music. I was composing music every day for my new show. I thought to myself, why not now. I kept composing, I kept rejecting, I was rejected, but there is always a right time for the right thing and I think this was the right time for me, for music.
Q. How did you get Neeti Mohan on board for Kudiye ni?
Neeti was among the first few people to listen to the song. Shashank Khaitan, Hitesh Tiwari... all my past directors that I have worked with, they all have heard the song. But out of the music world, Neeti was the first person to listen to the song. And she has been a family friend for so many years. Not only did she come and do the scratch first for the song, but also, she gave me so much confidence. She said that I have to do the song and when a senior musician like Neeti, who has achieved so much, she is a perfect singer in the country who is performing live with AR Rahman globally, who is also a judge for a music reality show, who is doing back to back songs for T-Series and so many films....I think it is always amazing to get that confidence from someone who is a pro in the music industry. And I am just a beginner here, a newcomer in the music industry. If you get an opinion from someone who has achieved a lot in music, I think you feel happy about it. I respect Neeti for her great talent. She is also a really good human being.
Q. How was it working with Neeti Mohan? Did you have fun?
Of course! We entered the studio twice together. She helped me, because she is such an experienced singer. She helped me to get the notes right and explained where I was going wrong. She was helping me give my best.
Q. Tahira Kashyap has directed the music video...
It is all a big happy family. Neeti is family since 10-12 years; Sargun is from Chandigarh and we have so many common friends from there. Ravi Dubey is my friend, and my sister-in-law Tahira Kashyap Khurrana has directed the music video of Kudiye ni. My wife Akriti did the art direction. So a big family got together and flew to Chandigarh and shot a song - and the song is out and getting so much love.
Q. How was it working with Tahira Kashyap, in professional terms?
I think it is not very different - the way she is in the personal space, exactly the same is how she behaves in the professional space as well. I think she has a very organic way of writing and directing. Even her short film Toffee was so real in the approach. We just wanted a simple, real video and it is a really simple song. In the past, for so many years we didn't want to feature big brands, big cars - we listen to lyrics about them. We didn't want to take that route and wanted it to be as simple as possible. I think all of us, be it Tahira Kashyap, me, my wife Akriti, Neeti Mohan, Sargun Mehta - we are not creatively included in the setup, but we are all from small towns and now living in a big city, in Mumbai. I think because you are from a small town, at heart you are very simple people. And you need to give that vibe in your craft. If you are able to do that, more often than not, people will connect.