Shashwat Sachdev: When I won the National Award for Best Background Score, I was thrilled and happy!

National Award-winning music composer Shashwat Sachdev was at SoundboxIndia's studio in candid conversation with Joanne D'silva. He talked about the importance of staying focused after success and shared the process of making the background score of the film Uri: The Surgical Strike

At a very young age you got the National Award - did you think you would get it this early? 
Basically, when I am or when everybody is working on a film, you don't do it because you are looking forward to an award. The idea is to create something nice, to create something where the whole team has so much faith and trust in you and can be proud of what you accomplished together. When Aditya met me, he was looking forward to creating something really amazing. I was looking forward to working with somebody like him. And this has been a repetitive state in my career, I worked with Anshai Lal in Phillauri and he came from such a great space of trying to create something that was not done before. And then I worked with Rhea Kapoor for Veere Di Wedding. And she came from a place where she wanted to make music and create something nice. So I am fortunate that I am getting to work with people that gave me an opportunity to express myself.  

You made your debut as a music director in the film Phillauri, then you composed songs for Veere Di Wedding and Uri: The Surgical Strike. How has the journey been so far in Bollywood? 
Fortunate. The first person I met in Bombay was Rhea Kapoor, for reiki. And she gave me a lot of confidence, courage and work. But her film got delayed for a couple of years and later Phillauri came in. I started working with Anshai Lal and Anushka Sharma. I am managed by Tulsi Pictures and they are very possessive and protective of me. I was very new and didn't know a lot of people here. So they were careful that I should work with nice people. And I'm very lucky - everybody I have worked with has motivated me and they have been encouraging of my work. So I'm really lucky that I have got great relationships with people. 

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How did you come on board for the film Uri: The Surgical Strike? How did you meet Aditya Dhar? 
Aditya met me through a common acquaintance for an earlier film that he was working on and he visited my studio and was supposed to do something. That film didn't go through and he started working on Uri: The Surgical Strike and we got connected. Actually, at that point in time I was actually working on other war films. And I was prepping and researching the music. So I showed the music to him and asked him about it. Aditya had not told me that he was working on Uri: The Surgical Strike. Later, he told me that he was working on a war film and that the music was really perfect for it. He comes with such clarity and cleanliness in his vision and is sure of what he wants, which made my work very easy.  I made a few things and showed it to him, the idea that I had for the song and different characters. In this film, we had to see both sides of the border. We see the Pakistani border and the Indian border and both were shot in a similar way. So I thought, how would the audience differentiate between Pakistan and India just by listening to a different score? When you listen to a particular score you know that you are in Pakistan, but when you have a different tonality, when you see the army men or when you see India, you need a different score. There was a lot of combination and I really wanted to meet the editor, Shivkumar Panickar. I made 45-50 tracks and showed him all of them and later he did such a great job of editing the music, that I made it to a different scene and a different spot!