Composer-singer Amaal Mallik, who has “Sooraj Dooba Hain,” “Main Hoon Hero Tera,” “Kar Gayi Chull,” “Bol Do Na Zara,” “Kaun Tujhe,” “Aashiq Surrender Hua” and many other popular tracks to his credit, recently released his debut single “Tu Mera Nahi” under Sony Music India label. The song, composed and sung by Amaal, also marked the artiste’s debut as an actor.
In a conversation with indianexpress.com, Amaal spoke about the song, the difficulty of composing original music in the present times, the game of likes, subscription and followers, and much more.
Excerpts from the conversation:
What made you take this leap of faith and debut with a single?
It was a dream of the 15-year-old Amaal, which the 30-year-old has completed. Amaalians (his fans) loved two of my songs that I had sung — “Oh Khuda” and “Aashiq Surrender Hua,” but I did not take up singing after that because I didn’t feel the songs (that came to me) were of my type. I am not a very versatile singer. So, I didn’t see myself singing many songs. When I got “Tu Mera Nahi,” I realised it describes me very well. I knew I would be able to give my 100 per cent to this track.
I really loved the lyrics, especially the lines – “Lad pada lakeeron se par kuch hua nahi” and “Chala gaya main door kisine bhi roka nahi.” People in my life have been unable to understand my relationship with my music. Many of my friends went away, many prospective relationships did not work out, so the song was relatable for me. I am not someone who has managed to have a social life. I have always struggled to strike a balance between professional and personal life.
This is also your acting debut. Were you nervous?
I don’t know how to act. Acting is a very difficult job. I was trained by Hemant Kher, who was recently seen in Scam 1992. Also, I got amazing support from my co-star and director who let me do things my way.
What’s your opinion on the significant number of recreations being released of late?
For me, making an original is much easier than working on a remix. I made the remix of “Gulabi Ankhein,” which I am not proud of. It was made under production house pressure, which people are unaware of. In my career, I have done 7-8 remixes. However, I have 70+ originals to my credit.
Making an original song is easier. It comes naturally to me. I have been gifted with a sense of melody, which I have inherited from my grandfather. Having said that, remixes are not bad, but the volume of recreations is too much. In the last two-three years, 90 songs out of 100 are remixes. I rejected 17-20 films because they demanded remixes.
You’ve got a pretty famous surname. Did the expectations ever bother you?
Both I and Armaan have worked hard to make a place in the industry. People think because of our surname, our father (Dabboo Mallik) made a call to Salman Khan, who eventually gave us a break. Yes, we were recommended, but both of us went just like any other composer. Armaan waited for 7 hours outside the van with our mother. He played a CD of songs, which Salman sir liked.
I truly believe that we have faced rejections more because of our surnames. The 23-year-old me saw articles claiming I cannot make music like my uncle (Anu Malik), I can only make Bollywood music and so on.
We are grateful to Salman sir for giving us a chance, but he wouldn’t have if he did not like what he was listening to. He was not obligated. I thank him for making me confident at the age of 23 to become a composer. I am also thankful to T-Series for giving me a chance to prove myself. Many say the industry is not welcoming, but we have Ankur Tiwari, Arijit Singh who proved themselves. Of course, everyone faced obstacles, but talent shines irrespective of what an artiste goes through.
You are very outspoken too.
There is nothing to fear because I have done no wrong to anyone. I speak for those (new generation) who are trying to make a career in the industry. I am speaking right now, when my career is on the go, because it is my choice. It could be a risk because maybe people won’t work with me. Yes, the industry wants people who keep silent because often things are blown out of proportion, but I have the support of my fans. I am doing films. I am choosing the right offers. And I think my honesty is attracting people who are passionate and honest about their work. And if my honesty has a price, let it be.
Benny Dayal spoke about how the trend of likes, subscriptions and views is upsetting. What’s your take?
He is right. It is like false realism. Like a 100 crore film is not necessarily a good film, views of a song do not necessarily mean that it is a good song. But it (numbers) does block the mind.
It is good if people have a following. As a composer, I too have a good following in a country where composers are not valued or recognised much. In our country, it is only now that lyricists and composers are getting their due. Otherwise, people knew only the singers.
How do you handle hate/trolls?
I have a hashtag that reads — Troll the troll. I love dealing with people who misbehave. I hit back as a common man. If there is constructive criticism, I will take that in my stride, but if someone will unnecessarily pick on me, I will not leave them.
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