If he had stuck to following trends, says composer-lyricist Mithoon, he wouldn’t have won 21 awards for Aashiqui 2. The creator of award-winning tracks, like “Banjaara” (Ek Villain), “Phir Bhi Tumko Chahunga” (Half Girlfriend), “Tum Hi Ho” (Aashiqui 2) and “Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage” (Kabir Singh), prefers to pursue his style of music.
On the sidelines of MX Player’s Times of Music, Mithoon got candid with indianexpress.com, where he explained why despite starting off with remakes, he eventually turned towards original compositions. He also opened up about the changes he wishes to see in India’s music scene.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. Despite starting your career with two recreations – “Woh Lamhe Woh Baatein” and “Juda Hoke Bhi”, you chose to compose original music. What encouraged you to make the shift?
I came here to create original music. After those two songs, it was a conscious decision. Then my first song “Tere Bin” became a national rage in 2006. It’s simply about the joy of making something original. That fulfillment is beyond anything else.
Q. Does both writing and composing your songs provide more creative liberty?
It’s a spontaneous and joyful celebration. I wrote “Tum Hi Ho” and Mohit Suri and Arijit Singh insisted that I don’t change anything. Seeing their belief and excitement, I went with it. The song “Main Phir Bhi Tumko Chahunga” from Half Girlfriend was actually a nazm written by Manoj Muntashir in 2001. He gave it to me 15 years later and then I set it to music. That’s also an equally beautiful exchange for one man to think of something and the other, to bring a new perspective to it. So we celebrate all situations and collaborations; it’s not about one being better than the other.
Q. What changes do you wish to see in India’s music scene?
Music is constantly evolving. If challenges have increased, so have opportunities. Today, we have digital platforms where new artistes can connect directly with the audience. I’ve been through my share of challenges. A lot of people once told me to change my style of music because ballads didn’t work in Hindi films and it was dark music that was popular then. If I had listened to them, the music for Aashiqui 2 would have never happened.
Q. What’s your take on Sonu Nigam’s recent revelations about “music mafia” and need for music companies to be kind to new talent?
On a human level, I definitely agree with him. I don’t think any person needs to be told to be kind and considerate. We are vulnerable and we need each other.
Q. What advice will you give to new talent?
Take Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the odds they had to fight to become the uncrowned kings of music. They were both outsiders to the city. These challenges have always been there, but talent is bigger than any individual or label. Even if it’s tough, just hold onto your guns, as the time will come when those same labels, who are opposing you today, will come to you.
Q. What has been your most favourite collaboration, and which singer you’d want to work with in future?
My most favourite collaboration has been with singer Roop Kumar Rathod in Anwar (2007). He is a jewel and deserves the Bharat Ratna. He has a lot more to give and is an ocean of talent.
I’m looking forward to recording with Sonu Nigam. I’ve always looked up to him as a vocalist. I think he is one of the most technically sound singers our country has ever produced.
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