From being small time music composers, actors to sweeping away awards at almost all the popular award functions this year, the music duo Manmeet and Harmeet Singh has come a long way. Though they aren't the learned musicians, as claimed by the twosome, Manmeet and Harmeet have given the Indian film industry a different kind of music and songs that has created a distinct mark for them. In fact, Manmeet and Harmeet can be easily credited for changing the face of (demeaning) ‘item songs' in Bollywood. Their chartbusting songs ‘Baby Doll', ‘Chittiyaan', ‘Pink Lips', ‘Cham Cham', ‘Luv Letter' have celebrated feminism instead of objectifying them and putting in a bad light (which had become a norm in Bollywood) and I am sure all the girls out there wouldn't differ on it.
In an exclusive heart-to-heart conversation with Glamsham.com, Manmeet and Harmeet candidly spoke on many things from their journey to establishing Meet Bros to composing successful numbers for Bollywood hotties to the core team of Meet Bros. Here are the excerpts:
Congratulations, for sweeping away awards at major award functions this year, how do you want to sum up this journey?
Manmeet: I think more than the award and outcome of it, what really inspires us and matters is this journey. A journey is the most important part of anybody's life. We started our lives as pop singers; we would go to other music composers and ask them to make music for us. Until I was 34 and Harmeet was 32, we didn't really know that we can make music also. So music has come to us in past 6-7 years. It has suddenly taken us to a stage where we are reaping all the awards. But we don't really go crazy or just start jumping with excitement because we never imagined or dreamt that we will be sweeping all the awards. We didn't know that there is so much music in us. But we are very humble in that aspect and don't get attached as we know it's all temporary. We only thank God and thank each and every person who contributed in our journey. We are still learning what people like or what go in with them. And luckily today through social media you get good feedback.
When you stepped in music industry after your stint in acting, how difficult was this transition and to make the Brand ‘Meet Brothers'.
Manmeet: Luckily at all the times there was lots happening in our lives. The transition was not very painful. We never realized how time flew because we were doing lots of stuff. We were doing radio, we were helping radio station back at home, we were helping our dad with the business, we were travelling all over and moreover acting was like to get to know the industry from close till the time our album really comes out. As it wasn't easy to come out with album those days with pop stars like Daler Mehndi, Bombay Vikings, etc ruling the roost. We were from small town Gwalior from a business family, nobody from our family or from our generation has nothing to do with this industry. They have never come to Mumbai. We were the first two boys from our family to step in the city. So there was so much to learn and understand. I would say acting in those days was like learning each day. We produced TV shows, anchored, modeled in ADs, we wrote few shows on TV, FM stations. People go to various filmmaking schools to learn every aspect of filmmaking but for us it was real life practice.
Is it because of your patience and perseverance that is paying off?
Manmeet: About patience, we studied in boarding school. Even back at school, we would be involved in each and every activity. We have been all-rounders. Harmeet and I would be one of those kids, who would do music, we were in band, we would play all the sports, we would always win all the elocution competition…so we were everywhere. And same thing happened when we stepped in real life. When we came to Mumbai, we ended up doing each and every thing. We didn't even know what our calling was until this FM station in Gwalior happened where we had to program ourselves and we had nobody to help us in that station. It became no 1 and a rage because the kinds of programs that we created that's where we learnt. So, our calling came really late till then we were doing everything and interestingly we were doing pretty good everywhere. In acting also, I won few awards for playing the negative character in ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi'. We were selling in each and everything but didn't really realize our calling and whatever we did we got bored of. But eventually music was something that's got us going in. It was a journey more of a blessing of people, parents, fans mostly and of course somewhat patience to where we are going and what our calling is in that terms it has paid off.
When Meet Brothers began it started with small projects, how things turnaround for you guys?
Manmeet: It's nothing like small or big project for us. Firstly we didn't even know that we will be commercial music directors someday. The journey started on a very interesting note with DO DOONI CHAAR, a small film came our way. When the big projects came, the excitement was more about working with a star than the project. When Akshay Kumar signed us for BOSS and OMG! OH MY GOD, rather than being thrilled about it, we were very thrilled about the chance to jam with Akshay and he has taken liking for our music. We still remember he was sitting in front us, and when we made him hear the songs, one of the songs had tears in his eyes (‘Mere Nishaan' from OH MY GOD). Further how we met Salman Khan and how we played song to him and he took liking for our music. I think jamming and bonding with these stars was more exciting than big or small films. Interestingly, most of our biggest hits have come from small films like RAGINI MMS, BHOOTNATH. They are not really big ones. Although we did big films like BOSS and KICK with Salman Khan. But honestly it is always good music that kept us in news.
"Our music gets popular because..."
Where were you guys going wrong earlier and how you realized about it? How did you gain that magical wand?
Manmeet: Harmeet and I are not learned musicians. It's very strange how music came to us and how we had tunes in us that we didn't really know. I remember chasing musicians when remix were in thing and we were chasing them for one and a half years for our remix album, but we didn't even know we could compose, forget about putting a track together. So it's amazing how Mumbai and film industry made us music directors and gave us the opportunity. They gave us lots of opportunities to keep improving, keep coming with stuff. I would like to give credit to Mumbai film industry and producers and directors, who kept giving us chances. There have been lots of musicians, who have had lot of schooling but we didn't know music at all. They learnt music from basic and we had no clue. But we never went wrong because the each step that we took only bettered us. I won't say we have a magic wand. Why our music gets popular because we make very simple music and that's because we are not learned musicians. We don't complicate our music. Our tunes are more like poem so they click very fast. It's like simple a common man making music for a common man. Kids and everybody finds it catchy and then pick it up fast.
Does creating chartbusting music also require strategizing? How did you shape your strategies over the years to become The Meet brothers?
Manmeet: Honestly there is no strategy for a chartbuster because chartbuster is something that almighty has all the control over. No producer or director or music composer, in fact no one in the industry can claim that I am going to make a chartbuster or blockbuster because the biggest songs flop, biggest films flop. Smallest or simplest songs and films become hit like ‘Baby Doll' became blockbuster. It will be very wrong to say that there is any method for creating a chartbuster. It's very simple if people like the music, then they like the musician which is instilled in Meet Bros. So its not a method or technique. The music comes out in the purest form and it just translates into various people liking it. There is only strategy to be happy and to love everyone. When the song becomes a hit, it makes us very happy. We inspire and push others. We always appreciate music coming out from all the counterparts. So the strategy is to be happy. So spread happiness and don't worry about the outcome because it's not in your hands. It is all that God has kept in his hands.
Do you believe there can be instant overnight stardom in Bollywood?
Manmeet: I don't believe in instant overnight stardom in Bollywood. When a product comes out and if it becomes an instant hit, people start saying that you have become a star overnight but it's not like that. You have to calculate from the time the person started his journey and when he started to step in and moving forward in the direction of success. Each person who has become a star in Bollywood you can track down their journey. I don't think there is anybody who didn't have had a long journey. It's just that when a ‘Baby Doll' comes out, people say that oh! Meet Bros have become overnight stars. But people don't know that they have struggled for 10 years. I know all the counterparts and musicians for instance like Kanika Kapoor, for people she became an overnight star, but it's not that. She has been doing music when she wanted to sing songs right from the age of 9. She worked hard for 30 years for what she is doing and people have this wrong notion.
Who do you really attribute this success to?
Manmeet: I would attribute this success more through the brotherhood, the blessings of our parents, support of our families. For many years we were doing lots of stuff and travelling a lot. We didn't really know what our calling is but our family stood by us and they just let us do what we wanted to. The friendship and brotherhood between us was also responsible. I won't say hard work because even a labour who is making a building is probably working hard. So I think the other factors let us to where we are today.