From kickstarting his career with reality shows to now composing music for Bollywood films, singer turned music composer Toshi Sabri has indeed come a long way. With chartbusters like ‘Maahi’ (RAAZ 2), ‘Lambi Judai’ (JANNAT) to his credit and films like RAAZ 2, YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA 2, HUMTPY SHARMA KI DULHANIA in his kitty as a music composer, Toshi is going strong.
In a candid chat, Toshi opens up about his Bollywood journey, forthcoming projects and his desire to work with Salman Khan on glamsham’s special section Music Mania. Read on…
Music has been in your genes. So was it obvious for you to take it up as your career?
It wasn’t decided. My family never forced me to get into this. Even though my father was a great classical vocalist, yet he never forced me to learn music. But his teachings inspired me. He passed away last year in August, but abhi bhi unka ilm yaad hai mujhe.
His compositions, his songs and all have been great. So you can say that I am totally, truly, madly and deeply in love with him. Unlike other kids, who are more attached to their mothers, for me my father was like my mother. So I shared that connection with him.
So did he inspire you to get into music?
You can say so because since childhood, I have been his fan. I always wanted to be like my father. So that thing inspired me to start learning music. Then I discussed this with my father and he said it is very difficult.
His only reply was Agar lohe ke chane chabane ki taakat hai toh aajao. But I was stubborn to learn music and that is how it all started. I first learnt classical music, almost till the age of 18 years.
'I'm still awaiting my next 'Maahi''
How did play back singing happen to you?
After learning music, I came to Mumbai and then ‘Voice of India’ happened. I got popular and people started recognizing me. It was a very different phase in my life. Then eventually we (Toshi with brother Sharib Sabri) got into Bollywood. We started giving music to films. As a singer, the first break that we got was in RAAZ 2. Our song ‘Maahi Maahi’ became a chartbuster and then we started singing more songs, we started composing and that is how all of that went about.
You shot to fame with reality shows, but did that help you get work in Bollywood?
No, it is not the fame that fetches you work. You have to work hard. Aapko sirf apna kaam hi kaam dilata hai. How special and mind blowing you are needs to be proved. You have to be extra-ordinary. You cannot survive if you are good or ok! I can say this straight forward, that apart from your work, nothing else can help you get a break. If you have been a reality show participant, you are not unique. There have been such 1000s of contestants about whom people don’t remember anything, But yeah I will thank the reality show platform, because Mahesh Bhatt heard me for the first time there and that is how he roped me in for the song in his film.
So how was your experience of working for Vishesh films?
Vishesh films and Bhatt sahab have always encouraged fresh and new talent. And I feel I have been lucky to get this chance. Mahesh Bhatt sahab is my Godfather.
You have sung many songs in Bollywood but none got as popular as ‘Maahi’. What do you have to say about it?
You are right. The kind of popularity ‘Maahi’ achieved is something way too much. I am still awaiting my next ‘Maahi’. And it will happen soon. I have big faith on my talent. But yes though our songs didn’t work that great, I didn’t lose hop. Our main aim was to do good work which kept happening. People shouldn’t forget Sharib-Toshi. YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA 2 worked, JACKPOT song was hit, so somewhere our name was remembered by all.
'Mahesh Bhatt is my Godfather'
Did you feel bad that YAMLA PAGLA DEEWANA 2 didn’t do well at the box-office?
Yes, we felt really bad for it. We worked for almost a year on YPD 2. We struggled a lot and though the music was appreciated all around the world but because the film didn’t work at the box-office, we didn’t get the expected response. So then we decided to take a break for some months and then start working on our next project.
So how did you decide to compose a song for JACKPOT?
When we had taken a break post YPD 2, that is when Sachiin Joshi called us up for JACKPOT. He asked us to do a song for him. Though we did that song (‘Kabhi Jo Badal Barse’) with complete dedication, we didn’t have much expectations from it. Jitni ummed YPD 2 se thi utni is gaane se nahi thi. But that worked and I am very happy about it.
What made you come up with your album ‘French Kiss’?
I was forced by many people that I should come up with my solo album. That gave me an encouragement to make my own album. So that is how ‘French Kiss’ happened. We didn’t plan to make it big but it kept on getting big on its own.
view TOSHI SABRI & SHARIB SABRI AT SUNNY SUPER SOUND photo gallery
You patiently waited when things didn’t work out. Was your patience fruitful?
Yes of course it was. Because I had patience, I got HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA. My father always told me to keep doing work with complete loyalty and without any expectations because if the expectations won’t get fulfilled, then it will hurt more. So that is what I followed and waited for the right time. I worked hard on HSKD and see the final result is in front of everybody.
Are you open to doing regional films or are you only focusing on Bollywood?
No currently, I am not interested in doing regional films. I’m only focusing on Bollywood.
Any particular actor you are keen to compose and sing a song for?
Salman Khan and only Salman Khan! I am a crazy pagal fan of Salman bhai. I got a chance to meet him few times, but I am just eagerly waiting for the day I get to work for bhai. I loved ‘Hangover’. Whatever Salman does is amazing. He is a Rockstar! I would love to make bhai sing whenever I compose music for him. I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Shahrukh Khan Sahab. I am not getting diplomatic, but both these Khans are amazing. SRK has a different aura while Salman bhai also has his style. Both have their unique characteristic and dono apne jungle ke sher hai. The feeling of meeting both the Khans is something that I can’t describe in words.
Now that you met SRK, is music for one of his films on the cards?
Well, I can’t reveal anything so please don’t ask me about how, what, where and when I met Khan Sahab.
Which are your upcoming films?
My next is Anubhav Sinha’s Vivek Agnihotri directed film. We are also working on 1920’s third installment.