Understanding the power of Bollywood music with Kumar Taurani

Kumar Taurani ( image courtesy : Tips Industries)

From a small shop in the market of Lamington Road to one of the leading house in the field of music and movies, Tips Industries has come a long way. From producing the national award winner THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH starring Ajay Devgn to distributing blockbusters like RAJA HINDUSTANI that changed the game for actors like Aamir Khan or setting a benchmark in the music arena by backing the genius of A.R. Rahman in TAAL as music label, Tips is a brand that promises quality in content and quantity in returns.

The upcoming movie GENIUS by Anil Sharma is the latest bet of the company in the music ring. In an exclusive chat with Kumar Taurani one of the co – founders of Tips which for records owns 3,500 titles, we discuss the scene of music in Bollywood, the trends, the challenges and more..

What excited you to back GENIUS?

A friend by the name Vikas Sahni went to meet Anil Sharma and the topic of GENIUS popped up. Vikas suggested having Tips on board as the music label and we struck a deal on agreement to be the creative partner as well.

What was the idea behind the music of GENIUS?

We convinced Anil Sharma that the music of his film which introduces a new comer Utkarsh is centered on youth and it’s a love story as well. Though Anil Sharma has recorded a few songs from upcoming artiste and they were good, we wanted something to strike the right chord and managed to get Himesh Reshammiya on board. Himesh understood the idea and after vigorous music sessions, he came with a bank of around 200 songs… this was amazing!!. From 200, we narrowed it to 20, to 10, to the final 5. The music is catching up with ‘Tera Fitoor’ spearheading the movement. My Idea was to establish GENIUS with its music and I am glad it’s going in the right direction. In tune with what we planned.

It’s overwhelming to find that Himesh went through a process of creating a bank of songs for you, nowadays, the process of creating music is criticized for relying on technology, software, minimum use of equipment, the negligence of ‘riaaz’ practice?

In my opinion, technology should be used to enhance the creativity, melody should be in the mind of the creator only then he can use the technology accordingly. We at Tips have always ensured that the charm of the melody is not missed in any of our films, big or small budget. Be it RACE, RAAZ, JAYANTABHAI KI LUV STORY, RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA or PHATA POSTER NIKHLA HERO etc. we have tried the same in GENIUS as well.

Bollywood is blamed for falling prey to trends, a rap, a Punjabi song, sufi rock, pops up from nowhere sometimes in movies which had no background, setting or connection to support the song genre, your take?

As a co founder of a music label, I search for good songs, it can be sufi, Punjabi, karnatic, pop, rap whatever, I am not prone to any particular genre of music. When we created the music of GENIUS, I told Anil Sharma that we know your story, structure and understand your vision. We will make songs accordingly that won’t hamper your film in any way. I am a producer of music, so whenever I come across a good song, I cannot ignore it. Now, how to use a good song in a film depends upon the caliber of the filmmaker. My job is to give the best music and I will continue to search for it round the globe.

Does this leads to arguments, debate with the filmmaker?

Many times, this debate is running since decades, whenever a filmmaker will hear a song, he/she will jump into the picturisation which may not jell with the script. Everybody cannot be the great Raj Kapoor who can use a good song so brilliantly by creating a situation. The audience watches the final product, they don,t know what happened at backstage, without disturbing the filament and the core idea, an extra nuance can be added by a filmmaker/writer to justify the use of a good song. When they fail to do, complain arises. We have successfully done this before.

Any example where you have successfully twisted a scene to fit a god song?

In the movie TERE NAAL LOVE HO GAYA starring Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza. We successfully placed the song Jat Pee Pa Pee Pa ho gaya. This was not originally in the script. We were searching for a drunken song for a girl but could get the required result. We zeroed down on the song sung by Diljit Dosanjh, but the script demanded the girl getting high and going crazy. So we told the director Mandeep Kumar to think on how he can use this song. We wanted this song. After a couple of days Mandeep came with an idea. The original script was modified for just a couple of frames. We showed Riteish and Genelia eating in a dhaba and left on half stomach due to shortage of money. We added the shot of a Baarat passing by and introduced a hefty Sardarji who forcefully makes Riteish drink a bottle of liquor. Cut to the wedding Riteish is intoxicated and singing the song in crazy glee. It got well established and accepted. Such innovations add value to the film if done properly. A filmmaker should be flexible in agreeing to alter his script to fit a good song that can add value to the movie as a whole. But sometimes people turn rigid.

Have you as a producer of the film and music dispassionately thought of keeping the movie above the melody ( read the music)

Yes, the hunger to add good melody has never eaten the core of the movie. THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH for which I got the national award, had scope only for patriotic songs which may not have that commercial value. In fact, Raj Kumar Santoshi told me that Bhagat Singh was engaged but he said no for marriage cause his only goal was India’s freedom. A. R. Rahman recorded a song Mahive Mahive sung by Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan. It was from the girl’s angle. It’s truly a melodious number but it was not promoted at all. It was our film we owned the movie and the music label but we didn,t desired to divert the attention. It was a call that was taken in support of the movies ethos. We cannot have something like ‘Tera Fitoor’ in THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH just because it is melodious. When I expect flexibility from the filmmaker, I should be flexible as well as a producer of a music label as well.

Your gut feeling for GENIUS

TIPS has produced the music, we don’t have box office stake. I am a supporter and as a music label, we have tried to give our best shot considering the genre and the structure, vision of Anil Sharma. I wish the ‘fitoor’ spreads everywhere and causes boundaries. The movie is getting established with the music. What else is needed? Be it the times of evergreen Dev Sahab or a new comer like Utkarsh Sharma, People listen/watch the songs before the film and make their decision. The power of music in mainstream Bollywood cinema will stay forever.

( Note : This is the first part of the interaction, in the second part Kumar Taurani will talk about challenges faced by the bollywood music industry and more. )