The one constant in Bhatt-camp movies — from Gangster to Murder 2 and now Jism 2 — is the super hit music. With nearly each film they introduce a new music director who surprises the nation with his versatility in music. This time, with Jism 2, it is Arka Mukherjee.
An MBBS gold medallist (2007) from Kolkata, Arko Pravo gave up a medical career to pursue his passion for music and landed in Mumbai in 2008. His passion and hard work seem to have paid off as the debutant is all set to rock the nation with his music in Jism 2. The title song trailer of the movie has already created waves on the Net. Devyani P Korgaonkar had a candid conversation with the young music director on his dream musical journey to B-Town.
How did a big project like Jism 2 come your way?
My close friend Prashant Narayanan, well-known for playing the negative role in super hit Murder 2 took me to the Bhatt camp. It was Prashant who gave me Bhatt saab's number. I went to meet him with a guitar. My guitarist Mayukh Sarkar was on a tour in Tokyo with Rekha Bharadwaj at that time. Bhatt sahab gave me just 10 minutes to play my songs. Those 10 minutes turned into one-and-a-half hours as he liked the songs very much and introduced me to Pooja and Mukesh Bhatt. This was in November (2011), when the scripting of the film was at its last stage. Pooja, who is producing and directing the movie, told me that I should meet them once the script was ready. Finally, when the scripting was over in January, they called me. I went to their office again and Dino Morea, who is co-producing the movie with Pooja, also listened to and liked my songs. That is how, out of the blue, Jism 2 landed in my life.
As a debutant did you expect it? Isn't it unexpected?
But true. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Are you based in Mumbai? How did you choose your career in Bollywood?
Yes, now I am based in Mumbai. I am basically from Kolkata. I was doing my MBBS there till 2007. After doing six months of MS studies, I quit and landed in Mumbai in 2008. At that time I was with another guy, planning a Hindi rock band together. Universal produced one of our albums as well but it was not promoted in a big way. Nothing went right at the time; there were lots of problems, differences with my partner grew, and at last I went solo in 2010. In India, Bollywood is everything. If there has to be a career in music, it is in Bollywood. I write passionately in Hindi. So, for me, the logical choice was Bollywood. I, of course, want to sing and perform later, once I am established in Bollywood. I am forming my own band. I am planning world tours. But first, let's see how people love Jism 2 songs (laughs). Everything depends on that.
The music of the first film, 'Jism' was super hit; there must be a lot of expectation from you.
Well, MM Kreem's music is awesome. If you go to a big show where Shreya Ghoshal is performing, the biggest applause comes for the song 'Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai'. It's still viral. Kreem is a fantastic music composer, a genius. And to fill his shoes is a huge honour. But thankfully, the two songs (promos) sung by KK and Ali Azmat have got a tremendously overwhelming response till now. There were more than one million hits in less than 60 hours for the title song. Now the second song 'Abhi Abhi' is also being liked by everyone.
Is it a mixed bag of songs (melody, sufi, rock, etc) in terms of genre?
Well, I would not say it's a mixed bag. See, it is not an album which will be filled with all kinds of songs as per my wish. When you are giving music for a film, it is paramount to understand the director's vision. The music has to be perfectly in correlation with the story and the characters. Jism 2 has its specific sound space. The sound tracks used in this are obviously versatile. The music blends romance, mystery, desire, loss… I believe lyrics also play a huge role. I have tried my best to create haunting melodies. It is not a design-oriented soundtrack; rather, it is more of a melodic and lyrical soundtrack.
Who are the singers?
The singers are Ali Azmat, Kay Kay and Shreya Ghoshal. Ali is the voice of Randeep Hooda, while Kay Kay has voiced for Arunoday Singh.
Which song is your favourite?
I believe it is 'Maula Kuchh Reh Gaya Baaki', which released after 'Abhi Abhi'. The song is special for me and Munna (Munish Makhija, Pooja Bhatt's husband), who has produced the track as well. Everyone has their own favourite. But this is my personal favourite.
How was it like working with the Jism 2 team?
I am delighted with the fact that I worked with a team of people like Pooja Bhatt, Dino Morea, and above all Mahesh Bhatt, the legend. Bhatt saab has a fantastic sense of music writing; he is aesthetically evolved, a master, a philosopher. On the other hand, Pooja, whom I have been watching since childhood, has great vision and clarity. She knows exactly what she wants. It helped me a lot as a music director. I had a blast working with them.
Have you assisted anyone in Bollywood before?
No. This is a direct entry indeed. I gave music for a Bollywood movie earlier which was never completed.
Tell us about your musical past.
I have no formal training in music. I learnt Rabindra Sangeet for six to seven years in Kolkata. I love to write and compose. I have been playing the guitar since my school days and taught myself. Guitar is the only instrument I know and I compose on the guitar. I work with a core team of two people, apart from me, who handle the technical aspects. One of them is a keyboard player and the other is a guitarist. I am more into song writing, which is very different from programming music or arranging a track. I am inspired by Mike Dixon and Johnny Cash. I don't even have a studio at home, unlike others. I only write the song and compose it on the guitar. You can term it as 'organic human song writing.' I can function only in this way; the opposite method doesn't work for me.
Tell us about your forthcoming projects.
It is too early to talk. Yes, there are a couple of films I am committed to. I am giving background music for a movie called 'Tamanche' and the other is 'Mastaan', where I am a lyricist, composer, and singer. I am currently working on my first Bengali album which will be released in August this year. I have also written my first Hindi movie script which will go on the floors this year.