Happy to Learn About Gulshan Kumar’s Biopic: Nadeem Saifi
Nadeem Saifi one-half of the Nadeem-Shravan duo that gave us a slew of blockbuster soundtracks in the 1990s from Aashiqui to Saajan to Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, is back to score music solo in Suneel Darshan’s Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha. Exiled in Dubai for fear of arrest for music baron Gulshan Kumar’s murder, Nadeem opens up to Subhash K Jha in a rare interview.
Q. Suneel Darshan is bringing your music back to Bollywood. Is that a good thought?
Nadeem Saifi: Suneel Darshan is man of great talent, integrity and courage. I have done so many films with him; the likes of Ek Rishta with Amitabh Bachhanji and Akshay Kumar, Barsaat and Dosti, Andaaz that launched Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta, Mere Jeevan Saathi with Karisma Kapoor and many more. His films are clean, with a good story and excellent music, which has his own stamp along with NS flavor.
Q. What sort of music can we expect from you in this film?
Nadeem Saifi: This time round Suneel has mixed melody, love and modernity into the music tracks. It’s a blend which I feel is perfect to fall in love. He has always encouraged me and has been a true friend and a brother to me. I will always be obliged to him. It was extremely difficult to do a music score for his films because he only and only wanted the best of the best music.
Q. What do you feel about present day music in Bollywood? Do you see the spark in anyone to become the next Nadeem-Shravan?
Nadeem Saifi: Honestly there have been some very good songs in the past few years but very few that have been able to sustain themselves or to be remembered. Sajid Wajid, Meet Brothers and Pritam did some songs that I liked but there has been a lack of consistency so far I don’t see the Nadeem-Shravan kind of spark, because of which they have now started to remix all the hit Nadeem-Shravan songs in the films which goes to prove the point that there aren’t any or many composers to do good music for the cinema. Even Pritam has given some very good scores but he does one or two films a year so that is not sufficient for the Bollywood industry. AR Rahman is also concentrating on Hollywood so there is a huge vacuum.
Q. There is an growing feeling that playback singing is becoming redundant in Hindi cinema. What is your take on it?
Nadeem Saifi: I think good Hindi cinema songs will always be loved by the cinema goers, but this is a time of transition and it’s time for us to produce our own Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Justin Bieber. But this will take some real good team of music companies to have the courage to promote good talent and they really have to have the will to make them superstars. They need to follow what Gulshanjee (Kumar) did. I called him Papajee. He was the father of the music industry. I really miss him.
Q. How do you look back on the era of Nadeem-Shravan when the two of your ruled the charts? Do you feel kissi ki nazar lag gayi?
Nadeem Saifi: Oh my God, what hysteria was there, every song was a chart buster, the whole nation was falling in love, and there was love in the air. It was an era of music lovers. To this day, I remember how our music was celebrated. All my friends and fans are coaxing me to make a comeback in a big way to fill the air with romance and melody. I really want to make their wish come true, if God wills. About nazar, of course hum per bahut nazar lag gayi, imagine nearly a 1000 hit songs in such a short time and more than 100 awards! Of course, yeh toh hona hi tha. I wish we had underplayed it. You should be heard, not seen.
Q. What did you think of the music in Aashiqui 2. Did you miss being a part of it?
Honestly, I was quite moved to see Bhushan Kumar of T-Series on a National TV channel saying that the first Aashiqui was his father respected Gulshanji’s favorite and his favorite too. As I remember, he also said that it was the biggest selling music track to date and of course it was composed by the Nadeem-Shravan team.Nadeem Saifi
Q. Were you very arrogant during those days?
Nadeem Saifi: I think number one will always be number one and number two will always be number two. Of course, I would have done ten times better. In my personal opinion, the only song which became famous was a Moroccan song which they remixed as Tum Hi Ho.
Q. Are you saying that the most popular song in Aashiqui 2 was copied?
Nadeem Saifi: Yes, it was.
Q. Tell me about the music in Suneel Darshan's new film?
Nadeem Saifi: Let it release, Subhash! Then I will give another interview, Insha Allah, on the success of the music track. As far as my own chartbusting scores, Subhash, you may not have enough space in this interview, but I can mention a few– Aashiqui, Deewaana which launched Shah Rukh Khan, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin starring Aamir Khan and Pooja Bhatt, Phool Aur Kante which launched Ajay Devgn, Saajan had Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Sunjay Dutt, Dhadkan had Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty and Shilpa Shetty, Raja Hindustani featured Aamir Khan & Karisma Kapoor, Aa Ab Laut Chale starred Aishwarya Rai, Sadak starring Sanjay Dutt, Bekhudi which launched Kajol, Barsaat launched Bobby Deol, Andaaz launched Priyanka Chopra, and Lara Dutta with Akshay Kumar, Pardes again with Shah Rukh Khan, Bewafaa Kareena Kapoor, Dil Ka Rishta was Aishwarya Rai’s home production, Saajan Chale Sasural with Govinda, Karisma and Tabu, Raaz had Bipasha Basu, Binda Thackeray’s Agni Sakshi with Manisha Koirala and Nana Patekar and many more.
Q. Do you miss your partnership with Shravan and are you in touch with him?
Nadeem Saifi: Shravan is like my bichda-hua bhai. I love him very much and I do miss those good days when we worked together. We do speak and wish each other on Diwali, Eid and on our birthdays. I am so happy that I have the same love from people even now, where ever I go.
Q. Nadeem, what are your future plans? How long do you intend to be in exile? Do you long to come home? Do your children want to return?
Nadeem Saifi: Trust me, I have been wronged and it is only out of majboori that I was advised to stay in exile. I do very much long to come back to the India of my childhood and my dreams. I Love my India, the song composed by me in Pardes, is the proof of that. My wife and my children often visit India to see my parents who are old, sick, bed-ridden and miss me a lot as they can’t see me. They cry every day for me. The police officers who have fabricated the case against me and the public prosecutor Ujwal Nigam should announce my innocence. I dare them to come out with the truth. Not one of them has the courage to tell the truth about my innocence, but their own colleagues who are honest and had the courage of a man, have helped me solve this case, that’s how I won the case in London. I cannot name them but I am indebted to them. I wish more police officers will be fair and honest and will not destroy innocent people’s lives.
Q. What do you feel about fact that Bhushan Kumar is making a biopic on his father Gulshan Kumar?
Nadeem Saifi: I am so happy that they are making a biopic after a very long time of his untimely demise. I truly hope that it would be a well written honest script, because he was undoubtedly the father of the music industry. My life’s biopic will follow soon after the release of this much awaited biopic.
(The love of Lata Mangeshkar 's voice and Hindi movies - in that order - has propelled Subhash K Jha to the pursuit of journalism for over 30 years.)