Though only in the industry a few years, music composer Sohail Sen has certainly made fans and critics take notice with his outstanding and unique compositions. We first heard his work on Ashutosh Gowariker’s What’s Your Raashee?. For this production, he had to come up with a different tune to represent each of the 12 signs and he did it brilliantly. In fact, we gave the OST 3.5 stars and a rave review. He then moved on to another Gowariker film Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey and showed a completely different side as a composer. Once again we were full of praise for the music and gave the album 3.5 stars. With each new film he manages to create something that is fresh and also fits the tone and vibe of the film. We hear this skill once again with the music for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, which is a mix of different styles and cool grooves that the reviewer loved so much that it received 4 stars. We wanted to know more about this composer so we caught up with him for a quick chat. He nicely took a break from his very busy schedule, including the launch of MBKD’s music, to answer our questions about his inspirations, what goes into his work, and all things Hindi film music!
Tell us about your background in music.
I am the 4th generation in the music industry. My great-grandfather Jamal Sen, my grandfather Shambhu Sen and my father Sameer Sen (Dilip Sen – Sameer Sen) have been in music for a long time.
What was the first song you ever composed?
It was for a telefilm called Roshni when I was 13.
How would you describe your music?
As far as I am concerned, I make my music from my soul and like to touch the soul of people who listen to it. So you can say it is “soulfull”.
With each new composition you bring something new musically, what goes into composing a song for you?
I always try to create a specific sound for a song. For me composing comes naturally. At times it takes 10 days to crack a song. On the other hand, at times, it takes 10 min to do the same.
How do you begin composing a song?
First of all, I always go by the director’s vision – what kind of song he has in mind. Then I try to compose two or three different tunes on the basis of the brief given to me by him. He selects one tune out of those three and then we take that tune forward and give it to the lyricists to have words added to it.
One of our favorites soundtracks was the many different compositions for What’s Your Raashee? Can you tell us a bit about working on that film.
Oh, it was a great learning experience to work on that film. Especially as it was a dream come true to work with Mr. Ashutosh Gowarikar for the first time. I got to learn a lot from him during the music making process. He has so much knowledge to share. I didn’t even have to do research for What’s Your Raashee as he already knew what kind of music he wants for the film so me, Ashutosh sir and Javed Akthar saab used to have lot of music session together. It was great experience to work on that film.
You then went to a completely different genre and style with the music for Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. How different was it to compose for a film like that?
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey was a periodic film and so I had to create an aura of that period in my songs as well represent the passion of our freedom fighters. A lot of research when into its music score as it was a based on Bengal culture. I did lots of research on Bengali music.
What would you say are your biggest influences?
God, my grandfather (Mr. Shambu Sen) and my dad (Mr. Sameer Sen) had the biggest influence on me.
You also sing on many of your songs…tell us about that.
I never do that deliberately. It’s just that whenever I compose a song I dub it just for the directors to get the basic feel of the track, but at times they like it and retain it. That’s exactly what happened with What’s Your Raashee….Ashutosh sir decided the last minute to retain my voice as the voice of Harman (Baweja).
Tell us about the brief they gave you for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
I and Irshaad bhai (lyricist) had a long story sitting session with the film director Ali Abbas Zafar. He narrated the whole script to us and gave us some briefing about what kind of sound he is looking at for the film.
Can you tell us about the style of the music.
The tracks are more of fun and enjoyment, which relate to the youth. It’s a celebration.
You went total rock with Dhunki, tell us about that track.
Ali [director] wanted a rock sufi song for Katrina, a song which Katrina has never done before. So, we did a rock song with a commercial touch to it.
Your favorite track of the OST?
All of them, but the Rahat one is my favourite (Isq Risq) as it was my first song with him.
Ali Zafar ,as well as acting, also sings on the soundtrack. What was it like working with him?
It was fun working with him. Though he is an actor by profession but he is a true musician at heart. One never feels that he is an actor because he is so much inclined towards music.
Will we hear you on this OST?
No, unfortunately. I wanted to work with different singers on this album.
Your favorite song of all time?
My great-grandfather Jamal Sen’s song “Sapna Ban Saajan Aye”. It’s been my caller tune since 7 years now
What do you think of Hindi film music today?
I think Hindi film music is taking a sort of U-turn, because we have started using lots of indian instruments again for the film music. There was a time when film music more sounded like a pop album, but I think Hindi film music is changing radically.
What is up next for you?
Just started working on another Yash Raj film. You guys will come to know soon.
Be sure and check out the music for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, which is out now! The film starring Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif hits theaters on September 9th!