Shirish Kunder talks Tees Maar Khan title song!

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Though we have only been given a few glimpses, Tees Maar Khan is already on many fans “I want to see more” and “I can’t wait until December 24th” lists! Directed by Farah Khan, the film stars Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. Besides the poster and a few stills, our other peek into the world of Tees Maar Khan is the music on the official website. Right after the site was launched, everyone was talking about, praising, and lovin’ that 30-second track. It has this unique sound and flavor that really hit the right notes with fans. So, who composed it? Would you be surprised to hear it was Shirish Kunder? You have seen his work as a director in Jaan-E-Maan, and for Tees Maar Khan Shirish added songwriter “officially”. Shirish wrote the script for the comedy film and felt he was the right guy to take on the title song for the film. I caught up with him for a quick chat and though he could not give us much about TMK (yet), he did talk about composing the theme song and more.

Tell us about composing the song for Tees Maar Khan.

That is the title track of the film. This is the first time I am officially composing a song. In fact, I have composed and written the song. This was the first song that was recorded for Tees Maar Khan. I had the option of choosing any of the songs I wanted to of the five songs in the film. The reason I chose this particular track is because it is a theme track. You know like in Hollywood: James Bond has a theme, Austin Powers has a theme, Pink Panther has a theme. In India, we really haven’t done much of those kinds of things; most music directors are used to just composing songs. We don’t have this motion picture soundtrack kind of thing. I think A R Rahman is the only one who has composed themes for things like that. I felt that if I get to choose one particular situation this would be the most challenging one to do. The rest of the songs are with the music directors, who have done a great job. This also had to capture the essence of the character. I have also written the film so I knew the character very well. To get the mood of the film and also to describe that character through the lyrics, that is why I chose to write and compose the song.

Officially this is my first time in music, but I also did the background score for Jaan-E-Maan and also I was majorly involved with the songs. So “officially” this is my first time (laughs). This is a process that I really enjoy. I am also going to be composing the background score of Tees Maar Khan.

When I heard it on the website it did have that James Bond/Austin Powers feel to it. Did you go that way intentionally?

The idea was exactly that – to identify a theme for the character and to also bring the humor in it, because Tees Maar Khan is mostly a comedy. It also needs to have that funny feel to it, like Pink Panther had a very interesting way of doing it and Austin Powers had it own very interesting thing. Serious music is easier, but to make it funny and not make it sound tacky, to do it in a classy funny way, is usually difficult. Like the background music I am composing now – to do classy music that is also funny is a little difficult.

Yes, to have that nuance where it doesn’t go to far, but still you can tell there is a funny feel to the whole film.

Yes! You know when people try to do funny they have this sound effects thing coming in, you know the “boing” and all those sounds. Without falling back on all those things and to do it in a classy way was challenging. It has got a good response so far, so…

Yes, even just hearing that little bit people have been raving over it.

Yes, just those 30 seconds of it. I was very pleased when after hearing all the songs for Tees Maar Khan, Bhushan Kumar, who is the head of T-Series the music company, chose this particular song to highlight the website, to open the music and the promotion of the film. Since I have done just that one song and it was chosen it was really encouraging for me.

Explain a little bit about how you compose a background score…

Either one has it or one doesn’t. See, for me it comes really naturally. Background music directors, any of the good ones, usually have a little bit of director in them, because it is not only about playing an instrument or making people dance or whatever. It is getting to and understanding the drama of the scene. So, you are catering to the drama. If you notice for example A R Rahman, he is essentially more of a background music director than a music director. That is why all his songs, when they first release, people don’t understand what it is, it doesn’t really catch on. Then they watch the film and then they understand what he was trying to do and then it really becomes huge. Because they are not normal songs, essentially he captures the mood of the film. Like Slumdog Millionaire, all those tracks are mostly background music scores, which later on became a craze after the film released. But initially when people heard they didn’t understand what it was. Very few people do the music and background score together here right now. Most music directors like Vishal-Shekhar, Pritam, they all only do music, they don’t really do background scores. Rahman does it and I think Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy to some extent does it. It is a different kind of skill to do that. Even my particular song that I have composed it is not like a regular song, it has no particular structure. To keep a song still commercially viable and keep the balance is a little difficult.

If you think about, without the background score, it can totally change the scene or how you feel about a scene.

Yes, yes. It is a very integral part of filmmaking. One can really improve or heighten the effect of a scene with the right background music. It makes a world of difference. The best example was Lagaan, the way the background music made a difference totally. Even Slumdog Millionaire, for example the kind of finish that music added to that film was absolutely dead on… it was major.

Can you give us a bit about the story of Tees Maar Khan. I know it is a bit early…

It is a little early. Whatever is said, it should be said by Farah since she is the director. All I can say is Tees Maar Khan is a con man and the film is a comic caper.

We will get our first peek into Tees Maar Khan next Friday, November 5th, when the first promo is released, and from the tweets we have seen it is going to be to good! The music is scheduled for November 12th and we can finally hear more of Shirish’s song plus the rest of the tracks by Vishal-Shekhar. Then it is a bit of a wait and a watch until we get to see Tees Maar Khan in all its glory when it comes to theaters on December 24th. We will catch up with the fabulous Shirish closer to the film’s release and talk more about music, writing the story, and of course, making the film! So stay tuned for much more!!

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