Shashwat Sachdev: “I’m going to be forever grateful to Anushka”


After working closely with some eminent musical personalities of Hollywood, young and supremely talented music composer, Shashwat Sachdev, is all set to cast the spell of his dulcet melodies. He has started his new musical journey on his home turf by scoring music for Anushka Sharma’s much talked about film ‘Phillauri’. The soundtrack of the film has just been released and garnered widespread attention and acclaim. An ardent fan of music maven Nusrat Ali Khan, Sachdev shares his experience of working on his maiden Hindi film project with BizAsia. He also talks at length about the changing dynamics of Hindi film music.

How would you describe your musical journey till now?
It’s been great. It was my mom who started teaching me music. My father is also a music lover. Both started teaching me music right from the childhood, and it was my father who wanted me to be a composer. I have been learning Indian classical music for 18-19 years now.

You started off your career in Hollywood by working alongside Grammy Award winner Tony Maserati and others, and then you made a transition to Hindi film music. What was the reason behind it?
I first got the opportunity in Hollywood. I attended a small seminar in France for sound designing and sound engineering. The person who was taking the seminar invited me to work with him. So, that’s how it started. I started working on a lot of projects. I was working continuously on different things. All the people I was working for were legendary people. However, my musicality is very Indian. I think everything that we do is not the call that we take but the truth is we are always made to believe that we are doing it.

How did ‘Phillauri’ happen?
The person who manages me also manages writers. They were also in touch with Anushka Sharma and team. So, Karnesh Sharma heard my work. They just wanted to give it a try. When I presented the song ‘Shahiba’, everybody really liked it.

“Lyrics are a tool to fulfill the final song. Even melody is fulfilling the purpose of making a song what it is. It’s all about how a finished song looks like. I think it’s more linear if a melody is written first.”

How was it working with Anushka Sharma and team?
It was a very nice experience. They are very different from a lot of other people that I know. They are very organic and real people. She (Anushka) never made me feel like I was talking to a star. People talk about Clean Slate Films saying that they work with new talents. But it’s not an agenda. They could have worked with an established director, for that matter. But they chose Anshai, because they value talent.
The film is very clean and their intentions are genuine, which is visible. They are not regular Bombay people. They are just subtle and I am going to be forever grateful to them for having immense faith in me while I was doing it. That is something I really like about Anushka ma’am and Karnesh sir.

Earlier there used be only one music composer in one film and now there are many. How do you see this change?
There are two ways of looking at it. I think one or two songs are not fulfilling for an artist as far as all characters are concerned. In this film I talk about 4-5 things in the songs. A lot of perspectives are being conveyed. All the songs are doing that in a different way. You will realize it when you see the film. We are just technicians. Quality is all that matters.

How did the music for the film happened? Did you first compose the songs with the lyricist writing the lyrics later or was it the other way around?
I find both fun in their own ways. I like composing lyrics and that is a little easier for me. Then there is a pressure of not having a great melody. And at times I compose the melodies first and then the lyrics are written. Lyrics are a tool to fulfill the final song. Even melody is fulfilling the purpose of making a song what it is. It’s all about how a finished song looks like. I think it’s more linear if a melody is written first.

Who are the music composers and lyricists you admire the most?
My favorite composers are Salil Chowdhury and S. D. Burman. I really like Madan Mohan. Talking about lyricists, I love Shailendra. I think the stroke of simplicity that he has expressed in his work is beautiful. There are many lyricists that write in a complex way, but Shailendra always kept his lyrics simple. Sometimes, I feel he is not given the required credit because he made his lyrics sound so simple.

Who are your favorite singers?
Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. They are great when they sing together. I am fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, though.

What after ‘Phillauri’?
I have been working on two-three things right now. It will be released in a couple of months. I am hopeful that God is going to be as kind to me as he is right now.

‘Phillauri’ is out at cinemas now.

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