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Last Updated 22.07.2024 | 3:22 PM IST



25 Years of Gupt EXCLUSIVE: “I didn’t feel bad about not winning a Filmfare. Dil To Pagal Hai won in the Best Music category that year and it deserved it” – Viju Shah

en Bollywood News 25 Years of Gupt EXCLUSIVE: “I didn’t feel bad about not winning a Filmfare. Dil To Pagal Hai won in the Best Music category that year and it deserved it” – Viju Shah

Gupt completed 25 years on July 4. Directed by Rajiv Rai, the suspense thriller is remembered for many reasons; chief among them is the soundtrack. The popularity of the song is intact, even after 2 ½ decades and in every generation; one can find fans of the music of Gupt, a rare feat.

25 Years of Gupt EXCLUSIVE: “I didn’t feel bad about not winning a Filmfare. Dil To Pagal Hai won in the Best Music category that year and it deserved it” – Viju Shah

25 Years of Gupt EXCLUSIVE: “I didn’t feel bad about not winning a Filmfare. Dil To Pagal Hai won in the Best Music category that year and it deserved it” – Viju Shah

As the Bobby Deol-Kajol-Manisha Koirala celebrated its 25th anniversary, Bollywood Hungama decided to speak to the legendary music composer Viju Shah about working on the music and a lot more.

You have worked with Gupt and Mohra’s director Rajiv Rai in several films. How did you form an association with him?
It was during his directorial debut, Yudh (1985), that we got to know each other. My father (Kalyanji) and uncle (Anandji) were the film’s composers. I was doing the orchestration. When Rajiv used to come for music sitting, I used to always sit on the keyboards. After a couple of songs were recorded, we got in tune with each other. He used to stay close by, at Napean Sea Road. He used to tell my dad and uncle that for orchestration, he would sit with me. Both were quite senior. Hence, due to the age factor, he was more comfortable with me. In fact, the last song of the film, ‘Yudh Kar’, was totally done by me. That was the first time when he told me that we should do a song done from scratch – finalize the tune and get it written by Anand Bakshi.

After Yudh, we collaborated on Tridev (1989). The agreement was done on dad and uncle’s names. Right from the first song, we decided that we’ll do the song, play it for my dad and uncle and seek their input and whether there was any need for change. My very first song in Tridev was ‘Main Teri Mohabbat Main’. My dad and uncle had no issues with this arrangement. He’ll just ask Rajiv, ‘Are you happy with the song? If yes, then go ahead’.

When the titling was being done, Rajiv Rai began to wonder how he should credit me. He wanted to credit me as the music director. He spoke to my father and he had no problem. However, he told Rajiv that he’ll have to get the approval of Anandji bhai also. This is where I stopped him and I told him to let it go. Rajiv then gave a separate mention in the opening credits. ‘Music Conducted by Viju Shah’ was mentioned in the credits.

He’s the one who gave me the name of Viju Shah. My real name is Vijay Shah. If you see the old films, my name is mentioned as Vijay Shah under music assistant. At that time, there were 4-5 people named Vijay in the industry. Hence, he suggested that I should be mentioned as Viju Shah. Viju was anyway my pet name. Hence, I was okay with it.

Tridev’s songs became a big hit. Many told me, ‘Yaar, tujhe apna naam dena chahiye tha (as music director)’. But I had no qualms and would reply, ‘Gaane chal gaye isliye aap aisa bol rahe ho. Nahi chale toh kya hota?’!

When Rajiv and I worked on Vishwatma, he told my dad and uncle that I’ll be composing and that I’ll be credited as well. At the film’s muhurat, it was them who broke the coconut.

25 Years of Gupt EXCLUSIVE: “I didn’t feel bad about not winning a Filmfare. Dil To Pagal Hai won in the Best Music category that year and it deserved it” – Viju Shah

You got a different sound in Bollywood with your electronic music. You used to perform in Navratri as well and I am told that people used to come specially to see you perform. How did you get interested in electronic music?
I was always into electronics. The first instrument that Babla uncle (popular music personality Babla Shah, brother of Kalyanji-Anandji) bought for me was a miniKORG synthesizer. We used it extensively in Don (1978). I started training when I was 14. The first song in which I played that instrument was ‘Yeh Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana’. The very first sound that you hear in the song was done using that synthesizer. That piece was used, as it is, by Black Eyed Peas as well. They even credited Kalyanji-Anandji for it.

Initially, I was not very serious about music. But with electronics coming in, I got gripped as I began to create different sounds. From there on, I started attending every sitting of my uncle and dad. Feroz ji was also a fan of electronics. He used to sit next to me and ask me, ‘What sound are you playing?’ That’s why, you’d say a lot of electronics in his films as well like Qurbani (1980), Jaanbaaz (1986) etc.

Talking of Gupt, I read that you had gone on a tour with Amitabh Bachchan. Dancers from Farah Khan’s group were also present and you asked to give feedback on the songs of Gupt. Is that true?
Yes, I had given the cassette to them and asked them to hear the songs on the flight. This was a time when the audio had been released. The dancers did not react at all! Slowly, it picked up.

But before the release, no one seemed excited about it. Now, they call it ‘ahead of its time’! I remember watching Gupt in Devi Theatre, Chennai. There was a local filmmaker who was also present at the screening. He didn’t understand the language but was astonished by the sound. He told us that it was phenomenal.

One shopkeeper from Ahmedabad got my number from somewhere. He told me that he has started a new electronics shop and to check whether the music system is working fine, he decided to play the songs of Gupt!

Do you agree that even the picturization took the songs to another level?
Absolutely. When I went to see the songs in Madras during mixing, the experience was great. Each and every song had its own magic. And the songs played a major success in the success of the film. Visual communication has always been very important. When Michael Jackson released ‘Thriller’, people were zapped with the visuals. So, it’s very important and the songs in Gupt needed that as there were a lot of effects that we had used. So it had to come out well on screen.

Moreover, Rajiv likes the song to be a part of the background score also. His idea is that ‘Aisa lagna chahiye ki yeh issi picture ka background music hai’. Raj Kapoor saab also used it. Subconsciously, the tune gets registered in your mind after listening to it in the background. Once it plays in the form of a song, it does make an impact.

Also, Rajiv wanted garage-like and trance-based sound for Gupt, even if it’s a slow long. Like take ‘Bechaniyaan Betaabiyaan’ for example. It was a slow track but the pulse kind of a sound was going on behind.

Who is the singer who has sung the ‘Aiya Ya Ya Ya’ part in the title track of Gupt?
Hema Sardesai sang that part in the title song while Alka Yagnik sang it in the song ‘Yeh Pyaar Kya Hai’. The other kind of sound effect, which sounds like a human voice, as well as the scream, was however created through instruments.

What attracted you to Gupt?
Rajiv gave me just one-line narration that ‘Main ek picture bana raha hoon jisme heroine murderer hai’. I was sold instantly. There was no other film then where the principal character is in front of you throughout the film and he or she turns out to be the murderer. Yet, you don’t even suspect that person. After Rajiv gave me the narration, he told me that he was going to Kajol’s house to sign her. She agreed to do the film and also won an award (for Best Villain).

Shockingly, you didn’t win an award for Gupt
It’s ok. I have never been fascinated by these things. I was nominated and that’s fine. I didn’t feel bad. Mere se koi aur better hogaUsko mila award. The film that won in the Best Music category – Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) – deserved it. I, however, did win Best Background Score for Gupt. This was the first this category was introduced by Filmfare.

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: “Kabhi kabhi lagta sach mein aisi cheezein ho rahi hai?” – Bobby Deol speaks on popularity of Aashram

More Pages: Gupt Box Office Collection


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