One look at him and he could very well pass off as a model. Speak to him and he comes across as a dude from the urban world with a MBA degree to boast of. Probe him a little and you realise that he is the same man whose ‘Ali Maula‘ from Kurbaan is pretty much igniting the heat currently. Ask him about his background and you would be in for a shock as you realise that he is the same youngster who started off on a brilliant note with ‘Aashayein’ [Iqbal], only to follow that with half a dozen more tracks that led to Fashion. Songs like ‘Mar Jawaan’, ‘Kuch Khaas‘ and ‘Aashiyaan‘ boasted of some innovative writing that resulted in composer duo Salim-Sulaiman rooting for him and making attaching him to Karan Johar‘s Dharma Productions with films like Koochie Koochie Hota Hai and Kurbaan.
Meet the man on the hot seat, 31 years old Irfan Siddiqui, who is in sight of hitting the big league, what confirmed projects featuring Jermaine Jackson and Adnan Sami’s son Azaan Sami already in his kitty.
Your ‘Ali Maula’ [Kurbaan] has already got quite some appreciation coming its way. A positive start?
I might sound over the top but I always knew that this song will win everybody’s heart. The melody of ‘‘Ali Maula‘ is so soothing yet haunting and Salim’s voice is magical. I really want to thank Karan, Rensil and Salim-Sulaiman for this. The lyrics of Ali Maula are a little difficult to understand but they trusted me on this and gave me the liberty. This song is very special and very close to my heart. I am delighted that it is getting the appreciation it deserves.
Future seems pretty bright for you with an entry into the Dharma camp. Must be a great feeling and a challenging task in hand, right?
It’s an honour to mention my association with Dharma, UTV, T Series, Ken Ghosh, Adnan Sami, Madhur Bhandarkar, Nagesh Kukunoor and Hinduja’s Teen Patti which stars Amitabh Bachchan. I feel on the top of the world when I mention these personalities. It’s a blessing!
You are also writing tracks for Koochie Koochie Hota Hai. How has it been wearing a different hat for a movie belonging to animation genre?
This is an animated remake of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the movie that I have seen N number of times and I still know all the songs by heart. This was a tough one! The songs of this movie are legendary and to work around that was difficult but exciting. The lyrics had to be very young and easy without deviating from the essence of the story. It was fun and I hope the audiences love the songs.
When Iqbal happened they offered me the song and you won’t believe that we did this entire song on the phone
Irfan, you have quite some database of work behind you. Really, how come we don’t really hear much about you and your work in spite of such an impressive line up?
Lyric writing is a profession which generally does not attract the attention of many unless you are very big. My songs are achieving the likings of people and I am glad that my journey has started.
You and Salim-Sulaiman have been quite a team, as visible from number of chartbusters you have given in Fashion, 8X10 Tasveer and Iqbal amongst others. Do we see an even longer association happening here?
Surely! I can assure you there are lots of chartbusters to come….
Do you wish to share information on how exactly did this partnership really take place?
I started writing songs for choreographer Rajiv Goswami’s album in 2005, who is a very close friend of mine. His songs were arranged by Salim-Sulaiman. This is how we met. Salim-Sulaiman use to always like my lyrics. So when Iqbal happened they offered me the song and you won’t believe that we did this entire song on the phone. We directly met on the dubbing. This is the kind of tuning we have. We understand each other so well that things just sparked after Aashayein and we went on to do a lot of stuff together most of which made it big. I just love working with them.
It’s challenging to write western songs in Hindi and yet make it work
You have also been doing non-film tracks with active presence in ICL, IPL and Walt Disney films. Are you looking at diversifying into various mediumswithout being constrained by Bollywood musical scores?
It was an experience and it gives an opportunity to write songs which are completely different than film songs. Specifically High School Musical I & II and Camp Rock!! It’s challenging to write western songs in Hindi and yet make it work. And on the top of that lip sync is another task. I love to diversify because I feel it helps you learn.
Irfan, how has been the journey for an MBA like you to be finding a place for yourself in Bollywood?
It has been fantastic! I never planned to be here in my preliminary days but I had the zeal in me to try different things. I have done few fashion shows, I did my MBA, I have my own business but writing was always a passion for me. And I am thankful to God that my passion is now my profession as well.
With distinct assignments like Teen Patti and Chance Pe Dance, it must be quite some exciting times ahead for you?
Teen Patti and Chance Pe Dance are two completely different tangents and that’s what I love to do. I believe if you are a writer you should be capable of writing any song. Both these films have some beautiful songs but the treatment is completely different. Chance Pe Dance is more young, peppy and fun whereas Teen Patti is more serious and mature. It zeroes down to the language and the word selection.
Chance Pe Dance is more young, peppy and fun whereas Teen Patti is more serious and mature
You seem to have been entrusted with the responsibility of launching Azaan Sami’s career. A huge burden?
Burden? I feel it’s a responsibility! Azaan is as multi talented as his father and I am glad that I am doing Adnan’s as well as Azaan’s album, which are again two completely different jobs. It’s great and I am enjoying it!
Can you elaborate on your association with Jermaine Jackson?
Jermaine’s song happened because of Adnan and T Series. As I was writing Adnan’s album this song was also entrusted to me. The interesting part is that I have also written Jermaine’s lines which are mostly in English, something that I have not done before largely. The even more interesting part is that Jermaine sang couple of lines in Hindi as well.
Jermaine’s song happened because of Adnan and T Series
Any filmmakers that you are looking forward to work with in future?
Honestly speaking I have worked with great directors till date but the quest for more will always be there. I really want to work with everybody because I think it’s a process that makes you learn and your journey to success ends when you stop learning.