Aadesh, to start with, how does it feel to have worked with international giants like Akon, Shakira, T-Pain, Soulja Boy, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, Queen Latifa and also the London Philharmonic Orchestra?
It was great fun. In the west, it’s the music that dominates, unlike here. They have music as a separate entity. Every artist gets freedom to express their thoughts through the music. While there’s no groupism there, at the same time, it’s not even that easy to gain an entry into any group. In the west, one gets self satisfaction the most.
You mean to say there is no self satisfaction in Bollywood?
In Bollywood, there is too much of groupism happening. Even though many of the musicians and composers here are very talented, their approach is really very poor. They simply lack self respect.
On the other hand, there are the legendary Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, who have immense respect for every artist, even though that person happens to be an unknown classical singer singing at a private function! This is a trait that is mostly missing in many others. Having said that, I also know of certain music labels who feel that they are doing a big favor on the composers, whereas the fact remains that what they make is only plastic cover for the CDs, the inside content happens to be the resultant of the hard work of the composer.
While on one hand, you seem to be a very happy man professionally. At the same time, it seems that there is lot of volcanic anger in you that is waiting to erupt?
Its neither anger nor frustration… rather I am in very happy space today. The amount of work that I am doing, nobody can even think of it. I am doing concerts that are worth a whopping Rs. 10 crores, whereas the cost of others … even the Oscar winners’ concert is around Rs. 1 crore! One has to see the stage where I am performing. Tell me at least one composer, on whose stage you will find the likes of Sunidhi Chauhan, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik, and Shankar Mahadevan… All under one roof! With so much happening, I am the last person to be frustrated! Unlike many others, I am not a ‘computerized’ music director!
What do you think of the overall Bollywood music scene today and have you totally quit from the Bollywood?
Firstly, it’s a good thing to see that people in Bollywood are getting united now. Secondly, I haven’t quit from Bollywood. I have quite a few interesting projects lined up like Dirty Politics, a film with Sudhir Mishra and others.
Talking about ‘dirty politics’, you went on record to say that due to T -Series which had banned you around 2003 from composing music in Bollywood, you headed towards the west. What kind of disagreement was that?
Its not just T series, its most of the music labels. That’s when Javed Akhtar saab and I stood against the giants. I have no regret whatsoever, as I feel that it’s only due to that incident that I got a chance to work with Akon and likes.
Talking about disagreements, in lieu of your recent interview to a leading daily, you said that you don’t agree to the figures of the hit track of ‘Munni Badnaam‘ as you feel that the music company has made a whopping Rs. 106 crores out of that one song! How did you arrive at that figures?
I had read it somewhere about the figures, that’s why and how I commented on that. I was totally misquoted on that context. What I was trying to tell was about the popularity of today’s songs and also about the kind of money that one can make with music downloads, for which I simply quoted the example of ‘Munni Badnaam‘ and the amount of money that it has made. After that, someone simply made a headline out of that (laughs)! And since that person was based out of Lucknow, I did not bother to call up regarding the same.
You claim that ‘T-Series earned Rs. 106 crores from the ‘Munni Badnam Hui‘. Is it because you are scoring your personal equation with them or you have any valid proof of the same?
Let’s understand that I am not singling out ‘Munni Badnam Hui‘, I can also quote you one more example of Rabbi Shergill’s ‘Bulla Ke Jaana Main Kaun‘, which earned more than Rs. 100 crores out of that one track! Having said that, let me tell you that, the only possible place where the track of ‘Munni Badnam Hui‘ was not heard was during someone’s funeral (laughs)â€¦ the song was played almost anywhere and everywhere! And if you really want actual and correct figures, please speak to Javed Akhtar saab, who can really help you in this. He knows each and everything!
One still wonders as to how can T-Series make a whopping Rs. 106 crores from just one song? And also, from where you got this piece of information from?
Let me clarify one thing that T-Series is not my enemy. But what one has to understand is that if a company, who pays Rs. 300 crore only as taxes, just imagine how much that company must be earning!
As far as me getting that information from is concerned, it’s a simple thing that I must have got it from someone in the digital (field) and obviously I wouldn’t have gone upto them to get the figures, or must have made it up myself! I had heard of these figures somewhere and had even read about it somewhere during that time. As I said that you can talk to Javed saab for all this. He will be the best person to tell you all about it.
Which company has paid Rs. 300 crore only as taxes?
(Pauses) I am only giving you an example.
When you talk of Javed Akhtar, does that mean that even he is also ‘aware’ of this Rs. 106 crores figures?
I don’t understand as to why are you stuck at that Rs. 106 crores! Even when T-Series’ Ajay Kapoor had called me and said, “Arre â€¦ Aadesh, you are family to us and you have spoken such figures”, all that I said was “I have told means I have told”.
You also claimed that music companies like T-Series are involved in lot of illegal activities. What kind of illegal activities are we talking about?
In 2012, the Government had passed an amendment law that the composers had to be paid 25 % rights and if a company tells you to sign an agreement that’s purposely dated year 2011, isn’t that illegal?
When you speak so openly about the system, don’t you feel that your contemporaries and likes will think a second time to work with you?
I don’t need such people. Let me tell you one thing that I have never ever felt insecure in my life and the reason is that I know my job!
It’s nice to know that you are somebody who understood the plight of the reality show winners. Since you have the required platforms, and that too considering that you have gone international, why haven’t you thought of giving these singers a break that they rightly deserve?
Let me tell you the names of people to whom I have given break (my discoveries). First is Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, Richa Sharma, reality show Sa Re Ga Ma’s winner Ujjani, Hema Chandra and others. As far as the singers going in the dark, let me tell you that almost all the winners of such reality shows are doing well for themselves, who earn almost Rs. 2-3 lakhs per show.
Chalte chalte .. any thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
All that I want to tell everyone is that I am not against any music label. I may be blunt but an honest person, who believes in karma.