Interviews

Sold For A Song

Manish J Tipu got his first break in the Hindi film industry due to a chance meeting with Pritam. Since then, he’s been carving a niche as a singer and a music director

First Break

I got my first taste of films when I worked as an assistant to music director Pritam for Yash Raj Films’ Dhoom. I learnt a lot from him. At that point, I realised that there was nothing such as ‘textbook learning’ in the movie business. Nothing compares to hands-on training with a professional.

Hindi Film Journey

I worked on seven to eight films thereafter, including Ashq. This was Onir’s first film but sadly, it hasn’t seen the light of day. I then worked on Fun2shh, Agnipankh and a few more films but I didn’t get any credit as I was an assistant. I composed one song for Antardwand.

Through this film, I met Amitabh Verma, who had written the screenplay and dialogue and he was also a lyricist. So he helped me get some work. Then in 2006, I landed my first film as a music director and that was for the film Jo Dooba So Paar It’s Love In Bihar! I then worked on Phas Gaya Re Obama, which had two songs and I also did the background score for the film.

His Experience

If you’re willing to work, there’s plenty of work in Mumbai, and I have been very fortunate. I was not choosy and took up all kinds of work, whether jingles, corporate films or feature films. I have had phases where I have felt really low and have also had a cash crunch. But you have to take these things in your stride. I always knew it wouldn’t be easy, especially since I am not remotely related to anyone in the film industry. In fact, my parents were very sceptical when I told them about my decision because, let’s be honest, we all know there is no money in the beginning.

Another thing that has seen me through life is maintaining a good rapport with people. You never know who can prop you up one day and offer you work.

Perhaps that’s how the opportunity to work on the song Bhoos ke dhere… from Gangs Of Wasseypur (GoW), came my way.

On Gangs Of Wasseypur

Sneha Khanwalkar, the music director of GoW, had gotten in touch with Vinod Verma, a famous sound engineer who is my friend. They were looking for different voices for the film and wanted a high-pitched Bihari voice for the song. Vinod and I would often sit at parties and sing Bihari folk numbers, where I would imitate the Bihari rickshawwalas and the way they sing in a high-pitched tone. So he immediately told Sneha about me. I met her and while I sang the song, Anurag Kashyap came in and suggested some changes. So that’s how it clicked.

Future Projects

I sang a song for Khoosar Prasad Ka Bhoot, which has music by Amit Trivedi and is a Red Ice Film produced by Bobby Grewal. I have sung a song for Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna, which again has music by Amit Trivedi. As a music director, I have worked on a Punjabi film Kissa, which is an Indo-German production with Irrfan in the lead.

Besides, I have Sare Jahan Se Mehnga, which is Ashok Pandey’s next production. It is being directed by Anshul Sharma who was an associate director on Phas Gaya Re Obama.

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