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Shashwat Sachdev, debutant music director, talks about his ideas while working for Phillauri and how he shifted his focus from Hollywood to Bollywood

Musician Shashwat Sachdev is all set to make his debut in Bollywood with his melodious tracks for Phillauri. And what do you know? His tracks, SahibaDum dum and Naughty Billo have already caught everyone’s attention. Before Bollywood, Sachdev worked in Hollywood alongside Tony Maserati (Grammy Award winner) and Mark Shaiman (Emmy Award winner).

Sachdev, who has bagged five songs for Phillauri, says he was approached for just one and then the rest worked out. “I met Anshai Lal sir a year and a half ago. He wanted me to read the script and attempted one song with me to find out if our visions were in sync. The song is set in Punjab, in the late 1900s. I did not want to use a pre-existing sonic landscape. So, for instance, if the music is related to Punjab, I did not want to use Punjabi musical instruments. We tried to make music with the sound of the late 1900s but without using vintage instruments,” he explains.

The debutant music director admits he was nervous about how the music would turn out. Divulging details on how he worked on the music, he says, “The music we have made is not for a random song. It is one of the main characters in the film. We tried to make the music a part of this film; it’s not meant to just fill space. We wanted the music to be unique and inventive.”

Sachdev says his team started working on the music early and they wanted to use the extra time to be creative and experimental with the music. “We wanted the song to feel earthy and fresh from Punjab but we also wanted to avoid making it sound like Punjabi folk music. It was very difficult but the script was very well written and we just had to execute it. With Phillauri, we had to keep in mind the story, the idea and what we wanted to accomplish with the song.”

A musical prodigy of sorts, Sachdev started learning music at the age of four. He has also learnt Western classical piano at the Trinity College of Music, London. On shifting his focus to Bollywood, he says, “I have learnt Indian classical for 25 years. My musicality is very much Indian. I have practiced for hours and I was not using it well in Los Angeles, so I thought I should try using my skills here in India. This decision was experimental but I must say I am very blessed.”

The music composer believes that Bollywood demands versatility. “There is no focus area as such. Bollywood will make me produce music such as hip-hop, classical, rock, ballet etc. So we have to attempt every kind of music and, at times, we use different kinds of music in one single song too,” says Sachdev. 

Apart from being a composer, he is also a trained singer. Sharing his ideas on singing for Bollywood, he remarks, “I am trained in singing but composing is a main character in a film. However, the song needs to be expressed and the song chooses a singer. If it’s in my destiny to sing, I will.”  

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