Vikram Montrose has had a very interesting journey as a composer in the Hindi film industry. The Sanjay Dutt produced ‘Hasmukh Pighal Gaya’, which was the first film he worked on, never saw the light of the day. A couple of years later, ‘Kar Har Maidaan Fateh’ from Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘Sanju’ became an anthem for many and opened several doors for Montrose in the industry. Since then, the young composer has worked on multiple films including ‘Prassthanam’, ‘Commando 3’, ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ and ‘Liger’.
Recently, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Music for ‘Shershaah’. Vikram shared the award with Tanishk Bagchi, Jasleen Royal, Javed-Mohsin and B Praak, his fellow composers on the film. For the Sidharth Malhotra – Kiara Advani starrer biographical war drama, Vikram had composed ‘Jai Hind Ki Senaa’, a soaring patriotic number.
In this interview, Vikram talks about his journey in the music industry, popular tracks, special equation with Sanjay Dutt, the importance of formal training and more.
‘Attack’ and ‘The Liger Hunt Theme’ are the two tracks you composed for ‘Liger’. You have collaborated with Azeem Dayani and Dharma Productions earlier as well. How was the process of creating these two tracks for the film?
I am fortunate for all the opportunities I have received thus far. I am blessed to be a part of ‘Shershaah’ and now Liger. I thank Mr. Azeem Dayani for getting me on board for these two projects. The best thing about working with Azeem is the ease and freedom that you get as an artist. The brief is to the point and he is always sure of what he wants. He is open to new styles or approaches and totally puts his faith in the composer. That always makes the process easy. While working with him, an artist can dive in fearlessly. And that’s what motivated me to create songs like ‘Jai Hind Ki Senaa’, ‘Liger Hunt’ and ‘Attack’.
What do you think about the trend of having multiple composers on a single film? You have worked on many such films but have also composed full-fledged albums for a couple of projects like ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’.
There are various models for scoring music for a film. The regular model is when there is one composer who composes the entire album then there is the model where multiple composers are brought on board, but that is used selectively depending on the film. For me, both have their own merits. Music is one of the key tools for movies and sometimes having a diverse soundtrack for a film by various composers and their styles work well for it. Then, there are movies that require a certain kind of sound which is best delivered by a single composer.
At the end of the day, it all depends on the filmmaker and what he thinks is best for the movie. Personally, I enjoy being a part of both the setups. The film’s storyline and characters will always be the most important part of my song-making process. Sometimes, when you have no idea of what is going on in the movie and you just place a song, there is huge possibility it getting backfired. The song must complement the narrative of the film. I always try to ensure that the song should contribute to the storytelling in some way or the other.
As a child, you learned to play the piano and the guitar. How important, do you think, is formal training for a musician?
It is very important. Knowledge gives you longevity as a music composer. Things are changing faster than ever. Learning the craft always gives you the extra edge. Whether it’s learning an instrument or the theory of music making or the technical and marketing aspects of music, you have to be open to the idea of learning new things. I was lucky that I got the opportunity to learn the piano, guitars and drums at an early age. The best decision of my life, however, was to learn music production. The process of learning music never stops. Currently, I am learning to play the violin. I firmly believe that education always elevates your craft.
The two songs you composed for the Sanju soundtrack were hugely popular. ‘Kar Har Maidaan Fateh’ is one song that people from different walks of life keep listening regularly to inspire themselves. Take us through the process of creating the song.
‘Sanju’ has been special in ways more than one. ‘Kar Har Maidan Fateh’ was a dream song for me. I was able to create that because of the guidance and motivation I received from Mr. Sanjay Dutt. I was very new to the industry then.I will be forever grateful to Mr. Rajkumar Hirani for believing in me.
‘Kar Har Maidan Fateh’ has motivated and inspired people in ways that makes me emotional. I feel blessed to see the kind of impact the song has created. I hope I get more opportunities to create songs like these. Getting an understanding of the extraordinary journey of Mr. Sanjay Dutt helped me create ‘Kar Har Maidaan Fateh’. I always feel that the heart and soul of ‘Kar Har Maidaan Fateh’were the lyrics which were beautifully written by Shekhar Astitwa ji. I learnt a lot while working on the song.
‘Hasmukh Pighal Gaya’, ‘Prrasthanam’, ‘Torbaaz’ – you have had a long-standing association with Sanjay Dutt.
Sanju sir is family. I have learned so much from him. I continue to learn a lot of important lessons about music and life from him. Sanju sir has an impeccable taste in music and he introduced me to music genres that I didn’t even know existed. His guidance completely transformed my music. He has always been there for me and guided me and motivated me to become better and to be humble.
What are you doing next?
There is an interesting line up in place. I am eagerly looking forward to introducing a totally different soundscape. There is also a different style of music that I love doing and I really want to present it to people through my own company.