Home » Interviews » “The music of Tum Bin turned out to be very special”: Nikhil – Vinay

Tum Bin completes 20 years of its release today. The film, which marked the debut of Anubhav Sinha as a feature film director, launched a bunch of new faces and won many hearts owing to its simple and heart-warming storyline. One of the biggest USPs of the film were the lilting melodies composed by Nikhil – Vinay that continue to be extremely popular even today. On the eve of the film’s 20th anniversary, Nikhil Kamath and Vinay Tiwari recall some special memories associated with the creation of the iconic soundtrack of the film.

It’s been 20 years since ‘Tum Bin’ released. The songs are still very fresh in the minds of the listeners who often watch or listen to them on streaming platforms or on television. It’s the most popular film soundtrack that both of you have put together as a duo. Was the experience of working on this film any different from working on other projects?

Nikhil: No, the process of making the music for this film was almost the same as working on any other film. We always tried to put our best in every project that we worked on.  

Vinay: You can call it destiny or luck but sometimes a particular album reaches out to a larger number of people than some other album which we might have worked on. That doesn’t mean we put less efforts on the album which didn’t do as well.  Yes, the music of ‘Tum Bin’ turned out to be very special. It received a lot of love from the listeners and we are truly grateful about it. I guess it was God’s wish.

The title track, which was sung by K. S. Chithra, was very memorable and remains one of her most popular songs in Hindi. She had also sung the duet ‘Pyaar Humko Hone Laga’ with Abhijeet Bhattacharya. How was the experience of working with her?

Nikhil: I wanted the song to be on a higher scale. Somebody like Alka Yagnik could have sung it too but since the film had a new heroine, I wanted a voice that would sound fresh at least to Hindi film audiences. Sandali had a certain innocence and her character in the film had a lot of sadness in her heart. I wanted a voice that could help in bringing all these emotions to the fore. Chithra was the perfect voice for the song, in my opinion.

Vinay: We were fans of Chitra and wanted to work with her for a long time. Her voice doesn’t sound shrill even on the higher notes. We reached the studio in Chennai at 11 o’clock in the morning. She started learning the song and asked us to come after two hours. We paid a visit to the Saravana Bhavan and came back to the studio after two hours. By that time, she was fully ready to sing the song.

Vinay, not many know that the aalaap portion in the title track was sung by you.

Vinay: Yes, that’s right. Whenever we would compose a song, I would dub the dummy track in my voice. I have received some training in vocals and had joined the industry to become a singer, so that helped here. All the singers would listen to our compositions in my voice first.  

There is a film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Raveena Tandon called ‘Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke’. It was shot in the early ‘90s but released much later in 2004. Two songs from the film, which both of you had composed, were reused in a new avatar in ‘Tum Bin’. While the original tune of ‘Yaadein Teri Yaadein’ was used to make the title track of ‘Tum Bin’, ‘Tera Naam Lene Ki’ became ‘Tumhare Siva’. Why did you reuse tunes from an older film for ‘Tum Bin’?

Nikhil: We felt ‘Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke’ will never release and the songs will never come out. The producer shot a major portion of the film in the early ‘90s but then, got into some financial trouble and the film almost got shelved. Around 2003-04, he shot some new scenes with actors like Rashmi Desai and others and released the film hurriedly. These were good songs which we didn’t want to get wasted. Ironically, ‘Tum Bin’ which was shot almost 8 years after ‘Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke’ released before it.  

Vinay: ‘Yaadein Teri Yaadein’, which later became the title track of ‘Tum Bin’, was actually the first song I made Anubhav Sinha listen to in my voice. He liked it immediately and finalized it for the film. I used to sit with Yogesh ji often. Right from our first film ‘Pyar Bhara Dil’, he was a frequent collaborator. ‘Yaadein Teri Yaadein’ was made during one of our casual music sittings. He wrote some beautiful verses for the song. There is an interesting story behind ‘Koi Fariyaad’ too. It was composed for a serial directed by Aanand L Rai and produced by his brother Ravi Rai. Back then, it had verses like, “maine poochha zindagi tum se, tu bata tujh mein kaisi dilkashi hai….”. I always thought it to be a special tune and believed it would reach out to a wider audience if it was used in a film. Once Anubhav liked the tune, we got Faaiz Anwar saab to write fresh lyrics for it. That’s how ‘Koi Fariyaad’ was born.

‘Koi Fariyaad’ was a beautiful composition which was further made special by Jagjit Singh’s rendition.

Vinay: Yes! Jagjit Singh saab had a divine voice and we were blessed to have him sing this song for us. I recorded the dummy track in my voice and perhaps, it was used in the shoot as well as we hadn’t recorded him for the song by then. When Jagjit saab heard the song in my voice, he said affectionately in Punjabi, “yaar Vinay, bahut changa gaaya tu, dub karne di koi load nai hai” (“Dear Vinay, you have sung it so well. There is no need for another singer to dub it”) I smiled and with folded hands told him that the song would remain incomplete without his voice. It took us 3-4 hours to lock the final dub. I went to London to master the song. The final product was very good.

This was Anubhav Sinha’s first feature film as a director. Prior to this film, you had worked with on music videos as well. After this film, too, you collaborated with him on ‘Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai’. He is a filmmaker who is known to have a good ear for music. How was the experience of collaborating with him?

Nikhil: We interacted more with Bhushan Kumar during this film. As you rightly pointed out, Anubhav has a very good understanding of music. As a director, he would give us a lot of creative freedom. He would just explain the situation, tell us what he wanted and then, go out of the studio.

Vinay: Anubhav also has a very good understanding of poetry. We have had a great working experience with on many projects.