Anand Shrivastava and Milind Shrivastava, popularly known as Anand – Milind, are sons of legendary composer Chitragupt whose career spanned several decades right from the 40s till the 80s. Anand-Milind made their debut with the Pankaj Parashar directed film ‘Ab Ayega Mazaa’ in 1984 and made their way into the big league with the Aamir Khan – Juhi Chawla blockbuster ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’. They were two of the leading composers throughout the 90s and they have a large number of songs in their repertoire which are bound to be remembered for generations to come.
In this exclusive interview, they talk about being a part of MX Player’s music reality show ‘Times Of Music’, what they feel about their songs being recreated, their issues with the functioning of the industry, underrated albums, why they never thought about splitting up and more.
You recreated Sajid-Wajid’s ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ for the ‘Times Of Music’ episode. The song has a very Indian sound, the kind which one associates with your music as well. Giving a new shape to somebody else’s composition must have been a unique experience.
Milind: We were happy to be paired with Sajid-Wajid for the episode. They had done a great job with producing the original song. We just tried to reinterpret it in our own way.
Anand: We found the concept of the show really interesting. Getting two composers to collaborate and rearrange each other’s songs is a very exciting idea. We had heard the ‘Tere Mast Do Nain’ many times and really liked it. When it was decided that we would work on this song, we heard it again. It is not easy to reinterpret an already popular song. We decided to think of it as a newly composed tune which we have to work on. We changed the entire structure of the rhythm and the overall arrangements.
Milind: There are certain music pieces which we have used in our songs and whenever people listen to them, they realize it is an Anand – Milind song. You will get to hear those music pieces in this song as well. The arrangements are very Indian but the rhythm has a modern touch to it.
In the last several years, we have not got the opportunity to hear your compositions. Among your last releases, there were some good songs in films like ‘Jaana…Let’s Fall In Love Again’ and ‘Yeh Khula Aasmaan’. Can we expect to hear your music in films again?
Milind: We keep creating new music all the time. In fact, we have composed some of our best tunes during the lockdown. When you are sitting at home, the best thing to do is to keep yourself immersed in music. If we get a good project, we will definitely take it up. The problem is that there is too much interference today from so many people. The one good thing that has happened is that the digital market has really opened up.
Anand: Before the lockdown, we were supposed to record some songs for digital platforms. Once things open up, I hope we can record them and they are picturised too.
I remember reading an interview where you had lamented over the fact that these days, you have people with MBA degrees dictating how films and music should be made.
Anand: Yes, I strongly feel that these people should become a little flexible. They should understand that commerce is one thing and art is another thing.
Milind: They are mixing commerce with creativity. The music companies should focus on marketing and not interfere in the creativity process.
Anand: Exactly! Imagine how would a director feel if I go to the sets and give him advice on how to take a shot.
Indian instruments were extensively used in most of your compositions. Most composers today are influenced by Western music and that reflects in their music. What are your thoughts on this?
Milind: The most important thing is that when you start with a song, you have to think of the melody first. Now, I know many people who do exactly the opposite. They first decide on the rhythm and the groove and then, they work on the tune.
Anand: If you are imaginative enough, you can do wonders with electronics. Of course, the warmth of acoustic instruments cannot be replaced.
Milind: The sound has to be contemporary but there should be no compromise on quality. One downside of the current trend of creating music electronically is that most of the musicians have gone jobless. The soul goes missing if you make the music making process completely digital.
There have been some albums like ‘Yaadon Ke Mausam’ (1990) and ‘Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate’ (1998) which did not their due. Which are the other albums, composed by you, which you think should have done better?
Milind: I think you just named both the albums (laughs). Working on ‘Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate’ was a very memorable experience. We got to work with two legends, director Hrishikesh Mukherjee and lyricist Anand Bakshi, on the same film.
Anand: We did a non-film album with Udit Narayan called ‘Love Is Life’. That should have done better. We did a small film called ‘We Are Friends’ a couple of years back. It had some good songs including a duet by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal called ‘Kya Main Kahoon’.
We have seen so many composer duos, including brothers, splitting up. What has kept the two of you together as a team all these years?
Anand: Right from the time we started out, we had decided we will always create music together and work as a team. I am happy we have managed to do that.
Milind: There have been ups and downs in this journey and our association but the thought of splitting up never occurred. I think we managed to stay united because of our parents’ blessings.
Today, physical media is barely there. Everything has become digital. What are your thoughts on it?
Milind: I think the same has happened with photographs and so many other things. Now, you just files store on your computer and use them whenever you need them.
Anand: We value physical media but are happy with all the convenience digitalisation has brought in. Our father’s records are still safe with us. Technology has become so advanced that everything can be done with the click of a mouse. I guess it has made all of us a little lazy also.
So many of your songs like ‘Aye Mere Humsafar’ (‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’) and ‘Shehar Ki Ladki’ (‘Rakshak’) have been recreated in the recent past. What do you think about this trend?
Milind: I am totally against recreations. Perhaps, the only good thing that comes out of this practice is that people from the younger generation who might not have heard our older songs are getting to know about them.
Anand: A lot of times, they do not credit the original composers while recreating a song. That is absolutely wrong.