When he was growing up, Gourov Dasgupta barely listened to Hindi film music. Now, he is a ‘Bollywood composer’ and a successful one at that. Having worked on films like ‘Dus Kahaniyaan’, ‘Raaz The Mystery Continues’, ‘Kaabil’, ‘Mubarakan’, ‘Force 2’ and ‘Total Dhamaal’ in the past, Gourov has had a good run in Hindi film industry in this fourteen-year long career as a composer.
In this interview, the composer talks about his recently released single ‘Saiyyonee’, working on the soundtrack of ‘The Big Bull’ and ‘Chehre’, long-standing association with filmmaker Kookie Gulati, love for the guitar, underrated albums and more.
When you compose for a film, you work according to the brief given to you. When you put together a non-film album or a single like ‘Saiyyonee’, what is the process like?
I always work on the melody first and then, the lyrics get written. I believe great songs come to you from the heavens above. I was sitting with my guitar one day and came up with the hook just like that. Sameer ji was there. He told me, “beta yeh toh superhit gaana hai”. He wrote the mukhda in just fifteen minutes. Working with Sony Music is always a great experience. The best thing about them is that they love exactly what I love. We dubbed the song during the lockdown. Kookie Gulati, who directed the video, had a concept for the video. He discussed the idea with Sony Music and the video shaped up really well.
You have had a long-standing association with Kookie Gulati. You had worked with him earlier on projects like ‘Tere Do Naina’ (single) and films like ‘Total Dhamaal’ which he was the creative director on. You have also done two songs for his new film ‘The Big Bull’.
Yes, Kookie has been a dear friend. His company Soundtrek manages my work. We started working together with ‘Total Dhamaal’. Apart from being great with visuals, he has a great ear for music too. He has been one of the leading music video directors in the country. His inputs have always been very helpful.
Your song ‘Ishq Namazaa’ from ‘The Big Bull’ has been doing well on the charts. You are somebody who has been known for composing rock ballads. This song, interestingly, has a hint of Indian melody to it.
When I started out, I was known for my rock ballads and songs with an influence of heavy metal. Then, came a phase where I was getting to do only recreations. I wanted to focus on doing original music and I am glad I am getting those opportunities now. ‘Ishq Namazaa’ is a very special song. After listening to it, so many people have been calling me and telling me things like ‘we did not know that you could create a song like this’. An artist is as good as the opportunities he gets and I am glad I am getting to do different kind of songs now. Ankit (Tiwari) is one of my favourite voices and working with him is always a pleasure. He has done a great job on this song.
You started out as a solo composer with films like ‘Dus Kahaaniyan’ and ‘Raaz The Mystery Continues’. Then, came a phase where you were a part of the band Superbia along with Shaan and Roshin Balu. Together, you composed for films like ‘Baa Baaa Black Sheep’ and ‘Yaara’ and released an independent album as well. Then, Roshin and you worked together as a duo on films like ‘Force 2’ and ‘Mubarakan’. Now, you are back to composing music as a solo composer.
Yes, that’s right. We musicians are emotional people. Superbia was supposed to be a band that was to do live shows only. We started getting some offers and did a couple of films as a band. Shaan is like my brother and we continue to work on projects. If you ask me, I have always been a band boy. Putting my own name out there has never been that important. That’s why I have never been very active on social media. Roshin was my programmer and we did a couple of films together. Now, I am working as a solo composer just like how I started out.
You have been the brand ambassador of Ibanez Guitars in India. Guitar is an instrument that holds a very special place in your heart. Tell us about your association with this instrument.
When I was a nobody and had nothing, my guitar kept me alive. We used to go and perform at college festivals. I was the youngest guitarist who won a bunch of Best Guitarist Awards back in the day. I used to sustain myself with that prize money. So, the guitar will always be very special to me.
You have many hits to your credit as a composer but is there any song or album which, you think, did not get its due? ‘Summer Of 2007’ had a bunch of good songs.
Oh yes! That album was far ahead of its time. Even now people call up and say, “can you give me a song like Jaaniye?”. My first film ‘Dus Kahaaniyan’ too had some great songs that did not get their due. Sometimes, your destiny and luck need to favour you. This industry is not just about talent. Luck plays an important role in determining where you get in this industry. Sometimes, I feel if you have just 10-20 percent talent but 80-90 per cent luck on your side. It used to be the other way around a few years back but now things have changed drastically.
You have also worked on the album of ‘Chehre’. What can you tell us about it?
Working on the film was an absolutely wonderful experience. I always wanted to work with Emraan Hashmi. He was creatively involved with the music of ‘Chehre’ and that worked very well for the album. I have also done a song in ‘Hello Charlie’ called ‘Gypsy Guitar’.
Do you find the process of working on a non-film song like ‘Saiyonee’ more liberating?
Actually, ‘Saiyonee’ was supposed to be used in a major film. They tried to change the lyrics and make a lot of other modifications. One has to make a lot of compromises as you are dealing with people with big egos. For ‘Saiyonee’, I put my foot down and said that I wanted to do it my way. If it had been used in that film, it might not have sounded as good.