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On a different track
As the music composer for 'Aashiqui 2', Jeet Ganguly had a tough act to follow. But he was adamant that he wouldn't do a Nadeem-Shravan.
Jeet Ganguly was in school when Aashiqui was released in 1990. Like many others, he loved its romantic songs but wouldn't have dreamt that he would be setting its remake to music two decades down the line.
A small-time guitarist at galli functions, Ganguly came to Mumbai from Kolkata in 1996 to try his luck in films. The first one to help him was ghazal singer Anoop Jalota. "He introduced me to several producers and in no time I got work. It was small work, but paid for my bread and butter, " he said.
Ganguly toured extensively with Jalota and other ghazal singers like Ghulam Ali and Hariharan. He also teamed up with Pritam and worked on Tere Liye and Mere Yaar ki Shaadi in 1998. "But things didn't go smooth between us and we parted as friends, " says Jeet.
After a couple of years, Ganguly moved to Bengali films. "Music in Tollywood had lost its charm and nothing much was happening there. Venkatesh Films wanted me to infuse freshness into the music of Bengali films which had begun working with bigger budgets and different themes. They were being shot extensively in foreign locales like Switzerland and Austria, " he says.
Ganguly composed prolifically for Bengali films, managing to notch up 60 films in seven years and. He describes it as a "strike rate" of 90 per cent. Mukesh Bhatt heard the ringtone of one of his Bengali hits and handed him the score for Raaz 3 and Blood Money. The songs were noticed but did not take FM waves by storm the way Aashiqui 2 has.
Initially, when Bhatt offered Ganguly Aashiqui 2, the composer was reluctant to join the project. "I did not want to let him down. Aashiqui was a cult movie as far as music was concerned. The film catapulted Kumar Sanu, Nadeem-Shravan, Sameer to fame for the next 12 years. "
But Bhatt's brief was clear - he wanted fresh music, something that was not hungover from Aashiqui. Ganguly auditioned 200 singers;the Vishesh team finally zeroed in on Arijit Singh and Palak. The lyrics were written by Sanjay Masoom.
It became clear from the promos of Aashiqui 2 that the music was going to be a big hit. "I could finally relax. Like the first film, the second one too has done exceedingly well, " says Ganguly.
The composer says he is flooded with offers but is being selective about accepting fresh assignments. "There was a time when I was struggling to find a toehold in Bollywood though I was a big name in Tollywood. I am still indebted to Bengali films. That does not mean that I would not work for Marathi, Gujarati or Malayalam films, " he says. "I am trying to prioritise my projects, take my own time. I have waited for 17 years to get noticed, so I am not going to let it all go awry just like that. "
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