Guided by filmmaker Mohit Suri, Akull Tandon, a Delhi boy has been making waves with its latest song Laal Bindi. He speaks with SHALINI SAKSENA about his mentoring days
How did your Bollywood journey begin?
I am from Delhi and have recently released my first single — Laal Bindi — which I have not only sung but also feature in the music video. This is in collaboration with filmmaker Mohit Suri and EMI Records. I moved to Mumbai two-and-a-half years back as a composer-singer. it was only last year that I started meeting people from the industry since I had some songs to play for them and see if some would fit into the films they were making. During this time I met Mohit Suri to pitch my songs for his next films. He loved two of my songs and a couple that were more for album rather film songs. One of the songs was Laal Bindi.
Did you always want to make music your career?
Actually, I was a passionate listener since I was nine. So the whole journey into music began when I was not even a teenager. But the idea to create music, the understanding of composition and instrumentation that came when I finished my schooling. That was when I got tempted by DJs and how to mix songs.
There is a lot happening in independent music, yet singers want to get into Bollywood. Why?
Actually I want to get into Bollywood. There was a time when independent music was doing well — 1990s — with the likes of Daler Mehndi, Alisha Chinai and Lucky Ali. There videos and songs were popular. Then there was a complete flavour too with the likes of Udit Narayan. Both had an audience. Over time, Bollywood music directors started liking what was happening in the non-film space and started adapting them for films. Everyone went into Bollywood and the audience started consuming music from Bollywood and the shift happened. Also, Bollywood has a wider reach — internationally too. There is star-power. For an artist like me, if I have created a song, the power when it goes into a film multiplies manifold as compared to a single. The good thing is that the audience is open to non-film music as well today.
What kind of guidance did you get from Mohit Suri?
Once I had played the song for him, he stuck with it. I had not expected him to like this song one since he known to go for songs with a much deeper love element into them; his films don’t have fast numbers. His films have melodious songs. What I got from him for my song was a single suggestion just before the release of the final audio. Apart from that, he never interfered and didn’t make any changes. His mentoring was to give me a free hand.
Given the fact that you were given so much freedom how did this help you as an artist?
I feel so blessed that I got this opportunity. People say: ‘Think outside the box’. But with so many options, it confuses me. But when one is given pointers, it makes it easy for me to work within those guidelines.
A love song is a love song. How will one be different from the other?
If you hear songs from the 50s-60s, you would have heard songs of falling in love, being sad in love and celebrating love. This kind of music is inherent to us. Innovation is about trying to do different things given similar guidelines and yet ensure that it appears to be fresh.
Why does an independent artist need an introduction?
In the last few years, the identity of the artist has come out. To begin with, people only heard them and not their face. Independent artists are now standing with A-listers of the industry. The artists need a support since the non-film industry doesn’t have a star-power today.