Mahesh Bhatt’s Arth is undoubtedly one of the most popular Bollywood movies of the 1980s. While Shabana Azmi’s acclaimed avatar of Mrs Pooja Malhotra still stands fresh in our memories, the Jagjit Singh-Kaifi Azmi collaboration worked wonders for the film’s celebrated soundtrack.
Over 30 years later, Arth’s much-anticipated Pakistani remake is finally in the works and according to musician Sahir Ali Bagga, who has been roped in for the film’s soundtrack, said “it’s being redone in a very musical way”. Talking to The Express Tribune, the music composer divulged details on his own contribution to the classic.
“What’s great for me is that my playback singing career will also get a push because I’m singing six of the songs myself,” said Bagga about the album. Celebrated singer and Bagga’s frequent collaborator Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is singing two of the tracks, and the two will also team up for a duet titled Murshad Jee. Another song, for actor Humaima Mallick’s character, will be sung by Sana Zulfiqar of Pakistan Idol, who came to the fore with her song Fair and Lovely ka Jalwa. “One song is left for which I’m looking for a new female vocalist after which it’ll be set for release,” shared Bagga about the album that is slated for a March release.
He feels a musical remake does not mean the songs will randomly appear in the film. “If the character is a rockstar, yes he’s singing, but only according to the situation with lyrics that fit the scenario. All songs are new and we haven’t used the age-old formula of forcing through a song from each genre. This film has both happy and sad songs … even an item song, but they’re all part of the storyline,” added Bagga. Explaining how the idea works, he said since Humaima was set to do an item song, the track Ho Gayi Teri Aadat fit the bill perfectly.
Since the storyline revolves around a rock musician who is trying to make it big, one assumes rock and roll will be a given for the album but Bagga thinks differently. “The songs are actually of my own genre and style. I haven’t sought inspiration from any Indian or Western styles.” While the songs are being pieced together bit by bit, the background score is also simultaneously under production.
Bagga has every reason to believe the film will do well. Describing the soundtrack as something filmgoers in Pakistan will want to hear, he said, “This film is going to bring cinema culture back to Lahore.”
Actor Shaan Shahid who is also helming the dream project, has worked closely with Bagga so that the music remains in sync with the lead character’s voice. “We sat together and worked on making sure that Shaan’s dialogues and singing both sound the same.” Bagga would ask Shaan to sing and attempt to imitate his voice, while Shaan would make recordings of Bagga talking. “When you watch the film you will notice that Shaan sounds different from what he normally does,” disclosed Bagga.
The remake will also bring with itself countless parallels and comparisons that will be drawn with the original Bhatt film. Bagga said Arth 2’s soundtrack will not be what Jagjit and his wife Chitra Singh conceived. “Our soundtrack is at a tangent from that of Arth’s because a guitarist of today is different from that of the 80s.” But does that alleviate the pressure? “That album was great for its time and I am sure ours will be good too.” The composer believes a film’s soundtrack is a major contributor to its success or failure. “The music tells you about the state of mind of the actors and where the story is going.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2016.