Sachin Sanghvi and Jigar Saraiya, likeable music composer duo with roots in Bollywood and Gujarati films are here in Udaipur to perform at a private event. UdaipurTimes had an opportunity to interact with the talented duo and open upfront questions took us into the realm of a musician and life stories, that are not always available on Wikipedia.
Both Commerce students and opting out of vanilla careers to get together and work on their common passion. Read through to get an insight into the lives of the music duo who have been making waves for quite some time now…
In a country where every other kid is made to aspire being a engineer, doctor or CA, how did you end up becoming musicians?
Sachin: My father is a Chartered Accountant so it was a given that I would pursue a degree in Chartered Accountancy and join my father’s firm. But whilst studying, I was also participating in the fine arts and a lot of assignments in that field started coming my way. The time I didn’t clear the final CA exams, my father strongly opined that I should consider music as a full time occupation. My family was very supportive and gave me the push I needed since as teenagers you’re vision isn’t always streamlined. Twenty years ago, it meant a lot of courage for my parents to have embraced that vision. When there were no reality contests to validate music as a thriving profession and when peers were of the opinion that music was a waste of a child’s future, my parents went against all odds and let me identify and pursue my passion.
Jigar: I come from a conventional Gujarati background where either you get into the family business or pursue a white collared profession like medicine, law or banking. It took some time for my parents to come to terms with my passion. When we were music arrangers our relatives thought we were part of some orchestra, they didn’t know how specialized a job is music. I had cleared my CAT to do my MBA. But the day I gave my exam, I had decided to get into this industry. I didn’t even check my results. On the day of my exam there was this 41-year-old guy giving the same exam while I was 22. I shuddered at the thought of struggling till I was in my 40’s. I am happy about having learnt Commerce as it taught us to be shrewd musicians. Whatever money we made out of theatre, we invested into building our studio and churning out singles and getting a band in place. We had an idea about how to sustain, but my knowledge of commerce has done good to us.
How did the two of you start working together? How did you get your first break in Bollywood?
Sachin: It’s such an irony but we met because we were trying to ease out each other’s workloads and now we are a Jodi for life. I used to sing for Navratras before dabbling in Theatre and television and then films while Jigar was an assistant music director with Rajesh Roshan.
Jigar: Sachin and I worked on some projects together to share work and I think we both realized at some point of time that we complemented one another. His strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa . There was no discussion as such to form a duo . Work fetched us more work and we got working together . We never believed in any contracts, we are like blood brothers!
Sachin: We garnered a lot of mileage and fame from Remo D’Souza’s film F.A.L.T.U. We approached each song with a different idea and the audience appreciated our efforts and it gave us a lot of encouragement and that is what we needed at that time. It’s a good feeling that till date the younger breed can dance to our music. But on the flipside our phones just kept ringing after that day and we don’t have a personal life to be honest.
Most music composers seem to work in pairs – Shankar-Jaikishan, Vishal-Shekhar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Is working in pair difficult or does it give any special advantage versus solo composers?
Jigar: We have differences of opinions but then we realise that our bond is too strong and goes beyond the music. It’s always more cohesive to be working as a pair because you can share the workload and come up with better ideas. One can watch another’s back always. Our relationship is like our parents’ marriage, it is understood that we have to be together all our life. There is no ambition in this combination. It’s like we have sworn till death do us apart. We eventually find a mid way incase of a difference of opinion.
Sachin: There is no set formula. Sometimes Jigar has an idea and I build upon it, and vice versa. We can both arrange, compose and create. Nothing is pre-planned, it is a creative process and we go with the flow. We look for the “take back home” element in a song first like what the song wants to convey or a hookline that can become the identity of the song. It all revolves around that one element of building up or building down from that point. Our lives revolve around our studio space which we refer to as ” The Hub” where we have a single laptop that we both work upon individually. We talk about the progress of a project only during meetings. We always have arguments and we have it to the fullest. But it’s after all for the song, and I think creative arguments only help us making songs that we are proud of and help us evolve as people. We are family now , so with or without music Sachin will always be followed by Jigar.
Why are you called Sachin-Jigar and not Jigar-Sachin?
Jigar: This partnership is a very big part of our lives and it doesn’t matter whose name precedes the other. It sounds better and Sachin is the older one. We are in each other’s company almost every day, not necessarily in person but in spirit and also in music obviously. Our families are as close to each other as much as the duo Sachin and Jigar are.
Sachin: I don’t know how to articulate this in words but I will say that we understand each other’s temperaments very well. I can look at Jigar’s face and know what he is thinking and feeling very accurately. And I can say the same about Jigar.
Has the musical road been all rosy so far or have there been any roadblocks? If yes, can you take us through the toughest one?
Jigar: Yes its been quite a roller coaster ride. Rajesh Roshan gave us the platform to take our sound to the cinematic 70mm level. On the way we also learnt the lessons of how to develop a melody that can sustain itself through generations. But our stint with Pritam was the real twist in the tale. He identified our individual skills and divided them taught us how to strike the right balance and a lot about sound designing, how to envision a director’s vision, how to bring to life reel characters and how to produce the big fat commercial sound of Bollywood. Pritam helped us meet the who’s who of the music community. We developed a certain goodwill and met angels like Neeraj Shridhar along the way. He helped us at every step once we adopted the independent route. But yes we always took risks and never backed down from any struggle because we believed that in every struggle lies a veiled opportunity. Pritam allowed us to be non-exclusive and we started working for A R Rahman, Anu Malik . Just when we were the highest paid in music arrangement, Pritam pushed us to the next level — composing. For us it was like starting from scratch again. Whenever we took a massive risk, we ensured that we could sustain for six months financially without any external help. It wasn’t easy to say the least. When we decided to compose, we were discouraged by two very big directors who we wouldn’t wish to name out of respect. They heard our songs and said that it would never work out for us and that we should either go back to arrangement, or better still go back to our respective father’s business. But Pritam instilled hope in us saying — ‘Times are changing, music is evolving, consumers are experimenting and so will the industry’. He had realised that we had a distinct sound and had a good hold on quality.
Sachin: Our stint as arrangers will stay with us all our life because we were blessed to be able to assist these massively talented icons at the peak of their careers, to witness how they conducted themselves was an eye opener. Each one approaches the process differently: if one goes for the melody first, another goes for the production. At 11, I was prepping to become the next Kumar Sanu. I’d already made my playback debut in the Aamir Khan-Juhi Chawla starrer Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke. Like most Indian children, I too trained in Hindustani classical vocals. And then Roja happened and changed everything. Rahman was the reason I learnt to play the keyboard and realized that we could program music on computers
Do you think musicians thrive purely on talent or is there something that we, as laymen don’t see?
Jigar: It’s a combination of passion, hard work and luck, talent is just one part of the rosy picture. Unlike the storylines great books and novels feed us, the reality is that musicians don’t get good with music because they were predisposed for it. They get better because they spend time practicing. The people who excel in music, spend nights and days in a disciplined fashion, glued to honing their art. All those people that always seem to be naturally gifted only appear better because they’ve invested their time. Talent can offer a good head start and possibly even keep a musician on top for a while, but eventually, someone else will come along who has put in the work. To become a confident musician, you don’t have to invest hours, you simply need passion to improve. Talent doesn’t make a musician – practice does. If you want to master your craft, forget talent and dedicate yourself to putting in the time.
Sachin: Today a lot of musicians rely on social media for an extensive outreach. Infact you’d be surprised as to how much talent is out there in the smaller cities but since they have no resources they can never pursue their talent.
How do you find Udaipur? You are on your second visit in less than a month
Jigar– We find Udaipur very inspiring for our music making process to be honest. Infact we compose one new track every time we are in Rajasthan because the whole atmosphere is immersed with so much music, culture and art.
Sachin: I couldn’t agree more. The rich cultural lineage and folklore is to die-for. We particularly love the food and architecture in Rajasthan since it’s so unique here