Sajid-Wajid may be formidable names in the world of Hindi film music today, with musical hits like Dabangg, Partner and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi to their credit, but they have had to struggle a great deal to make their mark and reach this enviable position. However, the industry and the media have ignored this talented duo even after they’ve made their mark time and again, beginning with a hit song in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, to ‘Dabangg’ today.
In a freewheeling interview with Komal Nahta, Sajid-Wajid pour their heart out and reveal how Salman Khan has been their pillar of strength.
How does it feel now that your music in ‘Dabangg’ is such a rage?
It feels very nice. God has been very kind to us.
How much of your success do you owe to Salman Khan who not only gave you the first chance but also kept repeating you as music directors for his starrers?
We owe him everything. Whatever we are today, it is because of him. In this industry, talent is not enough. You have got to also have people backing you. We firmly believe, God sends his representatives to help people since he can’t always do it Himself. Salmanbhai is that man of God for us; he is the medium between God and us. He stood like a rock behind us when we had nobody to back us.
Once you proved your credentials with your hit songs, the going must’ve become easier for you?
Sadly, it has not been so. You won’t believe it but after our hit score in ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’, we sat at home for one-and-a-half years, without any work. Not a single producer came to us to offer work.
“After ‘Partner’ became a hit, he hugged us tight and said, “Thank you for giving me a hit.” It should have been the other way around.”
You have been unfortunate or you had been unfortunate?
(Crestfallen) We have been unfortunate, we still are! Once, while speaking with Salmanbhai, we told him about how bad we felt at film parties because photographers never took our pictures. We used to hope and pray that even our pictures would someday be printed in newspapers and magazines, just as photographs of other music directors and singers were published. They exposed reels and reels on actresses or item girls who danced to the tunes of our songs, but they never focussed their lenses on us. Humko bhi lagta hai, kabhi hamaari bhi photo sab jagah chhape.
When you didn’t have work in spite of giving hit music, how frustrating was it? Would you two cry?
(At this point, while Wajid tried to keep a brave front, elder brother Sajid broke down and started to sob like a child!) By asking this question, you have made me emotional and taken me many years back when my father (renowned tabla player Ustad Sharafat Ali Khan) used to slap me whenever I cried (Cries even more). But I now realise why he used to beat me; he used to tell me then, “Don’t cry. If something is hurting you, uss gham ko pee jaao taaki uski wajah se tum aur aage badh sako. Gham ko bhulo mat, uska faayda lekar, try to overcome it. Frankly, Salman and his family are the only people who have stood by us and supported us by letting us score music in all their films.
“After our hit score in ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’, we sat at home for one-and-a-half years, without any work.”
What was Arbaaz Khan’s involvement in the music of ‘Dabangg’? And Salman’s?
Both were very involved. Salman has a good ear for music and we value his inputs. We still remember the day we met him for the first time after ‘Partner’ became a hit. He hugged us tight and said, “Thank you for giving me a hit.” It should have been the other way around. We should have been thanking him for giving us a hit. But that’s the way Salmanbhai is – forever making the other person/s feel important.
Did you know, when you heard the script, that the music in the action film could turn out to be such a huge hit?
Of course, we couldn’t have imagined that the songs would become such a rage but we knew we had to give it our best shot because Salmanbhai was very charged. My grandfather, Ustad Abdul Latif Khan, used to express his dissatisfaction over someone by loudly proclaiming, “Hudd, hudd.” The way he used to repeat this word, it used to sound so strong and solid that we decided to use it in the title track. That is why, the line goes, ‘Hudd Hudd Dabangg Dabangg’.
What after ‘Dabangg’?
Of course, Salmanbhai’s films! But we want to score the music for many other films too. And yes, we hope, hamari bhi photo akhbaaron mein aur magazines mein chhapegi…