I'm the only film director to turn singer: Bharadwaj

Aug 4, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Aug 4 (IANS) It has been a long journey for Vishal Bharadwaj - from a struggling music composer to hugely successful filmmaker.

And for his recently released film "Omkara" Bharadwaj has donned another new role. He has sung the love ballad "O saathi re" with Shreya Ghosal filmed on Ajay Devgan and Kareena Kapoor.

Bharadwaj smiled shyly at the melodious reminder.

"I thought I'd use my voice just as a raw track. But then everyone thought I had done fine. So, we have retained my voice. Don't Shreya and I seem like chalk and cheese?"

The love ballad, filmed beautifully on Ajay and Kareena, is part of an amazing soundtrack for "Omkara", which is topping music charts.

"Though 'Omkara' is a full-on virile drama I have found just the right spaces for the songs. No matter how raw and real, my films must have songs. Sometimes I joke that I became a film director so I could hire myself to compose music. I remain a music composer at heart," Bharadwaj told IANS.

"Omkara" stars half the film industry Ajay, Kareena, Saif Ali Khan, Viveik Oberoi, Bipasha Basu (who has two of the sauciest item songs to perform) and Konkona Sen-Sharma. And all actors look radically different from whatever they have done so far.

"I have worked really hard on the soundtrack. You know I had to record six songs in two months. I bought myself a cell phone. While hunting locations I recorded the songs on the phone. I recorded all the songs while travelling, in dhabas (motels) sipping tea and lassi (a drink made from curd), with a hundred things on my mind," said Bharadwaj. He enjoyed the experience and made a very conscious effort to create mass-friendly songs.

"When I was writing the script of 'Omkara', I made sure that all the songs were written into the script. I wanted to bounce back as a music director. I wanted to put two item numbers. But I wanted to place them so intelligently that they wouldn't look like items within the narration.

"The story continues during Bipasha's item songs. Interestingly, all the songs except Bipasha's are in the background. From the language of the characters which is in a hardcore Uttar Pradesh dialect, the songs are done in-sync with the robust theme as well. I've never worked so hard on sound in my life."

Incidentally, actors like Kareena, Saif and Bipasha, who are attuned to the metro life style, have spoken the earthy dialect of Uttar Pradesh Hindi incredibly well in "Omkara" and the film, a screen adaptation of Shakespeare's "Othello", is doing pretty well at the box office.

"I worked very hard on their diction. The soundtrack is in fact done with great care. Gulzar has written lyrics like never before including two item songs which are saucy and playful but never raunchy," said Bharadwaj, who turned music director a decade ago with Gulzar's "Maachis".

"In fact, I'm the only music director to direct a film since Salil Chowdhury. And now I'm the only film director to turn singer for his own film."

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