Ustad Zakir Hussain:’For Real’ is the third film that I have done music for (Interview)

Ustad Zakir Hussain
Ustad Zakir Hussain

Mumbai, Aug 9 (Calcutta Tube) Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, who has returned to music composition after eight years with the crossover movie ‘For Real‘, says he doesn’t work on many films because it becomes a task. He is also impressed with the new crop of talent on the Indian music scene.

‘ ‘For Real’ is the third film that I have done music for. I am not in India most of the time; so working on Indian films becomes a task,’ Hussain told IANS in an e-mail interview.

‘Also, I don’t go looking for music direction assignments. If something great comes up and I find it appealing, I do it,’ he added.

In the past, the Grammy winner, who tours around the world and usually stays in the US, has composed soul-stirring music for Sai Paranjape’s ‘Saaz’ in 1998 and Aparna Sen’s ‘Mr. And Mrs. Iyer’ in 2002.

When asked what interested him in ‘For Real’, Hussain said: ‘Sona Jain, who is director of the film, is the one who made me do music for ‘For Real’.’

‘When she came to me and spoke about the film, I liked the concept. I could see my daughter in Sona. She spoke to me with great confidence,’ he said.

‘As soon as I got accustomed to the script and realised what kind of music the script and characters need, I started composing it,’ he added.

Directed, written and produced by Jain, ‘For Real’ is the story of a six-year-old girl who witnesses a moment of discord within her family.

The ensuing depression evident in her parents causes a reaction in the child’s mind, making her withdraw into a fantasy world where she believes her mother has been sent to the Orion Galaxy and the one at home is an alien.

The film is slated to release in India Sep 17. It stars Sarita Choudhury, a British actress of Indian descent.

The soundtrack of the film comprises five tracks and tabla is not the only instrument that is predominant in the compositions.

‘The songs in the film are very situational and each song is written keeping in mind the scene and the characters,’ the 59-year-old musician revealed.

‘The film demanded different types of instruments; so no one instrument is predominant. The music has to be in sync with the scene,’ he added.

So did he get stuck while composing the music of the film or face any difficulty?

‘There is a feeling of achievement when one finishes a piece of music, but when I listen to the same a day later I realise it can get better. So I keep innovating and making changes to get better. I wouldn’t call it difficulty though,’ Hussain said.

The internationally-known musician also feels the music scene in India is really evolving.

‘The music scene in India is evolving. The amount of talent that I see in the current musicians is phenomenal. The raw talent our country has will definitely make us proud and create waves around the world,’ he said.

Apart from this film, Hussain has his hands full with other projects.

‘I am travelling a lot and have a couple of international projects lined up. You’ll get to hear about them as and when they happen,’ said the maestro, who will be performing at the Edinburgh International Festival Aug 26-29.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at

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