Mumbai: Rising from humble origins in the Hindi heartland, little had a young Sahil Sultanpuri known that one day he will become one of the most sought after lyrics writers rubbing shoulders with stalwarts of his industry. When he started off, the only driving force was the faith in himself that he could do justice as a lyrics writer. He landed his first break in 1999 with T-Series for a project titled ‘Jeetenge Hum Hindustani’, then came projects like Haule Haule featuring Hariharan and Sadhna and the rest as they say has been history. With Commando 3’s Akhiyaan Milavanga his popularity is booming. He has also tried his hand at writing dialogues for ‘Mohabbat Zindabad’. He speaks to TLT’s Arijit Bose about his inspiration, his journey, about his roots and what lies next? EXCERPTS
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Sahil Sultanpuri. I was born on January 1, 1967 in village Poore Drigpal Singh, district Sultanpur Uttar Pradesh. In current times it is part of the Amethi district. I got my education under the watch of my grandfather who was a resident of Jagdishpur.
What made you pick this super exciting profession?
My inclination towards the surreal world of poetry and lyrics was purely based on my fascination and passion towards my chosen field. I always wanted to walk on the unbeaten track which people usually do not tread. Something rather special. Moreover I always wanted to test literary waters because of my love for music and lyrics. It will not be wrong to say it runs in the family because my own father was a Pakhavaj player. And he will always remain my first guru.
Who is your greatest inspiration in the music business?
As a pen wielder myself I will definitely name the likes of Majrooh Sultanpuri and the very celebrated Anand Bakshi. I also have high regard for my seniors who have inspired me all the way. Reading and listening to their compositions has definitely given me a new perspective and lots to learn. I do thank each one of them.
What was it like to work with Ismail Darbar who is known to have been a fantastic Music composer?
For me working with a legend like Ismail Darbar was no less than cracking an exam. He is a talented music composer and an extremely good human being. He has always given the lyricist an upper hand while working with them. There typically are no lines drawn when you are working with him.
Any western influences that you take very seriously in your craft?
If there is one influence that has always appealed to me from the West, it will definitely have to be Rock Music. I really want to work on some compositions which are related to that unique genre of Music.
What’s your next big plan?
In the coming days, I will be working on the lyrics of a film being made on the biopic of a cricket player.
What was it like to work for a big project like Commando 3?
Writing songs for a big commercial film like Commando 3 helmed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Sun Sign Pictures’ was nothing short of a big dream come true in my life. Given the fact that it features big stars like Vidyut Jamwal and Ada Sharma and hit music composer Mannan Shah. With Arijit Singh’s silky voice to compliment your work, you just don’t want anything more. It’s a win – win for me.
As an expert of your field who do you rate among the best playback acts today and why?
Without fail for me the best will have to be Arijit Singh in Indian Music Industry. It is not just me who is saying this, but a long list of his superhit songs and his fans reaffirm his spot. Among his key attributes that standout in the crowd are his professionalism, social nature, a silky voice and finally his humane streak make him numero uno in his professional zone.
Uttar Pradesh is known well for its Hindustani classical roots in Music, does that help majorly in work? How?
Uttar Pradesh and its deeply entrenched Hindustani classical roots are not hidden from anyone. There is a lot to be learnt from Hindustani classical music. Talking about Thumri, then this genre is becoming extinct nowadays. But as an important part of classical music, there have been times when it has come in handy to create masterpieces in Hindi films.
Any message for the fans and public?
I would like to salute and thank all my fans and the public. It is due to their love that we enjoy fame and success. I hope that we will continue to get the love of fans, the way Commando 3’s superhit song-aankhia milavanga has got. Another special message – follow the rules issued by the government in this Corona era. Be safe
Anything about Lucknow that has always appealed to you?
It is very difficult to sumup one’s sentiments about Lucknow in few lines. Its shayari, its Urdu zabaan, its mannerisms, its style, its charm, its Nawabi grandeur, the famed “Shame Awadh” and the melt in mouth Maghai Paan giloris will continue to attract us towards itself with its magnetic pull.