A Conversation with Girish Malik, Bickram Gosh & Sonu Nigam
Mike Ragogna: Gentlemen, hello. The film Jal has gotten a lot of attention, lately, among the Oscar crowd where it’s on a long list of current nominees. How did this project and all of your involvements begin?
Girish Malik: It started as an idea for a short film about migratory birds and the environmental factors affecting them which evolved in to a human story over the years. During my many visits to Kutch for research along with Rakesh with whom I have co-written this film, I was fascinated with the place and the people, the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes that keep moving and yet call this hostile desert home, pretty much like the flamingos. I felt so close and motivated to tell this story and to showcase this world. The music had a huge part to play in the narrative of the film. From the very beginning I was very clear about how I wanted the film to look, but I was still searching for the right sounds. During my research I came across, Bickram’s “Primal” track from his album Kingdom of Rhythm and that struck a chord with me. I had a meeting with him and we connected. Sonu I knew separately and we had earlier discussed other projects but I had never worked with him. During my conversations, I found out that they were collaborating on an album. From there the idea formed of both of them collaborating on JAL.
Bickram Ghosh: This is first film that Sonu Nigam and myself composed together for! Mr. Nigam is India’s singing superstar and he and I had been working together on an album, The Music Room. Mr. Girish Malik had been speaking separately with Mr. Nigam and me regarding his film only to discover we had already starting working as a duo! Mr. Malik had heard much of my previous work on audio albums and some of my tracks were already part of his soundtrack references.
When the three of us sat together we realized that there was a palpable chemistry and we were even able to create the song “Jal De” in record time which then was used to create a reference mood by Mr. Malik when he started shooting.
Sonu Nigam: It’s simply bliss to find ourselves in this elite list with some of the most celebrated composers in the world, and that too in our very first outing as a composer duo. It so happened that I took a year’s sabbatical from Mumbai and moved to LA in 2009. Something happened and my musical sensibilities changed as a result of the unlearning that transpired in isolation there. Upon my return, myself and Mr. Bickram Ghosh, one of the finest percussionists in the world, decided on a musical collaboration couple of years back. In a chance meeting with director and old friend Girish Malik, Girish proposed I do the music for Jal. I proposed Bickram Gosh to join hands. And thus began the journey called Jal.
MR: Briefly, what are each of your creative histories?
GM: I have been creatively inclined since childhood and…