Shashwat Sachdev might be a considerably new name in the Indian music industry, but in just a few years, he has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with. I absolutely loved the music he created for URI: The Surgical Strike. It sent shivers down my spine and he received the deserved laurels for that, including a National Award. He repeated that feeling for me when I heard the music of the recently release actioner Attack, featuring John Abraham, Rakul Preet Singh and Jacqueline Fernandez in the lead. As I got into a conversation with the composer, he gave me an insight into his work and his process. Here are the excerpts:
People have lauded the background score of Attack ever since the teaser hit, and now that the film has released, the love is just growing. How has the response been that you have received?
"The response has been really tremendous for me. It has been great because people have appreciated my work and reached out to me directly on my social media, and everyone has been really encouraging. When the film's music was released, everyone really loved it. Thus, I have been really overwhelmed."
Your music in Uri was lauded everywhere, bagging even a National Award. That was an action film and Attack is as well. Did it ever get overwhelming thinking about the expectations that people have from you?
"For me, it is not about what people expect out of me but what I expect out of myself and how can I convince myself that this is the best I could do for that script, director and project as a piece of art. It is about improving my craftsmanship from what it is and take it to another level. So, I have really been satisfied with what we have created for Attack and even people have been loving it."
How has bagging a National Award changed you, your process of work or how people perceive your craft?
"For me, it is very important to not let gratification distract me from what I really want to do. So whether it is an award or what people or the filmmakers say about my work, I don't want to be distracted. I only want to attempt my work in a way that I create something very beautiful and artistic. Something that elevates the project in its current form, taking it to the next level. I had been doing it before I got all the awards, I still do that and I will continue to do it and be a person who is only responsible to the script and his director and is a tool for that director to improve on what he brings to me."
Attack's action has a very uber cool background music. Where did the inspiration came from and what was the process like for you composing the music here?
"A lot of inspiration in what I do comes from what the director gives me and the courage that my team gives me. Early on in the film, when I started speaking to Lakshya (Raj Anand, Director) as I was reading the script, there were a lot of things that were either written or were between the lines that I could understand he wanted to convey with an edgy sound to it. He wanted the sound to be easier to connect for the younger audience. And that was what inspired and motivated me to create what I did for Attack."
Bringing emotion through music into an action film and making it feel justified in the narrative is quite a challenging task. How do you tread on that path?
"A good action film will only work when it has the support of great emotions. Whether it is revenge, love, family or bringing about a change, it's the emotion that drives any good action sequences. A great action film will work when you have gratification of an emotional fulfilment or it's not being gratified due to emotional unfulfillment that drives you to do that action. Emotion is as important a part of an action film as the stunts. I think that was an important part of the film and it came out very naturally."
In this era of remakes, with films like Uri and Attack, you have given some amazing original music. Do makers ever approach you for recreations and how do you respond to them?
"Recreation is a beautiful form of flattery in terms of how people approach it. This concept is to each his own. There are some good friends of mine who went on that path. For me, a film like Attack or URI, they had recreations of folk melody and folk has always been an integral part of my music and I want to keep it like that for inspiration and making my music more grounded."
If you consider the present musical scenario in the Hindi film industry, what is that one thing that you thing makes it amazing and what is that one thing that we need to work upon and improve or maybe get away with?
"I think that we are a reflection of our audience and society. We are where we are because of our past choices and if we have to change anything out of it, it would also show my lack of confidence in who we are. People have really loved me for who I am. My audience give me that encouragement and space to be who I am and I am really thankful for that, and that is something I would never want to change. I honestly enjoy that as I know that my audience expects only great art from me and I hope that God gives me the courage to live up to that."
You have also tried your hand in Indie music. Does that freedom you get as an indie artist helps you improve your creativity?
"Last year was a very beautiful time for my independent work. Some of the music that I did independently was very well received and reached to all the top charts and playlists. People gave me a lot of love for it. The independent music doesn't come with the baggage of expectation that a popular romantic song or dance song will. It has its own set of rules but when I do that, there is a certain commitment I have towards my audience and what they want to listen to and I hope they always love me and my work like they did last year. Independent music is the other side of the same coin and it gives a certain freedom and confidence to me to express what I want to, something that I might not be able to do in a film song."
Shashwat has created some beautiful music over the years and as I talked to him about what goes in his mind, it just increased my respect for him and his craft, Can't wait for more masterpieces to come from him.