Monty Sharma just cannot contain his excitement. The soft spoken guy who is the son of music director Pyarelal's younger brother Anand Sharma has made his debut as a music director with none other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali's eagerly awaited 'Saawariya' starring Rishi Kapoor's son Ranbir Kapoor and Anil Kapoor's daughter Sonam which is all set for a Diwali release.
When I meet him at his office in the suburbs, Monty who is still dazed at all the encomiums that he had received from every one at the music release function of ‘Saawariya’ some days ago confesses that music was like an alarm for him, because music started as early as 7 am in his house as his grand father Pandit Ram Prasad Sharma used to teach music to at least 90% of the music directors in Bollywood.
Monty who was fascinated by violin right from the time when he was a tiny tot of five started learning how to play the violin from his grand father. "Considering that I am 36 now, you can say that I have been mastering the act of playing the violin for the past 26 years", Monty laughs. "Besides violin, my grandfather had also taught me how to play the key board which is very important when you set out to compose a song", he adds.
Though Monty is making his debut as a full fledged music director with 'Saawariya', he is not a novice in the field of music, having already assisted music directors like Sajid-Wajid, Ismail Darbar and Sanjeev-Darshan in various films of theirs. "If I am confident of myself as a music director today, the entire credit ought to go to Pyarelalji and my grand father Pt Ram Prasad Sharma", he quips.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is a connoisseur of music observed Monty at close quarters when he was playing the piano and arranging the title song for the film 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'. Though he did not tell him anything, Sanjay had kept him in his mind for the background score of his next film ‘Devdas’. "It was Ismail Darbar who told me that Sanjay wanted me to compose the background score for 'Devdas'", confesses Monty
Monty met Sanjay and composed the background music score for ‘Devdas’ and since then he has not looked back. After ‘Devdas’, Sanjay called Monty to ask him to compose for his film 'Bajirao Mastani'. Monty says that he had recorded two demo songs for 'Bajirao Mastani' with Nihira Joshi and Parthiv Gohil. "I believe in giving new talents a break. I do not believe in scoring instant music like some composers these days because it will be akin to insulting music. Instant music is like fast food that lasts only for a day or two", Monty quips.
However, unfortunately for Monty, 'Bajirao Mastani' did not take off and Sanjay who had launched his 'Black' in the meantime asked Monty to compose a song for the film besides doing the background score. Unfortunately the song that he had composed for ‘Black’ with Gayatri Iyer could not be picturised in the film but was appreciated by all those who had heard it. But his patience did pay off and Sanjay contacted Monty when it was time for him to launch his musical film 'Saawariya'.
Though Monty didn't have to struggle to get his break, he admits that there was a lot of hard work. "Work has always come to me on a platter. My first movie as a musician was 'Mr India'. I played the key board for the movie when I was just in my teens". Monty asserts that he prefers music that touches one's heart and he says he has been a fan of background score by John Williams.
Monty is thrilled that he is fortunate enough to have got his big break as a music director from no less a person than Sanjay Leela Bhansali with whom every one wants to work with, whether it is A.R. Rahman or for that matter Amitabh Bachchan. "What I like about Sanjay is that he does not mind going out of his way when it comes to work. I was scoring the background music for Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria's 'Rishtey' when he came to the recording studio to meet me. Sanjay never forces though he has an ear for music but gives references to make your music better."
Though Monty does not have any hesitation to confess that he has been greatly inspired by Lakshmikant -Pyarelal, the meaning of inspiration has changed in today's context and copying is also passed off as inspiration. "I do not like to copy because I believe in original work as a music director."
Monty says that he has had several sessions of hard work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for scoring the music for 'Saawariya' which has twelve songs, with singers like Kunal Ganjawala, who incidentally is Sanjay's cousin, Richa Sharma and Shreya Ghoshal who is Sanjay's discovery. "Since I concentrated only on 'Saawariya's music for even 24 hours at times in a day, I could not accept the offer to score the background score for Shah Rukh Khan's ‘Om Shanti Om", Monty says as a matter of fact.
Says Monty, "Even after the recording was done, there were times when Sanjay and I used to have a brainwave and add the flute or for that matter the chorus, here or there. The best thing about Sanjay is that since he is a perfectionist, he never used to bother about the cost incurred on mastering".
Monty concludes. "I believe in leaving my stamp as Monty, because like 'Black', 'Saawariya' also has original songs and a back ground score".
-Jyothi Venkatesh (SAMPURN)ALSO READ: Unlocking childhood memories: Baby Ranbir and Riddhima with Rishi Kapoor in a timeless snap