Music is the soul of the film: N Chandra

By Ashok Kumar

N.Chandra

Sydney 20 May, 2017 South Asian Arts and Literature festival (SAFAL) festival brought together luminaries from as many as eight South Asian Nations. Among them was ace Bollywood Director N Chandra who has three mega hits to his credit, including Tezab (Acid) starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixt.  I had been given 10 minutes to interview N Chandra while viewing an Arts exhibition. Mr. Chandra had no airs of his success and readily agreed to the chat.

After my introduction and made him comfortable in his chair, I asked him about his journey to Australia:

NC: Well, I came only yesterday and yet to see any thing yet. This is a novel festival and should happen more often.

The IST: Since your work is related to films let’s talk about your films

NC: My films? I came to this industry when I was 16 and I am in the industry for the last 46 years and gone through various stages of film making from film editing to film direction, production and script writing. I started with being an assistant to Gulzar Saab before launching my first film Ankush and then Pratighat starring Sujata Mehta and Arvind Kumar. Pratighat was based on a Telegu hit Pratighatana starring Vijaya Shanti  and T Krishna. To complete a hat-trick of hits, he followed it by Tezab that he scripted and became a mega hit.

The IST: So, how did Tezab happen?

NC:  I have worked with Anil Kapoor before when I finished script for Tezab, I narrated the story to him, he liked it and we made Tezab.

Before we could proceed any further, Mr. Chandra realised that in couple of hours there will be a question-hour session after the film will run in the theatre next door and he would be duplicating the effort here. So, we agreed to meet in few hours.

After the film was over and question hour session began.  I re-phrased my question.

The IST: How much importance do you give to lyrics and music in your films?

NC:  I give equal importance to songs as much as the script. If the music is not lilting and touches my heart, I would not go for it.   Music is the soul of the film and should be good. To another question on famous hit “Ek do teen… “he replied, I felt the lyrics to be enchanting and it will be popular. And it became a mega hit.

The IST: To bring realty to the scene Raj Kapoor would rehearse the scene like slapping the actor, at least sometimes 15 times how do you go about it.

NC:  It’s a matter of perception. Raj Kapoor wanted a particular reaction and till he was satisfied he would continue to rehearse. I am on sets all the time whether it is a fight scene or a romantic. I have worked with various directors and perceive a scene differently and if I feel the shot is alright I would not go for a re-take. Sometimes the actors give a perfect shot and I am happy with it. It again comes down to perception.

In the mean time, Anil Chaudhary, Assistant Director of N Chandra in several films joined us to elaborate on the change in film making style. He said there was time when we used to do rehearsals after rehearsals but now with the advent of digital times film making has become all the more easier. He gave an example of clapper boys even they used to very particular about timings. A small delay would result in a retake. Giving another example, he said while shooting a scene there should be no extra sound in the recording but now digital equipment will remove the extra sound.

His recently released comedy film “Kagaz ke Fool” was a tremendous success. Earlier the lyricist would write lyrics and the music director would compose music but now we have a bank of music. That’s why we don’t get memorable songs. I Don’t know where we are heading.

Though I had more questions but to accommodate others in the audience I had to cut short as organisers had to vacate the venue and audience questions didn’t form the part of the interview.

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Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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