‘Finding the authenticity was a huge task’

Debarati Palit Singh
Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Music composer Sanchit Balhara, who worked on the background score of Padmaavat, talks about his challenges, research and approach towards projects

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial film Padmavaat is still getting good response at the box-office. The film has earned around Rs 269 crores and trade pandits expect it to enter the 300 crore club soon. Along with the powerful performances by Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone and visual brilliance, the film's music and background score is also being highly appreciated.

Sanchit Balhara, composer of the background score, is happy with this response.“Not many know that the score for the jauhar scene was composed much before the film was shot. Usually we compose the background score only once the film is shot and edited. In fact Sanjay sir called me for a brief narration and then asked me to make a composition for the jauhar scene. Once that happened, everything else fell into place,” says Balhara.  

He shares that a lot of research has gone into composing the background score of the film. “A historical film represents the culture of a particular region in that period, and my focus was to bring out the authenticity of the culture that this film was representing. We had to bring out the essence of two cultures in the film — that of the Khilji dynasty and the Rajput dynasty. The Khiljis travelled through Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan, so I had to find a flavour which would represent the whole stretch of their travel. I have used musical instruments from those regions while composing the score,” he says. 

Just like the responsibility was on SLB to make sure that the truth is not distorted, Balhara too had to be certain that the score would be loved by the contemporary audience while depicting the essence of that era. “Obviously, Sanjay sir has great knowledge about music and it's a blessing that I got to work with him. Regardless of what I wanted to make, I had to follow what my director wanted me to represent in the film,” he says, adding, “The audience reaction is secondary, finding the authenticity was a huge task.”  

This not the first time Balhara has worked with SLB. He also composed the score for Bajirao Mastani, and while making the score for Padmaavat, he was conscious about making the two epics sound very different from each other. “Bajirao Mastani was also a historical film set in the 17th century there was no technology. So the sound from 11th century to 17th century was similar but I had make them sound different,” he says, adding, “I always start on a blank page so the basic steps for making the score are the same. In case of  Padmaavat and Bajirao Mastani, I had to find the musical instruments used in that era. But the composition had to reflect the what was going on in the minds of the characters in the film.”

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