In conversation with Jeet Gannguli, the composer behind films like ‘Aashiqui 2,’ ‘CityLights’

Jeet Gannguli music composer

Music composer Jeet Gannguli is in demand this Eid. And why not? Two of his films Boss 2: Back to Rule and Chaamp, are releasing this Friday. Interestingly, both the films have been produced by two reigning superstars of the Bengali film industry. Jeet, who is also the producer, plays the lead role in Boss 2. This is a sequel to his 2013 superhit Boss. The music of Boss, too, was composed by Gannguli. On the other hand, Dev makes his debut as a producer in Bengali films with Chaamp. The film, which chronicles the life of a boxer, Shibaji, has Dev in the lead role. 

Call it a coincidence, but Gannguli was the music composer of both the actors’ debut Bengali film. Also, the music of most of the films of these superstars has been composed by Gannguli.

Today, Gannguli is not only composing music for Bengali films such as Herogiri, Besh Korechi Prem Korechi and Rangbazz, but is also ruling the Bollywood chartbusters with films like Aashiqui 2, Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Khamoshiyan, CityLights and Youngistaan to name a few.

I caught up with the ever-so-generous music composer just before his Eid releases. He speaks about coming up with Indian classical compositions on guitar in the near future, reality shows and more:

Two of the biggest Bengali films – Boss 2 and Chaamp – are releasing on Eid and you’re in charge of the music department. Were you under pressure?

Jeet Gannguli: Honestly speaking, whenever any film, jingle or even a serial for which I have composed the music releases, I become tense. This has been happening ever since my debut film. My parents told me that this “tension is good” for my work. As long as I am tensed about my work, it shows that I am serious about the things I do. Yes, I am relieved to a certain extent that the music of both the films has picked up well before the films have hit the theatres. Boss 2‘s title track and Arijit Singh’s soulful rendition of “Ureche Mon” are doing well on the charts.

In the case of Chaamp, “Jaya Tomari” has become an instant favourite. Also, Arijit’s recently-released song “Maule Re” is picking up. I can understand that these songs are being liked by the crowd because I have already started getting requests to sing these songs in live shows. At a stage show, you can gauge the reaction of the audience in a much better way. As part of the Bengali film industry, I would want both the films to do smashing business.

bengali film boss 2 jeet
Jeet and Subhashree in the Bengali film Boss 2. Photo credit: Grassroot Entertainment

The music of Chaamp is faring better on the charts than Boss 2…

Jeet Gannguli: I am glad that both the actors, Jeet and Dev, whom I have known personally, have given me the responsibility to compose music for their films. Both the films are not only different in narrative, texture, but also in the way the song sequences come into the film. In Boss 2, unlike the prequel, there’s no sad song. Here Surya (Jeet’s character in the film) is more like a messiah or Robin Hood.

However, in Chaamp, which talks about the journey of a boxer, there is a sequence which required a sad song. As a music director, I am required to follow the narrative of the film and compose songs according to certain situations. I’m glad that the music of both the films has turned out to be very different from each other. This is a challenge for any music director, who is working on two films at the same time. 

You started your career in Bengali films with Premi in 2004, which starred Jeet. You also composed the music of Dev’s first superhit film, I Love You in 2007. Today, they are not only superstars but have also turned producers. How are they as producers?

Jeet Gannguli: I have known Jeet for a long time now. He is a friend, with whom I can discuss not only music but also books and art of living. Dev is my younger brother and I have seen him work hard everyday. Today, I feel immensely proud that both of them have turned producers and are making such huge films. It is necessary to boost the Bengali film industry and they are exactly doing that. Jeet is disciplined, organized and extremely focused. Dev is passionate, emotional and can maintain very good relationship with everyone. This is a great quality of a businessman too. Dev used to act out the sequence to help me understand the situation in the film.

And what about their musical sense?

Jeet Gannguli: This is the common factor between them. They both have “awesome” musical sense and can also understand the pulse of the audience. It is always difficult to live up to the expectation of a hit film. Boss (2013) was a huge success and there is pressure on Jeet to deliver a good film again. He has worked really hard. If “Mon Majhi Re” in Boss is still remembered, I am sure “Ureche Mon” will also rule the charts in the years to come.

For Chaamp, Dev has gone out of his way to look the part. Did you see his body in the film? He has worked extremely hard and it shows on the screen. Here, I would like to mention that I have roped in singers from reality show Sa Ra Ga Ma Pa, where I was one of the judges, to sing for Chaamp. Supratik Bhattacharya, a reality show participant, has done the playback for the title track “Tu Hi Hai Chaamp” and Dev loved his voice. I am also making other reality show participants sing in Prosenjit Chatterjee’s next production Dekh Kemon Laage.

chaamp bengali movie cast
Cast and crew of Chaamp at the music launch in Kolkata. Photo credit: Dev Entertainment Ventures

On Eid, Salman Khan’s Tubelight is also up for release. The music of the film has been composed by Pritam. Both Pritam and you had started your musical career together with Hindi films. Later, both of you went solo.

Jeet Gannguli: It’s a good thing (smiles). Whatever happened, happened for good. Our films have clashed several times at the box office.

Recommended: A Knockout on Eid: Bengali Superstar Dev’s Chaamp vs Salman Khan’s Tubelight

You recently composed the music for Amruta Fadnavis’ (Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’ wife) first single Phir Se. Amitabh Bachchan, who stars in the video, launched the song. Must have been a big moment for you…

Jeet Gannguli: I couldn’t be happier. It was a memorable day for me as I got the opportunity to share the stage with Amitabh Bachchan. He is a legend.

What’s next?

Jeet Gannguli: I am composing for several Bollywood films and Bengali films. But personally, I want to devote more time to my guitar practice. My parents and my wife, Chandrani, are upset with me that I am not giving enough time to the guitar. I want to come up with Indian classical composition on guitar.

By Anindita Acharya

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