Starting his career as a music composer Azaan Sami Khan made music score for Parey Hut Love and Parwaaz Hai Junoon. He has co-written the films 021 and Mahira Khan-starrer Superstar. After gathering a substantial experience, Azaan finally decided to come up with his first solo album, which comprises of nine songs. The full tracklist includes songs titled Maahiya, Dholna, Mein Tera, Jaadugari, Aashiqui, Ik Lamha, Meri Sajna Re feat. Ustaad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Zama, and Tu. As his debut solo album, Main Tera, releases along with a music video, the screenwriter and music composer opens up on coming from the family of accomplished parents, Pakistani actress Zeba Bakhtiar and singer-composer Adnan Sami, feeling home in India and Pakistan, and more. Excerpts from the interview:
What was the process to select the songs for the album Main Tera?
I wrote many songs, but finally decided to put these nine songs for the album. I used to think a lot about how the tracklist would be placed. I wanted the songs to come out in a sequence so eventually when the whole album releases, our audience also gets a story, a rhythm to the series of the song. In the album, there are few interesting collaborations featuring Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan saab.
Being the son of Adnan Sami and Zeba Bakhtiar, was it a dream for you to be a part of the entertainment industry?
Well, with age and time my dream has changed. Like many other boys from this part of the world, till the age of 12, I wanted to be a cricketer and I was mad about cricket. Then I thought maybe I should study law. Of course, I was learning music, I used to roam around with my mother on film sets. So, I was exposed to this world as a child. But, I think it was not just exposure, I had a natural talent and inclination towards music and storytelling. Though neither of my parents nudged me to follow their path, they only said that ‘there will be a certain high standard of quality of work expected of you. So, either you learn and deliver the best, or do not do it’. I was told anything I do, I have to be the best. I kept that in mind while starting my journey.
Your musical style is very similar to that of your dad’s. What is your take on that?
I think genetic, to an extent! As a student of music, I have studied his work closely. Apart from being his son, I am one of his fans! I think it is a huge honour also that at the beginning of my journey, even remotely to be compared with someone like Adnan Sami, we all know that as a musician, he is a legend.
What kind of reaction do you look forward to from your audience?
I think the idea is to reach out to every group and section of the audience because whether it is my father or me, we make music for the audience. Nothing is more exciting for us to see a stadium or room full of audience loving our songs and singing along. When I was a kid, baba’s song Lift Kara de was my favourite, we kids would dance on that...then there are so many romantic songs he made. I want to make music for my audience, which they find relatable.
You stay with your mother in Pakistan. What is your Mumbai connect?
I have friends there and of course, my father lives there [Mumbai]. I think I am lucky to have people, family friends on both side... I love spending time with my father as much as I love my mother. I feel at home in both the countries and at times feel torn between the two...my father decided to live in India and that is his choice. My love is equal for both my parents and that will remain the same.
Do you think artistes need to take a stand on social media on various socio-political issues?
I am an introvert. I believe that I should not be talking about matters that I do not have in-depth knowledge about. I do not want to form opinions based on half-baked information, because that could mislead and create confusion among others. I did not study political science like I did not study astrophysics. Therefore, I comment on neither. I am a musician and I do everything through music.
Are you planning a career in Bollywood?
Well, as an artiste I would love to work and collaborate everywhere I get an opportunity. I have friends in both countries as I said, but I started getting opportunities here in Pakistan at a very young age, also because I am living with my mother here in Pakistan. When the first opportunity came on my way, I grabbed it. My career is not strategised that way that I will work in Bollywood or in Pakistan. But yes, I have been getting work here (in Pakistan), so I am working here.
Who are your favourite music directors and singers from the Hindi film industry?
When it comes to the old Bollywood classics, I love Kishore Kumar, RD Burman, Shailendra Singh, Laxmikant-Pyarelal among others. I can listen to all the songs from Raj Kapoor saab's film in a loop. I absolutely love those songs and musically they are so relevant... those sounds, compositions are evergreen. At times, I think, will people also listen to our music after 50 years, the way we listen to theirs? Their work holds a different kind of archival value. From the retro of our generation, it's A R Rahman...we love him! I also follow the work of Pritam sir, Salim-Sulaiman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Arijit Singh is all-time favourite vocalist. I am fortunate that I have got a chance to work with Sunidhi Chauhan and Harshdeep Kaur. I remember, when I received the first copy of that CD, in which Sunidhiji sang a song of my composition; I stopped the car somewhere and just heard the final cut...oh God! I was so excited!