Phillauri releases today. While all eyes are set on Anushka Sharma and Diljit Dosanjh, there is one person who has worked her way backstage to add a Punjabi touch to the music album. Composing two Punjabi songs for Phillauri's music album, Jasleen Royal is one of the very few prominent female music composers Bollywood has today. Jasleen's work speaks for her. She has been a part of good projects including Dear Zindagi, Khoobsurat, Shivaay and Badlapur to name a few.
The young musician and singer was also a part of Dharma Production's Baar Baar Dekho, composing the wedding song Nachde Ne Saare and now Din Shagna Da for Phillauri. Juggling between recordings and her busy schedule, Jasleen took time out for International Business Times India to share her Bollywood journey.
Excerpts from the interview are as below:
International Business Times India: From Ludhiana to Mumbai, could you please tell us about your journey in the music industry?
Jasleen: I was born and brought up in Ludhiana. After completing my schooling there, I moved to New Delhi where I studied in Hindu College. While I was studying, India's Got Talent sprung up and since it was new to India back then, I did not have much idea about the event. Yet, I decided to participate in it. I took it up like any other college fest. But when I reached the semifinals, I realised I had an audience and slowly started releasing few singles. People like Rhea Kapoor, Swanand Kirkire and Vishal Dadlani took notice and one after another, Khoobsurat, Badlapur, Baar Baar Dekho, Shivaay and now Phillauri happened, and everything fell in place.
IBTimes India: The music composing is predominantly a male dominant industry, how did you manage to break through?
Jasleen: You just keep trying. I had no plan B. I decided that I had no other option but to get through it. It was very difficult. I would go approach people and try presenting my work. I thought, at the most they will say no. So you keep moving, trying, working and that's it. I remember chasing Vikas Bahl after watching Queen and he asked: "Kya hai tere paas? Magic hai kya?" Somehow I cracked an interview with him. Through him I reached Phantom Productions. So nothing really stopped me.
IBTimes India: Now having a Bollywood background, how has Bollywood treated you?
Jasleen: Everyone in Bollywood is so welcoming. I once met Imtiaz Ali, once, just to sit and talk to him and we spoke about his journey. When I was working from Delhi, Swanand Kirkire collaborated with me. Today, he is dear friend of mine. Sonam Kapoor is really nice. She is very encouraging and very warm. There are people who acknowledge your hard work and that kept me going. You don't feel you are from the outside of the industry.
IBTimes India: You have been guest composers in all the albums you have worked on. Is there a particular reason you choose not to take on a full-fledged project?
Full album project requires time. Right now, Bollywood is working with multi-composers. And it is after sometime that one gets the opportunity to compose an entire album. So it is okay, I am at a good place now. I am getting the right kind of work and I am exploring numerous options.
IBTimes India: Most of your songs are heavily influenced by Punjabi folk music. Is it intentional?
Jasleen: It is and it isn't either. On one hand, I have worked on Nachde Ne Saare (Baar Baar Dekho) and What's Up (Phillauri) which are Punjabi songs. On the other hand, I have worked on non-Punjabi songs as well such as Kho Gaye Hum Kahan and Badla Badla in Badlapur. But yes, I started my career composing songs based on the poems written by legendary Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi and I am from Punjab so I feel it comes naturally to me. Everyone gets their own flavour.
IBTimes India: Do you think Bollywood's depiction of Punjabi culture and music is apt?
Jasleen: Bollywood has a lot of worlds (Marathi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, etc) within itself. So everyone tries to incorporate their versions of the world according to their understanding. Many movies try to depict Punjab in their movies and many have successfully shown the right image. If you look at Phillauri itself, the film is so well made that you will feel you are in Punjab.
IBTimes India: How was it working with Mikha on Phillauri?
Jasleen: I was very nervous as to what is going to happen. When I first met him, he was having dinner. He instantly invited me to join him and we had butter chicken together. It was just so homely, I felt like I was in my own house. He is funny, constantly cracking jokes, and making me laugh all the time. It was his idea that I sing the female version of What's Up, since we hadn't decided upon the female singer. He was supportive through the whole recording.
IBTimes India: How and why did you decide on reusing your popular cover of Din Shagna Da in Phillauri?
Jasleen: The makers of the film heard the song and wanted to use it in Phillauri. The song fit really well in the movie. In the film, I have done a different version of the song. That was a challenging job. But I was really excited. Revisiting it and doing it again.
IBTimes India: How can more women break the glass ceiling and enter composing?
Jasleen: Bollywood is not against the idea of women composing music in movies. Film makers just want good music. If you have it, they will come to you. They will go to anyone. You don't get a job because you are woman and it is not like you won't get a job because you are woman. Gender doesn't matter.
IBTimes India: What does the future look like?
Jasleen: As of now, I am working on two projects. One is with Sunny Deol and the other is Fukre 2.