Amaal: Don’t want to do a 100 songs, but one that’s equal to a 100!

By Bryan Durham - December 21, 2018

On what Sooraj Dooba Hai means to him on the song’s fourth anniversary

Roy’s Sooraj Dooba Hai completed four years this week. It is a song that won several prestigious award for the young composer who crafted it: Amaal Mallik. It is also one of the songs in his repertoire that he is best known for (and for ushering in a fresh, new sound in Bollywood).

Amaal: Don’t want to do a 100 songs, but one that’s equal to a 100!

We reached out to Amaal to ask him what the song meant to him, to take us down memory lane and tell us what the song is a constant reminder of.

He tells us the song came at a time when he considered quitting the music industry. “I knew there’d be many comparisons, especially with my uncle and with my father. There was a point when I even wanted to quit the music industry. But, ‘Sooraj Dooba Hain’ was the turning point for me. It gave me the confidence to stay.”

But, as he tells us, it was a song fraught with risks, and had he not got the right support, the song might never have seen the light of day. “I have my director Vikramjit Singh and producer Bhushan Kumar to thank. They had faith in me and let me do my thing. I got a very romantic, yet versatile singer like Arijit Singh alongside Aditi Singh Sharma to dub the song. A brilliant lyricist in Kumaar, who gave beautiful words to the song. I am forever thankful to him. The brief given to me was that the song had to be new-age and ground-breaking.”

It was 2014, with Avicii and Swedish House Mafia at the height of their powers and EDM, while the Bollywood music industry at the time wasn’t as big on the genre, interest in it was growing by the hour. “I knew one thing in my heart, and I told it to every one around me as well, says Amaal, “If Sooraj Dooba Hain doesn’t work and connect with people, I’m quitting and going to sell burgers in New Zealand.”

But, on December 19, 2014, Sooraj… released. And Amaal was on tenterhooks about the response to the song. “You have to realise how nervous I was. There was no way to track a song back then, views were not that big a barometer like it is today. The only way to know for sure was radio requests, word-of-mouth and because it had a club sound, that’s the only place I could check.”

What he found, dismayed him. “I went to many nightspots over 10 days and not a single place was playing the song.”

That New Year’s Eve, he headed out with his friends to Goa. Along the way they stopped at a small shop for refreshments when “the guy serving us, left his phone around our table, it rang and guess what ringtone was playing… my song Sooraj Dooba Hain!”

The next day, he says, “I got calls from several friends telling me that all the parties they were at, the song was on constant play. That’s when I knew the song had reached out.”

The validation came at a time when he was at one of his lowest. He tells us, “Mom was so disappointed initially when, post my debut, I couldn’t sign a single project for a year. With my career not taking off, putting food on the table became a hard job.”

And so, SDH means the world to him. Says Amaal, “Everything that I can afford or even dream of getting for myself and my family is because of this star song, Sooraj Dooba Hain. It has been my angel, the song that got me love, awards, rewards and a following that swears by me, my #Amaalians.”

So what does the song serve as a constant reminder of? “Breaking new ground with every song”, he shoots back, adding, “I’m not in the number game anymore, and I don’t wanna do 100 songs in a year,” as the reason you haven’t seen him as active in Bollywood this year.

His parting shot has our hearts. “I want to do one song that is equal to a hundred.”

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