Want mainstream directors to take note of my acting: Himesh Reshammiya
The composer talks about his new film, the changes in the music industry and why he feels he is yet to break out as an actor
Himesh Reshammiya has been acting for the last thirteen years. His films have ranged from thrillers (Karzzzz, Aap Kaa Surroor) to romance (Kajraare) to comedies (Radio, Damadamm!, Khiladi 786). Some have held on at the box-office, others not so much. His latest, Happy Hardy and Heer, is a romantic comedy, featuring Himesh in his first-ever double role. The story spins on a girl named Heer (Sonia Mann), who draws the affection of two men, both played by Himesh. One is a moneyed Gujarati NRI, the other a gullible Sardar.
Himesh, who’s Gujarati himself, says he found both roles equally challenging. “Over the years, my films have done well and The Xpose got me a lot of recognition as an actor. So with this film, my wife, Sonia Kapoor, who has written the screenplay, wanted me to go to the next level. I began by doing a lot of workshops. The idea was to know my lines all through, like a play. Both Happy and Hardy are relatable characters. They are entertaining but not fully over-the-top.”
The film is directed by Raka. Shooting took place in India and Scotland. The central theme is ‘friendzoning’, highlighting the modern-day struggle between romance and ambition. “Girls today tend to friendzone their best friends,” Himesh says. “They say they like them but not as a boyfriend. They are looking for that one big achiever in life. Success, thus, becomes more important than love.” In the film, Happy is benched by his childhood sweetheart Heer, who instead goes after the well-accomplished Hardy. “There’s a progressive message about how girls today look at relationships. The question is — who does she come back to?”
Himesh has co-produced and composed the music for Happy Hardy and Heer. The tracks Cutie Pie and Teri Meri Kahani have aced the charts, along with the remix of Aashiqui Mein Teri. Released in 2006, the song was one of Himesh’s biggest hits, becoming the standout track of Abbas-Mastan’s 36 China Town. Back then, Himesh was at the forefront of the remix culture in India, inviting both praise and brickbats for his musical reinventions and distinctly nasal singing style. It was also the era of CD releases and illegal downloads, a time unspoiled by digital music and the advent of the multi-composer album.
“I don’t get nostalgic about my work,” Himesh says. “My music, every year, has been reinvented. I started with an Odh Li Chunariya, then belted out super-hit David Dhawan songs like Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge and Just Chill. From there, I shifted to a classical album like Tere Naam. I again flipped back with Aashiq Banaya Aapne and Tera Suroor. So it’s always been a forward journey. Even with Aashiqui Mein Teri 2.0, I feel the song has been recreated well. It has not lost its soul.”
Himesh, however, advises young composers to stick to original work and ‘keep their tunes ready’. “They need to be confident and give multiple options to the music company. If they don’t do that and just keep waiting for approval, then, of course, they will be told to recreate.” For this album, Himesh has collaborated with the busking sensation Ranu Mondal. Ranu, 59, shot to fame when a video of her singing Lata Mangeshkar’s Ek Pyaar Ka Nagma at Ranaghat railway station went viral. She later appeared on a television show that Himesh was judging, making the composer take note of her. “I was looking for a Lata ji kind of voice… the kind that was popular in the romantic melodies of the 90s. When I heard Ranu, I immediately knew I had to give her a break. We worked together on Teri Meri Kahani and two other tracks. It was a miracle to discover her.”
As for his acting career, Himesh hopes more directors take notice of talent. He feels he is yet to get his due credit, despite having worked in ten films and sustained his box-office credibility. “Right now, there are people who are backing me for my business module and popularity. But I would really like to get more offers from good directors. Some projects did come in the past but often our visions didn’t match. With Happy Hardy And Heer, I hope to get into the good books of mainstream filmmakers.”