The road to success starts within a heart that wants to be the best at something—a heart, mind, and soul that does not want to be ordinary, but extraordinary. And if you want to be an extraordinary, and then stop beating the chests, meet and take a cue from Jaan Nissar Lone, a native of Sheeri, a beautiful hamlet of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district who is the first Music Director in Bollywood from Kashmir valley.
JNL, who has composed music and sung songs for films like 18.11 -a code of Secrecy, ‘Chhoo Le Aassmaan’ and ‘Shudra- his career has seen a steep rise and a promising career in the industry while as his ambitions know no boundaries.
He believed in himself and nurtured his ambitions when people, even his family members, thought he was immature in his preference of career. His family wanted him to be a doctor. But he went on, despite all odds, on his journey of music and proved his worth in a short span of time. Now people are proud of him and so is his family. His passion for Music and his dedication to master the skill of composition have earned him a name among the best of the film directors, both in Bollywood and Hollywood. JNL shares the memories form a small village of Kashmir to the B-town in an exclusive chat with our Bureau Chief, North Kashmir Reyaz Ahmed.
RA: Let us start with your educational background.
JNL: I did my schooling in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Shahkote Uri and later went to Trinity College of Music in London for pursuing my Masters Degree in Music Studies.
RA: What attracted you to the field of Music?
JNL: Love for music is in my blood. I started singing during my school days and my passion for singing and music drove me into many state and national level competitions. Being close to natural beauty in Kashmir valley, I found music within me. So I left for Mumbai- the market place of music. With great zeal to learn music, I wanted to improve my skills in composing. I did so during my Masters degree in London. After doing so, I came back to Mumbai and fortunately found myself among talented directors and producers of Hollywood as well as Bollywood. I found good number of opportunities to work with many reputed producers and directors.
RA: What was the attitude of your family with regard to your choice of pursuing career in music?
JNL: Initially my family had serious doubts about this profession and my choice of pursuing music. Walking into field of music was something strange for them as no one from my family, village, district or even Kashmir valley had even come close to thinking about being a music director in Bollywood. In the absence of examples, my family felt uncomfortable with my choice. They wanted me to be doctor. During my schools days when my father used to see me at JNV, my teachers would often tell him that I was good at music. They would suggest him that he should assist me and guide me in pursuing a career in music. But, the fact is, my father would never like it. Things have changed now and once you are somewhere and have done something, perspectives change.
RA: It must be a lot of work dealing with clients and composing music?
JNL: Being in the field of music, you don’t have fixed working hours. It is 24×7 job. Those interested in working with me would call me anytime and I have to be there. You can receive a call anytime and would be asked to meet, discuss proposals and projects and compose. So I am always on job and feel upbeat to remain on toes when it comes to my work. I am fascinated to see myself working with different instruments. Besides, I also work as program manager.
RA: There must have been challenges and hardships in way from a small village in Baramulla to the big city of Mumbai?
JNL: Every journey of life begins with uncertainties and challenges. I have experienced tough times in the beginning of my career. But I was able to prove myself and my hard work paid in the long run.
Now I have many excellent offers in the pipeline and ‘Shudra- The Rising’ is shaping well with tremendous response. I have really high hopes with this project.
RA: You must have a great feelings for being the first ever Music Director from Kashmir valley in Bollywood?
JNL: I am glad and feel excited for being in the field of Music. I feel proud to be a ‘Kashur’ and have great respect and reverence for the rich and colorful artistic legacy of Kashmir.
RA: Tell us something about your experiences of composing music for 18.11 -a code of Secrecy, ‘Shudra- The Rising’ and ‘Chhoo Le Aassmaan’.
JNL: Well, any director will be happy to see his debut film. So far as the film ‘Chhoo Le Aassmaan’ is concerned, I have been able to work out many variations in music and response was overwhelming but unfortunately it was not released. Then the film ‘Shudra- The Rising’ is a historical concept and it was a great challenge which I accepted happily. Many renowned directors were called to do music for this film but I am glad that, with grace of Allah, I finally got the opportunity. It is a thrilling experience to compose music for a film which is based on Casteism. It was quite challenging to score music for this concept. Recently, I composed and sung songs with Kamal Khan for 18.11 -a code of Secrecy. Its song Allah Teri Kya Shaan Hein won song of the year in Merichi Awards.
RA: Any plans for future?
JNL: I am planning to go global very soon as I have several offers coming my way from West as well. However, I am waiting for my film to be released as it will set me up for future assignments. I want to follow my dream without any hustle and bustle and would rather take my time and select right kind of offers.
RA: What is future in singing and how it is going to make things easy for Kashmiris?
JNL: As everyone can’t be a doctor or engineer so likewise everyone can’t be a singer because God has created us with different capacities and capabilities. It would be best to pursue the ideal career keeping in view your abilities. It is not that music is the only field you can prove your mettle but each field is a challenge in itself and offers a plethora of opportunities to explore. As far as music is concerned it is something universal without any borders and all that. However music is a vast universe in itself and nobody can claim to know each and every contour of it. While choosing music as a career one should keep in mind his limitations and strengths and be focused. Consistency is something that can’t be compromised in music. There is no scope for complacency and one has to refine himself with time. Kashmir is full of talent but we lack is exposure. Exposing our youth to new vistas will definitely end the stagnation in Kashmiri music and alleviate the standards of it.
RA: How did your friends and relatives support you?
JNL: Well family and friends are the catalysts which propel the reaction of your success. You require them in all seasons and they are the people you can bank upon when life is not really in your favour. I was fortunate in the sense that my family provided me all the support to pursue my career and my friends equally helped me to shape the career of my life. I am highly thankful to them all. It is my humble suggestion to all never rush to hasty conclusions and lose a good friend. Have empathy for others.
RA : Any idea of opening music academy in Kashmir?
JNL: The idea of opening music academy in Kashmir is still in infancy. It will be too exaggeration to say that I am on the job right now but yes I would love to establish one in order to provide a good platform for the talented people of this land to showcase their talent. Truly speaking it will be a herculean task to fight the red tappism involved and all other inhibitions plaguing our society. I will be highly fortunate if I really can start such a project in valley.
RA: Anything special that you would like to share with our readers?
JNL: I would love to share with my friends and audience that I have recently composed a Kashmir Song Peer Meino and would look forward to any kind of feedback from my home town, people from Kashmir valley and media as well. I miss all my friends from JNV and I want to tell them, through this newspaper, that I will always be there for them regardless of where I am or what I am doing. Besides I am thankful to The Legitimate which provided me space to share my thoughts.
From the print edition of Jan 18-24, 2017.