Producing for me is about continuing my father's legacy: Bhushan Kumar
Bhushan Kumar shares with City Times his rise in Bollywood, his music record label and his discerning taste in movies
Bhushan Kumar might not be a name many are familiar with. But his company T-Series is linked to almost all the blockbuster Bollywood films we see now. The Managing Director of T-Series, Kumar has built an empire for himself since he started his journey at the age of 19. The film and music producer has created a niche in the music market by acquiring soundtracks for blockbuster hits like Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani, Dabangg, Cocktail, Bodyguard, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Paa, Guzaarish, Fashion, Anjaana Anjaani, Om Shanti Om, Jab We Met and many more.
After cementing his status in the music industry, the mogul entered the film industry producing successful films such as Tum Bin, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Patiala House, Ready and Lucky: No Time for Love. He has also worked with directors like Madhur Bhandarkar, Milan Luthria, Anurag Basu and Mohit Suri.
The son of Gulshan Kumar, who was the founder of T-Series and who gave us the original hit Aashiqui, remade the musical epic which turned out to be the biggest blockbuster of 2013.
Every filmmaker has a different vision and process while producing or directing a movie. Walk us through your process.
My father was passionate about music. He was also passionate about films. He knew how to make great music. Before producing Aashiqui, he was humble enough to go to (Mahesh) Bhatt with songs of Aashiqui and tell him 'I know how to make good songs but I do not know how to make films. You take these songs and use them in a film.' So producing music or films for me is about continuing my father's passion and legacy. Today, as a studio, T-Series Films believes in making films that tell an engaging story that is compelling, relatable or are inspired by real life. Today, we are making films of all genres.
You've had some great hits like Bharat, Kabir Singh, Pati Patni Aur Woh and many more. What was your experience like working on Street Dancer 3D?
Street Dancer 3D is a film that director Remo D'Souza and I have been working on for a long time. It is a passion project for both of us. Having a committed director like Remo who is passionate about and an expert in several dance forms, is a blessing. Varun Dhawan is a natural and born entertainer. Shraddha Kapoor is today a dependable actress because of her talent and the ability to work hard. Nora Fatehi has time and again proved that dance is her second name.
We loved Malang! What was your experience on that like?
After hearing the narration of Malang, within the first 15 minutes, I had told director Mohit Suri that I am doing this film. Mohit is a director who knows his craft inside out. Having worked with him in Aashiqui 2, one of our biggest hits, we were positive that we had a gripping thriller on our hands with Malang.
You're credited as one of the producers who have transformed the landscape of Bollywood music over the years with T-Series. What's the biggest change you've seen in the industry since you've started this journey?
Creatively speaking, the most important thing that attracts a listener to a song is the melody. The song has to be hummable. The sound keeps changing every few years but a good melody always wins the listener's heart.
Technology has changed the game. Today we can be sitting in any part of the world and still be able to create music for a film. With YouTube, social media and so many music streaming sites, today we are able to gauge the listener's reaction almost immediately. Now with everything going digital, that response and reaction reaches us almost instantly after a song is released.
How did you feel when you realised you were among Bloomberg's 50 innovators of the year last year?
I am delighted and I feel extremely honoured to be included in this coveted list of global achievers. It gives me immense pleasure and pride to be mentioned as one of the most-influential business leaders and I am truly humbled by it. I hope the entire T-Series team will continue to strive and achieve even greater heights in the coming years. These accolades are the result of sheer hard work and dedication by the digital, content and marketing teams of T-Series.
What are you most excited for next?
The coming months look promising with Jhund (starring Amitabh Bachchan), Anurag Basu's Ludo (Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Rajkummar Rao), Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (Kartik Aryan, Kiara Advani, Tabu), Bhuj: Pride Of India (Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt), Satyameva Jayate 2. Then there is also the much anticipated film, my father's biopic.