It was on July 15, exactly a decade back, that the film ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ had hit the screens. The film continues to hold special significance because it offered an honest insight into human behavior and relationships. The composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy or SEL as they are popularly referred to spoke exclusively to News18’s Divya Pal about the film and the impact of its music which wasn’t just hummable, but had a feel good factor too.
Many feel ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ shouldn’t be watched during the lockdown as it would only make people worse, courtesy extended lockdowns and travel suspensions that can’t let them explore scenic locations like the ones shown in the film…
Shankar: I think it should be watched during the lockdown as it transports you to those locales virtually. Zoya Akhtar has done a fabulous job as the film’s director.
Loy: It is amazing how Zoya can make you taste the Spanish flavor even while you are sitting at your home.
‘ZNMD’ wasn’t just lauded for well-timed performances, but for its delightful music too. While you were composing the film’s music, were you convinced that the song and the film would end up being a blockbuster?
Ehsaan: You don’t think of music in that manner. You only concentrate on creating good music. Before the album releases, you do get to know if it is good or bad. It felt so good while composing ‘ZNMD’ music because of the variety it offered.
Shankar: We are blessed that a film like ‘ZNMD’ was a part of our career. This film could have gone to other composers and they too would have done a great job. No matter where you watch the film from, you’d never want to miss the bull chasing scene towards the end. It offers an interesting blend of humor, emotions, stupidity, thought-provoking moments and relationships. It just makes you realize that you have to live life now. Zoya is terrific in observing people.
Which is that one song from the film that captures the essence of your bonding?
Shankar: All songs, to be honest. ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ captures the essence of life. ‘Khabon Ke Parindey’ is a psychological track which talks about freedom. ‘Senorita’ is a fun song, actually like bright sunshine. ‘Der Lagi Lekin’, which is one of our favourite songs, is a slow race winner. It is the last song in everybody’s party. It becomes a song that offers emotional bonding among friends and people you love. So each song has a different role in life.
Is it true that neither of the actors were even told that they had to sing Senorita?
Shankar: Yes, that’s true. Abhay was really taken aback by that. He came to the studio and had no clue about what was happening. He was convinced that he would never be able to sing in his life. But we asked him to try, let the loop run, and have him sing. After singing multiple times over, he said he was comfortable singing and asked which date he could record. It was then that we told him that his recording had already happened. But Abhay sang well and sounded exactly like his character. With Hrithik we were convinced that he would do a great job because he has a good voice. As far as Farhan is concerned, we all know he is a great singer.
What was the experience of composing music for ‘Ik Junoon’ like?
Shankar: It took the longest time to create ‘Ik Junoon’.
Ehsaan: Yes, it was supposed to be like a dance tune. Zoya, as much as she likes this kind of music, she doesn’t like it to be electronic. We had a friend working with us and he kept humming ‘tuh taah tuh’. That’s when Zoya asked us to changed it to ‘Ooh Aah, Take The World And Paint It Red’. And the whole song started developing around that part. Really love that song and carries a different side of European music.
Shankar: There is a little whisper that is used in the track ‘ik Junoon’. That’s Zoya’s voice. I just asked her to blabber something in Spanish. What she said was processed and used in the song.
How was it working with Javed Akhtar on such an incredible film?
Shankar: Songs left an impact because of Javed Akhtar’s lyrics. Imagine such a senior person had written young songs like ‘Senorita’, ‘Khabon Ke Parindey’ & ‘Ik Junoon’. Hats off to him. Beauty of his lyrics are that the people croon the whole song and not just remember the hook line.