A chat with the people behind the regional versions of the FAN anthem.
Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film FAN with Yash Raj Films introduced a unique marketing and promotional initiative with the track Jabra. Composers Vishal-Shekhar have created multilingual versions of the track, reaching out to various regional markets. Besides Hindi, the song has been made in Tamil, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi and Bengali. We spoke to composer Shekhar Ravjiani and all the singers to know more about their respective versions of the track. Here’s what they had to say:
The brief was to create a FAN anthem. The song is a celebration of fandom, which has never been done before. The focus was to keep the mood celebratory so that everyone can dance to this track. It was great fun to work with Maneesh (Sharma, director) and Aditya Chopra. We have fantastic lyrics penned by Varun (Grover) and brilliantly sung by Nakash (Aziz). The first version was recorded in Hindi and, after that, we created it in six different languages and each one is doing very well. Even Shah Rukh (Khan) loved all the tracks.
I have been a huge fan of Vishal-Shekhar since I was in college. After Selfie le le re, I randomly sent a text to Vishal and he replied promptly. He asked me to come over to YRF and gave me this song. I was shocked, nervous and excited to be recording for Shah Rukh Khan. But once you go behind the mic, it’s all about getting it right. I have grown up on Shah Rukh Khan’s films and having him sing and dance to my voice was a huge deal for me. The idea of this song was to speak about a fan, and what really helped were the lyrics. They were so direct that I didn’t have to work too hard; it just happened on its own. Also, Vishal-Shekhar were every chilled out and made me very comfortable.
The anthem and multi-lingual recordings came later. Also, with a subject like this, I think they wanted to reach out to everybody. For my Tamil version, I had to work on my pronunciation as I wanted it to sound as Tamilian as possible. I am happy with the response.
The credit for me coming on board for this project goes to YRF sound engineer Vijay Dayal, a good friend of mine. He recommended me as he believed I could do justice to the song.
During the recording, they showed me the music video of Jabra and I was zapped by Shah Rukh’s energy. I tried to bring that energy into my song too. After recording, Shekhar said to me, ‘Aapne toh kamal hi kar diya.’ My job was made easier by the lyrics of Guru Thakur, who not only wrote the typical Marathi words but also made sure that they matched the lip-sync in the video.
Since this film is about Shah Rukh Khan’s fans, who are all over the country, YRF thought it would be a great idea to have a song sung by people from different cultures. I tried to bring the emotions of a fan into the song. The best part of the song is the energy and enthusiasm that Shah Rukh Khan has brought to it, through his dance steps. I tried to replicate this through my singing. Also, it was great working with YRF and Vishal-Shekhar.
I am very happy that I was selected to sing for Shah Rukh Khan, that too for a Yash Raj film. And all this happened because of Raja Mukerji from Yash Raj. When he called me, at first I thought it was a prank by my manager but when I realised it was for real, I immediately agreed to the recording. They told me I would be informed about the timing and as I was waiting, Shah Rukh bhai called me and said, “You will like the song. Sing it as if a fan is singing since I am playing a fan in it.” After that, there was no looking back. Also, one of the best things about Yash Raj Films is that they never pressurise their artistes. While recording, Maneeshji and Shekhar were present and it was quite daunting but the only input they gave was that my singing should replicate a fan’s craze and enthusiasm. The lyrics reflect today’s generation, where everything revolves around social media. So it was easy to connect with.
This was a promotional song and they wanted to reach out to a different territory. The digital marketing team, who also handles my digital marketing, wanted to regionalise it. So I got a call from Yash Raj. It is a huge deal for a regional artiste to get a call from such a big banner, that to for a Shah Rukh Khan film. I was excited with this huge opportunity to sing in Gujarati in Bollywood. What I liked was that Vishal-Shekhar accepted my suggestion of making it a garba-style song as the music has that pattern.