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Royal Challenge

Winning hearts with the only non-rap song in the album Gully Boy, singer-composer Jasleen Royal talks to Bhakti Mehta about being a part of this novel project

Jasleen Royal has created a niche for herself in the industry with her soulful voice. Now she has given us the song Jahaan tu chala in the recently released Gully Boy. Talking about how she bagged the project, Royal says, “I met Zoya (Akhtar) at the wrap party of Baar Baar Dekho (BBD). I went up to her to talk because I am such a fan of hers. I asked her if I could get a meeting with her and she said ‘Why not?’ She was very welcoming and nice. She praised me for what I had done for BBD. She then told me that she was developing a script and she had heard a couple of my songs. She liked them and told me that we should work something out to collaborate in the future.”

“I forgot about it but some months later, I got a call from her office and I was told that she wanted to use one of my songs for a sequence in the film. I made a new song for her and that was it. That’s how it happened and I was really excited,” remembers Royal.

Sharing the process of working on this unique song and her equation with Akhtar, she adds, “When I got the call to go ahead with the project, I worked on it and sent it to Zoya. We had a few sittings and changed some of the lyrics. We locked the song quickly and it was very easy to work on this but at the same time, fruitful and enriching. Plus, Zoya is a complete team player and she is very talented. It was great working with her because she gives an artiste the freedom and doesn’t force them to stick to one thing, which is amazing.”

With Gully Boy being known as a revolutionary film as far as its music is concerned, Royal is extremely happy to be part of this special project. “It is definitely more special to work on a film which is based on music. This is a film which has given a platform to a lot of underground artistes. It tapped into who the singers are and their personalities. It tapped into a part of you rather than just following the script.”

“When I went to meet Zoya for this song, she told me that I should just make a song, make it on anything that I felt was right. There was no specific situation I had to write about. She wanted to tap into my thought process and that’s what made it so special. It was really nice to work on this song because there is such freedom and you know you are working with someone very sensible,” she says.

As for her association with rap, she remarks, “I listen to all kinds of music. I don’t have any particular playlist of a genre. I listen to rap at parties and I enjoy it. That’s how I formed an association with rap and I like it because it has a distinctive beat and poetry. What kind of music I listen to depends on my mood.”

The singer-composer also reveals her excitement due to the response to her song. “Honestly, I am a little overwhelmed by the response. I didn’t think that itna zyada response milega. I was actually a little nervous when the entire jukebox was being released. I didn’t know what would happen because this is the only non-rap song in the album of a movie which is based on rappers. It suddenly reached the Top 100 list of iTunes without any video releasing. I was not expecting this at all. It is just crazy.”

On the projects she is working on, Royal concludes, “I have a song coming up in the film Kesari, which has Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra. I am also working on a couple of singles right now.”

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