Sounds of the skies

03 March,2024 05:00 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Sonia Lulla

Roped in to establish Air India’s sonic identity with a new in-flight announcement song, Shankar Mahadevan on treading the fine line between composing an appealing track and ascertaining that safety instructions are aptly showcased

Shankar Mahadevan

In enabling the Indian airline Air India to redefine its identity, Shankar Mahadevan has played a crucial role. The composer was the musical mind behind the brand's latest launch, of which a newly crafted safety announcement video has particularly gained attention.

A reflection of the diverse cultural identities of India, the video showcases the various classical dance forms of the country as safety instructions are intermittently depicted. "It was challenging because we needed to convey important and serious content relating to precautionary measures that [a flyer] must take while showcasing our culture. The tools we used were dance and music, and we did that while maintaining the seriousness that was required while delivering a message of such magnitude," Mahadevan tells mid-day, further adding that the vision to depict the country's cultural heritage via the safety announcement video was that of Prasoon Joshi.

"Because [Air India] wanted this depicted in a stylised way, [Joshi] arrived at the idea of using mudras in the video. I was working on the theme music for the entire launch, and for this video, we decided to use the musical genres of the multiple dance forms of the country. India is a country that is amazingly diverse. Every state has a different dance form and a different classical form. So, this project needed us to deal with different genres, which have different rhythmic instruments, and different [notes]. We had to bring them together interestingly."

For another signature track created to establish the brand's sonic identity, Mahadevan collaborated with Taufiq Qureshi, and Joshi.

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