Raj Shekhar: I'm glad that I could explore new aspects of my skills as a musician
Saand Ki Aankh lyricist says octogenarian shooters' tendency to attempt the language inspired his work
Raj Shekhar is an 'Instagram friend' of the sharpshooter dadis, Chandro and Prakashi Tomar. The octogenarian shooters, whose tremendous feat over two decades inspired the making of Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Saand Ki Aankh, are extremely savvy on the social networking platform, Shekhar tells us. They're also quite taken by the feat of attempting to converse in English. "Hearing them use sentences like 'all the best, beta', in their Haryanvi tone, is quite interesting," says the lyricist, who has penned all the tracks of the Tushar Hiranandani venture.
Their tryst with the language, Shekhar reveals, egged him to use a hint or two of English even in his songs. "Phrases such as: 'chhore pooche, How old are you?' was inspired by this tendency of the shooter dadis," says the lyricist, who has, until now, dabbled in romantic tracks. "This film was out of my comfort zone, and I'm glad that I could explore new aspects of my skills as a musician. Right from the word-selection, to the tune, we wanted the songs to be rooted, yet contemporary. But we had to retain a humorous aspect to it. That's also because the dadis are quite funny. You'll also see that in the film. The lyrics are desi and quirky."
Working on the project for over three years involved a fair share of remodelling the songs, to adapt to the constantly changing script. When the then-title track, Womaniya, became redundant after the makers lost the rights to name their film precisely that, Shekhar offered many iterations of a fresh version. "But, the team had heard Womaniya so often by then that they were keen to retain it the way it was. They didn't want to change it. In fact, Saand Ki Aankh was only one passing line in a track. The makers picked that up for the title."
Shekhar, with films like Tanu Weds Manu, Qarib Qarib Singlle and Veere Di Wedding on his resume, celebrates the fact that this offering banks on the power of women, both on and off-screen. "Of the nine singers employed, seven are women. We have Asha ji [Bhosle], who is 85, rendering the song Aatma. It is the crux of the film. And then we also have a girl as young as maybe, 17, singing a song in the film. Sunidhi Chauhan, Jyotika Tangri and Sona Mohapatra have also rendered numbers."
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Hrithik Roshan's childhood dance lights up the internet