With Kahani from Laal Singh Chaddha emerging to be a fan-favourite in no time, singer Mohan Kannan on collaborating with the film’s composer
Agnee band-member Mohan Kannan’s Bollywood projects may have been few and far in between, but be it Chandaaniyan from 2 States, or Yaariyan from Cocktail, the singer has left a lasting impact with his lilting voice. Having rendered the first track from Aamir Khan’s long-in-the-making Laal Singh Chaddha, Kannan is aware that he is now among the artistes who will be celebrated for the melodic song that has swiftly earned acclaim from fans.
Composer Pritam, he says, adopted a rather secretive approach when appointing him for the song. “When they were doing pre-production work in 2019, Pritam asked me to come and record for it. He didn’t tell me what it was for, but at the time, everyone was raving about Amitabh [Bhattacharya] and his lyrics. It was only later that I learnt that they intended to use the song for the poster, and I realised this was for Aamir [Khan’s] film,” says Kannan, who, despite being a star in his own right in the indie music space, continues to seem star-struck by the experience.
Since the pandemic substantially deferred the film, Kannan says they revisited the track to create a longer version that could be used in the film. “This time, Aamir was also involved in the process, and the entire team meticulously worked on specifics like arriving at the pronunciation of certain words, and elements that should be emphasised. Pritam had established the fact that he wanted this to be rendered in a story-telling format, and asked me to pay attention to the lyrics. Amitabh has encapsulated everything in this song. I’ve always believed that emoting the lyrics helps you connect to the masses well.
And performing a song live, on stage, gives you the chance to showcase your skills.” Pritam, he reveals, helped him analyse the sections of the song that should seem conversational, “as though you were actually saying it to someone”, casual, and melodic. “His cues are rarely related to the melody. He focusses on the approach. He often says that I should visualise myself at a New York subway, sitting with a guitar and singing about the important aspects of life for passers-by. That’s the approach he wants for his music. His assistants, Aakash and Anirush are brilliant. They’ve put in as much work into helping me dub correctly as I have in singing the song.”