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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Vishal and Shekhar: “There’s a Comfort Level With Yash Raj Films & Siddharth Anand”

Vishal and Shekhar are Bollywood’s most dynamic duo composers. Their music is funky and youthful, almost reminiscent of RD Burman’s style of music-making.

According to Shekhar, he attributes this approach to their, fun and relaxed demeanour whilst composing music.

Perhaps, it is due to this reason why their latest track Ghungroo (from the film War) is a chartbuster:

“The screenplay required a nice, fun dance track and as always our inspiration is Michael Jackson. It was a fun song to compose.”

Since Salaam Namaste, the duo has composed at least seven soundtracks for Yash Raj Films productions and all of Siddharth Anand’s directorial… So how would they describe this camaraderie?

“There’s a certain comfort level with Yash Raj Films and Siddharth Anand after working with them for almost 16 years. We really share a great vibe.”

Though Vishal is not one to particularly feel nostalgic, he describes his experience of composing the music as fluid and free, which helps the magic of music to spread:

“As we have done so many films together with Siddharth, we always stay in touch regardless of whether he makes a movie or not… It’s a very informal relationship.

He assumes ownership of our studio and our homes, there are no boundaries or work hours. We’ve made songs at my house and sometimes at Shekhar’s house. 

We’ve travelled together and our families even know each other. The process of doing the music of War is very fluid. 

We could just be travelling back from YRF when Shekhar and I could be humming a song and he will be like ‘yeah this is my song, let’s do this!'”

There have been several discussion on social media as to whether the song is a remix or a remake. However, Shekhar has clarified that this is not the case:

“A lot of people think it’s a remix or a remake, but it isn’t. About 150-years back, there was this lyric which is a folk/Qawwali words, written in some village.

Subsequently, many people adopted the words “Ghungroo Toot Gaye” in their songs, with different tunes. So, this is a completely different tune with those words.”

Vishal also sheds some light on the objective of customising the traditional lyrics:

“To be honest, we just drew in the ‘Ghungroo Toot Gaye’ as a scratch lyric.

It just sounded so good hence we checked if it overlapped with any other song so we checked out there were different versions of it and it was free to use.

It’s a kalam. For instance, if you take chaiyya chaiyya which comes from Baba Bulleh Shah’s ‘Thaiyya Thaiyya’. Tomorrow, if I decided to do a song called ‘Thaiyya Thaiyya’, I’m free to do that.

‘Ghungroo Toot Gaye’ is so different in the context of War and the way Hrithik Roshan was performing it, which is what makes it exciting.”

Shekhar is also quite mesmerised by both Hrithik and Vaani as performers. 

“According to me, Hrithik is one of the best dancers in the world. Vaani has the most expressive eyes and is so gorgeous so the combination is perfect.

I got a lot of messages from people saying that they attempted Hrithik’s moves and landed in hospital (laughs).

Plus, the Siddharth shoots his songs very well. Be it Khuda Jaane or Anjaana Anjaani, he is fantastic at shooting songs.

So we knew once we composed the song, we knew the visual is going to be massive and he proved it again. Hrithik and Vaani elevated the track to another level.”

Arijit Singh and Shilpa Rao’s energetic vocals truly strike a chord with listeners and live up to Hrithik-Vaani’s dancing.

Their last song together was the duet version of ‘Kalank Title Song’, which was a completely different mood and style.

As composers, how do Vishal and Shekhar know which singers would most suit a particular song? Vishal explains:

“Often in our discography, we like to count the cast. If someone sings a lot of sad songs and gets famous for it, then we prefer to include them in a new disco track and see what happens.

It’s the same with Shilpa. She has sung a lot of classical-based songs but she has such a hot, modern voice so it’s always exciting to hear someone in a new context.

It is always great to stretch the abilities of a vocalist.

Knowing Arijit as I do and given the type of musician he is, I’m pretty sure he is sick of singing the full-on broken-hearted love ballads.

He has already sung so many of those in the last year. Shekhar and I are happy, chilled out people… So is Arijit, which is why his voice is perfectly suited to ‘Ghungroo’.

Watch the ‘Ghungroo’ video here:


War is a high-octane action entertainer that promises to be the biggest action spectacle of all times.

It has two of the biggest action heroes of India Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff pitted against each other in a massive showdown.

Produced by Yash Raj Films, the film is set to release in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu on 2nd October 2019.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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