Amitabh Bachchan was cooped up in a studio past midnight on Tuesday, recording, or rather re-recording, a song. He returned home around 2.30 am and tweeted, “Just back from work, music lets you forget time! Vishal (Dadlani) and Shekhar (Ravjiani) have done a most inspiring Ekla Cholo... for the film Kahaani, grateful to be a part of Tagore’s masterpiece!”
The actor has given playback for several films but this is the first time he has sung a Rabindra Sangeet. Last December, Bachchan admitted that rendering the iconic Bengali song, written by the Nobel laureate, was a “doubly difficult” task for someone who’s not a professional singer.
“A Rabindra Sangeet has a structure that is unlike that of a normal Hindi film song,” Bachchan pointed out, adding that though he had recorded the song to Sujoy’s satisfaction, he himself wasn’t happy. “I plan to re-record it, again and again if necessary, till I get it right. Otherwise, not just by the Bengalis who consider me their ‘jamai babu’ (son-in-law), my head will be chopped off in my own house.”
Sujoy says that there was no problem with the first recording but admits this one is “awesome”. The director insists that the song is not a publicity gimmick, timed to coincide with Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations. “I hadn’t given a thought to the significance of the year. It’s just a happy coincidence,” says Sujoy, adding that the song is significant to the plot and comes at a point when the pregnant protagonist (Vidya Balan), who is searching for her missing husband on the streets of Kolkata, has run out of support. “People around her are beginning to believe that her husband has run off with another woman, but she knows he wouldn’t do something like this,” says Sujoy.
However, the worldly-wise pessimism around her is a downer and Vidya needs someone who will tell her, ‘If no one listens to your call, walk alone, don’t be afraid…’ “That message is inherent in Tagore’s Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Na Aashe Tobe Ekla Cholo Re… but to convey it I needed a commanding voice that you would listen to and believe in and whose better than Mr Bachchan’s,” reasons Sujoy. “It’s a bonus that he also happens to be a very good singer.”