Forty musicians playing their violins in sync, four others stringing their cellos, 12 more with dholaks, tablas and guitars waiting their turn… It seemed the clock had rewound by three decades and not just because the song being recorded was the foot-tapping ‘Taki o taki...’ from the 1983 blockbuster Himmatwala.
Stepping back in time
In the last 30 years, the sound of music has changed as much as the process of creating it. With digitalisation, live recordings are like a faded, sepia-tinted memory in the album. Which is why composer Sajid, who along with his brother Wajid, is working on the remake’s score, is thrilled to be going back in time.
“It was Vashuji’s (producer Vashu Bhagnani) idea to go in for live acoustics for the film. Some of the musicians had tears in their eyes, thanking me for this opportunity of playing with old friends again,” he says, adding that the project has brought three of his gurus together on a common stage. “My father Ustad Sharafat Khan who is a rhythm arranger, percussionist Nitin Shankar and drummer Suresh Soni. My mom cooked and sent food for all the old friends.”
Those were the days...
Music arranger Chander Makwana says they had wanted to record the Himmatwala song with almost 100 musicians playing together. “But today, we don’t have recording studios large enough to accommodate so many musicians at one time. Sahara Studio is one of the biggest and it can take only half the number so we have to call the musicians in batches and record the song over three days,” he sighs.
Ajay Devgn, whose father was the action director of the original Jeetendra-Sridevi starrer, has fond memories of watching Laxmikant-Pyarelal record a song at Mehboob Studio: “The studio was crowded with musicians and there were dozens more spilling out and down the stairs,” he says. The original Himmatwala was Sajid’s first ever recording. He had accompanied his father to Chennai for Razia Sultan and they were on the way back when Sharafat Khan got a call from Bappi requesting him to stay back for Himmatwala.
“My father was all set to pack me home but I started crying so he let him stay with him on the condition that in the studio, I’d sit quietly by his side and play a side rhythm. That was the first time I played for a film,” the composer smiles.
A present from the past
The rearranged ‘Taki o taki...’ will be sung by Mika Singh, stepping in for Kishore Kumar who sang the original, and Shreya Ghoshal takes over from Asha Bhonsle. “I know I’m not Kishoreda, but I have been lucky for Sajid Khan,” says Mika.
Sajid and Wajid insist they haven’t made major changes to the original song. “We didn’t want to hurt Bappida’s sentiments. This is an iconic song and the idea was to bring back the golden era of film music,” says Wajid. Another hit number from the original Himmatwala, ‘Nainon mein sapna…’, will also be recorded.
Says director Sajid Khan, “It’ll have live acoustics too. Evergreen music needs musicians, not machines! They are the real himmatwalas!”