After composing the entire soundtrack of Imtiaz Ali’s debut feature film ‘Socha Na Tha’ (2005), composer Sandesh Shandilya made a significant contribution to ‘Jab We Met’ (2007), the director’s second film, with the soul-stirring number ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’. The song, written by Faaiz Anwar and sung by Ustad Rashid Khan, was one of the most memorable songs from the soundtrack. In the film, the pathos-filled track arrived at a very crucial juncture.
As the Shahid Kapoor – Kareena Kapoor Khan starrer completes 15 years of its release, Sandesh revisits the moments that led to the creation of this timeless song.
You had stated in an interview that ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’ was composed years before Imtiaz Ali started working on ‘Jab We Met’.
Yes, that’s right. ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’ was not composed for ‘Jab We Met’. In fact, it was not composed for any film. Apart from composing for films and working on other projects, there is a lot of music composers make for themselves at their studio. Some of these songs, at times, get selected for films as well. In the late ‘90s, a tune came to me organically and I recorded it. At that time, I was working with Faaiz Anwar ji on albums like ‘I Love You’ (Udit Narayan). I made him listen to the tune and he wrote a mukhda for it. Several years later, I made Imtiaz listen to it. He loved it and decided to use it in the film. I got in touch with Faaiz Anwar ji again and he wrote the antaras for it.
Getting Ustad Rashid Khan to sing the song was quite an interesting decision. Though he was an accomplished classical vocalist, he didn’t sing for films.
I was always sure about the fact that only a trained classical vocalist would be able to do justice to this composition. When somebody does riyaaz for several years, his voice acquires a sense of divinity. As a listener, you can feel it when you listen to them singing. I have always been a huge admirer of Ustad Rashid Khan saab. When I approached him to sing ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’, he quoted a big price for it. I told him honestly that we wouldn’t be able to give them such a huge remuneration. At the same time, I told him that he cannot refuse to sing this song. Khan saab got a little angry and asked me why he couldn’t say a no. I told him, “aap mana nahin kar sakte kyonki main aap se bahut pyaar karta hun”. He said, “theek hai Sandesh bhai, aap Kalkatte aa jaao. Main record kar dunga”. We did some rehearsals in Mumbai and then recorded the final track in Kolkata.
It is often believed that a classical or semi-classical song used in a film doesn’t get very popular. ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’ is one of those songs that have contributed towards dispelling this notion.
Whenever a song touches the hearts of a large number of people, it becomes popular. It could be a rock number or a semi-classical song. The popularity of a song is not driven by its genre.
‘Aaoge Jab Tum’ boasted of some really good arrangements. Who were the musicians that worked with you on the track?
I worked with a wonderful team. One of the most prominent members of the team was Chris Masand, a renowned orchestrator and pianist. All the piano pieces you hear in the song have been played by him. The violin pieces were played by Suresh Lalwani. The flute was played by Naveen Kumar.
You have worked with Imtiaz Ali on multiple projects. You had composed the entire album of ‘Socha Na Tha’ and he directed a music video for your album ‘Baarish’ (2007). Is there a possibility of you collaborating with him in the near future?
Imtiaz is a sensible filmmaker and has a very good understanding of music. I cherish all the work I have done with him. Though we haven’t collaborated on a project in a while, I hope to work with him soon.