‘Akhiyaan Milavanga’, the chartbuster song from the Vidyut Jammwal starrer ‘Commando 3’ completes two years of its release today. These days, the popularity of a song is gauged by the hits it garners on audio/video platforms and the number of cover versions are made of it. In today’s digital world, the frenzy around a hit song remains for a couple of months at best. ‘Akhiyaan Milavanga’, however, is one song which fans are still making cover versions of.
The song has crossed more than a 100 million streams across all audio streaming platforms. Recently, YouTube sensation and singer Maithili Thakur, too, made a cover of it and posted it on her social media accounts.
Talking about the love that fans have been pouring on the song, composer Mannan Shaah says, “The reach of our song can be gauged by the fact that even today people are making cover versions of it. Till now, I have come across more than 2,000 cover versions of it on the internet. Apart from vocal renditions, there have been some really good instrumental covers too.”
As a composer, Mannan is known to do some interesting experiments with his songs. For instance, he once composed a song (“Kya Kahoon Jaaneman” – ‘Namaste England’) using just three notes. In ‘Akhiyaan Milavanga”, he used a string instrument that has rarely been used in Hindi film music.
“We had used Qamancha, an Armenian folk instrument, which was played by Rasa-lila Bunatyan for the song. She is an Armenian musician who lives and works in Mumbai. You can hear the instrument right before the second antara begins.”
The song was sung by Arijit Singh and newcomer Sruthy Sasidharan. Mannan has had a long-standing association with Arijit as both of them used to assist composer Pritam Chakraborty years ago. This was, however, the first time Arijit lent his voice to a song composed by Mannan.
About his experience of working with Arijit, Mannan says, “He was suffering from a sore throat when he first recorded the song. He sounded good in the song but there was a certain tiredness in his voice on account of not being well. I asked him to record again when he feels better. After 14-15 days, he suddenly called me at 3 am and said that he had just mailed me the song. I heard the track and was blown away by his rendition. Sruthy is a trained vocalist and sung her portions very well too.”
The song marked many first-time collaborations. The soulful lyrics were written by Sahil Sultanpuri whom Mannan had never worked with before.
“Sahil bhai is a very talented writer. He was introduced to me through Adi Sharma, our executive producer. What’s amazing about him is that he has a great command over many languages. He is from Uttar Pradesh and naturally, one expects him to know Hindi and Urdu well. ‘Akhiyaan Milavanga’ has many Punjabi verses and the way he has written the song, one would think that he is from Punjab. He has written a bunch of Marathi songs too”.
Though ‘Akhiyaan Milavanga’ was not a part of the film, the promotions of the film revolved largely around this one song.
About the same, the composer says, “The song played an important role in the film getting a good opening. Even my song ‘Tere Dil Mein’ was not there in ‘Commando 2’ but helped significantly in the promotions of the film. ‘Akhiyaan Milavanga’, of course, became a much bigger song. I was very happy when the song picked up right from the day it released. It was a raga based composition and I was looking forward to see how people will react to it. It was heartening to see it being loved by people of all age groups. It will always remain one of the most important songs of my career.”