Shooting film songs

Picture the song: Feel the love in ‘Aaj ki Raat’ from the ‘Don’ remake

Echoes of the Donna Summer disco hit and 1970s retro chic in Farhan Akhtar’s version of ‘Don’.

Filmmaker Farhan Akhtar was briefly trending on social media for shutting down his personal Facebook account after reports emerged that user data had been illegally harvested by the data firm Cambridge Analytica. However, Akhtar hasn’t deleted his Twitter account yet, and he had to put out a tweet on Tuesday denying reports that a third Don movie would be released in 2020 and would feature him as a police officer.

The reports fall into the wish fulfillment category. Fans of the first two films, directed by Akhtar and released in 2006 and 2011, clearly wish to see Shah Rukh Khan return as the suave gangster, and entertainment journalists are happy to fuel the speculation based on conversations with “anonymous sources”. However, the second movie, in which Khan’s titular character returned for a heist, proved that the filmmakers were already running out of imaginative ways in which to extend the story. Don 3 could well turn out to the rehash that nobody really wants.

The 2006 production was a chic and enjoyable remake of Chandra Barot’s 1978 hit, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman. The remake worked partly because of reflected glory – much of the plot and key characters were borrowed from the first film – and smart updates to the material (the characters played by Boman Irani and Priyanka Chopra, for instance, and the plot twist).

Shankar-Ehsan-Loy remastered and reimagined key tracks from the 1978 production for the soundtrack with mixed results. Shaan sang a lovely techno version of the title tune. The seduction song Yeh Mera Dil, replacing Helen with Kareena Kapoor, should have been left alone. Khaike Paan Banaraswala didn’t have the charm in terms of the singing or the visuals the second time round.

The soundtrack’s catchiest tune is Aaj Ki Raat, whose double-edged lyrics (by Javed Akhtar) and club setting hint at dark deeds in the offing. Irani’s Vardhan character is plotting a hit while Khan’s Don hits the dance floor along with the characters played by Priyanka Chopra and Isha Koppikar. The retro feel isn’t only a result of the costumes, choreography and old-fashioned editing transitions. Aaj Ki Raat has echoes of the 1977 Donna Summer hit I Feel Love. Produced by the legendary composer and DJ Giorgio Moroder, the disco track deeply affected Hindi film composers. I Feel Love echoes through Ramba Ho from Armaan (1981) and Raat Baki from Namak Halaal (1982), both composed by Bappi Lahiri, while Pyar Karne Wale from Shaan, composed by RD Burman, is another speeded-up version.

Of the lot, Aaj Ki Raat is the smoothest and lightest tribute to Donna Summer. Alisha Chinai’s smokiness is well paired with Mahalaxmi Iyer’s higher pitch and Sonu Nigam’s velvet voice, and the songs fits snugly into a movie inspired by the 1970s in more ways than one.

Play
Aaj Ki Raat, Don (2006).
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

Play


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.