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It is not just a song, it is a visual treat, Chinni Prakash in 'Manzoor-E-Khuda' making video

Thugs Of Hindostan actors Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, composers Ajay-Atul and choreographer Chinni Prakash spoke about their experience of making the song.

Mayur Lookhar

A period film, especially a costume and action-adventure drama like Thugs Of Hindostan poses challenges to each and every department. The music is especially vital in generating a buzz around the film. With due respect to composer duo Ajay and Atul Gogavale, the couple of songs — 'Vashmalle' and 'Manzoor-E-Khuda' look — far from perfect. 'Manzoor-E-Khuda' is quite the visual treat. It is picturised on actress Katrina Kaif, who plays the character of Suraiyya.

The teaser of the song was released earlier, and now Yash Raj Films has shared a video of the making of the song. Actors Aamir Khan, Kaif, composers Ajay-Atul and the choreographer Chinni Prakash spoke about their experience of making the song.

“'Manzoor-E-Khuda' is a song which is on a huge scale. It is a song which is very interesting because there are a lot of layers to it. First, of course, is the upper layer, which is of Suraiyya,” said Khan.

Echoing Khan's sentiments, Kaif added, "It is one of those really uplifting, grand, huge productions, huge orchestra, huge composition. It is one of those classic type of numbers."

For director Vijay Krishna Acharya, there was just one goal in his mind: "We wanted a song that has not been seen or heard in Hindi films before."

Composers Ajay-Atul had a clear brief. "The two important things that needed to be reflected through the score was Hindustaniyat of the Hindustanis and the notoriety of the Thugs," says Ajay.

While the song is set in the 19th century, a composer cannot totally do away with contemporary tools for scoring such a track. "We brought in so many rhythmists. We used so many percussions. It’s the biggest orchestra we have ever used in our lives. Not just the orchestra, the rhythm section, and even the chorus...," says Ajay.

Penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya, the song is crooned by Shreya Ghoshal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh with additional vocals by Ajay.

Ajay pointed out that the orchestra would make the song bigger, but the emotions could only come through the vocals. And he felt Sunidhi Chauhan was the best candidate for the job. 'Manzoor-E-Khuda' became the first song she recorded after giving birth to her son, who was born on 1 January this year. She is seen carrying the baby while leaving the studio in the making video.

“The power that the song has, the lyrics and the moment that hook line comes, it just makes you feel elevated from wherever you are.  It gives you that feeling of flying, pain and everything,” says Chauhan.

As for her co-singer Sukhwinder Singh, he felt an instant soulful connect. “When I heard 'Manzoor-E-Khuda', it had an immediate soulful connect. The canvas, the speed, aura, I have never heard [anything like this] before,” said Singh.

The song is choreographed by veteran choreographer Chinni Prakash, for whom Kaif was full of praise.

“Chinni Prakash has a very specific vision and the scale he brings to all his songs. When they are doing a song there is a certain classic grandness to it,” said Kaif. There were about 350-400 dancers in the song.

Commenting on the biggest challenge in the song, Kaif said, “There is a part of choreography which involves these knee spins on the floor, but when we were rehearsing it we were, of course, doing with knee pads, but what you don’t realise is that there is a certain slide  that knee pads give you, it gives you extra speed. On the day of the shoot, of course, you can't have knee pads, because of the outfit... I suffered a bit of an injury, that took me a while to get through. That was something that was challenging."

For Kaif, the track was all about beauty and grace.  

“This is something which I had not done before, it looks very beautiful, graceful and it's just that kind of dancing, that is something which is nice to see. You feel good when you watch it,” said Kaif.

Chinni Prakash summed up the track in a few words: "It is not just a song, it is a visual treat, it's a grandeur song, it's a complete package.”

Singh predicted that the song would make history.

Thugs Of Hindostan will be released on 8 November.

Watch the making of 'Manzoor-E-Khuda' below: