PeepingMoon Exclusive: We thought we got Bole Chudiyan wrong, the tune had to be altered on a tight deadline- Lalit Pandit on 20 Years of K3G


Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is an iconic film and there is no denial. Right from the story, direction, acting, production design, to costumes, everything stood out. But it was the music of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham that enhanced the overall feel of the film. The jukebox was a complete package with a song for every mood. Be it Lata Mangeshkar's rendition of the title song or the chartbuster Bole Chudiyan, the music brought every emotion alive. 

One of the composers on Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was Lalit Pandit. In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon on the film's 20th anniversary, the veteran music director opened up about why K3G's composition is special to him, whether director Karan gave him inputs while working on the songs and the reason why Bollywood can no longer make such melodies. 

Excerpts from the interview:

Why is Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham's music special to you?

Before Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, we did Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with Karan Johar. That film got us multiple awards in the music category. Considering Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was one of the biggest films of Bollywood, there was a huge responsibility on us to deliver our best. This made our challenge interesting. The process of making the film's music was magical. Bole Chudiyan is one of my most favourite songs from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

When we were making Bole Chudiyan, at one point, we thought we have got it wrong. It stressed us out. Basically, when the song was recorded, its tune was different. We had no time to change the song, but the tune had to be altered. Without re-recording, I changed the tune as we had no time to start from scratch.

Even the title song of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was a challenging one. It had to be a bhajan but the drama was unfolding on-screen. The song featured Shah Rukh Khan's helicopter entry. Though a bhajan is simple, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham's title song had to be dramatic and big. We had to mix a pacy rhythm during Shah Rukh's entry but retain the essence and purity of a bhajan. Lata Mangeshkar played a big role in making the song immortal. Lataji was keen on doing the song but she said she never does only one song in a film. To convince her, I sang the song for her. That's when she agreed. It was a lovely gesture. Without her, the song would have not been this magical.

Did filmmaker Karan Johar give his inputs while curating the songs?

Karan Johar has a rich taste in music and that's why the songs in his films are melodious. He adores music and is meticulous in his approach. Karan gave me one of the best narrations for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. In fact, he narrated the entire film. When a person has worked hard on the screenplay and dialogues, you know the film will be a blockbuster. 

Bollywood no longer makes songs and music like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. According to you, what could be the reason?

I would not know the exact reason but I guess it is because of the remix culture. People feel, "Yeh gana pehle chal chuka hai, usko daal do toh phirse hit ho jayegi." But that's not the right approach. Original songs ki baat hi alag hoti hai. Films mein music aur songs characters aur story dekhkar banaya jaata hai. We gave music for Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Khamoshi, both released simultaneously. The music of the films was poles apart yet it became chartbusters. The music was made according to the characters. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge ka koi bhi song Khamoshi mein daal denge toh match nahi hoga.