India’s biggest production house, Yash Raj Films, gave India it’s biggest franchise with the Dhoom series of films.
These adrenaline pumping, edge of the seat, anti-hero entertainers have been true visual spectacles.
Dhoom films have set new benchmarks in every department of movie-making, as well as at the national and global box office.
On the 14th anniversary of Dhoom:2, Pritam, who had composed the music for the Dhoom series. He opens up about how he composed Dhoom Machale, a track that has entertained generations of Indians.
“I remember that Dilbara was the first song to get locked for Dhoom and it was Ali’s (Uday Chopra) song, Sameer Saab (lyricist) came into the picture. At that time there was no name, Dhoom was not there. Dhoom Machale was one of the songs which was banked for Dhoom. I remember there was a meeting about the title of the film. We were all sitting and brainstorming and Adi came up with putting Dhoom Machale, Dhoom Machale, Dhoom in the melody of what we had. I have forgotten what the scratch lyrics were at that time. So, when Adi came up with Dhoom Machale, everyone immediately locked onto it and said this is the title of the film and the title song!” says Pritam.
Pritam admits that he did not expect Dhoom Machale to become such a rage among audiences. He says,
“We never thought that Dhoom will become so big. I never thought, I was just hoping that it cuts through and becomes popular because it was important for me at that time. It’s always important for a song to become popular but at that time I was just hoping and praying. I remember the day Dhoom was releasing I was going to Shirdi and on the way I heard in 2 places – one was a car back horn with the Dhoom Machale tune and the other was somebody in Shirdi was singing it. Then I knew gaana toh popular hogaya. Dhoom was a great gig!”
Dhoom Machale had an English version sung by popular international artist Tata Young.
That track topped charts and became an urban youth anthem. Pritam discloses,
“Adi said let’s make an English version of Dhoom Machale! I don’t know why Adi said it. I thought it was not going to work in the beginning, and so, Tata Young came into the picture. I remember Tata was saying, ‘Doom’ machale, because the was no ‘Dh” in English and she was laughing, as we were trying to get DH out of her. I thought the English track was actually a great idea by Adi because it gave another dimension to Dhoom Machale. That song became extremely popular in Southeast Asia, China, and lot of other places.”
Pritam reveals that he was feeling overwhelmed to create Dhoom: 2’s music because the first film’s music went through the roof. He says,
“When I started composing Dhoom: 2 music, I was feeling the pressure because Dhoom 1’s music was a huge success story. However, Adi asked us to not take any pressure, and just to go with the flow and script. We had to do a new version of Dhoom Machale, like a newer version. So, there is this idea which came, they wanted to use trash materials and make music out of it to give it a super cool vibe.”
“I remember, while making the scratch of Dhoom Machale for Dhoom:2, I went to Four Bungalows (Mumbai suburb) and visited all the shops around Andheri and bought biscuit tins, different kinds of vessels which make sound, made a huge stock of cans, big flour cans and we created the track out of that sound. The Dhoom theme was made out of car honks and Dhoom: 2’s entire percussion was made out of trash cans! It was crazy, fun and again Adi wanted to keep it in English. Suggestion to make Vishal sing came from Adi only, then we had the girl version for the end title. My favourite song from Dhoom 2 will be Crazy Kiya Re, I really enjoyed the process of Crazy Kiya Re.”
Recounting his experience of choreographing two of the most good-looking superstars, Hrithik and Ash, who are also phenomenal dancers, Shiamak says,
“You see I’d worked with Aishwarya in Taal and before she became Miss World and I’d worked with her already in a Sufi jazz piece, so she was already quite close to understanding my style & delivering it really well. Hrithik was very new to what I do, but the best part about Hrithik was that he is just so natural and my kind of style on him worked so well.”
“I think he also quite excited with the fact that he could do such a different, unusual kind of work. He was normally doing which is a very strong Bollywood dance. Suddenly, we were to put a little bit of jazz and contemporary. It was quite a thought process to see him and Aishwarya interpret the song. I was very, very happy that they both did a good job. I was very proud of them because when they both came in together and it was electrifying!”
Dhoom: 2 dance numbers still resonates with the youth. Ask Shiamak why he thinks it has transcended time and he says,
“The reason it resonates with the youth today is because the movements are still very current and fresh. I think the choreography which I did was anyway something very unique and not very regular, even for that time.”
“The success of Dhoom told us that there was a possibility of a cooler style of an action film in India. However, Adi was very clear that we should never make a film only to satisfy the idea of a franchise. We have tried to stick to that principle throughout. Dhoom: 2 had everything pushed up a couple of notches, in every department. I think we managed a racy screenplay, one that keeps you wanting to know more and personally I really enjoyed writing all the characters and their minor quirks,” says Viktor, whose films have set new benchmarks for the industry to chase at the box office.
Talking about why he feels Dhoom: 2 became a rage among the youth of the country, Viktor says,
“I think, the trick to the screenplay of Dhoom: 2 lay in the fact that it was a film which was the continuation of an action film franchise but it became a love story, at its heart and that kind of made the film transcend whatever is the limitation of the genre.”
“I remember when Dhoom came out, and when Dhoom 2 was announced, everyone felt that Dhoom 1 had bikes and all and this one will have cars, that somehow seem to be the natural continuation. The fact is that you don’t make a film about inanimate objects. Even if there are bikes and there’s action, we are always trying to encapsulate a feeling. You are always trying to convey an emotion, whatever that might be and Dhoom: 2 with it’s love story connected with everyone.”
Dhoom: 2 gave audiences a super-hot pairing in Hrithik and Ash that they fell in love with. Hrithik played the super cool thief Aryan and Aishwarya looked her hottest best as Sunehri.
Ask Viktor to share his creative strategy behind writing these characters and he reveals,
“Aishwarya’s character was a little bit of a surprise for everyone and I like the idea of this girl who is on the wrong side of the tracks but is ambitions, whatever be her circumstance, it has led her to be. This character, who lives a very interesting life and is a small-time criminal, was charming and vulnerable and only in the glorious world of Hindi films can you have somebody who’s both a dancer, that’s her day job and she is a thief by night.”
“Aishwarya had never done something like this before. She had played much more traditional characters, more complex, dramatic characters. Light-heartedness is always something exciting in an actor. So, this geometry of Hrithik and Aishwarya was an important sort of a milestone in the film and I think in the world of mainstream entertainment in India, it was a pretty good, and pretty solid paring which stood the test of time.”
Talking about Hrithik’s character, Viktor reveals,
“Hrithik’s character was again in the tradition of what we think is the Dhoom anti-hero. And for me, the idea was someone who exists within society and yet on the fringes of it. Yes, he is a criminal, but he is somebody who is also looking for things which are only special. He is someone exceptionally good at his craft. Those things went into the making of the character and that helps the actor embody something. It helps the director visualize something.”
“Aryan is actually a collector and get he got a high from it. Curiously enough, his arc is that finally through his theft, what he finally manages to steal, is somebody else heart and that ends his life of crime. So, in a very unsaid way, there was a kind of redemption to his character and I think both Hrithik and Aishwarya came into the film and in those characters in a very exciting manner. What Hrithik did to his role. I have to say, was really, really special. He was also, before this, never been presented in this manner and people simply loved him.”