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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

AR Rahman, Ananya Birla create cheer song for Indian Olympics contingent, Hindustani Way: ‘Jai Ho was inspiration’

Ananya Birla recently launched the official cheer song for the Indian Olympic contingent to Tokyo 2020. The song has been composed by AR Rahman.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi |
July 29, 2021 10:28:01 am
Ananya Birla Olympics 2020 AR RahmanAnanya Birla said AR Rahman's "Jai Ho" inspired her for "Hindustani Way." (Photo: PR Handout)

Singer-composer Ananya Birla collaborated with Academy Award-winning composer AR Rahman for their recent track “Hindustani Way”, which is being tagged as the official cheer song for the Indian Olympic contingent to Tokyo 2020. Rahman, who is a masterclass at composing motivational and adrenaline-pumping songs, had won the Academy Award for Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho, back in 2008. In an interview to Indian Express, Ananya revealed that the song was the inspiration behind the Hindustani Way composition.

“I think Jai Ho is iconic and cannot be beaten. It never will be. It shouldn’t be! In fact, Jai Ho inspired me to a great extent while I was putting together Hindustani Way,” Ananya said. When asked about her experience of working with Rahman, she answered that when she got to know about the opportunity, she was besides herself in excitement.

Ananya Birla said, “I was jumping on my bed. I am so grateful to have received the opportunity to work with someone who is looked upon as a stalwart by so many generations. I think every singer in the world wants to have that one single with AR Rahman’s credits on it. It’s truly such an incredible moment for me that I have checked one thing off my bucket list. I have so much respect for everything sir has achieved. When it came to making something as important as a song to cheer on our Olympians there is no one I’d rather have collaborated with.”

She also mentioned that they were determined to capture the ‘patriotic spirit’ of the athletes.  “We were both so particular about getting the track right and really capturing that patriotic spirit in honour of our amazing athletes.”

Ananya expressed that the opportunity to be able to compose and sing a cheer song for Indian Olympians at Tokyo 2020 is “really special.” “We are living in a period of great uncertainty, and events like this can be a great symbol of hope, optimism and solidarity. To be able to play a small role in the larger scheme of things feels really special,” she said.

She added that the fighting spirit of the athletes was also fuel for inspiration, as they had overcome several obstacles on their arduous journey. Ananya said, “We were all inspired to make something that reflected the passion of our countrymen and the spirit of these amazing athletes heading off to this year’s Olympics. That is all we had in mind, and it was definitely inspiration enough. Some of our 126 athletes have overcome massive struggles to get to where they are at, and each of them has put in so much work and we all need to celebrate them.”

Recalling being blown away by Mary Kom, Ananya Birla said, “I met Mary Kom when she took part in the video for my song Unstoppable in 2019, and when she told me about her training schedule I was totally in awe and respect of her. They are all amazing and I can’t wait to see them in action and bring glory to our country.”

Ananya said that before she went into the studio via zoom, she and AR Rahman ‘exchanged notes’, so that the process was smooth.

She said, “The first time I recorded my vocals, sir was all praise and complemented me. Thereafter we got into one more studio session where sir guided me through some small nuances and accents that totally elevated the song and added so much more character.” Ananya added, “I remember at one point our sound engineer, Elvis, managed to get sir into my headphones in the studio via zoom when he was in India and I was in Dubai, which was pretty surreal. Before we got into the studio we exchanged a lot of notes so the process was quite seamless,” Ananya replied.

On the concluding note, when asked a quality of AR Rahman she wants to imbibe, Ananya said, “Everything about AR sir is magical. If I had to be specific, then his humility despite reaching the pinnacle of success, and his committed passion for music. ”

And does she have any favourites? “I think it is phenomenal that our athletes have even reached this level. I am cheering for each and every one of them. They have already written history, by reaching where they have.”

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