The process of making a movie is a wild ride, and we’re the folks who sneak around behind the scenes to work our magic on the soundtrack. Yep, we’re Music Supervisors, and we’ve just wrapped up a Netflix film starring Juhi Chawla, Babil Khan and Amrith Jayan: ‘Friday Night Plan’. In this article, we’re ditching the fancy words and diving headfirst into the nitty-gritty of how we got the tunes rolling for this film. We’ll chat about the ups, the downs, and the sweet victories of our journey to give this movie its musical mojo.
Going into the project at the pre-production stage, we were fortunate to have a director – Vatsal Neelkantan – who had a very clear vision as to what he wanted vis-a-vis the soundscape of the film. He was pretty clear about putting in three original songs in three places, each serving their own emotional purpose in the development of the plot. He also had stellar references for all three pieces, which was incredibly helpful and made our work much easier.
The Original Songs
For this upbeat composition,(probably the most crucial song in the film, making two appearances) we called on the expertise of Dhruv Visvanath. He found time to work on the melody and punctually share files with us while he was in the US shooting for “My Kind of Country”, on Apple TV. He was collaborative, enthusiastic and easy to work with, and had good management, who were especially receptive. We jumped right into the briefs given, and in less than a week, had an idea for the first song ‘Bahaane’, ready to go. A major win for us was that the very first scratch melody was approved and loved by everyone, despite us following it up with 2 – 3 other ideas. For the song’s production, we brought in composer duo Rahul Pais and Nariman Khambata who created the background score of the film, counting on their deep understanding of the now-developing soundscape of the film. They had a very groovy and nicely produced shoot-mix ready for us in no time.
After encountering challenges in finding the right lyricist and singer for ‘Bahaane,’ we eventually enlisted Siddhant Kaushal, whose lyrics were swiftly approved. They explored numerous voices but eventually circled back to composer Rahul Pais, whose texture and playfulness captured the essence of the song. In hindsight, choosing Rahul was an obvious and perfect choice, and indeed, “Temp Love was real!”
In the end, we gave ‘Bahaane’ exactly what it needed; a captivating yet punchy tune with fresh, meaningful lyrics and a very catchy quality. If we could share one takeaway from our experiences in creating this piece, it would be to wrap up the original songs in your project before your composers get too busy with BGM scoring!
Vatsal’s expectations and his brief for ‘Pandora Ka Dabba’ were pretty straightforward – he wanted a song that encapsulated all the misplaced mischievous rage of teenagers, with all the excitement but none of the aggression. We brought Chennai-based indie alt-rock band Skrat onboard to create this piece, along with Piyush Kapoor of Daira to lay down some quirky Hindi lyrics and vocals. This piece’s major win was that the idea of the very first scratch was loved by all, but it had its own due processes and back-and-forth conversations before it was good to go. We really enjoyed the process of slowly but steadily moulding the first idea into the piece it evolved to become.
During the creation of ‘Pandora Ka Dabba,’ working with independent artists like Skrat brought a unique flavour to the composition but also presented challenges in aligning with the evolving song’s vision. It required several discussions and explanations to maintain the artists’ creative process while shaping the song to meet its requirements, highlighting the successful collaboration in the end.
When it came down to ‘Mazey Mein’, we’re happy to report that everything about this song seemed to fall perfectly and beautifully into place. We struck a double-deal with lyricist Siddhant Kaushal and brought onboard the band When Chai Met Toast to compose and produce the track. The creation of this song turned out to be an incredibly smooth and collaborative process, and this song was the first and the quickest to be wrapped up and approved.
The Licensed Songs
In order to set the scene for the Friday Night Plan – not the movie, the actual plan itself – we took it upon ourselves to find the perfect tracks to make it magical enough to warrant the film being titled so! This culmination takes place at a vibrant teenage party, where the protagonist experiences a mix of emotions, and the selected tracks had to be lively yet subtly mature to mirror Babil’s evolving mindset.
The party opens with ‘Fire In The Streets’ by Madboy Mink, a song that’s half-psychedelic and half-disco grooves, doing a great job with setting that upbeat party tone but keeping the vibes classy and whimsical. The track has an indie sound but is catchy enough such that we could use it diegetically to begin with, and blend seamlessly into the featured score as the scene unfolded.
‘Socha Na Tha’ by Zaeden captured the excitement of young romance with its lyrics and vibe, while also matching tempo with the actors dancing on screen (which was absolutely essential, since the scene had already been shot!) Zaeden has a fairly large fanbase, and as a pop artist, mostly makes groovy, singable love songs with a very trendy style of commercial production.
Our journey through ‘Friday Night Plan‘ underscores the importance of supporting independent artists. They bring unique, specialised flavours to the sonic scape but may need time and a solid creative purpose and direction, to deliver a successful collaboration. In the end, it’s these collaborations that breathe life into a film’s soundtrack, making it more than just a collection of songs, but a vital part of the storytelling.
We’re incredibly thankful to everyone that was instrumental in the musical journey of ‘Friday Night Plan’, especially all the unique talents we got to collaborate with and the amazing people who entrusted us with this task.