When Ken Scott started work on The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir he knew that music would play an integral part. “Music is an important part of the language of this film. Our protagonist Aja (played by Tamil superstar Dhanush) is Indian and music is very close to who he is. He sets off on a journey of self-discovery. As he travels from India to France, England, Spain, and Italy, music gives the audience a very clear sense of where the film is,” Scott explained over a late night phone interview from his home in Montreal, Canada.
The Canadian director describes his adaptation of Romain Puertoles’s bestselling book, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe, as ‘a comedy that touches upon important issues of migration’. The film follows Aja, a small-time magician from the slums of Mumbai to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and his subsequent adventures across Europe.
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir has three Hindi tracks for which Aditi Anand, one of the film’s producers, recommended music composer Amit Trivedi. “I was told that this is an international film but the protagonist is Indian. The idea was to keep the music as earthy and Indian as possible. And, it was going to be a Dhanush film. I was immediately sold,” Trivedi said. Scott’s brief to Trivedi was quite simple. “He wanted one Bollywood party song and one love song,” the composer added. Madaari and Angrezi Luv Shuv were the two tracks Trivedi delivered first.
The third track – Maila Maila – was scored only after the film was shot. “After the film was shot, I was sent a two-and-half-minute sequence for which Ken wanted a score. The brief was to make it funky, cool and upbeat. Dhanush’s character is a street magician doing his magic tricks and conning people, so I created a track accordingly,” Trivedi explained. Sung by Mame Khan with R Venkatraman rapping, Maila Maila is also his favourite track from the film. Videos of mostly foreign audiences dancing to Madaari at various film festivals did make Trivedi very happy.
Scott picks Madaari, his ‘homage to Bollywood’ as his favourite. “It’s a dance number that is immediately identifiable. As soon as you hear it, you know it has something to do with India and Indian culture. Not just the music, even the dance movements are so typically Indian. That’s what I want the music of this film to do. Like there’s an homage to Monty Python when Dhanush’s character is in England. He is meeting the Police Commissioner who is saying horrible things but with a song-and-dance,” said Scott, who wrote the lyrics of that song along with Luc Bossi and it was composed by French composer Nicolas Errera.
I was told that this is an international film but the protagonist is Indian. The idea was to keep the music as earthy and Indian as possible. And, it was going to be a Dhanush film. I was immediately sold – Amit Trivedi
Madaari was Scott’s first experience with filming a lip-synced, choreographed song. “We had a blast shooting this though it was also a little scary for me. I had never shot anything like this. Fortunately, I was in good hands with Dhanush and Vishu Deva (choreographer). Shooting these songs was also a way for me to discover and understand Indian culture. All of these songs take the story forward so I also understood an important aspect of Indian story telling,” Scott added.
The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir, presented by Golden Ratio Films, produced by M! Capital Ventures, Little Red Car Films, Brio Films and Impact Films distributed by Anil Thadani’s AA Films in English and YNotx in Tamil releases in India, North America, Singapore and Malaysia on June 21st.