Dhruv Ghanekar Opens Up About Scoring for ‘Dhaakad’ and Plotting ‘Voyage II’ Album
The composer returned to film music after nearly a decade, to deliver the background score and three songs for the action flick
Action flick Dhaakad may have had a less-than-favorable performance at the box office and amongst critics, but the way Bollywood works, there’s always some aspect of each project that earns appreciation. In the case of Dhaakad, that wholly belongs to its soundtrack, the credits for which were shared by Dhruv Ghanekar and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with the former also creating the background score.
Ghanekar says he was drawn to the project – his first since 2012 working on music for a movie – due to director Razneesh ‘Razy’ Ghai’s involvement. Given the longstanding relationship between the two that also encompassed the music video for Ghanekar’s 2015 song “Dhima,” Ghai approached the composer for the background music for Dhaakad at first. “As I was scoring the film, the songs were born out of the themes. This was purely instinctual and unplanned,” Ghanekar says.
The result is evident beyond the adrenaline-fueled background music, in sleek, buoyant songs like “Babul” (sung by Richa Sharma) and the sweeping orchestral duet “So Ja Re” with vocalists Hariharan and Sunidhi Chauhan. The title track, for which Ghanekar brought in vocalist Vasundhara Vee, is exactly the kind of incendiary, powerhouse and epic track you’d expect from the pair.
The composer-guitarist says he needed a “strong character theme” and that’s why the title track opens with a “thematic interpretation of the melody” and reflects the persona of the protagonist Agent Agni, portrayed by Kangana Ranaut. “The song needed to embody her character – fierce and fiery, yet vulnerable. From a composition point of view, too, the track needed to encompass all the characteristics in lyrical and musical forms that underline the titular character’s journey in the film. The track endeavors to transport the viewer into the film’s world whilst keeping the universal appeal that captures the best of East and West.”
With lyrics written by Ishitta Arun and Ghanekar recording a 40-piece orchestra in Prague, the title track also marked the Bollywood debut of Vasundhara. “That gives it a very old-school Seventies sound. It was a lot of fun marrying a big rock sound with orchestra,” he adds.
The duo had previously worked on Vasundhara’s single “Run” last year. She said in her statement about “Dhaakad” and Ghanekar, “The emotive landscape of the song hit home for me. Everything I sing is about self-love, inner strength, coping, finding personal authenticity and ‘Dhaakad’ does all of that. Even though I was stepping out of my comfort zone, the emotive content was very me.”
The soundtrack comes at a time when Ghanekar had mostly stayed away from scoring background music or composing for movies, given the “massive time commitment” that took him away from writing his own music, plus performing and producing for other independent artists outside of the film world. He adds, “In that time, advertising also kept me busy, but the lines between independent music and film music have blurred now. So, it was time to jump back in.”
That said, Ghanekar is going full steam ahead with a follow-up to his 2015 fusion album Voyage, which was a collaboration-heavy affair that also dipped into the composer’s cinematic storytelling prowess. “I am happy to report that Voyage II is underway and I intend to release it soon,” he reveals, adding, “There’s a dance/pop project that’s in the pipeline, which should be out next year.”
Stream the ‘Dhaakad’ soundtrack below.