Akshay & IP Singh on Reinventing Classics with a Modern Twist for “Crew”

It was in a harmonious synthesis of melody and electronics that composer duo Akshay & IP Singh, known for their innovative musical styles, crafted a song that would eventually find its perfect scene within the much-anticipated film, “Crew”. Starring a power-packed ensemble of Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Kriti Sanon, “Crew” offered the musical maestros a chance to not only introduce an original composition but also reimagine past hits that aligned seamlessly with the film’s narrative.

The track “Dar ba dar”, vocally brought to life by the resonant B Praak and Asees Kaur, was a creation that lingered in the minds and playlists of those who had the privilege of hearing it. Among its admirers was producer Rhea Kapoor, who had kept the song under her wing until the right moment came along. That moment arrived with “Crew”; a film whose resonance with the soulful number became increasingly apparent, leading Kapoor to reach out to the duo for its use. Akshay, speaking about the genesis of the song, recounted how “Dar ba dar” was birthed from casual jamming sessions and how it was Rhea’s vision to see the piano-laced track evolve with an electronic edge—a step that has now integrated it as an integral element of the film’s soundscape.

The creative freedom granted to Akshay & IP Singh didn’t stop at their original composition. As the film’s narrative unfolded before them, they recognized other scenes ripe for musical enhancement. Diving into the expansive music label catalog, the duo selected two classic tracks ripe for reinterpretation: “Sona kitna sona” and “Choli ke peeche”. These choices were not random but tailored to the storyline, where characters entwined in gold smuggling and other key scenarios provided an apt backdrop for these numbers to be reborn in a new light.

Maintaining the essence of the original was paramount for the composers. They didn’t set out to remake but to reimagine—keeping the hook line, yet injecting a fresh take on the whole composition without upsetting the songs’ original allure. As Singh notes, they wanted to honor the legacy, the essence, and the flavors of these classics while seasoning them with their unique “tadka”.

The original singers of “Choli ke peeche”, Ila Arun and Alka Yagnik, were retained to preserve the song’s authenticity, as Akshay and Singh were conscious of the thin line between refreshing a classic and inviting critique. By doing so, they’ve been able to retain the fondness of the songs while dressing them in contemporary arrangements, adding Punjabi and hip-hop elements to the mix. When it came to “Choli ke peeche”, Diljit Dosanjh’s involvement became a serendipitous choice. Known for his high-pitched singing, Dosanjh was tasked with experimenting in lower scales, adding another layer of fresh interpretation to the beloved track—with only 30 minutes in the recording booth, he delivered a performance that brimmed with the required essence.

The endeavor of Akshay & IP Singh in “Crew” bends the arc of musical possibility, as they experiment with sounds and challenge conventional frameworks. Their tale is one where reverence for the old is as important as the boldness to break new ground. In doing so, the soundtrack for “Crew” promises to be a narrative force in itself, where each beat and each note plays a critical role in taking the story forward, while also evoking a sense of nostalgia that tugs at the heartstrings of an audience spanning generations. With their latest cinematic collaboration, the composer duo underscores their reputation as musical alchemists, turning auditory experiences into gold.

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