A.R. Rahman’s song “Tere Bina” gets prominent placement in Disney’s 3D animated film “Planes,” now in theaters, but the Oscar-nominated composer told India-West in an e-mail that he didn’t know the song was selected for the film.
The song, written by Rahman for the 2007 film “Guru” and performed in a qawaali style by Rahman and vocalist Chinmayee, was selected by the film’s music coordinator, Francis Debbane, and was licensed by Sony Music Entertainment India. It plays during a sweetly romantic scene as planes fly over the Taj Mahal.
Rahman’s music is not the only Indian detail in the film; Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra has a costarring role as Ishani, the female romantic lead in the film opposite Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) (I-W, Aug. 2)
The character was designed to have an alluring look, most importantly in her smoky, kohl-rimmed eyes. Explained T. Dan Hofstedt, the film’s supervising animator in the film’s press notes, “Ishani’s eyes had to be extra appealing. It’s Disney tradition that the eyes of female characters are a little more curvy in shape. We might bring the lids down a bit so they’re cutting into the iris and pupil. Glen Keane did it in ‘The Little Mermaid’; Mark Henn did that with Jasmine in ‘Aladdin.’”
Another facet in Ishani’s exotic appeal is a henna tattoo that stretches over the top of her wings and across her fuselage. The tattoo was researched and designed by art director Ryan Carlson, and executed by character designer Scott Seeto.
The film’s technical credits feature more than 100 Indian names working with Prana Animation Studios, a company based in Los Angeles and Mumbai that offers 3D animation and visual effects in collaboration with Hollywood studios such as Walt Disney, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and many others.
“Ishani is the romantic lead — a Pan-Asian champion who is sexy and sassy,” Chopra said in a video interview. “The one thing I wanted Ishani to be was a little exotic and mysterious, but at the same time tough. There comes a time in her life when she makes a mistake, but she makes up for it. I really wanted that to come across.”