Most people reading this will recognise how the feeling of mild hunger and irritation go hand-in-hand. There is little truth in the jokes about throwing some food a woman’s way when she gets mad. We privileged folks have it easy with hunger creeping in between meals. But speak to those kids who have to tackle hunger without knowing whether or not there will be another meal in the day, those who feel that the best part of going to school is the mid-day meal, and you will realise how frivolously we tend to use the verb in conversation.
Addressing the grave issues of hunger and malnutrition in India, KFC launched their AddHope campaign in 2016 with an aim to provide 20 million meals to children by 2020. They have been providing meals to 14,000 kids in more than 16 cities across India every day resulting in over 4.75 million meals till now.
How are they doing this? Well, very intelligently. Every time you order at any of the KFC outlets across India, or online, Rs 5 is added to your bill, and this amount is transferred to partners such as Smile Foundation, Responsenet and India Food Banking Network to provide meals for underprivileged children.
The fast food chain will soon release a song titled Ab Meri Baari to throw light on these issues. While Shloke Lal was roped in to compose the song, Tushar Joshi, who sang for films like Jagga Jasoos and Jab Harry Met Sejal, has lent his voice. “I’ve ordered from KFC multiple times and I haven’t noticed paying Rs 5 for this noble cause. It’s great that they do this, because the customer is doing a good deed without even knowing it,” says Lal, adding, “I’ve been brought up in a home where my mother used to (and still does) run an NGO for women’s rehabilitation in Patna. I have been moulded in such a way to take initiative or at least associate with such noble causes.”
Coming to the song, he says, “We tried many different approaches towards composing the song. Though it was a grave issue we were dealing with, we wanted to keep the song light and fun so that it catches everyone’s attention. Feeling hungry is not a pleasant feeling at all, imagine the hunger you’ve felt and magnify it several times to understand how people feel who stay hungry out of no other option. But people will listen to what you have to say if you present it in a peppy way.” To which Joshi adds, “I was the voice, so my job was to bring the energy required to it. The song has a lot of attitude too.”
The video of the track will feature underprivileged kids who are seen dancing away to glory. The song celebrates them as heroes.
The track will get the message out to a wider audience in a shorter time. “We moulded our whole approach to the song to be more relatable and make something people will like to listen to again and again. The kids in the video have done a terrific job. They were happy because they were focussed on the music and the video,” says Lal, revealing that Joshi has done something in the song that he has never done before in his singing career — he rapped.
“We did many things when we took up this project. We changed the song we initially started with so many times and Shloke was there to guide me through it all. The energy had to be just right to get the song bang on. There is a part where I am rapping the lyrics. It was pretty tight, and in all honesty, I did not have to put in much effort in trying my hand at rapping because the lyrics had a groove anyway. So it’s like I’m singing the song and there’s a rap in the middle. We hadn’t planned this sort of a thing from the start, it became a part of the plan as it kept changing,” says Joshi. His message for kids this Children’s Day is to be happy. “Just be happy, and everything will be fine,” he adds.
Lal, however, has a message for parents. He believes that parents should instill conscience in their kids from a young age so that they grow into more sensitive and responsible adults.
The duo are tight-lipped about their plans, but drop a hint saying that the upcoming year is going to be big for both.