The song is sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Kavita Krishnamurthy. The music was composed by A. R. Rahman and was a remake of the song "Kadhal Nayagara" which he composed for the 1999 Tamil film En Swasa Kaatre. Rahman changed the instrumentation and vocals and extended the length by two minutes.
The lyrics and title of "Kay Sera Sera" are inspired by the song "Que Sera, Sera" ("Whatever Will Be, Will Be") written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. That song was composed for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 movie The Man Who Knew Too Much and sung by Doris Day (who later used it as the theme song for her television show) . "Que Sera Sera" won an Academy Award for Best Song.
There are several things that make Pukar's "Kay Sera Sera" item number stand out.
First, the stylized set of red and black with the lead dancers in dark midnight blue is powerful. While item dancers appear in primary colors, our focus is on the two leads who stand out in stark contrast to the deep red background of the set.
Second, the lead dancers are two of India's best dancers - Madhuri Dixit and Prabhu Deva. The techno-fusion sounds of "Kay Sera Sera" seems tailor-made for Deva who also choreographed the item number. In the "Making of" documentary, Madhuri Dixit explained:
"I was very nervous because Prabhuji's style of dancing is very different and I'm used to a different style of dancing ..."
Dixit is trained in Kathak dance, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance in which the performer tells a story through her dance. While Deva has trained in the south Indian Bharatanatyam classical dance style, the performances of this "boneless wonder" reflect a western influence. As a result, Prabhu Deva has been dubbed "India's Michael Jackson".
What is extraordinary about this item number is how Madhuri Dixit meets each of Prabhu Deva's step with equal measure - as if the two were meant to dance together. The performance is playful and has an extemporaneous quality to it. It is fascinating to watch and definitely a unique dance style for Dixit.
Third, the item number introduces Anjali's feelings for Major Jaidev (Anil Kapoor) - an important storyline of the Pukar film. Through eye-contact, winks and waves during the performance, it is clear that Anjali and Major Jai have a special relationship. But it is the short daydream sequence within the song that highlights her deep romantic feelings for him.
According to a January 2000 rediff.com interview with Madhuri Dixit, Pukar producer Boney Kapoor required several takes before he was satisfied that the song was working for the film:
"The first time we shot, we felt it was the costumes that were not looking nice. And Boneyji is the kind of producer who’ll go all out to make his film look good. So it is like, 'Okay, we will scrap that version and do it again.'
"We did it again. Then they realised it's not the costumes or anything, it is the song that’s not working because this is the moment that introduces Anjali in the film. So it had to be a song which says what kind of person she is - because, when she is introduced through a song, one is not going to be able to show what her character is like or how she interacts with Jai or what her relationship with Jai is. That is when they realised, 'Oh, that is the blunder that we are making with the song.' So they decided to re-do it.
"I think it takes a lot of guts for a producer to do that. I can’t think of any other name or any other producer who would do that for his film. I think Boneyji was quite gutsy, he went ahead and recorded a new song with Rahman and we said, 'Yes, this is the song which has to be shot.'
"Then the next question was, 'Who is going to do it to make it look different?' I have worked with many choreographers, I have done a lot of songs, so this one had to be different; it had to grab people’s attention. It shouldn’t be like, 'Awww, Madhuri has done that before.' It had to look different.
"I think Boneyji hit upon this idea of asking Prabhudeva to do it. It was very sweet of Prabhudeva to agree. He has choreographed the song and danced in it himself and he done a brilliant job in the film."
According to Bollywhat.com, the lyrics of "Kay Sera Sera" can be translated as:
Young folks, listen well to what I say.
Don't ever fall in love with anyone.
"Que sera sera sera," whatever will be will be.
May we be be granted the refuge of love, no matter what happens afterward!
Love is life, love is every happiness.
The heart that is granted love blossoms like a flower.
Love is a mistake, it's a trap, it's a sinking shadow.
Look, don't complain to me later.
Love is the tale of heartbeats;
it's a lovely story.
Love gives you the tracks of tears.
Where is peace in love?
He who doesn't heed love's message
has no place on either land or in the sky,
as if love lies to the east and west, to the north and south.
Here in every direction there is only love!
Love is an illness, love is pain, love might break your heart one day.
This is the pattern of love.
Only love makes life colorful.
Only love makes the heart young.
Love is like a forest of thorns.
From love springs a season of sorrow.
Who knows why you're so fretful about love?
Love showers benevolence on the entire world!
The following video playlist features the film version of the song "Kay Sera Sera" from Pukar, the original version of the song "Kadhal Nayagara" from the Tamil film En Swasa Kaatre , a performance of the song in the television dance competition show Boogie Woogie, and the original "Que Sera Sera" as performed by Doris Day in the film The Man Who Knew Too Much.
If you liked this, check out our other Music Monday posts.