While most of the music for the 2012 Yash Raj film Ek Tha Tiger was composed by Sohail Sen, the final song of the film, "Mashallah", was written by the composer duo of brothers Sajid Ali and Wajid Ali (Sajid-Wajid).
The film focuses on Indian RAW agent "Tiger" (Salman Khan) who meets and falls in love with the beautiful Zoya (Katrina Kaif) during a mission. An unforeseen revelation in his mission causes an unplanned turn of events that challenges Tiger's ideology and principles and threatens their relationship.
The highly successful song "Mashallah" was Sajid-Wajid's first musical contribution to a Yash Raj film. Salman Khan had previously worked with the composer duo in many films - including Tere Naam (2003), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Partner (2007), Wanted (2009), and Dabangg (2010). Feeling the soundtrack needed a catchy tune, Salman Khan recommended the duo to producer Aditya Chopra.
But "Mashallah" wasn't written specifically for Ek Tha Tiger. In a Times of India story, Sajid explains:
"We had created this track some time back. Salman [Khan] had loved it then and told us to use it for the right film. I guess it was tailor-made for Ek Tha Tiger."
"While we had composed the tune earlier, we kept modifying it to make it better and better. Initially the lyrics were just the two words; mashallah mashallah and I'd just add words randomly and sing it. We never realised it then that it would be used for Ek Tha Tiger. But unknowingly and unassumingly it was getting ready for the Salman-Katrina starrer. The final tune, lyrics, me and Shreya (Ghoshal) singing, Aditya Chopra and [director] Kabir Khan liking the song instantly and even the picturisation and the mood shown synced perfectly with the song."
Sohail Sen treated this as a fortuitous situation because the film needed a song to begin its marketing push prior to the film's release. In an August 2012 The Indian Express story, he explains:
"The song is being used as for promotions. There was supposed to be a song for that particular situation in the film but the location and theme changed during shooting. There wasn't enough time to record a new song and Sajid-Wajid had this song (Mashallah) ready so it was added to the film."
While the film was shot in several locations throughout the world - including Turkey, Ireland, Cuba, and Thailand - the song "Mashallah" was filmed in Mumbai, but given a decidedly Moroccan flavor. It took four days to film this item number. In a July 2012 Times of India interview, choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant talked about the experience:
"I first heard the song in Salman's (Khan) vanity van at YRF Studios along with Sajid Wajid. I knew I couldn't make him do 'tapori' steps like pulling his pants. I knew it had to cater to the masses but in a stylish way," says Vaibhavi.
About Katrina Kaif, she added, "I made her do an Arabic curve called Taksim Maya. Usually, it's done standing up. She had to do it lying down. She is extremely hard working."
The song was shot at Film City and the timing was very crucial, explains Vaibhavi, "Though the preparations began by noon, we would start rolling only by 3.30 pm. We had to finish by 6 pm for the perfect light."
The lyrics and music of the song have a very middle-eastern sound and Merchant used this in her choreography, costumes, and set design. The Arabic phrase "Masha'Allah" expresses appreciation, joy, praise or thankfulness for an event or person that was just mentioned. Bollymeaning.com explains how this definition is expressed in the song:
Masha Allah (Masha'Allah or simply Mashallah) literally means "God has Willed it" and is used to express thankfulness for something good, while praising it. Hence, here, the meaning of Mashallah can be taken as calling someone beautiful, by thanking God for the beauty.
"Mashallah" is sung by Wajid Ali and Shreya Ghoshal and picturized on Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. The following playlist includes several "making of" videos, the official version of the song, and the press conference with Sohail Sen, Salman Khan, and Katrina Kaif to launch the song.
If you liked this, check out our other Music Monday posts.