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News |  19 May 2018 16:00 |  By Tanmaya Vyas

We want our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tweet about æ6-Pack Band 2.0Æ initiative: Ashish Patil

MUMBAI: The common perception of Yash Raj Films is, that it is one of the leading most film producing company. Check. That it produces glossy films with most good-looking actors at swanky locations. Check. That it has made some of the biggest money spinners till now. Check. Now let’s look at the other side. Yash Raj Films' Y-Films has found the golden mean of amalgamating a good cause and art which borderlines on entertainment. Two years ago, Y-Films came up with an idea of producing a project for transgender called 6-Pack. An album with six tracks sung by transgender received over 25 million views, a feat well deserved. But why an initiative like this?

“The idea struck me when I thought of the limited knowledge that we have about certain sections of society, to begin with, transgender. Our interaction with them is limited to traffic signals and our reflex action when we see them is roll up the windows. I thought of breaking that barrier and bringing in awareness. There is a lot more to these people than what meets your eyes,” says Ashish Patil, business & creative Head, VP: Youth Films, Brand Partnerships, Talent Management at Yash Raj Films India Pvt. Ltd.

He continues, “The weird part is their own families have ostracized them. What they want is not sympathy but a feeling of inclusiveness. That’s when I thought of creating the 6-Pack Band. Moving on, two years down the line, we have come up with 6-Pack 2.0 for differently-abled children.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) report claims that 20 per cent of people in this world require medical attention, but 80 per cent of those go unnoticed due to the stigma attached. “The first reaction of insensitive people towards an autistic child is “Pagal hai”. My own child is differently abled and he is also a part of this group. The children in the band are supremely talented and extremely musically inclined. We wanted to bring out that beautiful passion and showcase it.”

Their first video/track was Jhakad Pakkad, which according to Ashish is no less than a chartbuster. He had the support of ace director Karan Johar and the latest one is the iconic track Dil Toh Pagal Hai with Vishal Dadlani. “You have to see and hear it, to believe it. We wanted to celebrate madness and which track could have been better than this cult song from one of the most iconic Yash Raj Films," says Ashish. 

He further adds, "Having Vishal on board was amazing. He is very vocal about his support for causes he believes in. Thus, when we approached him for 6-Pack 2.0, he was on-board within no time.”

Praising the rockstar musician, Ashish states, “The way he has sung this song is unbelievable and almost next to impossible, but he did it.”

What is also known as 'Isspeshal' band, the '6-Pack Band 2.0', comprises of six teens between the age of 13 to 18 evenly divided between both the genders and is supported by Brooke Bond Red Label Tea. The initiative is conceived by Ashish Patil himself and curated by Shameer Tandon. The first track was released in April and there are four more songs.

The children were tapped from various institutes and organisations like Ajivasan Music Academy, Khushi Foundation and many more. “We auditioned over 200 children and selected six of them,” reveals Ashish.

On the song making process, Ashish says,” We used to make scratches with dummy singers and make the kids hear that and practice accordingly. The practice used to take place at Shameer Tandon’s boutique. The energy and happiness were unparalleled. However, it was quite a task as every child has a different key to sing to, but we worked hard and the result is out there.”  

Adds, “Our aim is just not to sensitize the people to be inclusive and not sympathetic towards differently-abled or transgenders or any other stigma-laden sections but also boost the confidence of the section concerned. Our society is fundamentally flawed and we have to remove this stigma. What better way than art and moreover Hindi film music as the reach is till the grass-root level.”

The next track is with Neha Kakkar and would be out soon. “We didn’t want a one-off thing as people have a short memory. Therefore, we will have six tracks to create that impact. We have the best in the field supporting us. We are dreaming really big and with a banner like Yash Raj Films backing us, I am sure the goal is achievable. We want our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tweet about this initiative, that’s how big we are thinking.”

Ashish concludes, “We all get this once in a while opportunity in our careers to do something special and soul-satisfying. I have had so many ex-colleagues, clients and acquaintance reach out to me and accept that their kids too are fighting various mental conditions. One of my ex-clients who is CMO of the leading mobile making company reached out to me through LinkedIn and said he wanted to volunteer for this cause, so I put him through a foundation in Gurgaon which works for autism and today he works for the foundation each weekend for minimum 3-4 hours. I believe this is success.”