The original version is a Hindi song performed by Sukwinder Singh and A.R. Rahman. It featured in the end credits of the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire. In 2009 it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
A.R. Rahman has said in interviews that "Jai Ho!" means, "May victory be yours!"
The Pussycat Dolls' version replaces the original tune's Hindi words with English lyrics. Scherzinger said in a statement: "It's an honor to be able to collaborate with A.R. Rahman and be a part of the Slumdog Millionaire project in any way. The movie, the story and the music [were] a gift and very spiritually uplifting for me."
In its second week on the Hot 100, this tune climbed from 100-15. The 85 place leap beat the previous record for the biggest vault from the last place, overtaking the 100-23 move of Andrew Seeley's High School Musical song "Get'cha Head in the Game" in February 2006.
This was the first Academy Award winning song to become a Pop hit single since Eminem's "Lose Yourself
" in 2002.
In a video posted on the Desi Radio website, Pussycat Doll songwriter Nicole Scherzinger said that she was originally apprehensive about recording an English-language version of the original Hindi song. She explained: "I was really scared and I kind of didn't want to do it. I heard the song and fell in love with it... and I was scared to death to touch it. I was afraid for people to hear it before I even wrote it." Scherzinger added that her producers and label executives gave her the courage to see the project through. She said: "Every night I would pray" for it to turn out right. If people like it, then I'm really grateful."
Scherzinger told MTV News the story behind recording their English-language version: "The people at the label, Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair, asked me to see the movie and listen to this new producer, A.R. Rahman, so I studied him, and I saw the movie and was captivated and thought it was the most genius thing ever. And they said, 'Well, that's good, because you're going to have to rewrite it and do your own version of it.' So, we were on tour at the time - we were in London, and we all went to go see the movie - and while we were doing our shows, I just worked on the song. It's an honor to be part of this project in any way, before all the Oscars happened because the story is unbelievable."
Scherzinger discovered that not only would she have to rewrite the song's Hindi lyrics, but do it while she was still touring with the other Pussycat Dolls. She explained: "It's crazy how the whole thing came about. It just happened so quickly. I'm a writer, and I've been fortunate enough to write for the Dolls, but when they asked me to look at the movie and do my own version, I was really afraid to take on the task of rewriting the lyrics. Because I thought the movie was so profound, I didn't know how to make sure I kept the integrity of the movie and the love story, but also make it cool enough for the Pussycat Dolls and for people all over the world to connect to. I just followed my heart and I came from a very spiritual place. I just wanted people no matter where they are, whatever relationship they're in - be it spiritual or a guy/girl relationship - to be able to connect to the song. So it was kind of unbelievable to be able to do that. I hope people don't hate it!"