Building a musical momentum

Several film watchers spent the first half of Tuesday, April 9, waiting for the release of ‘Tabaah Ho Gaye’, the latest song from director Abhishek Verman’s forthcoming period film Kalank. After all, it was a dance number picturised on Madhuri Dixit, in the role of Bahaar Begum, and sung by Shreya Ghoshal.

Co-producer Karan Johar had earlier released three songs, composed by Pritam and written by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Considering Dixit’s mass appeal, this was indeed a smart marketing move, creating some hype just before the film’s release. The announcement was followed by a media interaction round by Dixit, before the song was actually put out. The staggered release of Kalank’s soundtrack demonstrates how the marketing of film music has changed in the era of YouTube and online streaming. Today, with many listeners accessing music online, it makes sense to put out songs in phases or as singles, as against the earlier practice of releasing the entire album in one go. Who knows, more Kalank songs may be in store.

Making a mark

For Pritam, the film comes at a crucial time, as his last release was Raabta in 2017. Moreover, other period films like Kesari (various composers) and Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) have been released in the recent past. Clearly then, there will be pressure to produce an album that stands out. Over the past 15 years, Pritam’s own career has had its ups and downs. Often accused of plagiarising lesser-known Arabic, African and Oriental tunes, he’s also had some big hits in the past Dhoom (2004), Gangster (2006), Jab We Met (2007), Barfi! (2012), Cocktail (2012), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) and Jagga Jasoos (2017).

Musically, Kalank is one of the better soundtracks to have been released in the past couple of years, despite a few instances of deja vu. ‘Ghar More Pardesiya’, sung by Ghoshal with Vaishali Mhade, has been picturised exquisitely on Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Dixit. ‘First Class’, by Arijit Singh and Neeti Mohan, is based on a folk tune and is catchy enough to attract the masses. Though Singh’s title tune has been well-orchestrated, one is also reminded of Ajit Singh’s ‘Woh Beete Din Yaad Hai’ from the 1984 movie Purana Mandir. As for the Kalank theme, haven’t we heard it in The Flash teleserial?

On ‘Tabaah Ho Gaye’, a simple melody line is aided by stylish choreography (Saroj Khan and Remo D’Souza), vibrant rhythms and catchy chorus lines, though Bhattacharya’s lyrics sound too ordinary (“Ke tumse judaa ho ke hum, tabaah ho gaye”). Yet, the good thing about these songs is that they focus on acoustic instruments, including the sitar, sarod, mandolin and tabla, besides large string sections.

Despite the Devdas/ Sanjay Leela Bhansali hangover, Kalank is definitely a feather in Pritam’s cap. Most important, it is a welcome development at a time when most of what we hear is clearly sub-standard. It’s enough to make you, want to watch the film.


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