Archive for May 18, 2012

Has SPOILERS. DON’T read if you haven’t seen the film.

We are running a week late on this one. A new film by Ramu has already released this week and as expected, it’s call-it-whatever-you-want-to-call. Because of Do Dooni Chaar and the way the first promos of Ishaqzaade played out, we were really looking forward to Habib Faisal’s film. I liked lot of things in the film but it had the same problem which most desi films suffer from – 2nd half. It was the same story with his Band Bajaa Baraat and Do Dooni Chaar. And then a thanda climax. If it had to end that way, i would have liked to see them jumping from the roof with guns blazing from every side on the beats of the romantic title song and freeze!   say Thelma and Louise kind. The other criticism that the film received was of being sexist. Habib tried to defend it here.

And we have someone who is on the same page – Neeraja. She is from one of the many Almodas of India. She loves to think and her priorities in life includes books, cinema, mathematics, philosophy, politics and arguing about the same, in no particular order.

Ishaqzaade is an interesting film because it throws up interesting questions and reactions. I wouldn’t call it a love story but then what one takes away from a film is very subjective. After all, there are people who enjoy bodyguard and wanted.

Ishaqzaade is a story of a girl born in a society where violence is a way of life. There is not a single character in the film that is averse to violence. It is shocking and from what I know pretty close to truth. Upper-caste gun-toting warring political families is a cliche in real life…and not only in these parts (UP/Bihar) but in most parts of the world. Modern Politics at grass-root level is bullet-ridden and blood soaked. Patriarchy is a common feature of politically influential families across the world. Power flows from the barrel of the gun. Everywhere. In india, it has its own flavour blended with caste, religion and feudalism.

The film is a “love story” set in the backdrop of warring political families (hindu and muslim) in a small town somehwhere in north India. The kind of families that perpetuate honour killings, where only women worth loving are either prostitues or mothers and domestic violence is culture. To have a female character that defies all this and comes out a winner at the end would have been awesome but very unreal. The film portrays an honest and ugly picture of patriarchy that exists in it’s most violent form in some parts of our country.

Zoya is a spirited girl. She owns a gun (which she buys by selling her jhumkas) and she can address a crowd like true blue small town sharp-tongued politician but she is also naive. What she doesn’t understand is that most of this freedom has been handed out to her for she is the youngest and the only girl in a moderately progressive family. Most of her strength is inherited. It comes from the fact that she was brought up in a politically influential family. A family where everyone carries a gun in their hands and a dhamki on their lips all the time. She gets to do things that perhaps other girls in the neighbourhood cannot and won’t even dream of doing. Her peers see her as a strong young woman who makes her way while her family just sees her as a spoilt little girl who wants to be like her father but will be married off to a nice muslim boy soon enough.

What’s a strong female character really? According to most of the reviews/opinions that I have been reading, it is someone who subscribes to feminist ideas of urban women. Zoya’s world however is very different from that of ours. She lives in a society where for young boys to visit prostitutes is coming of age (and is even encouraged by their fathers/grandfathers). Where a woman’s opinion is non-existant and her body is only for abuse. Where young adolescent girls do not learn about love by reading romantic novels. They watch crappy hindi movies where the hero is usually a stalker and a charmer. So, when they experience the hormonal rush of emotions when a boy touches them or claims to be in love with them – they are smitten and they get foolish. So, it is not a surprise that when Zoya falls in love, she falls hard. An outspoken, argumentative Zoya at home transforms into a blushing and smiling girl when she is with Parma. The boy, on the other hand, knows love, sex and manipulations all too well to succumb to any emotion.

Her values come from the society that she lives in and in some sense helps to perpetuate them (she tells her mother to shut up because she didn’t understand politics but she wouldn’t dare to talk to her father like that. It just shows how women are treated in the family and how this treatment is considered acceptable by other women members of the family). She wants to be a part of the very system that treats women like that. She wants to be an MLA like her father and agrees with the power hungry, violent politics that surrounds her. She just wants to be one of the boys but at some level she is aware of the fact that no matter how many shots she fires, she is a woman at the end of the day. She knows that being seen with Parma in college bathroom will bring dishonour to her and therefore to her family because she is a girl and a girl’s honour is attached to her family’s honour. She doesn’t however agree with the concept which is what makes her different from other women in her place. She is not angry at Parma for having sex with her under the pretext of a fake marriage (which is technically rape), she is mad at him for betraying her. She cannot stand the fact that she was stupid enough to fall for someone who betrayed her and made her look like a fool in front of the whole community which is why instead of attempting a suicide, she tries to kill him. The fact that in her mind her honour is not attached to her body makes her different. That is also why she is able to forgive him later on.

In the end, what do people really want to see? A khoon bhari maang like woman who wields a gun and seeks revenge? Is that liberated enough? Will that change the fact that no matter what she had done, she would have to die in the end because there is no place for a spirited independent woman in that society.

My biggest problem with the movie is that there is no emotional involvement. There are very few moments where you get to feel what the characters are feeling. None in case of Parma which is why the change in his attitude towards Zoya is unbelievable. There is a lot of running around, shooting and lost and found moments but you hardly ever get to feel what the characters are feeling. The Romeo-Juliet-esque death scene is hilarious and almost spoiled the film for me.

What makes it work is Parineeti Chopra’s Zoya and the small town ambience. Zoya’s character is so close to reality, it hurts to watch her. If you have lived in a small town, if you have met spunky, street-smart, sharp-tongued girls from conservative families, it would do you good to go back and check what happened to them. How and when they were tamed. It’s not always cruel. Most of the girls believe that it’s the right way…just like most of well educated independent girls believe that no man can dominate them but at the end of the day they must marry someone who is smarter or more educated or at least earns more than them. There traps after traps and you succumb somewhere and justify it to yourself using your brilliant analytic skills that you acquired through higher education. We have all fixed boundaries for ourselves according to the freedom and strength granted to us. There are few who venture beyond and try to break the status quo. Lets not judge them for not breaking your boundaries.

Just because a woman wields a gun and talks like a boy, doesn’t mean she is liberated and just because she fails to challenge the patriarchy on all fronts (in the way we want her to) doesn’t mean she is not strong.

Just for the sake of irony, I leave you with this poem by Meena Kandasamy

Paracetamol legends I know
For rising fevers, as pain-relievers—

Of my people—father’s father’s mother’s
Mother, dark lush hair caressing her ankles
Sometimes, sweeping earth, deep-honey skin,
Amber eyes—not beauty alone they say—she
Married a man who murdered thirteen men and one
Lonely summer afternoon her rice-white teeth tore
Through layers of khaki, and golden white skin to spill
The bloodied guts of a British soldier who tried to colonize her. . .
Of my land—uniform blue open skies,

Mad-artist palettes of green lands and lily-filled lakes that
Mirror all—not peace or tranquil alone, he shudders—some
Young woman near my father’s home, with a drunken husband
Who never changed; she bore his beatings everyday until on one
Stormy night, in fury, she killed him by stomping his seedbags. . .


We: their daughters.
We: the daughters of their soil.
We, mostly, write.
PS: I wonder if one can make the same film with a muslim boy and a hindu girl? Won’t that be a blasphemy in our shining secular nation!

Two song promos of Gangs Of Wasseypur are already out. One is in Bhojpuri and the other is Chutney (Bhojpuri meets calypso) from Caribbean islands. If you have already heard the songs and are playing it in loop but can’t figure out the lyrics, we are going to help you. For those who haven’t heard the songs, do check it out. The embedded links have the full songs, not really the best audio quality but you can manage. And if you like, do  buy the CD. You will not be disappointed. Bet!

Here’s a small intro to both the songs by lyricist Varun Grover, the audio links and the lyrics. If you haven’t seen yet, Jiya Ho Bihar ke lala song promo is here.

1. Jiya Ho – Introduction + Song + Lyrics

For this, Sneha traveled to the interiors of Bihar. It took her an entire month (and then few trips more) to cover all the major districts and languages. (Bhojpuri, Maithili, Chhota Nagpuri, Angika and more) She wanted to just explore the sounds and singing traditions of Bihar. The opening groove and words ‘Jiya ho bihar ke lala, jiya tu hajaar saala, tani naachi ke tani gaayi ke, tani naachi-gaayi sabke mann behlaawa re bhaiyya‘ was found in an all-night nautanki muqaabla in a village near Gaya District. The lines were being sung as a warm-up exercise for singers (around 20 of them in chorus) and instrumentalists.

Sneha improvised on the tune and extended the groove to make a complete song. The search for singer went on for long, and many options crossed our mind. But once the position of the song in the film was finalized, it had to be somebody with genuine roots and skills. It may sound strange, but Manoj Tiwari is the least experimental voice we have tried in the entire album. Yes, every other singer is either a new one, or a folk singer not many know of outside his/her district.

There’s a non-stop 20-minute plus take of Manoj Tiwari for this song. While recording he closed his eyes, went into a musical zone, and sang it like a sufi-possessed. May be it will be released online someday soon.

Music – Sneha Khanwalkar. Lyrics: Varun Grover (mukhda from traditional/folk). Singer – Manoj Tiwari

Jiya ho bihar…

Jiya ho bihar ke laal,

jiya tu hajaar saal,

Jiya ae bihar ke laal,

jiya tu hajaar saal,

Jiya ae bihar ke laal,

Jiya ae bihaar ke laal

jiya tu hajaar saal,

jiya tu hajaar saal,

jiyo tu hajaar…

Tani naachi ke,

tani gaayi ke,

Tani naachi gaayi, sabke mann behlaava re bhaiyya…

Tani naachi gaayi, sabke mann behlaava re bhaiyya…

Tani naachi gaayi, sabke mann behlaava re bhaiyya…

Tani naachi gaayi, sabke mann behlaava re bhaiyya…





Antara 1

Tu maati ka laal re laala,


Tohra magahi saan niraala,


Tere purkhey jiye andhera,

aur tuney jana ujaala…

Tere purkhey jiye andhera,

aur tuney jana ujaala…




Tere god pakhaarey ganga,

tere tej se aag jhulasta,

Tere kandhey chadh ke sooraj,

aakas mein roj pahunchta…

Jiyaa tu honhaaaaaaar….

Tani ghoom-ghaam ke, tani dhoomdhaam se…

Tani ghoom-ghaam ke, tani dhoomdhaam se…

Tani taan kheench ke, taansen, kehlaawa re bhaiyya….

Tani naachi gaayi, sabke mann behlaava re bhaiyya…

Tani zor laga ke, sabko saath nachwa re bhaiyya……

Tani neeke-neeke bol pe geet sunaava re bhaiyya…

Tani teekhe-teekhe bol pe dhol bajaawa re bhaiyya…

Tani jhaal utha ke, taal se taal milaava re bhaiyya…

Tani dholak, maandar, matka, chammach, laava re bhaiyya…

Tani oka-boka-teen-tadoka…

Tani chandan-maati-chauka-kaathi…

Tani oka-boka-teen-tadoka gaava re bhaiyya..

Tani chandan-maati-chauka-kaathi laava re bhaiyya…

Tani saans fula ke phoonk se dhool udaava re bhaiyya,

Tani jaan jala ke geet ke tel pilaava re bhaiyya…

The second song which has just been released is the hilarious I am a Hunter. The song promo is here.
2. Hunter: Introduction + Song + Lyrics
Sneha went to Trinidad-Tobago to find some tunes. Migrants from UP,Bihar,Bengal moved to Caribbean islands in pre-Independence times. They settled there, mixed with local races and cultures, and gave birth to a new music called ‘Chutney’ (which is basically Bhojpuri-folk meets calypso). They sometimes use words, instruments, and folk-tunes we thought were lost forever. Of course these tunes have now fused and evolved with calypso very much.

‘Hunter’ is one such find, originally written in English by Vedesh Sukoo (who has sung it too with that trademark Bihari-lilt and curled-tongue ‘o’ sound beneath every word). The Hindi lines are sung by Rajneesh, Shyamoo, and Munna, all part of Nirman Kala Manch (NKM), a well-known theatre group in Patna. Interestingly, one of NKM’s most famous plays is called ‘Bidesiya’, a term used for migrants that never return to their origins. In this case, Rajneesh-Shyamoo-Munna’s co-singer Vedesh Sukoo.

(Migrants who go out for a long time and do return are called ‘Pardesiya‘ and those who go for a short-term, like once every year to the city, probably to sell goods/grains, are called ‘Batohiya’. Hindi film songs have used these terms loosely over the years but while researching for this film, we came to know how technically specific these are.)

Music Director – Sneha Khanwalkar, Lyrics – Vedesh Sukoo (English), Varun Grover (Hindi). Singer : Rajneesh, Shyamoo, Munna, Vedesh Sukoo.

Haillloo… Hello… Hello

I am a hunter and she want to see my gun

When I pull it out boy the woman start to run]à (2)

She beg me to see it, she beg me to show it

But when I reveal it, she want to run and hideà (2)

Ooooo… ooooo … Oooo..

Put on your hunting clothes, let we go and hunt

Please don’t be embarrassed, you could touch it if you want.

All them young one around here, ask them about me.

I am the baddest gunman that they ever see

I am a hunter and she want to see my gun

Hum hai sikari, sikari sikari

I am a hunter and she want to see my gun

When I pull it out, the woman start to run

Tan tan tan tan tan tan tan tan.. Tan tan tan tan tan tan tan tan.. (2)

Daily goli nikle, automatic, tan-tan… (2)

With one gun in my hand and the next one around my waist

If you see this young girl with da rude look on she face

I say as a hunter, I must be brave and strong

She say that she find that my gun extremely long

Hum hain sikaari, paacket mein lambi gun,

Dhaayein se jo chhootey tan man howey magan..

Oooooo.. ooooo.. oooo..

This girl harasses me, she won’t leave me alone.

But that kinda behavior I really can’t condone

Hai bahut Bhokali, na kabhi ho khali – (2)

This girl harasses me, she won’t leave me alone.

But that kinda behavior I really can’t condone

She says that she’s sorry, she just want to have fun.

Then she asks me kindly, if she can hold my gun

I am a hunter and she want to see my gunWhen I pull it out boy the woman start to run ]—(2)

Door tak hai phamous, kar de sab ke bebas—(2)

Usko milta darsan, jisko man mein hai lagan—(2)

Laagi lagan laagi lagan… Laagi lagan laagi lagan…

3. Ik Bagal – Lyrics

UPDATE : Thanks to GhantaGuy, now we have got the lyrics of the haunting song Ek bagal also.

इक बगल में चाँद होगा, इक बगल में रोटियां,
इक बगल में नींद होगी, इक बगल में लोरियां,
हम चाँद पे रोटी की चादर डालकर सो जायेंगे,
और नींद से कह देंगे लोरी कल सुनाने आयेंगे.

इक बगल में खनखनाती सीपियाँ हो जाएँगी,
इक बगल में कुछ रुलाती सिसकियाँ हो जाएँगी,
हम सीपियों में भरके सारे तारे छूके आयेंगे,
और सिसकियों को गुदगुदी कर कर के यूँ बहलाएँगे.

अब न तेरी सिसकियों पे कोई रोने आएगा,
गम न कर जो आएगा वो फिर कभी न जायेगा,
याद रख पर कोई अनहोनी नहीं तू लाएगी,
लाएगी तो फिर कहानी और कुछ हो जाएगी.

होनी और अनहोनी की परवाह किसे है मेरी जान,
हद से ज्यादा ये ही होगा कि यहीं मर जायेंगे,
हम मौत को सपना बता कर उठ खड़े होंगे यहीं,
और होनी को ठेंगा दिखाकर खिलखिलाते जायेंगे,
और होनी को ठेंगा दिखाकर खिलखिलाते जायेंगे.

– पियूष मिश्रा

4. Keh ke loonga – Lyrics

Here’s the lyrics of the terrific Keh ke lunga. Sung by Sneha Khanwalkar and Amit Trivedi.

Ras bheege saude ka ye, khooni anjam….teri keh ke loonga

Teri keh ke loonga (2)

Khanjar se doodh gire yaan, ho katle aam…teri keh ke loonga

Teri keh ke loonga (2)

Saason ko saanp sunghan ke, jangli til chatta la ke, keh ke loonga

Teri keh ke loonga.

Bichu se hoth katta ke, lori jahreeli gaa ke….keh ke looonga.

Keh ke loonga, keh ke loonga, keh ke loonga.

Panghat ko bechunga main, mar mar ghat ke daam..teri keh ke loonga

Khuli ho sadke, tambu thane chahe mil vil ho ya baaz mekhkama, mekhamaa aaaa

Jisme bachna ho bach le, yee,

jisme bachna ho bach le, bach meri jaan… teri keh ke loonga (2)

Ja tu ja ja tu ja dariya naddi sagar beech pe jhariya,

aa taal mein ghus jaa. aa ghus jaa,

Jisme ghusna ho ghus le, Jisme ghusna ho ghus le,

Jisme ghusna ho ghus le, ghus meri jaan teri keh ke loonga

teri keh ke loonga….loonga….loonga….loonga.

5. O WomaniyaLyrics


तारै जो बबूना….तरती बबुनिया…

बबूना के हत्थे न चरति बबुनिया…


ओ वुमनिया…

मांगे जो बबुना, प्रेम निसनिया…

बोले जो ठोड़ी, कटीहो कनिया….

बदले रुपय्या के देना चवनीया…

सईयाँ जी झपटे तो होना हिरनिया…



रह रह के मांगे चोली बटनीया..

जी में लुकाये लोट-लटनिया…

चाहे मुहझौंसा जब हाथ सिकनिया,

कंधा में देना, दाँत भुकनिया


बोलेगा बबुना, चल जैहो पटना,

पटना बहाने, वो चाहेगा सटना…

दैहो ना पहुना को टिकट कटनिया…

पटना ना जाना चाहे जाना सिवनिया…


बबुना को उठी हो जो घोर भभक्का…

हाथ पकड़ ले तो मारी हो धक्का…

मन में निरहुआ के छुआ-छुअनिया….

ललना की लीला नाहीं पड़ना ललनिया…
6. Humne ke choree ke – Lyrics + Translation
Humni ke chhori ke nagariya ae baba…Ki arre baba chhori dihala ghar-parivaar kahun banwa maayi gayili ho…Leaving my town, dear father,

Leaving the family behind, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke gharwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho,

Pushing the home into loneliness, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Gaunwaan ke logawa, kehu…kehu se na bolein..

Chhotaka laikawaa, bhora-hi se aankh nahin kholey..

He isn’t talking to anybody in the village,

The small boy isn’t even opening his eyes since morning…

Sunsaan bhaiyili dagariya ae baba…

Ki arre baba nimiya ho gayil patjhaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho..

The roads are all deserted,

And the Neem tree has shed its leaves, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Kaisa-hoo ae baba, humaraa maayi se milaa da

Saparo tajaa ke humro araj sunaa da…

Do whatever, but let me meet the mother once..

Anyhow convey my message to her…dear father…

Chhutka ke chhote-ba umiriya re baba..

The small boy has a small life, father…

Ki arre baba, pari lin hum pauwwaan tohaar kawan banwa maayi gayi li ho..

I fall at your feet tell me, to which wilderness mother has gone…

Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke anganwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho,

Pushing the home into loneliness, to which wilderness mother has gone…