Indian Cinema is known for it’s songs and dance numbers, the songs however convey way more than what meets the eye to the viewer. Here’s an analysis to explore what the songs in Indian Cinema are able to achieve.
The Thoughts Of Characters
Songs are an excellent way to keep the audience engaged and entertained while conveying the emotions and thoughts of the characters. Lyrics and Music need to work seamlessly to achieve this effect. Songs like ‘Sau Dard’ (from Jaan-E-Mann) and ‘Tujhe Kitna Chahne Lage ‘ (from Kabir Singh) have captured the thoughts of the characters beautifully in their respective movies.
Driving The Story Ahead
Songs can be essential to the plot of the movie, in that they can show the things the characters are going through. ‘Kun Faya Kun’ (from Rockstar) shows how Jordan who felt lost all this time is finally able to find himself through his love for music. ‘Noor-E-Khuda’ (from My Name Is Khan) shows the journey of Rizvan as he travels across America to meet the president. These movies show how songs can drive the plot forward.
Set The Tone
Songs can easily set the tone of the forthcoming or the current scene. This is used commonly in many movies to depict happiness or sadness. ‘Tere Sajda’ (from My Name Is Khan) sets the tone for the wedding happening in the scene and Qasam Kha Li (from Bhavesh Joshi) sets the tone for the forthcoming revenge/redemption arc of the main protagonist.
Transport The Audience
Songs are able to transport the audience into the world of the characters. The major part in this is played by the Visuals and the Background Score. Movies which contain mystical and royal elements rely on drums, trumpets, flutes etc. ‘Veeron Ke Veer Aa’ (from Baahubali 2) transports the audience into the magical world of the characters and makes the audience feel like an integral part of it.
Songs are essential to Indian Cinema and have became an integral part of it. Songs have great potential in them but in the end it depends on the makers of the movie to use songs gracefully otherwise they come off as abrupt and unnecessary.
My Name Is Khan is perhaps the most impactful and moving drama bollywood has produced. It shows the journey of Rizwan Khan (a man with Asperger’s Syndrome) and his quest to meet the president to give a message after his life is turned upside down due to the 9/11 attacks.
Rizvan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) is a man with Asperger’s Syndrome who is kind hearted and exceptionally smart. He moves to America after the death of his mother to get a job like his younger brother. He falls in love with Mandira Rathore (Kajol Devgan) who is a Hindu divorcee with a young son, all seems perfect for them but things take a turn for the worse after the 9/11 attacks.
The soundtrack by Shakar, Ehsaan and Loy is soulful and the lyrics by Niranjan Iyengar like ‘Noor-E-Khuda’ speak of God to show us light in dark turns. The music blends American techno and Indian Sufi/Instrumental to provide a unique twist to the story. The songs stay with you even after the movie ends which is what a good soundtrack should do.
The Cast And Characters
Shah Rukh Khan as Rizvan Khan is just exceptional, he has given his all to this character and it shows throughout the movie. Tanay Chheda as young Rizvan is great and makes you really feel for him. Kajol as Mandira plays a mother who goes lengths to fight for her son and her family. The side characters are fine but sometimes can come off as awkward and cringy.
My Name Is Khan is great movie with fantastic acting by the leads, a compelling story, great direction and an amazing soundtrack. The movie has multiple themes and layers which makes this movie rewatch worthy as the story goes forward .The performances and story are the highlights of the movie and make it a memorable one.
Recent movies like Andhadhun, Raazi, Badhaai Ho were made on a budget around 30 crores yet they seemed to earn above 100-150 crores recently while movies like Kalank which was made on a budget of 150 crores made only 142 crores. Why is this happening in bollywood?
The Invasion Of OTT Platforms
Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar have been in India for a while but after the massive success of original Indian web series like Sacred Games and Mirzapur, people started liking content driven movies and shows instead of the Rom-Coms and Comedy which were the norms previously.
The Risk Factor
Directors on low budget have to improvise to compensate for the lack of money and that includes taking risks. Low budget movies are able to tell new stories and try new things without the pressure of crossing 150 crores. Recent high budget movies like Kalank and Thugs Of Hindostan played it safe by repeating the same old narrative of love and betrayal and they failed horribly.
Low budget movies tried something which had never been done before and that was doing something new and interesting. Movies like Badhaai Ho and Stree dealt with some interesting topics which the audience instantly connected with. The audience discovered that there are much better movies than the regular garbage that Bollywood was feeding them.
Previously the audience was attracted by big names like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan but now that has changed. Previously unknown actors like Ayushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal are now big celebrities thanks to their movie choices. The audience decided to give a chance to content driven cinema and they instantly connected to it. The audience was also now being more careful with their wallets by checking multiple reviews and trailers before going to the theatres.
Are all Big Budget movies bad? No. Are they going to go out of fashion soon? Probably not. I’m not saying that all Big Budget movies are bad, a few movies like Baahubali, 2.0, Padmaavat etc were great but most of the recent ones were absolutely disappointing. This disappointment made the people more careful with their money and thus content driven movies are now thriving.
Swades is a beautiful movie which was released way ahead of its time. It depicts the social norms and problems that people deal with in Rural India. The protagonist Mohan (an Indian who lives in America) is oblivious and naive about the condition of the people and starts to learn more about his village.
The music by A.R Rahman is simplistic yet charming in its own way, the lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar are heart touching. The songs in this movie are catchy and melodious with songs like ‘Yeh Tara Woh Tara’ which gives the message of unity among people and ‘Yu Hi Chala Chal ‘ which shows the journey of Mohan as he searches for his village.
The Cast and Characters
This movie is filled with great casting choices. No one could have done more justice to the role of Mohan as Shah Rukh Khan. He completely immerses himself into this movie and becomes Mohan. The supporting characters such as Kaveri Amma (played by Kishori Ballal) is fantastic as the kind and ever loving nanny. Gita (played by Gayatri Joshi) is determinant and fierce and plays the role of a strong woman. The rest of the outcasted villagers will definitely bring tears to your eyes.
Story, Direction and Length
The story is excellent, Mohan and the audience through this movie go through a lot of emotions and thought. The way Mohan slowly starts developing a connection with these unknown villagers is portrayed beautifully. One scene especially involving Mohan and kid selling water will make your eyes watery. Ashutosh Gowariker is an ok director and I believe this is his finest work till date. The flaws with this movie is a clear one and it is it’s extremely long runtime of 3h 30m. You heard it right the movie is extremely long and could have been better by deleting a few unnecessary scenes.
Swades is a must watch for anyone interested in exploring bollywood. The amazing performances, thought provoking story and gut wrenching scenes make this a watch worth your money and time.