Music, Movies and Television

#MusicLog #7: The sounds that smells of rustic Indian heartland – #GangsOfWasseypur…

The sounds that smells of rustic Indian heartland – #GangsOfWasseypur

It’s not the fragrance of flowers, or the aroma of a misty morning, this one smells like the sweat & blood of unwashed masses of our country, the desperate powerful men, struggling strong-willed  women and their gritty children who’ve got to fight for their survival from an early age.

No one single group can claim to represent India, but these faces & sounds are very common across India, the color of skin, the language, the surrounding environment may differ, but this as real an India as one can get.

“Teri Keh ke Lunga” means “I’ll attack you from the front” or “When I’ll kick your ass, I’ll tell you before hand”

Sometime we start liking the music instantly as soon as we hear it for the first time, then there is other which grows on us slowly. Once in a while comes a music which is like a breath of fresh air, it remains fresh over a long period of time , everytime we listen to it, we find something new and refreshing…

Different songs from the soundtrack of Gangs of Wasseypur may also come into any of the above category, and it may differ from person to person. For me, the music smells of rustic Indian heartland, a bit different from the commonly and extensive rehashed Bollywood/ Indian Punjabi music / Bhangra music. Folk music from some regions have been explored extensive over the year but there are still some parts in India where these copy-cats/pirates have not yet reached. The Hindi Belt of UP-Bihar-Jharkhand in northern India has its own thriving local music & movie industry yet there are hugely talented unknown music artist from this region, just waiting to be noticed by the biggies of Bollywood.

While going back from office to home, with my ipod blasting at just below the maximum sound in my soon-to-be-deaf ears, I heard from the very first song  to the last one of the Part 1 of Gangs of Wasseypur album a couple of week back (it was a week before the movie was released). There was never a moment when I felt like skipping any of the song even though some of them does sound a bit different from the kind of music that I generally like.  After listening to the album for the first time, I knew the music is going to be a big hit among the youth, wasn’t sure about myself, whether its going to be just one time listening or they would be in my favorite playlist. The kind of songs in this album are not the average/boring type, you may like to keep them in your favorite or just hate them enough to remove instantly, but you cant ignore them.

When I played it at home/with friends, there were mixed reaction, some songs were catchy, some a bit weird, some confusing… I think it was after watching the movie that I really started loving the music even more, and the liking continue to grow stronger day by day. I was eagerly awaiting the the part 2 of the soundtrack and it didn’t disappoint me at all.

Try out the soundtrack at box.net, application link at the bottom of my blog’s front page, wonderful work by Sneha Khanwalkar who is truly going places, one of the finest new-age music directors in India. She has used the local/lesser known artists brilliantly in both the albums, a refreshing change from the run-of-the-mill Bollywood music soundtracks.

Part 1

Sr. No. Song Vocals Music Composer & Lyricist Time
1 Jiya Tu Manoj Tiwari Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 5:20
2 Hunter Vedesh Sookoo,Rajneesh,Shyamoo & Munna Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 4:17
3 O Womaniya Live Khushboo Raaj & Rekha Jha Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 4:49
4 Loonga Loonga Ranjeet Baal Party, Akshay Verma Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 2:53
5 Keh Ke Lunga Amit Trivedi & Sneha Khanwalkar Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 4:48
6 Bhoos Manish J. Tipu & Bhupesh Singh Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 5:09
7 Ik Bagal Piyush Mishra Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 5:29
8 Bhaiyya The Musahar Of Sundarpur Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 3:07
9 Tain Tain To To Sneha Khanwalkar Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 4:00
10 Soona Kar Ke Gharwa Sujeet – Gaya Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 2:01
11 Aey Jawanon Ranjeet Baal Party Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 1:54
12 Womaniya Khushboo Raaj & Rekha Jha Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 5:22
13 Manmauji Usri Banerjee Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 2:53
14 Humni Ke Chhodi Ke Deepak Kumar-Muzzafarpur Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover & Piyush Mishra 4:17
Sr. No. Song Vocals Music Composer & Lyricist Time
1 Aabroo Bhupesh Singh & Piyush Mishra Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 4:35
2 Bahut Khoob Instrumental Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 2:00
3 Bahut Khoob 8 Bit Instrumental Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 2:56
4 Chhi (Chha Ledar) Durga – 12Yrs Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 4:09
5 Electric Piya Rasika D Rani Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 4:36
6 Electric Piya (Fused) Rasika D Rani Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 4:28
7 Kaala Rey Sneha Khanwalkar Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 5:10
8 KKL Sneha Khanwalkar Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 3:26
9 Moora Robbie Styles & Sneha Khanwalkar Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 5:12
10 Moora (Morning) Instrumental Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 5:37
11 Perpendicular (Theme) Instrumental Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 1:54
12 Taar Bijli Padmashree Sharda Sinha Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 6:53
13 Tunya Instrumental Music: Sneha Khanwalkar | Lyricist: Varun Grover 1:22

Gangs of Wasseypur (GANGS OF वासेपुर) is an Bollywood movie byAnurag Kashyap who has already proved his directorial excellence in movies like  Black Friday (2004), No Smoking (2007), Dev D (2009) and Gulaal (2009). As a screenwriter, he wrote the scripts for the Satya (1998) and Canadian film Water (2005). He had previously won the Best Screenplay award for Satya in 1999, his short film Last Train to Mahakali won the Special Jury Award in 2000. His 1st full length feature film Black Friday won the Grand Jury Prize at the 3rd Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (2005), and was a nominee for the Golden Leopard (Best Film) at the 57th Locarno International Film Festival (2004)

Gagns of Wasseypur is a hard-hitting cinematic experience from India’s heartland, Dhanbad, the film features an ensemble cast including Manoj BajpaiRicha ChaddaNawazuddin SiddiquiJaideep Ahlawat, and  in the lead roles. The five-hour + film was screened at the 2012 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. 

Commercial release of Gangs of Wasseypur is going to be in two parts (like the other favorite movie of mine Tarantino’s Kill Bill)  of roughly 150 minutes each, the 1st part is already released and I watched it couple of weeks back on a Sunday  afternoon. Loved the movie, after a long time experienced a truly houseful theater, people enjoying the movie with gripping silence, Clapping, Whistles, Cheers at appropriate times… we are eagerly awaiting the part two.

The movie does have rustic, hard-hitting language, liberal use of profane words & sexual references from the local dialect of Hindi which is spoken in Coalmine capital of India – Dhanbad and the surrounding areas. And yes it does have references towards extreme violence (even though the visual are not particularly gory, they do convey the message of the characters brutal attitude.

The Plot

Towards the end of colonial India, Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat)  loots the British trains, impersonating the legendary Sultana Daku. Shahid gets exiled from the village when the furious Sultana finds out.

Now outcast, Shahid becomes a henchman for Ramadhir Singh. A coalmine owner, Ramadhir Singh kills Shahid Khan on learning his ambitions to rule the coalmine someday. Shahid’s brother & fellow gang-member Farhan (Piyush Mishra)  – the narrator of this gory tale, manages to save Shahid’s son Sardar (Manoj Bajpayee) & escapes from there. The seed of vengeance sown deep within Sardar’s  dark soul when he learns about who is responsible for his father’s death and he becomes a bald-headed criminal.

Years pass, India gets independence, and coal mining becomes less lucrative for business and it is replaced first by sand mining and then by iron scrap business. Sardar shaves his head and vows not to grow his hair back till he has had revenge, it sets off the revenge trail that lasts between the Khans and Ramadhir Singh plus the Qureshis over generations.

The years pass, Ramadhir becomes a powerful politician who controls the district while the wily and philandering Sardar becomes a ganglord and the most feared man of Wasseypur. Staying true to its real life influences, the film explores this revenge saga through the socio-political dynamic in the Wasseypur town of Dhanbad which was a part of north Indian state Bihar earlier but now a part of newly constituted state of Jharkhand. The town of  Wasseypur  is dominated criminals & gangsters, the dacoits/Bandits/slaughterhouse gags of Pre-Independence India  to the post independent mafia (coal and scrap trade) – politician nexus.

Gangs of Wasseypur is a revenge saga, a tableau of vengeance between generations of gangsters. But deeper inside one finds its much more than just a revenge saga. It is a powerful political film, which underlines the party politics system allowing the growth of illegal coal trading and mafias in the North India in general & Dhanbad, Bihar in particular. The mineral resources in the region are abused by those in power as a political tool. Control & allotment of coal blocks becomes one of the most powerful expressions of controlling power in the region.

Despite its grim theme, the film also has an inherent sense of humour that comes quite naturally to it from its series of events. The scene where Reema Sen is charmed by Manoj Bajpayee over her daily chores or the one where Nawazuddin goes on a formal date with Huma Qureshi are outrageously hilarious. 

The household politics is one of the many subplots rendering layers to the story. You realise Sardar’s family is emerging into a Corleone set-up of sorts. His sons – the brooding Danish and the doped-out Faizal (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) from Nagma, and the enigmatic Definite Khan (Zeishan Qureishi) from Durga – will become key players in this revenge story, after Sardar is killed by the Qureishis, an ambitious clan of butchers.

Violent as his screenplay is, Kashyap reveals wit while narrating his tale. Ample black comedy is used to imagine the gang war milieu. The humour lets us relate to the intrinsic irreverent nature of men who live by the gun.

The filming style adopted by Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur bears a striking similarity to the styles of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. The scenes are short in length, several in number and often a series of montages take the story forward.Anurag Kashyap never has to resort to extraneous elements like stylized entries, editing patterns or camera motions to add to the effect because the story has an intrinsic impact of its own. However the film doesn’t fall short of any technical finesse.

There’s unabashed blood, gore and abuse wherever the scene demands. As per the dialogues, Kashyap gives a feel of Vishal Bharadwaj. Lines like “Tum sahi ho, woh marad hai,” (“You are right, he is male”) said in resigned agreement to a wronged wife stand out for their cruel truths of rural life. The rise of the protagonist and the re-union scenes in the second half gives a feel of Francis Ford Coppola and Mani Ratnam.

Kashyap’s use of occasional bursts of music and comedy to punctuate the slowly augmenting tension at different junctures is highly reminiscent of Spaghetti Westerns. Kashyap’s use of dark humor to judiciously propagate violence bears an uncanny similarity to Quentin Tarantino’s style of movie-making. Absorbing styles as diverse as those of old-school Italo-American mafia classics a la Coppola, Scorsese and Leone, as well as David Michod’s taut crime thriller “Animal Kingdom,” Kashyap never lets his influences override the distinct Indian color. The pacing is machine-gun relentless, sweeping incoherence and repetitiveness under the carpet as it barrels forward with hypnotic speed.

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