Gangs Of Wasseypur: From the Bhojpuri heartland
Kashika Saxena (BOMBAY TIMES; June 16, 2012)
We love to have a song for every occasion. Filmmakers seem to understand this sentiment all too well, which is why even though Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur is a film about gangsters, its music is being talked about as much as its storyline. The filmmaker explained the quantum of music in the movie, in a panel discussion at Cannes saying, “You can’t really get away from music in India. Another thing is that music has become a very important part of marketing. If you have good music, you get free airplay, you get awareness about your movie, because each Friday you have ten others competing for audience attention. I’ve learnt to try to use music in a way that does not impact the flow of the film, but becomes an extension of what is going on on screen.”
With lyrics like ‘I am hunter and she want to see my gun’, it isn’t much of a surprise. We love innuendos and Hinglish just as much as we love rustic tunes. 27-year-old composer Sneha Khanwalkar has used a mix of eclectic artistes from places like Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Garbandha, among others, for the songs of the film, and she says that the idea was to use simple, vernacular lyrics that can be sung and understood easily.
The feedback that she got from Cannes, where the film was praised by many international critics, was that the music wasn’t “very Bollywood”. She recalls, “It was sounding very global to them because they probably haven’t heard these voices before. These voices are so authentic and from such interior parts. For instance, I went to Trinidad to record this guy Vedesh Sokoo for the song Hunter and he only speaks English, but he’s a Bihari who has never been to India. I then merged his part with other singers from more core Bihar and made this song. ‘Shut up’ and ‘my name is’ are words that very easily spoken in small towns like these and I’ve used the accent to show the vernacular influence.”
No other song except Hunter has Hinglish in it, but the lyrics are what Sneha calls ‘Bhojpurised Hindi’. “It is basically core interior land music. The vocal nature is quite cool, and I don’t think one would care about what is actually
being sung,” she says.
The people she met while she was making the music for the film, the ones who ended up singing these songs, aren’t professional singers. They’re people who would “probably start singing in the middle of the night in their village, if at all,” she says, adding, “They aren’t professional, but authentic. Like one of the women who sang Womaniya, Rekha Jha, is a housewife. Her father taught music and that’s how she did the chorus for me. But later, I found out that she’s from this place called Mithila, near Ganga, and that’s why her voice is so different from other voices in the Bhojpuri belt.”
“The good part is that there was no hurry when I was making the music of this film. There was enough time to do this process because there was no rush and we were thinking only of the music. I gathered all of this and then decided what to put where, and then the music got intertwined with the film,” she says.
The film, presented by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, will release on June 22.
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