Transcendental or Passable: How New-age Listeners Reacted to Qala’s Soundtrack?

'Qala', directed by Anvitaa Dutt, stars Triptii Dimri, Babil Khan, and Swastika Mukherjee.

3 min read
Transcendental or Passable: How New-age Listeners Reacted to Qala’s Soundtrack?

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Even before Anvitaa Dutt’s Qala released, the soundtrack gained a fan base. Set in late 1930s to 1940s (primarily in Kolkata), the film’s music is reminiscent of the dulcet tones of 1950s Bollywood, ruled by the likes of Geeta Dutt, Guru Dutt, and Mohammed Rafi.

On the other hand, Spotify released its global wrapped list in November. At the top, globally, are artists like Bad Bunny and Taylor Swift, who are known for genres like Latin trap, American pop, hip hop, and R&B.

While there isn’t an India-specific Wrapped, it would be safe to assume that the global tastes translate here as well. How does such an audience react to music like that of Qala’s?


Siddhi Satpathy says, “The tracks ‘Shauq’ (and ‘Ghodey Pe Sawaar’ are both very contrasting songs in nature but both manage to create the vibe they need to."

A still from the track 'Shauq' in Qala.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

"The song ‘Nirbhau Nirvair’ made me realise why everyone came for Jagan’s performance and how much power there is in believing in something divine," she adds.

When it comes to music, Satpathy listens to Bollywood songs, pop, and Sufi music.

Aadishaktii, a musician and film student (with an affinity to Hindustani classical), “I expected the film to have great tracks that I would listen to on loop later but they somehow did manage to fit in the film.”

Triptii Dimri in a still from Qala.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)


They add, “Considering that the film was about the music industry, classical music, and a female vocalist (to say the list), the music was nearly impactless. The male tracks were composed well but most of the female tracks sounded almost inauthentic. If more thought had been put into it, maybe we would have had impactful tracks like the ones in ‘Bandish Bandits’.”

Rashi Bhattacharyya, a freelance journalist (and trained singer), appreciates the Qala soundtrack for its simplicity and alluring lyrics.

“The music helps set up the narrative and they took the essence of 50s and 60s Bollywood without relying on rebooting.”
Rashi Bhattacharyya

Bhattacharyya’s music taste could perhaps be summarised in the genres of rock, folk, soul, and blues.

Simran Juwarker, a senior associate in content marketing, is ‘on the fence’ about the soundtrack but loves the background score, “I think it was an attempt to be fabulous and unforgettable; some of the tracks were good but, as a classical musically-inclined person, none really stood out to me except that one she sings for the first time in the studio (‘Ghodey Pe Sawaar’).”

A still from the song 'Labb Par Aaye' in Bandish Bandits.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

“I feel if it’s musically-inclined content then music should be banger. Like ‘Bandish Bandits’ had classical songs but they were designed to be audience friendly. (For ‘Qala’) I get they were trying to set it in a particular time period.”
Simran Juwarker

Juwarker expands, “Even ‘Ghar More Pardesiya’ is a classical song; the film was a fictional periodic drama but had relevant music. Like it’s not a composer's job essentially to make people-pleasing music; in period dramas they have to catch the story.”

Alisha Parvez Thakur, a Video Producer, is also part of the ‘Ghodey Pe Sawaar’ fan club, “This particular song takes me back two decades. Calm melody, shy lyrics and a soft voice. Honestly I thought it was some old song when I heard it for the first time.”

A still from the track 'Ghodey Pe Sawaar' in Qala.``

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The Qala soundtrack consists of 'Ghodey Pe Sawaar', 'Shauq', 'Rubaiyaan', 'Phero Na Najariya', 'Nirbhau Nirvair', and 'Udh Jaayega'. The music is credited to Amit Trivedi, Sagar Desai, Sireesha Bhagavatula, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Swanand Kirkire, Shahid Mallya, Kausar Munir, Varun Grover, Sant Kabir, and Anvitaa Dutt.

Qala is streaming on Netflix.

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Topics:  Amit Trivedi   Babil Khan   Qala (Movie) 

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