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Qala Will Give You A ‘Gala’ Time





Rating: *** ½

It’s all about the ‘gala’, the throat. The vocals chords, to be more  precise. Some  have  what it takes  to  become  a singer. Others don’t. Qala  didn’t. This is  her story as  seen  through  the world  of playback singing in  the 1940s when apparently  music composers approved mediocrity  in  exchange of sexual favours.

Qala, as played by the intriguing Tripti Dimri is  determined to prove  she is  the  chip off the old block. Her  mother  played   by the formidable  Swastika Banerjee,  sees through her daughter’s mediocrity and  informally adopts  a  folk singer  played by Babil  Khan . From here on Qala falls deeper  and deeper  into the   morass of compromises  and barter. She is  hellbent  on  attaining  fame no matter  what the price.

Qala is  a few shades lighter than  Anvitaa Dutt’s Bulbbul(why the extra ‘b’ I never figured out) . But just as  gothic in  its vision of  emotional tyranny. It  is a desperately  dark tale  told neither with flourish  or flamboyance. The sets convey a  portable grandeur. The  colours communicate a sense  of dread  and  disharmony, to  go with the  heroine’s mind.

Tripti Dimri’s Qala is  not  a woman of great  virtue. She   can bend to any extent as long as  she gets her way. This is  a  world of wounds that never heal, of songs that remain unsung, of approaching  doom and  unavoidable sanity.

 Tripti  does  well  in a  role that has  no room or patience  for empathy.She is  the offball in a climate  of  conformity  that was prevalent  in the  playback world  of the  1940s. While the actress conveys desperate ambition she is  unable to become  the embodiment of  tragic grandeur that she   is  meant to be.

The supporting cast especially Swastika Bannerjee and Amit Sial is strong. Babil Khan as an  adopted prodigy shows potential.

After two  such melancholic  dimlit(too dark  for the small screen)   drama of disenchantment could we  have  something light from Anvitaa Dutt, please?

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