hindi film music

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's recreation of the iconic 'Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya' in 'Bajirao Mastani' sounds suspiciously familiar

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been re-creating the famed "Sheesh Mahal" of Mughal-E-Azam (1960) in all his films. Not architecturally, but in design, they are all grand, operatic, larger-than-life films which borrow heavily from the evergreen classics – and they are all musicals. Even Black (2005), which featured only one song, had the musical feel of a burlesque.

In Bajirao Mastani, due for a December 2015 release, he has worked on his inspirations to finally come up with his own version of the "Sheesh Mahal" and this time the design is a showcase of both his musical and directorial artistry at work.

Since Guzaarish (2010), Bhansali has decided to wield an extra baton, composing the music for his films. The soundtrack of Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) was testament to his expanding oeuvre, as the film featured a couple of songs that had a non-stop cycle around the festive seasons – no Diwali celebration or garba dance was complete without a hat-tip to his foot-tapping melodies.

About the song Deewani Mastani in Bajirao Mastani, Deepika Padukone says, "Deewani Mastani is inspired by Mughal-e-Azam in a sense. We have tried to recreate the Aaina Mahal in the song. It's Sanjay Leela Bhansali's contemporary version of the song, where Mastani is madly in love with Bajirao. It's like nasha. She has eyes for no one but him, who is sitting in front of her. It does not matter to her where she is or who is watching her. She is intoxicated by love."

Play

More than Deepika Padukone capturing the blazing glory of the original Madhubala love anthem, there's something else about the song that breeds familiarity. Shreya Ghoshal sings the impassioned dirge fused with a great roll of drums, dhols, mandolin and a supportive chorus of lavani enthusiasts. The soundtrack of GKRRL featured a song, Poore Chand, which was unused in the film.

Deewani Mastani bears more than a fleeting semblance to that song. Based on the same rhythmic pattern, it sounds like Bhansali is repeating himself. You can hear strains of the breathless Ang Laga De (GKRRL) mixed with the gypsy movement of Udi (Guzaarish) in Deewani Mastani.

Play

Bhansali has never shied from mirroring his inspirations – he turns his films into tributes. References to his top three favourite films – Pakeezah, Mirch Masala, and Mughal-E-Azam have crowded his own work: whether it is Chandramukhi's ornate lifestyle in Devdas (2002) as a homage to Sahib Jaan (Pakeezah) or Leela's (GKRRL) household littered with heaps of red chillies from Sonbai's (Mirch Masala) fort under attack.

Just when it appears that Bhansali is truly inspired, a case of self-inspiration looms over his new film, which not only repeats his hit cast from GKRRL but is also a pastiche of his previous achievements: loud, colourful, over-the-top.

But then, didn't Alfred Hitchcock say, 'Self-plagiarism is style'?

Play
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

Play

During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.