Not a remake, but the hook line from Pakistani singer Mala Begum and lyricist, poet Qateel Shifai’s classic folksy number gets an altogether different look and feel in the Bollywood action thriller
By Mayur Lookhar
One of ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas’ claim to fame is the popular mujra style number Ghungroo Toot Gaye from the late 80’s. While many from that era believed it to be an original composition, the song though belongs to the late Pakistani poet, lyricist Muhammad Aurangzeb [popularly known as Qateef Shifai] from the Pakistani film Naaz (1969). The music was given by Nisar Bazmi, and it was crooned by the popular singer Mala Begum, supported by Runa Laila and Mujeeb Alam. It was pictured on actress Nasrin. Most of these names would still be unfamiliar with Indian audiences.
50 years and one popular Pankaj Udhas version later, the hook line of Ghungroo Toot Gaye is beating to Vishal-Sekhar’s peppy tunes in the Bollywood film War (2019). The traditional audiences, especially those who are privy with the song’s original creators, may not approve of this Vishal-Shekhar version titled Ghungroo Song.
Make no bones about it, the War song is not a remake. Lyricist Kumaar and music composer duo of Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani have created as original a song as it gets. It’s just that one line Ghungroo Toot Gaye that rekindles memories of Shifai’s classic track. Many Indian audiences though would perhaps relate more to the popular Pankaj Udhas recreation.
Beyond the core hook line, the classic Mala Begum track, [and the Pankaj Udhas version] are poles apart from the War track. The song has been given a peppy pop score by the duo of Vishal – Shekhar. Some of the pop beats are reminiscent to the Bang Bang [2014) title song. Both Siddharth Anand directorial and both featuring Hrithik Roshan.
The song begins with the groovy light pop beats with Kumaar penning English lyrics for the intro. What follows next is the all familiar soothing tone of Arijit Singh. There’s a nice feel to the intro and you have no inkling as to where is the song heading next. The sense of déjà vu creeps in as soon as the core hook line is heard. For a minute and a half, Singh and Shilpa Rao hold your attention. The music though goes a little awry thereafter as the fine melody gives way to a pacey club rhythm. The song though retains it core melody quickly. Like most video songs today, the Ghungroo Song, too, barely lasts more than a verse or two.
In terms of music and the singing, the Ghungroo Song does has its appeal with the masses but it’s unlikely to win over the classes. The picturesque locales [Positano Beach, Italy] are enough to give you travel goals, even if you can’t afford it. The light groovy score merits an equally light, pleasing-to—the-eye choreography by Bosco and Tushar Kalia It’s Hrithik Roshan though who steals the march over Kapoor. He gets to groove to the best steps. Kapoor’s dressed for the beach but looks flat in her choreography. It’s her little, tardy aerial act [choreographed by Kalia] that holds some attention.
Seldom has any choreographer truly tapped into the dancing prowess of Roshan. Yet again, we get to see brief glimpse of Roshan’s mesmerising dancing skills.
This Ghungroo Song is unlikely to achieve cult status like the Mala Begum track or even the Pankaj Udhas recreation, but the Vishal Shekhar number stands out for its picturesque locales, peppy beats, Arijit Singh, Shilpa Rao’s soothing voices, and Roshan’s brief but enjoyable dancing.
Watch the Ghungroo Song from War and also the original Mala Begum track below.
Starring Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff and Vaani Kapoor, War is set to be released on 2 October.