hindi film music

‘Party Chale On’ – and so does the war on sensible lyrics in Salman Khan’s films

The lyrics of the songs in ‘Race 3’ are what they are for a reason.

Memories of the blunt knock to the head that was Selfish have not faded one bit, and the makers of Race 3 have dropped a new musical gem called Party Chale On.

Selfish, a romantic ballad, was the second single from the Salman Khan-starrer to be released. The album has no less than eight music directors and 10 lyricists, including Khan. The novelty of Selfish stems entirely from its inane lyrics: “Apne khayalat ko share karo na / Ek baar baby selfish hoke apne liye jiyo na” (Share your feelings / Be selfish once, and live for yourself). That is just the hookline. The verses feature a thoughtless assortment of sentences that lead to nowhere.

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Selfish, Race 3 (2018).

Like Selfish, Party Chale On has been sung by Iulia Vantur. Some of the lyrics of Party Chale On by Hardik Acharya, described as “quirky” in the maker’s description on its video’s page on YouTube, are as follows: “Ek main aur tu, saath me hai / Aur haath me hai tattoo”. (We are together / And our hands are tattooed). The song has more inspired rhyming: “Li hai booze humne slight / Sab lag raha hai bright, Hona hai jo hojane do / Aaj pura hai apna right”. (We are slightly drunk / Everything is bright, Let anything happen / We have our rights today).

Party Chale On is the latest in a long line of songs from Salman Khan movies that featuring simple hooklines, basic tunes, and contempt for the art of lyrical writing.

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Party Chale On, Race 3.

A staple in a Salman Khan film soundtrack, be it a club number or a romantic song, is a mishmash of English words and phrases with Hindi verses. The chartbusters include Just Chill from Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005), Hangover from Kick (2014) and Selfie Le Le Re from Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015).

Some of the songs are mildly acceptable because of their cheekiness, such as 440 Volt from Sultan (2016). Others are difficult to come to terms with, such as Hangover, sung by Khan. The Hindi verses suddenly crash into “Hangover teri yaadon ka / Hangover teri baaton ka” (Hangover from your memories / Hangover from your stories) in the hookline. The lyrics are by Kumaar.

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Hangover, Kick (2014).

Previous instances of Salman Khan songs with nonsensical lyrics from the 1990s and 2000s include Oonchi Hai Building and Tan Tana Tan from Judwaa (1997), Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyali Ho from Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (2000), and Aa Meri Life Bana De from Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye (2000).

Blame it on the success of Judwaa and its memorable soundtrack composed by Anu Malik. “Oonchi hai building / Lift teri bandh hai” (The building is tall / Your elevator is closed) or “Tan tana tan tan tan tara / chalti hai kya nau se barah?” (Want to be out with me from nine to 12?) made way for similar Malik songs for Khan’s films. In the 2000s, under Khan’s patronage, composers like Himesh Reshammiya and Sajid-Wajid created creating similar songs based on Malik’s template.

One of Reshammiya’s most bizarre songs for Khan is Carbon Copy, written by Sudhakar Sharma, from Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002). In the film, Raju (Khan) travels to London to meet his long-lost father (Rishi Kapoor). On reaching London, a starry-eyed Raju begins singing a song that his father, eminent scriptwriter Salim Khan, would surely disapprove of: “Nahin fax nahin Xerox nahin telex ya computer ki floppy / Main to mere papa ki carbon copy.” (Not fax, not Xerox, not telex or a computer’s floppy disc / I am my father’s carbon copy).

The makers were enamoured enough by the song to feature it several times in the movie as a recurring motif in the background score. It also has a sad version.

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Carbon Copy, Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002).

The pattern of following up a sappy Hindi line or verse with something atypical in English in the songs of Salman Khan’s films intensified as his stardom grew.

In Love Me Love Me, composed by Sajid-Wajid and written by Jalees Sherwani for Wanted (2009), the lines “Tere sang zindagi bitaane ka iraada hai” (I want to spend my life with you) or “Thodi nahi puri nibhaane ka yeh waada hai” (I want to completely fulfill my promise of being with you) are followed by “Papa says you love me, your mama says you love me, so love me love me love me.”

Sometimes, talented lyricists such as Irshad Kamil work within the constraints of the Salman Khan song and manage to come up with something moderately sober. Recent examples include Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai from Sultan or Swag Se Swagat from Tiger Zinda Hai (2017).

Sometimes, Khan does not even have to be a part of a production to leave behind his mark on its soundtrack. A song dedicated to Khan’s charisma, such as Superman from Tevar (2015), automatically channels its inner Bhai with the lyrics “Main toh Superman, Salman ka fan / Jo leve panga, kar dun maa-bhan.” (I am Superman, Salman’s fan / I make mother-sister of whoever has a beef with me).

When Khan steps into the music video of a film he is not starring in, after applauding the heroine’s “cat jaisi walk” and “sweety sweety talk”, there is not much left to say beyond “Po po po po po”.

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Po Po, Son of Sardaar (2012).
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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.