Divine’s single Kaam 25, for the upcoming Netflix Series, Sacred Games, brings to mind the question: Will pure hip-hop, that is, a track that is entirely rapped and not one where the rap is used as garnishing, replace the traditional film song? Probably not, but some Indian filmmakers are paving the way for that scenario with slightly off-kilter productions, such as Mukkabaaz, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, Kaala and now, Sacred Games.
Like Paintra from Mukkabaaz (rapped by Divine) and Hum Hai Insaaf from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (rapped by Naezy and Babu Haabi), Divine’s Kaam 25 is not the token film rap song to get sloshed to. Directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, Sacred Games, based on the 2006 novel by Vikram Chandra, revolves around a Mumbai cop, Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), investigating the death of the gangster, Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The supporting cast includes Radhika Apte and Neeraj Kabi. It is scheduled for a July 6 release on Netflix.
Kaam 25 takes off with words that are tied to the plot – Mumbai is to be saved from a catastrophe that will strike the city in 25 days. Divine begins with “Kaam pacchees hai, kaam dhaam pacches hai, ram naam satya hai, yeh khule aam hatya hai” (The game is done, your time has come, kill you in full view, your funeral’s begun). Then, Divine moves into rapping about Mumbai, which is a character in itself here.
Kaam 25 paints a grimy picture of Mumbai, a crowded and dangerous metropolis teeming with cops and criminals (“Gardi mein fark nahi, charsi aur vardi mein). Divine takes digs at political corruption (“Rajneeti mein yahan, sabse zyada paisa kyun hai), black money (“Public ko nahi dikhya, waise wala paisa kyun hai), and Mumbai’s ability to give every hustler a hard time (“Mumbai shehar sabko kaam zyaada deta kyun hai”). The production by Phenom complements the streak of danger and menace in Divine’s lyrics.