Summary : Qala is a female-centric period drama with a music theme that is painstakingly crafted, highly stylized, and occasionally stolid. Anvita Dutt’s screenplay, which is equally as strong as the film’s cinematography, production design, soundtrack, and editing, provides enough in the way of topic and treatment to prevent it from being merely a surface-level sensory experience.
Director : Anvitaa Dutt
Cast : Triptii Dimri, Babil Khan, Swastika Mukherjee, Amit Sial and Varun Grover
Ratings : ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
The Review :
The 1940s-era drama Qala, written and directed by Anvitaa Dutt, centres on Urmila Manjushree (Swastika Mukherjee), a celebrated classical singer with a patriarchal outlook who teaches her daughter Qala Manjushree (Triptii Dimri) the art but is never entirely satisfied with the latter’s efforts, talent, and skill. She finds Jagan Batwal (Babil Khan), a local boy from Solan, at a musical performance and quickly becomes distracted by him. She takes him under her wing and has big plans for her young protege. Due to this development, Qala becomes her secondary concern. What happens next will send you on an emotional roller coaster and teach you a few valuable lessons.
We have always loved films that delve further into character development and their lives than the traditional three-act format of a narrative, giving viewers the chance to reflect on particular ideas while they watch. While Qala appears to be about desire, passion, and envy, it also explores other significant issues including mental health, the effects of poor parenting, the casting couch, the sad trade-offs that come with ambition, and the difficulties experienced by women. These topics are expertly woven together to provide viewers with thought-provoking material. Anvitaa deserves praise for handling that situation delicately and with grace.
While her writing and direction in Qala is top-notch, the dialogues are equally impactful, with some of the best lines mouthed by Varun Grover – who plays lyricist Majrooh Sahab in the film. His lines like, “Raftaar Kabiliyat Ka Saboot Nahin Hoti” and “Daur Badlega, Daur Ki Yeh Purani Aadat Hai” are stirring and poignant.
But Amit Trivedi’s music and Sagar Desai’s background score are what make Qala the genuine star it is. The first song, “Nirbhau Nirvair,” which introduces Jagan, was penned by Sant Kabir and Anvitaa Dutt, was composed by Trivedi, and was voiced by Shahid Mallya. Even the song “Ghodey Pe Sawaar,” performed by Sireesha Bhagavatula and included on Qala Manjushree, penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya, transports you back to that bygone period of straightforward and approachable music. All the lyricists, music director Amit, BGM composer Sagar, and sound designer Pritam Das deserve a tonne of praise for this.
There isn’t really anything to critique, other than the fact that the early half of the story might have used a bit more tempo. Anvitaa could have made that scene’s writing a little bit more focused.
Talking about the performances, Following the critically praised Bulbbul, this is director Anvitaa’s and actor Triptii Dimri’s second collaboration, and the two have once again managed to work their magic. While Swastika Mukherjee brings the role of Urmila Manjushree to life on screen, Triptii excels as Qala, bringing every emotion she experiences to life on the big screen. She portrays the imperfect mother as real and approachable. Babil, the son of Irrfan Khan, is unquestionably the biggest revelation of this year, and the subtlety of his performance is a testament to the power of his art and the impact it has.
The supporting ensemble, which includes Amit Sial, Samir Kochhar, Girija Oak, Swanand Kirkire, Tasveer Kamil, Varun Grover, and Aadhya Jha, who plays the young Qala, masterfully assists the three main heroes. Each of them accurately portrayed their respective characters.