16 days ago

'Qala': Visually breathtaking, musically stunning with dark undertones

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Bollywood screenplay writer and director Anvita Dutt’s 'Qala' is a period musical drama that transports the audience into an aesthetically beautiful world that resembles an impressionist painting. 

The film, set during the pre-independence period, revolves around Qala, a young and gifted vocalist who rises to fame in the movie industry but is consumed by her desire to succeed and her past trauma. Qala's story explores pressing issues such as childhood trauma, mother-daughter bonds, and the dark side of stardom.

The film's visual richness and complexity are enhanced by the ongoing interaction of complementary colours, warmer interiors, chilly exteriors, subtle hues, and grandiose glows. Each scene resembles a work of art. 

The filmmaker handles everything with assurance, relying on a mix of inferences and clever tricks to accurately depict the fragile nature of Qala’s reality and psyche.

The key performances of Triptii Dimri and Swastika Mukherjee carry Qala, diving deep into the psyche of two brave women who are equally driven and prone to vulnerability, delivering outstanding performances. Babil Khan, making his movie debut here, also impresses with his portrayal of a talented but unfortunate singer.

The film addresses the darker undertones of the central leads, exploring the emotional wounds of a parent searching for a substitute for the child she never really had and a daughter struggling for the validation and love of her mother. The mother-daughter duo suffers emotional wounds while struggling to accomplish their and their family’s aspirations.

Qala employs fine symbolisms, such as the cuckoo, to reflect the morally questionable protagonist and the boat sequence to represent a moral conundrum as the protagonist faces a challenging decision in later scenes. 

The threshold between being reflective and becoming ponderous is often blurry in the movie. Yet the precise screenplay keeps the meticulous narrative arc moving forward without ever altering the challenging setup for the musician, who gradually worsens her bond with her mother through her confused and fame-driven actions. 

The vintage lyrical drama features strong performances and an artistic depiction of pressing issues. It is a visual treat that brilliantly explores disturbing subjects while presenting sympathetic and morally grey characters. 

The film's stunning visual and musical elements add depth and complexity to the narrative, creating a mesmerising cinematic experience.

Qala is a must-watch for those who appreciate artistry in cinema. It is a unique and compelling exploration of mother-daughter relationships, stardom, and trauma, delivered through a stunning visual and musical experience.

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