'Bulleya', the second song from Karan Johar's much-awaited drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, was unveiled to the public on Friday afternoon.
The video features some heavy-duty chemistry between characters played by Ranbir Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who play lovers in the film. Composed by Pritam and sung by Amit Mishra and Shilpa Rao, 'Bulleya' is a pretty hummable Sufi rock number, in the vein of 'Mitwa' from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), a Johar film that also had two male and female leads.
However, I have one minor and very specific complaint — one that applies to many, many Bollywood songs actually, but let's focus on 'Bulleya' for now.
Why, in a film where Kapoor is reportedly playing a singer aka a musician, does Johar treat musical instruments as props?
Here's a portion of the song where the beat has been played on what sounds like a dholak, as depicted in 'Bulleya'.
Yep. No dholak. Instead, there's a drummer fake-playing the beat quite badly.
Sure, drums are introduced a few bars later in the song, when the (pretty catchy) chorus kicks in, but they could have tried to get this part right since even the most musically challenged amongst us can tell the difference between the sound made by a dholak (or any Indian percussion) and a drum kit.
I also have a few questions about this bit.
These are as follows:
1) Are the keyboardist, guitarist, and bass player sharing one tiny-ass Marshall amp?
2) Isn't that... not ideal?
3) How'd they know they'd find a plug point up there?
Anyway, I'm sure most of you have figured out that I'm just being facetious here. It's just that, as a part-time musician (for real), I am often peeved by inaccurate depictions of musical instruments in Bollywood. Yeah, that's what I really wanted to discuss.
This is a problem that's possibly as old as Hindi cinema itself. This post by BuzzFeed Indiafeatures numerous instances of guitars (usually the most abused — this rankles me the most since I'm primarily a guitarist) and other instruments being played in the most horribly inaccurate manner possible from various songs over the years.
^You look *ridiculous*, Hrithik.
It's annoying because it's a very easy problem to fix, honestly. Most Bollywood films are musicals; some employ orchestral scores that involve many skilled string and brass players. Movies like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil also, clearly, have very few problems when it comes to budget constraints.
You're telling me they can't get one consultant on set to tell them, "Okay guys, sorry, this makes no sense"? Or, you know, cast actual musicians?
If you've made it this far and are still wondering why on earth this is a big enough deal to write an entire 437-words-and-counting article about... well, you're right, it isn't.
But it also is.
You don't see Hollywood taking (as many) similar short cuts. For instance, here's Christian Bale playing the drums in The Big Short (2015).
Bear in mind that Bale's character in this film, Michael Burry, isn't a musician — he's a hedge fund manager who happens to play the drums, just to blow off steam. Yet, just for one scene, Bale took lessons from a drum teacher at Musician's Institute, Los Angeles.
Paid off, didn't it?
</endrant> Thank you for your time.
(P.S.: I've played 'Bulleya' on repeat for the past hour and now it's stuck in my head. Great song, guys.)
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