Lyricist Tanishk Bagchi changes the power equation, perception of women that we usually see in Punjabi pop songs
By Mayur Lookhar
In the long list of pop songs being recreated for Bollywood films, Navv Inder feat Badshah’s Wakhra Swag song is the latest addition. The 2015 Punjabi pop song has been recreated by who else but Tanishk Bagchi for Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao’s Judgemental Hai Kya. The remake was launched yesterday in Mumbai. Before the launch, the actors indulged into a feeble roast session.
Often remakes would have lyricists changing few words or a verse to give an impression that it is different but it seldom is. The Judgemental Hai Kya song though is an exception. Baghci retains core lyrics by Navv Inder, but he lets his female singers take centre stage arming them with the right words that matches Kangana’s swag. The word wakhra means different and the Hindi/Punjabi lyrics by Bagchi certainly are different. Bagchi’s lyrics go in accordance with the conflict [Kangana v/s Rajkummar Rao] theme of the film. Though a promotional video, original writer Navi Kamboz would be pleased that his song is a natural fit to the film
Without being judgemental, there is a perception that Punjabi pop songs, especially their rap, make use of woman’s swag to create lyrical composition. Do they smack of chauvinism? Are they materialistic? Perhaps, yes. Contrary to the usual songs, Bagchi changes that perception as his lyrics have the female reminding the man that don’t give Gucci or Armani tags to her. We welcome this change. Man or woman, every one should be given equal chance in a lyrical war of words.
Bagchi’s lyrics are all about empowering its singers. Rap is often associated with male artistes, but Indian American rapper Raja Kumari breaks the myth with a powerful, swag filled performance. It’s Kumari’s rap lyrics that really bring out the swag in Ranaut. Playback singer Lisa Mishra takes care of the Hindi Punjabi lyrics. Armed with the right theme, Mishra and Kumari make the remake their own.
Navv Inder, the original singer, is easily overshadowed by Mishra and Kumari. Would he be complaining, perhaps not as the remake has come out nicely.
DJ Bagchi adds few tunes of his own, amping up the rhythm giving us a more pacey number. While the remake is good, but Badshah’s original composition is more likable as it has a nice smooth rhythm to it.
The Bobby [Ranaut] versus Keshav [Rajkummar Rao] battle is shown in a cheeky way in the video, but you are amused by the visual of Rao entering into a room that has a plate reading ‘casting room’ on the door. Bobby does go in but soon walks out with Keshav’s pants. She has not only stripped him of his pants, but the visual subtly condemns casting couch.
Given her feisty, rebellious nature, Ranaut is the perfect fit for Bobby’s character. Swag is something that we tend to associate with Ranaut, but the actress revealed that such upmarket representation is something that she stays away from. In fact, Ranaut said that she was stunned when told that she would be featuring in the promotional video.
Modesty though was not a virtue for the Wakhra Swag song. Kangana’s swag and looks drew comparisons with American singers Beyonce Knowles and Rihanna. We leave the fans to decide on that but Ranaut certainly impressed us with her looks and swag in the song.
As hard as he tried, but the gentleman that he is, swag is something that just doesn’t come naturally to Rajkummar Rao. He’s not really known for his dancing, and we barely see Rao dancing here too. But neither does Kangana. More than dance, this song is more about visual intimidation. Ranaut wins that contest handsomely.
Watch the original and the remake below.
Judgemental Hai Kya is set to be released on 26 July.