New Kalank Song! Alia Dances, Madhuri Doesn’t, WHY????

New Kalank song! Really lovely visuals, very “big” feeling. And a pretty nice sound, but not mindblowing. Although it is also the kind of song that sometimes isn’t mindblowing on the first listen, and then sticks in your mind.

Let’s see if I can follow this. Madhuri is a singing/dancing teacher in her workroom, singing and guiding her students in a dance in honor of Ram and Sita (I think. Or else Hanuman). I was thinking Madhuri would be playing a Tawaif and Muslim, but I guess not, since there is a statue of Shiva (I think) in her room. Although, her character’s name is “Behaar Begum” and I thought “Begum” was a Muslim title?

This is a big deal, not just the religion she is, but because it changes the tradition she is coming from. I was assuming “Tawaif” which means more on the sex worker side of things. But if she comes from a Hindu tradition, maybe it is more the respectable religious dancer kind? Or at least, semi-respectable learning the arts for nicely born young women? I really don’t know enough about the ins and outs of South Asian dancing traditions to be sure, hopefully some of you in the comments can help. I suppose she could just be a Tawaif who also celebrates Hindu holidays, or performs at them, or something.

While Madhuri is having her class, outside there is a big festival for Hanuman (I think). Alia seems to be a wealthy and respectable young woman who is attending the street festival. She hears Madhuri singing and is drawn to the sound, ends up going into her class room and joining in the song, and then the dance. If Madhuri was a Tawaif, this would be an interesting statement about a gently raised respectable young woman who is drawn to the outside of society group because of their shared art. But she isn’t, she is some other thing I can’t quite identify, so I’m not clear on if this is a nice respectable moment of Alia finding a singing teacher, or a reveal of Alia’s interest in something that is below her station.

Varun Dhawan on the other hand is DEFINITELY below her station. He has a little bit of eyeliner and is wearing a Pathani suit (I think) which feels like maybe Muslim? But whether or not he is Muslim, he is clearly coded as lower class than Alia, hanging out with his friends on the outskirts of the festival, muscular and long haired with no jewelry or turban or anything.

Oh, and the title is something about “come home, foreigner” or something. With the way Alia seems to be new in town, could be related to that. Or I guess Varun could be new in town too.

Plotwise, looks like Alia and Varun keep missing each other at the festival, haven’t met yet. But at the end, it looks like Alia’s voice attracts his attention and he starts walking towards Madhuri’s classroom. So maybe he already fell in love with her voice and has been looking for someone who sings like that, or maybe he falls in love at first hearing just now. Or maybe it is just an oddly edited song video.

Most of all, super romantic and fun, isn’t it? It doesn’t have that heavy historic weight feeling of the Bhansali movies, where it’s like we are being told that this love story is very very serious and we should take it seriously and not just enjoy it. This feels like something we can enjoy without feeling bad for enjoying it.

Oh, and Madhuri doesn’t dance, but Alia does. I have three theories as to why this is:

  1. Alia is really not that great of a dancer, so they were careful to make sure she and Madhuri aren’t dancing at the same time so we are less likely to notice.
  2. Madhuri just can’t dance any more, because she OLD
  3. They are trying to build to Madhuri dancing, both within the film and in the audience as they release these trailers one by one, so we don’t get to see it in her first intro scene/song.

Now, wishes for the film based on this:

  1. Madhuri to do a spectacular dance that also has some plot purpose, like she has to distract the guards so her beloved student Alia can escape to her true love.
  2. Varun and Alia to have a ridiculous fantasy fairy tale love story, falling in love at first sight and throwing flowers at each other, none of that modern “realistic” stuff.
  3. Varun to be a Noble Poor Man in the classic tradition.
  4. Varun and Aditya Roy Kapoor (evil sneering wealthy prince) to have a sword fight at some point
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37 thoughts on “New Kalank Song! Alia Dances, Madhuri Doesn’t, WHY????

    • Wouldn’t it? I want Princess Bride style silly fairy tale fantasy. Or, in Indian terms, Rajkumar-Aan-Dharam-Veer.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 11:10 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Yes, Alia is playing it very “dignified restrained young woman” and then she gets excited while singing. And then Varun playing it as “rougher lower class young man who moves with purpose” makes me excited to see them as a couple!

      And Madhuri looks gorgeous. Whether or not she ever dancers, I’m still happy just to watch her face.

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  1. Maybe it’s kjos way of something like passing the mantle.

    Bt madhuri is clearly getting old. Her steps are getting repetitive and still alia being 30 years younger can’t match to madhuri

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    • I would rather see Madhuri do an easier and less physically demanding dance than push herself to something she can’t quite manage any more. Hopefully we will see that at some point, perhaps dancing while seated and just moving her face and hands.

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  2. I haven’t seen the song, because I’m angry with Karan for many things, and I don’t want to support his movie, adding youtube views and stuff, but on the other hand I’m so curious.

    Do you think Karan would cast Madhuri if she couldn’t dance? I’m sure she will dance, but as you said, they didn’t want to reveal all their cards from the very first trailer.

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    • Good point, it is kind of odd casting of Madhuri doesn’t dance. She replaced Sridevi, who people would have also wanted to see dance.

      Could you watch one of the illegal copies on youtube, so you are taking views away from Karan’s legit verison?

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 12:54 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • That was you! I remembered someone had speculated that here, but I couldn’t remember who it was.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 1:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I really don’t understand Alia’s casting for this role (besides Karan Johar’s obvious bias towards her). She doesn’t have one of those personas that can pull off an old-timey role. She’s a good actress but her babyface just doesn’t suit her role or the dance she was trying to do in the movie. Subtle performances are more of her thing, she just doesn’t suit the “subtle drama” style acting that is needed for these movies.

    I just really wish it was someone else doing this. In that aspect, SLB knows what he’s doing with casting actresses for period dramas. Deepika, Aishwarya, and Priyanka have those faces and personas that can carry a period drama style role, but Alia literally looks like a child playing dress up here. The dance for this song could’ve been much better with someone else.

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    • I can see what you are saying. Even Varun seems better cast. He does well with the kind of college cool guy roles, but I think he could also be fun as a muscle action period hero, really throw himself into the silliness and fun of it. I just don’t know if Alia can do that.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 1:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Hmmm your theory about Madhuri being old/injured might be the reason…that would also explain why she didn’t really have a dance number in Total Dhamaal…just a few movements…really sad…though I’m still going to keep hope that they are saving her big dance number for a later reveal…

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  5. Definitely #1. They don’t want Alia to look bad, so they’ve avoided Madhuri-Alia dance together. There’s no way you’re going to be able to compete with Madhuri – especially if you’re not trained. I found Varun’s shots really awkward. He’s just walking around – adding nothing to the song. Song should’ve either been Madhuri-Alia or Alia-Varun, this is just nowhere.

    I don’t know but I find the whole set too sanitized/set like for it to be in 1940s. There’s also the very-obvious SLB hangover.

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  6. And can we talk about terrible poster that came out few day ago which is exact copy Rana’s scene from Baahubali. All India knows this scene, and Varun is no Rana, so my question is WHY?
    even the bull doesn’t look interested. He is like: oh, I’m standing here minding my own business, what is this guy trying to prove?

    https://i0.wp.com/www.socialnews.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/16/Varun-Dhawan-New-poster-from-Kalank-.jpg?fit=1080%2C1080&quality=90&zoom=1&ssl=1

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      • Oh, that bull looks so peaceful! Just hanging out, starring into space.

        On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 2:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • That is so terrible! I had no idea. If the whole film is just fun and silly and doesn’t take itself seriously, I am totally fine with this. Rip off action scenes, bad CGI, the whole bit, it can still be a fun movie. The low budget teen comedy version of a historic epic. If they try to make this actual serious, that is when I will have problems.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 2:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I was wondering why you didn’t wrote a post about Kalank’s posters.
        I loved one of the comments on twitter about Aditya’s poster. It was something like this: blank look, tonalities of red, hey it’s Fitoor!

        This movie is a mistery for me. I don’t think it’s going to be silly, because it doesn’t look like this kind of film. And also, after the posters were out a lot of actors commented and many of them e.g Preity Zinta said that they heard the story 15 years ago, and they are happy this movie was finally made. I don’t think a silly movie from 15 years ago would be actual now, so in my opinion it will be serious.

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        • See, this is what is making me think it might be silly! Everything used to be silly and fun back then, KKHH versus ADHM. I miss the silly corny stuff and I hope it is a throwback.

          On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 5:02 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. This looks like the song is set in some sort of Ram Lila type event happening on the street. There is someone dressed as Ram who passes by Alia at around the 30 sec mark (Ram, Krishna and Shiva are all often represented as “blue” because they are dark skinned). There is also a short glimpse of what looks like the Lakshman rekha scene at one point. The lyrics of the song would fit in as Sita waiting for Ram to come and marry her. There is also a reference about going to the well to get water, which at first sounded like an anachronistic reference from Krishna Lila songs until I remembered that in many versions of the Ramayana, Ram and Sita first saw each other when she had gone to get water or something of that sort. As for Madhuri’s character, she could still be a Muslim tawaif participating in the cultural festivities of the majority religion. Even in Umrao Jaan (the one with Rekha) their dance training montage is set to a song in praise of Hindu gods (Pratham dhar dhyan Dinesh, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh). In addition to the not dancing, I am also confused by the way her dupatta is arranged in front – it almost makes her look pregnant.

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    • I am immediately jumping on the “Madhuri’s pregnant again!” train to explain why she isn’t dancing. Even though I know that is impossible because she has appeared at plenty of events in formal attire. But wouldn’t that be wonderful?

      And thank you for taking a stab at explaining how Madhuri might be a Tawaif and performing at a Hindu event! Can you give me any sense/guesses as to whether she is teaching a semi-respectable dance class or a completely un-respectable one? Might it be possible for upper class young girls to take a classical dance/singing class from a Tawaif, or would that be totally forbidden?

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 4:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t think Madhuri herself is pregnant, but I wonder if her character is supposed to be pregnant – the drape of that dupatta makes no sense. I don’t think it would be considered acceptable for upper class girls to take dance lessons from a tawaif but who knows how logic works in a sweeping historical saga created in the mind of KJo who here seems to be inspired by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I mean, it also makes zero sense for Paro and Chandramukhi to be dancing together in Devdas. Heck, it makes zero sense for Paro to be dancing at all. Until as recently as the 40s and 50s (even later depending on region/family), dancing was not considered as an acceptable art form for women from respectable families in north India. So, it wouldn’t really be a good business plan for Madhuri to be running a dance school for upper class girls. Music and singing was a lot more acceptable over dancing. It is difficult to guess whether Madhuri is supposed to be a tawaif or not because I see zero markers of Islamic culture in her way of dressing etc. Her character’s name is definitely Muslim though. But then again, I feel silly trying to parse out so much meaning based on historical and cultural contexts from something coming out of KJo’s imagination.

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        • it also makes zero sense for Paro and Chandramukhi to be dancing together in Devdas. Heck, it makes zero sense for Paro to be dancing at all.

          ZOMG, thank you!!!! I know it’s a gorgeous dance but it makes ZERO sense for the characters and story. It drives me up a wall! @margaret This is the flip side of the post on “which songs fit the story and characters best.”

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          • Oh oh! I need your evil brain! I did “what songs work best” and “what songs are great but don’t fit the movie”, didn’t even think of saying “what songs are so illogical and ridiculous that they almost ruin the film.

            Writing post now!

            On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 6:17 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Dola Re Dola song made me so angry as soon as I saw the trailer for how stupid it was. It really did ruin the movie for me even before I saw it. I am trying to think of other songs that would fit the bill.

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          • Let me know if you do! I’m working on a post now 🙂

            On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 7:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I’m already writing the ridiculous fantasy explanation in my head. Oh, I want it to be a ridiculous fantasy movie so bad! Not a semi-logical pretend historical like Bhansali makes, but just straight up ridiculous.

          On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 5:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Pinga from Bajirao Mastani suffers from the same problem as Dola Re, though to a slightly lesser extent. I guess SLB just cannot let go of the temptation of having his two leading ladies dance together even if it would be absurd for the characters to be doing so. Another one along similar lines is O Re Kanchi from Asoka. I really like that song but it really does not fit in anywhere with the character of Emperor Ashoka – it is Anjelina Jolie as Alexander the Great’s mother levels of cognitive dissonance.

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    • I can’t imagine Kajol in it! I wonder what the vision was with that cast? This new version so far looks like Alia and Varun as the clear leads, with Madhuri as the special guest, and Aditya and Sonakshi kind of forgotten. What role would a second major female lead play?

      On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 1:24 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Well those were the days when the three were the usual cast of Kjo films. But Alia is a clear bad choice. At least Sonakshi looks mature. And Alia’s Hindi isn’t that great IMO.

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        • I don’t even really speak/understand Hindi and I can tell that Alia isn’t that great at it. It’s not like she doesn’t speak it at all, clearly she is fluent (not like Kat). But her words don’t have the clarity that I am used to from other actors. She’s great in modern films, but I don’t know if she can pull off classical dialogue.

          On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 9:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeah, she can’t really pull of dramatic dialogues. All through Raazi I felt that she was struggling to pronounce the Urdu words. Felt very unnatural coming out of her mouth.

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  8. I really want these wishes to come true. And, yes, I was taken aback too when Madhuri didn’t dance at all. The role initially belonged to the late Sridevi, so the character might not exactly be written with Madhuri’s dance moves in mind, but it will be a great opportunity missed if we don’t see her dancing. I’m hopeful that we will.

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