Dum dum

Band Baaja Baaraat was a movie that came out of nowhere. Sure, it was produced by the ever eminent Yashraj Films, but it had little else going for it. Released at the very end of the year, a fresh director (Maneesh Sharma), a fist time actor in the main role (Ranvir Singh), a second time actress (Anushka Sharma) whose first outing (Rab Ne Banaa Di Jodi) was very commendable and a huge hit, but then it did star Sharukh Khan. Also, a mainstream romantic comedy set in Delhi? Unheard of in 2010. But the movie did come and left quite an impression. Musically, it is known for the much more colloquial song Ainvayi Ainvayi, a great song, but Dum Dum holds a special place in my heart. For in the unexpectedness of Band Baaja Baaraat, the song Dum Dum also manages to come out of nowhere and leave you joyous.

The movie had other strange things about it, such as the fact that the protagonists actually worked, and ran a business. In fact, most of the film was about the trials and tribulations of their wedding-planning business. They are small-time players who slowly grow to greater things, and Dum Dum shows up towards the end of the movie when what they do is more spectacle than mere planning of wedding events. Dum Dum is a performance, through and through, a very rousing and addictive tune, part dance show, part sufi wail, part Bollywood madness at its best. Director Maneesh Sharma and cinematographer Aseem Mishra really must be commended on a fast-paced kaleidoscope of colours and split-second shots that all add up to a riot of visuals and buckets of spirit. I do seem to have a soft spot for songs set on an actual stage, but rarely is it done with so much class and beauty.

Anushka Sharma continues a good run as a dancer of spirit and timing, if not the deepest of grace by this point. But the only reason you can tell that is because Ranvir Singh is just so immensely good with his body language. His ability to be on time and also flow fits the song perfectly. No small praise must be handed to choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant for her footwork. But mostly, the song works on screen because the pair do a great job at it together, seeming to very much dance in character. Their camaraderie through the film and the way they behave comes through even in these dance moves and their facial expressions, quite a subtle and impressive achievement. Tiny details in a film that got many tiny details right.

The song itself is a typically electronica-rock-sufi ballad that Salim-Sulaiman excel at producing, with their signature electronic blips and deep choral layers. The song is quite beautiful as a melody but the sheer spirit of it is what is left with you when it stops. Even the most cynical of listeners will be hard pressed to not tap a foot while colours, sounds and bodies burst like fireworks across screen and in the mind’s eye. Singers Benny Dayal and Himani Kapoor sing with a easy and make the song a unique creature with all the other aural layers added on. Dum Dum is more a rousing song than a fast song, choosing an almost laid-back pace at times rather than an athletic performance, and it is immensely helped by that confidence.

The Sufi aspect of the song is an interesting twist which has since become a bit of an overused trick, but this song still does it well by keeping it subtle and a matter of style and tone rather than an all-out spiritual drowning. It also helps that the song has minimal lyrics, not long verses but short phrases, almost, penned deftly by Amitabh Bhattacharya, using lines such as these:

Ishq talatum, ishq bawandar
Ishq di galiyon mein gehra samandar


Love is a crashing of waves, love is a storm of sand,
In the alleyways of love, lies a fathomless ocean grand.

Dum Dum makes you happy, appropriate for a song supposed to be celebrating a happy event. Ultimately this surprise movie does turn out to be about celebration above all else, and all the songs resonate with that theme. Dum Dum just resonates a bit more, and makes sure your feet continue the beat, and your head continues to see colour in the following silence.

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