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Rangeela Raja song 'Dholi Dhol Baja': Pahlaj Nihalani’s Rs3 crore song is not worth the hype

The lyrics are poor and repetitive and the music is average, but what hurts the number the most is the choreography, which is simply disappointing for a Govinda track.

Mayur Lookhar

In August, one was taken aback when producer Pahlaj Nihalani spent Rs3 crore on one song from his forthcoming film Rangeela Raja, starring his old favourite Govinda.

Having cleared all the certification and legal hurdles, Rangeela Raja is now set to be released on 11 January 2019 and the makers have released their expensive song, 'Dholi Dhol Baja'.

Let’s get this straight up front. For a song that is said to have cost Rs3 crore, 'Dholi Dhol Baja' is clearly not worth the price or the hype. 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali produced two great numbers in 'Dholi Taro' and 'Dhol Baje' from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-leela (2013), respectively. They are modern benchmarks for dhol tracks, and it’s futile to compare these modern classics with 'Dholi Dhol Baja'.

The least 'Dholi Dhol Baja' could have aimed for is to create some new engagement with the dhol. But lyricist Mehboob has penned a poor, repetitive track. Ishwar Kumar’s music has the dhol rhythm all right, but it cannot lift such a poorly written song.

Imagine, you are made to bear this line, 'Rangeeli raat aayi hai, Rangeele Raja ke ghar mein [It’s a colourful night for the colourful Raja]' and then you hear Ghoshal singing classical notes. The musical arrangement, too, is tacky in the middle part of the song.

The song has singers like Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghoshal, Dev Negi and Ishwar Kumar providing the vocals. Ghoshal and Udit Narayan will stand out even in an ordinary track, for such is the quality of their voices. But the singing stars would not be proud of this effort. Negi and Ishwar Kumar never really hold your attention. Let’s just say 'Dholi Dhol Baja' was a contractual obligation.

The lyrics and the music are banal, but you hope that a song that cost Rs3 crore would at least have visual appeal. But there is nothing in the 'Dholi Dhol Baja' song that leaves you awestruck. There is a large set and there are many dancers to be sure, but the protagonists — Govinda, Mishika Chourasia and Digangana Suryavanshi — don’t look like a million bucks.

Suryavanshi is dressed in a blue lehenga choli while Chourasia has donned a sleeveless white choli with matching lehenga. There is nothing extravagant about the costumes. Nor do we see the women sporting heavy jewellery. Govinda, too, is wearing simple traditional clothing.

All this leads to the question: what did Nihalani spend on? Yes, the song has been shot in a large hall, there are chandeliers, it is a palatial setting, but is it opulent? At least it did not seem so to this pair of eyes. Perhaps readers can help us with things we failed to notice?

The real disappointment, though, is the poor choreography by Chinni Prakash. It makes you wonder if the veteran just ran out of ideas. He makes a brilliant dancer like Govinda look ordinary. Little is known of Mishika Chourasia and Digangana Survayanshi, but the two are disappointing in this number. One of the steps looks like Govinda and the women are performing PT exercises.

The only notable part about the choreography is when the other dancers form a ring with Govinda perched on two shoulders with the men moving in a circle and the women dance in the inner circle. Then we have Shakti Kapoor, looking like a grandad, moving gingerly to the dhol beats.

Pahlaj Nihalani had told us that one of the reasons for the high cost was the presence of many dancers. We do see them in the video, but based on the visuals, it’s hard to believe that this is among the most expensive songs to be shot in Hindi cinema. Sources suggest all the talk of Rs3 crore was just hype. 

Watch the 'Dholi Dhol Baja' song below and tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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