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Bhuj song 'Zaalima Coca-Cola Pila De': Shreya Ghoshal takes on Noorjehan, but the song is a limited version

Composed by Tanishk Bagchi, the song is a reprise of the Noorjehan number from the Punjabi film Chan Te Soorma (1986).

Shriram Iyengar

A film set in 1971 with a song that has all the ethos of the 1990s may seem surprising, but not in the world of dance numbers. The latest song from Abhishek Dudhaiya's Bhuj: The Pride Of India sees Nora Fatehi's sensuous spy weave her way around a reprised number of Noorjehan's 'Zaalima Coca-Cola Pila De'.

Composed by Tanishk Bagchi, with added lyrics by Vayu, the song is good enough to make for another addition to the growing list of dance numbers.

The lavish settings and choreography are a far cry from the bruised combat images that came out with the Bhuj trailer. But they can probably be explained away with Fatehi playing a spy trying to seduce secrets from a Pakistani military base.

That may also explain the use of a song rendered by the legendary Noorjehan. Of course, the singer sang it for a 1986 film, Chan Te Soorma (credited in the song's description) — which also, incidentally, explains why some toughies watching a dancer are imbibing Coca-Cola instead of their usual alcohol — but such timelines count for little in a commercial Hindi film. There is a limit to logical analysis in these matters.

The song is lavishly decorated and would fit perfectly in a 1990s villain's lair, which used to be the setting for such numbers. Then again, Nora Fatehi's moves seem a little too audacious for a 1990s heroine. The dancer is well known for her moves, and uses them to good effect.

Bagchi's composition borrows the hook line from the original Noorjehan number and also keeps with the melody. However, the added lyrics by Vayu are updated. The 'Chandi jaisa rang' and 'Sone jaise baal' are a throwback to 1990s Pankaj Udhas. Other than that, the lyrics are mediocre.

The composition itself plays to the usual focus on melody and rhythm to aid Fatehi's dance steps. While the melody is a surprising addition, and is lifted by Shreya Ghoshal's vocals, it does not land an effective enough punch. The rhythm feels underplayed and does not take centrestage as it usually does in a dance number. This leaves the entire composition trying too much.

Incidentally, the song's description on YouTube eschews any connection with Bhuj: The Pride Of India. Unlike the usual pattern of promotion, the filmmaker, artistes or the film have not been tagged to the video. Whether this is because of the Pakistani connection or for some other reason is a matter of conjecture at this point, as the production team has not responded to queries.

Bhuj: The Pride Of India is directed by Abhishek Dudhaiya and is set to be released on Disney+ Hotstar on 13 August.

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