Qala Movie Review: Tripti Dimri, Babil Khan's musical period drama marks the journey of envy and jealousy

The movie Qala impressively brings together the beauty and the dark reality of the music world, backed by great direction, cinematography and background score. The film is not just a must-watch but an experience to be lived.

Aparupa Devnath Aparupa Devnath Updated on: December 01, 2022 23:54 IST
Tripti Dimri
Qala movie poster featuring Tripti DimriPhoto:@NEWTAMILDUBFILM
  • Movie Name:Qala
  • Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
  • Release Date: DEC 1, 2022
  • Director: Anvita Dutt
  • Genre: Psychological thriller

Qala Movie Review: The impeccable portrayal of envy and jealousy by Tripti Dimri and Babil Khan in the movie has won the hearts of the audience. The relationship between a mother (played by Swastika Mukherjee) and a daughter (played by Tripti Dimri) in a male-dominated society and the struggles to fit in the space are well displayed in the movie. Anvita Dutt’s psychological drama ‘Qala’ is like an impressionist painting. The background is perfect, whether it is the snowy mountains of Himachal, or the warm, jewelled tones of a Calcutta night, with a boat gliding down the Hooghly bridge. 

Set in the 1930s, when Calcutta was the hub of Hindi film music, Qala tells the story of a female playback singer caught in a web of defeats and deceits, part of which are of her own making. Her life revolves around music and her mother. Single-minded pursuit of the former distances her from the love of the latter. The consequences are disastrous. Both the actors Tripti and Babil justified the characters. Marking the first step in Bollywood, Irfan Khan's son Babil has rightfully taken over the legacy of his father. A glimpse of his late father is evidently visible in his acting skills. 

As a young girl, Qala wishes to become a great singer, mostly to win her mother Urmila's approval. The flashbacks reveal how they live isolated in a dimly-lit house in the Himachal, where her mother tells her that she has to work harder than any man to achieve success as a playback singer. Qala constantly shifts from the present to the past, as Anvita tries to situate her views in the mind of her female protagonist. Whether we see her hallucinating or crumbling down with nervousness, there is a certain confidence in the way the director constructs the narrative fabric of Qala. Yet, Qala's journey is built in a suspended deceit that does not quite know where to focus. 

The constant interplay of light and shade, of warm interiors and cold exteriors, of subdued hues and extravagant glow lends the film visual variety and depth along with accentuating the psychological dimensions that are at play.

However, the real hero of the film is its music composed by Amit Trivedi and background score created by Sagar Desai. The most soothing number among the lot is Jagan’s (played by Babil Khan) introductory song “Nirbhau Nirvair”, which is composed by Trivedi, written by Sant Kabir and Anvitaa Dutt, and voiced by Shahid Mallya. Even “Ghodey Pe Sawaar” featured on Qala Manjushree, written by Amitabh Bhattacharya and sung by Sireesha Bhagavatula, is a memorable track that immediately transforms all to that bygone era of simple and relatable music. Huge credit for this goes to all the lyricists, music director Amit, BGM composer Sagar, and sound designer Pritam Das. 

Gorgeously shot by Siddharth Diwan, each scene is mapped out like a painting. Meenal Agarwal's production design serves as a dreamlike space for these characters to inhabit. 

Overall, Qala impressively brings together the beauty and the dark reality of the music world, backed by great direction, cinematography and background score. The film is not just a must-watch but an experience to be lived.

Watch Qala trailer: