With COVID19 making actors shut shop for a few months, a few have dabbled in alternative art forms, like poetry or music. We have scoured the internet, looking at the stars becoming an auto-tuned shadow of their outsized selves, or repackaging their charm into tunes and quirks. Here is a ranking, all in good-fun.
8. Salman Khan- Pyaar Karona, Tere Bina Without You, Bhai Bhai
Three songs dropped. First was ‘Pyaar Karona’, Salman Khan’s monochrome ode to blood being spilled at the frontlines of this pandemic. This included a rap which doubled up as a public service announcement, and tripled as an eyeroll. Then came the romantic ballad ‘Tere Bina Without You’, with Jacqueline Fernandez and him as Cowboy Khan or … Cowbhai, and then finally his Eid bonanza ‘Bhai Bhai’, a shrill cry for unity. Khan co-writes all his lyrics, and performs them to his shredded, autotuned hope. Just so you feel warned, there might be more bhai-music on the way.
7. Madhuri Dixit- Candle
I am sorry, but this is India losing Madhuri Dixit to the West. The song ‘Candle’ is in English, the accent is American, and the words are unfamiliar. She speaks of lighting candles in ‘hurricanes’, itself a North Atlantic phenomenon. Here, we call them cyclones!
The heart yearns for Chandramukhi waiting for the Devdas-babu to arrive, shama ke bujhne se pehle. Two decades later Chandramukhi is autotuned, the shama in a kothi is a candle in a metaphoric hurricane, the Neeta Lulla 10 kg ghagra is now well fitted black top and palazzo pants, and Kathak is a distant memory.
6. Varun Dhawan- Lockdown & Sonu Sood – Bharat Ek Saath Hai
Varun Dhawan rapped to Modi’s lockdown announcement (I would have never imagined Teletubbies and Devdas-and-Paro in the same video, but here we are) and Sonu Sood read hopeful poetry, ‘Bharat Ek Saath Hai’ in monochrome. (We get it, monochrome means severe messaging) Sood has been doing so much for the migrants, it’s quite heartwarming, but I think we might be past the stage where we can take messages of stoic poetic hope seriously. Or am I just being cynical?
5. Hrithik Roshan- Tere Jaisa Yaar Kahan
Okay, let’s keep aside the fact that he is off-key, because the easiest thing to have done to his rendition of the 1981 Kishore Kumar classic ‘Tere Jaisa Yaar Kahan’ is to autotune it to something more distracting, and less obvious. (Read ranking 8 and 7) The man is in a flat cap, we can forgive the vocal mis-steps!
4. Tiger Shroff- Theher Ja
When Tiger Shroff showed up for the #IForIndia Concert, the first assumption was that he would perform a backflip, or a handstand, or god-forbid a re-enactment of his War introduction scene, destroying his house to shreds in one take for charity. But instead, he sang ‘Theher Ja’ from the quietest film of 2018, October. The crossover between a Yashraj action drama and a Shoojit Sircar muted film is one no one ever imagined, or perhaps… wanted?
3. Kriti Sanon- Isharon Isharon Mein Dil Lene Wale
This is a bit of an odd-ball in this list because this was part of the Instagram #Antakshari challenge that had been going around and lost steam along the way. Sanon was just being a sport. She was tagged by Tiger Shroff for the syllable “Ee” and sang ‘Isharon Isharon Mein Dil Lene Wale’, and it has her sweet lilting inoffensiveness.
2. Siddhant Chaturvedi- Dhoop
Here is MC Sher trying out an alternative career MC Cher, songwriting and crooning to ‘Dhoop’. It’s a very well produced song (by DAWgeek) shot to polaroid filters of sun dappled skies. It’s oddly timed for Mumbai has officially made its move towards the monsoons, and the bespectacled old man in me is complaining about the flat inexpressive lyrics. But there’s something quaint here, yearning for a repeat listen, and the comfortable idea of summer, not the one where we sweat our weight onto bed sheets at night.
1. Shah Rukh Khan- Sab Sahi Ho Jayega
But only is it him that can charm like this. Even if you are seeing the world crumble with hate around you, for that split second when he says, “Sab sahi ho jayega”, you don’t mind the optimism.
You crave it even, as he pokes fun at himself, “Dekho Dekho time kitna bura chal raha hai, SRK singer bhi ban raha hai.” But we don’t have a problem, especially if it comes with his son, AbRam, in a matching haircut. Love is always a lovely thing to see.