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Nora Fatehi is the ‘bewafa sanam’, but Rajkummar Rao is not your 90s avenging lover – Beyond Bollywood

A rage in 90s, but today Ataullah Khan’s folk song will earn you the tag of a cry baby. Nevertheless, a mature final act in the remake helps T-Series to redeem for its extreme reaction in Bewafa Sanam [1995] .

(l-R): Nora Fatehi, Rajkummar Rao and Aakash Ahuja

By Mayur Lookhar

One of the regrets that this writer has is how he was among millions who were influenced by cliched music, content of the 80s and 90s. Songs that encouraged chauvinism, stalking became a rage, with young men not afraid to apply those cheap tricks in life. Blinded by such cliches, yours truly learnt his lesson the hard way in ‘public’. That was the day he realized how chauvinist the society was then. How men simply imposed their will on a girl. Unrequited love, jilted lovers shamelessly condemned the woman.

Fortunately, three decades later, Indian society, presumably urban metros have seen a certain change in attitude where mature men don’t resort to slander after a heartbreak. 

T-Series’ new single Accha Sila Diya song condemns infidelity. So, why is this writer ranting about chauvinism? We don’t justify infidelity of any kind, but it is also true that cinema/ arts has largely been selective in such criticism. Arrgh, here comes another feminazi. Our critics will chide. We accept that charge but will you accept that men ranting over infidelity are crybabies?

In the 90s, we cheered Pakistani singer Ataullah Khan Esakhelvi’s folk song Accha Sila Diya Tune Mere Pyaar Ka, that condemned infidelity on part of the woman.  Jilted lovers, heartbroken men used the song as a slur against women. ‘Inspired’ by the Pakistani song, the late Indian music mogul. Gulshan Kumar recreated it in the voice of Sonu Nigam for Bewafa Sanam [1995]. The film had his brother Krishan Kumar playing the heartbroken man, while Shilpa Shirodkar played the bewafa sanam (infidel partner).

Forward to 2023, T-Series has recreated the song but as a single featuring popular dancer Nora Fatehi as the infidel lady, while poor Rajkummar Rao is the one who is cheated. Poor? Hang on! We are not empathizing with Rajkummar Rao for playing any cry baby, but the new-age, liberal actor’s presence in a dated chauvinist concept is a little surprising.

One is to keep all beliefs aside while reviewing a song. The 2023 remake only uses the song title, but lyricist Jaani has penned the rest of the words.  The dull opening words feels like a social commentary before the song lyrics set in.  Though fresh, but the overall lyrics didn’t appeal much. The music too is a mixed bag, impressing us in parts. The opening piano tunes suggest that this could play to a western composition, but the desi beats then take over. We like the assorted [hook] beats but the lyrics and the singing doesn’t build consistent engagement. Nevertheless, Jaani partly redeems himself with the decent music.  

B. Praak was brilliant in Teri Mitti from Kesari [2019]. Though blessed with a powerful tone, it can pinch in the ears If not controlled.  With all due respect to B. Praak and his fans, but the singer hasn’t been able to create the same impact.

Nora Fatehi

The visuals tell a story in itself. Nora Fatehi looks dark in the black costumes, but there isn’t much scope for any great dancing here. Aakash Ahuja, Fatehi’s partner in crime hams his way. (It is just a coincidence that an Ahuja gets to play a character similar to the real life character Prem Ahuja from the famous K.M. Nanavati case?).

Rajkummar Rao too has to bear the brunt of it. What’s likable and different from Bewafa Sanam [1995] is how eventually Rao’s character does the right thing, unlike the avenging Krishan Kumar. The final act perhaps helps T-Series to atone for its earlier extreme reaction.  You don’t have to forgive, but neither should one take the law in their hands. Leave the sinners to their fate. Accha Sila Diya [2023] attains our respect for this.

Watch the single below.

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