Music composer Dub Sharma on Azadi's reworked version in Gully Boy
Composer Dub Sharma says nothing wrong in the makers dropping 'Brahmanvad' and 'Manuvad' from Azadi's reworked version in Gully Boy due to narrative constraints
In the days since Gully Boy's latest track Azadi dropped online, social media users have pointed out how the makers have presumably played it safe by dropping references to casteism and Brahmanical oppression that the original song bore.
Musician Dub Sharma had created the song in 2016, after Kanhaiya Kumar made the slogan popular during his protest against the 2013 hanging of Afzal Guru at JNU. Sharma's track had lines that went, 'Aazadi...Manuvaad se, Aazadi... Brahmanvaad se', thus reiterating the JNU students' protests against social evils. However, the reworked version featuring Ranveer Singh has relatively tepid lines that go, 'Aazadi bhukhmari (poverty) se, aazadi bhedbhav (discrimination) se.'
Composer Dub Sharma with director Zoya Akhtar
Defending the changes made to the track, Sharma says it has been reworked to suit the film's context and has little to do with appeasing the ruling government. "When people watch the film, they will realise that the lyrics are in sync with the character [Singh here] and the hardships that he has gone through. There is nothing wrong in tweaking the song to suit the narrative of a film. This song has nothing to do with any propaganda."
Sharma adds that neither director Zoya Akhtar nor the production house interfered in reimagining the song. "When Ankur Tewari approached me for this song, I asked him whether they would change the tune and he said no. They told me about the sequence, and were happy with what I presented."
The artiste says that in 2016, the track was born from his desire to challenge the powers that be. "My father is a journalist; we have seen the change in the way news is presented. Earlier, there was a balanced approach. But now, bite-sized information is provided and the decision is already given to viewers as to who is anti-national and who isn't. So, the song was my answer to them."
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Ranveer Singh stage dives into the crowd at Gully Boy music launch