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Making a culture accessible to all

Updated on: 06 March,2023 07:29 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sonia Lulla |

Authentically showcasing Bengali culture via music was essential for Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway lyricist Kausar Munir, but not at the cost of alienating the pan-India audience

Making a culture accessible to all

Kausar Munir and Amit Trivedi

The ongoing year marks a decade since Kausar Munir and Amit Trivedi first joined hands for a Bollywood project. With Trivedi having grown to be “more a friend than contemporary”, Munir attributes his ability to recognise a lyricist’s talent to their success as a duo. “Because we have respect for one another, there is a sense of ease in our relationship. We don’t let that comfort allow us to become complacent, though. Amit has a great equation with Amitabh Bhattacharya, and Swanand Kirkire as well. So, the credit goes to him for his ability to play to a writer’s strength,” says Munir, who has collaborated with him again for Rani Mukerji’s upcoming film, Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway. 

In a bid to replicate the Bengali culture with authenticity on screen, Munir says they relied on common phrases from the language while working on the music. “All three songs have the phrases. The song Aami jaani re is [named after] the Bengali phrase, and is based on a mother, who is separated from her kids, but aims [to tell them] that she knows what they must be feeling, even though she is not physically present [with them].  We had the privilege of accessing the visuals, and that helped us [in the portrayal of the culture]. While we wanted to make it authentic, it still had to be universal.”

Munir, who has associated with an array of composers in her career, says no two musicians have the same approach. “Pritam, for example, introduces the melody, and continues to make changes to it. He may even change it two days before [it must be presented]. Amit locks his melody first, and things [develop around it]. Here, it was both director Ashima [Chibber] and producer Nikhil Advani who set the tone of the film. So, Amit and I were given a beautiful introduction [during the briefing].” While the music plays a crucial role in driving home the struggle of the protagonist, Munir says the hero is still the film’s narrative. “Its emotional cushioning underlines the space that the protagonist occupies. It’s her story, and the cultural differences [faced by an Indian in a foreign country that let to the child welfare agency separating her from her children].”

Also Read: Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway: Why Norwegians believe the film can bring about change

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