I remember being in a remote village in Maharashtra when Zingaat- the original Marathi song from ‘Sairat’ – released. An auto driver was blasting it in his rickshaw, in which we were passengers. Suddenly me, the ‘urban’ girl from Pune, the driver who had been to a big city only twice and my non-Marathi friends travelling with me had big smiles on our face.
Probably the only thing that stopped us from starting a ‘Ganpati dance’ right there was the lack of space. Such is the magic of the Ajay-Atul duo composition. They have made us Marathis dance, cry and feel patriotic from their numerous compositions, and they did it again thanks to ‘Zingaat’.
The movie, featuring the love story of the rustic lower-caste Parshya and his upper-caste lover, Archi, captivated the entire state.
Two years later, we have another ‘Zingaat’, in the movie ‘Dhadak’ (it is Madhukar and Parthavi this time). This one that is so glamorised that the simplicity of the Marathi original seems to be lost in all but name.
What is it about the original version that made us dance like no one is watching? And why are we not so impressed by the new version- one that more people will actually understand?
Well, the simple answer is simplicity and an unbending commitment to raw authenticity, something utterly lacking in the new version.
The choreography, set and the overall feel of ‘Zingaat’ (I will refer to the original Marathi version by the name) has always felt like the actors heard the song once before the cameras rolled – and then just went crazy.
The song is already playing when Parshya and his two friends enter the venue. They immediately join the crowd, dancing without a care in the world- never really standing out.
The girls, Archi, are already dancing among themselves, separate and a level above the men and boys on the ground floor – something that usually happens in an Indian village party.
The rest of the scene is organised chaos, like any house party – everyone dancing to their own beats with no choreography or no synchronisation.
That’s precisely what ‘Zingaat’ is – energetic villagers dancing the night away – some well, some badly.
The new version – choreographed by Farah Khan – catches this element perfectly in the first minute, which is a glamorised copy of the original (no complaints here). But it is downhill the rest of the way.
Here, Parthavi’s world seems to stop as soon as Madhukar walks into the party- only unpausing when he joins a crowd (that helpfully parts for him!)
The hidden charm of ‘Zingaat’, aside from its authenticity, is the secretive and risky flirting between the protagonists – even as they did their best to keep this private moment from the notice of the hundreds around them always.
They used the lyrics of the song itself (not being sung by the leads, but instead being played on loudspeakers) for their benefit, along with a series of excellent facial expressions – acknowledging each other’s compliments and eye-rolling when things got too sappy.
The love affair between the two teenagers is not just believable but relatable.
This happens (though usually without an energetic song in the background) in schools, colleges and a million other places where the young gather across India.
Meanwhile, the Hindi song goes full ‘Karan Johar’ after the first minute. This unprepared couple, who is technically just dancing with the crowd, suddenly belts out a choreographed set of steps and begins dabbing just as the chorus sets in.
(PS: Who taught the upstairs the steps the downstairs boys are doing? Was there a pre-party practice session?)
What is so ‘Zingaat’ about choreography anyway? The word ‘Zingaat’ itself is an informal Marathi word for crazy and wild – as the dance is supposed to be.
Dear filmmakers, do you not realise that having the leads run a choreographed dance with their friends while pointing at each other is the best way to ensure this ‘secret’ affair is not very secret, right?
And then there are the lyrics. “Tu Saheli Ke Sang Jaake restaurant Mein pizza Khaye. Dhoop Mein Bahar Baitha Baithe Main Chugta Hun Moongfali.”
The whole point of ‘Sairat’ was two youngsters not caring about the wealth or caste differences between the two. But these lyrics seem to indicate this issue was at the forefront of everyone’s mind!
You can’t do both – not care about a social structure and then endlessly bring it up in a song to your lover!
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It is things like this that seem to derail the new version entirely. In the original, at every moment you felt the passionate chemistry between the leads even as the crazy dance party (with equally insane party moves from the young and some very old guests) kept your own shoulders swaying.
It was that commonness of ‘Sairat’ and ‘Zingaat’ that we loved. Your heart really cannot ‘Dhadak’ for yet another KJo gala dance festival.
All in all, the rustic charm of ‘Zingaat’ has been lost in translation. You may dance to the tunes of ‘Zingaat’ because it’s just so upbeat. But the credit goes to Ajay-Atul, not KJo.
Director Shashank Khaitan (with Karan Johar watching over his shoulder) may ramp up the make-up, design and choreography in his movie, but my heart will always be wild like ‘Sairaat’ and not just beat like ‘Dhadak’.
Zingaat from Sairaat:
Zingaat from Dhadak:
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)