Qala, the upcoming psychological drama driven by music, just got a trailer. Premiering December 1 on Netflix, it follows the eponymous playback singer (Triptii Dimri) who struggles with an identity crisis on top of her hard-won success. Her tragic upbringing, directed by her belittling mother (Swastika Mukherjee), is at the root of it, creating cracks in her psyche and personal relationships as career pressure mounts. Directed by Anvitaa Dutt (Bulbul), Qala somehow feels heavily inspired by Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan or even Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, where an obsessed artist struggles to gain approval from an older, more experienced mentor.
Set in the late 1930s and early 1940s before the independence of India Qala The trailer opens with our protagonist (Dimri) admitting his hatred of music, which is a common artistic trait caused by a creative block or simply the feeling of being a hack. But in this case, her doubt stems from her mother’s disdain, who constantly compares her to other artists and tries to assert herself in her daughter’s fame. We are then treated to some clips of Qala’s rise to stardom, which involves a massive fan base, photographs with the Prime Minister and winning the golden vinyl for outstanding music. That is until competition enters in the form of a new character – Jagan, played by the late Irrfan Khan’s son Babil Khan. Although not explicitly mentioned, the trailer seems to indicate that Qala’s mother was an artist herself, in some capacity, as she is seen being very critical of her daughter’s work and offering blessings to the new singer.
That Qala The trailer then switches themes to depict the rising conflict in Qala as she struggles to distinguish real life from show business. “He’s very good at replacing people,” she says, presumably referring to Jagan, who is now the center of attention in the recording studio. “Do you know what kind of girls sing in front of film industry people?” says the old fashioned mother, trying to belittle Qala’s craft as the latter struggles with being unable to sing and confronts a mental image of Jagan, who is trying to steal her golden vinyl. Keeping in touch with the time period, her peers ignore her pleas for help as a sign of exhaustion, instead sending her to therapy. The chaotic trailer ends with the mother’s voiceover comparing Qala’s performance to that of a high-class sex worker, saying, “This house has no room for a courtesan.”
Netflix announced first Qala during a Mumbai event in August, offering a small taste of the musical pieces to be expected from the film. Qala also stars Amit Sial (Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega), Amit Trivedi, Girija Oak (Taare Zameen Par), Kausar Munir, Samir Kochhar (Four More Shots Please!), Swanand Kirkire, Tasveer Kamil and Varun Grover.
Qala drops December 1st on Netflix.