Qala, the upcoming period music-fueled psychological drama, has just received a teaser trailer. It debuts December 1 on Netflix and follows the eponymous singer (Triptii Dimri), who struggles with an identity crisis at the peak of her hard-earned success. His tragic upbringing, led by his self-deprecating mother (Swastika Mukherjee) is at the root of this, forming cracks in his psyche and personal relationships as professional pressure mounts. Directed by Anvitaa Dutt (Bulbul), Qala, in a way, feels heavily inspired by Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan or even Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, where an obsessed artist fights for the approval of an older, more experienced mentor.
Set in the late 1930s and early 1940s before Indian independence, the Qala The trailer opens with our lead (Dimri) admitting his hatred towards music, which is a common artistic trait caused by creative blockage or just feeling like a hack. But in this case, her doubt comes from the disdain of her mother, who constantly compares her to other artists and tries to assert herself in the notoriety of her daughter. We’re then treated to some clips of Qala’s rising stardom, which involves a massive fanbase, photography with the Prime Minister, and winning Golden Vinyl for Excellence in Music. That is until competition enters in the form of a new character – Jagan, played by Babil Khan, the son of the late Irrfan Khan. Although not explicitly mentioned, the trailer seems to indicate that Qala’s mother was an artist herself, to some degree, as she was seen to be very critical of her daughter’s work and offering blessings to the new singer.
The Qala The trailer then changes themes to depict the growing conflict within Qala as she struggles to separate real life from show business. “He’s very good at replacing people,” she says, likely referring to Jagan, who is now the center of attention in the recording studio. “You know what kind of girls sing in front of people in the film industry?” the old-fashioned mother says, trying to downplay Qala’s craft, as the latter struggles with the inability to sing and confronts a mental image of Jagan trying to steal his golden vinyl. Keeping in touch with the period, her peers ignore her cries for help out of exhaustion, instead sending her to therapy. The chaotic trailer ends with the mother’s voiceover, as she compares Qala’s performance to a high-class sex worker, saying, “This house has no place for a courtesan.”
Netflix first announced Qala at an event in Mumbai, in August, offering a small taste of the musical pieces to expect 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 releases December 1 on Netflix.