QALA Review: "Slow and meditative, the psychological drama sinks into the abyss of tormented minds"

QALA  Review: "Slow and meditative, the psychological drama sinks into the abyss of tormented minds"
Qala, made by writer-director Anvitaa Dutta, is a poignant piece of art and aesthetics. It stars Tripti Dimrii(of Bulbull fame) as the titular protagonist who yearns for her mother's love, but only bears the brunt of her disdain.
Set in the 1960s, the narrative lazily oscillates between the snowy landscapes of Himachal and Kolkata and centers on Qala who is now an established singer, conferred with prestigious awards.On the surface, she is successful and adorned with fame and wealth, her schedule is managed by a caring secretary, but if you peel the layers of the facade, she is haunted by memories of the past, consumed by jealousy borne out of her mother's preference to Jagan, who she had brought to take the family legacy forward.
It is not that Qala is not talented, but she has her own set of insecurities, which are elevated with her mother's deep-rooted and archaic ideas around patriarchy. When a man sings well, he become a maestro, but when a woman does the same, she is addressed as a courtesan.
Dutt envelopes her plot with exquisite visuals and an overwhelming sense of melancholy and unsettling pathos.Qala's descent into psychosis is underlined with sombre music( Amit Trivedi, you genius!) and deep abiding background score that lingers in your psyche.
She also tackles the complex themes of toxic parenting, sublime incest and sexual predation in the nuanced recreation of the bygone era with a consummate ease.
But Qala is not everyone's cup of tea. It is achingly offbeat and slowburn, intermittently reminding you of the 2010 Oscar winner, Black Swan that starred Natalie Portman gripped in a similar predicament.
Tripti embraces Qala's fractured soul,exuding a stinging vulnerability and guilt that corrodes her sanity. Her suicidal tendecies are audacioisly combined with dark sentiments of the music industry. Here, Amit Sial as the sexual favour seeking producer and Varun Grover as the empathetic lyricist Majrooh play their parts immaculately, moulding themselves into the impeccably designed period setting. Swanand Kirkire and Sameer Kocchar also make their short presence felt.
Swastika Mukherjee stands out as the remorseless and dispassionate Urmila.Her catharsis in the climax is palpable.Notice her in the scene where she digs out on the ugly side of the Cuckoo bird and compares her daughter with it.She gets into the abyss of anguish and unreasonable insolence towards Qala.
Babil Khan is impressive in his debut. He inhabits Jagan's morose-soaked soul with a genuine sincerity.Amidst the depressing milieu, two shots of Anushka Sharma in the 60s frame brightened up my spirit, but such moments are a rarity in Qala.

I go with 3 out of 5 for this Netflix film. With a noble intent on emphasizing mental wellbeing, it is underlined with striking performances.

Rating : 3/5

Director :
Streaming On :
Actress :
Actor :

About Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee, is an IT Techie/Business Consultant by profession and a film critic/cinephile by passion, is also associated with Radio Playback as well, loves writing and conducting movie quizzes. More By Ahwaan Padhee

Other Movie Review