Music director Sneha Khanwalkar on giving Love, Sex Aur Dhoka its unconventional, sometimes provocative, sound
When director Dibakar Banerjee wanted a groovy yet rakish sound for his provocatively titled Love Sex Aur Dhoka - a bold attempt showing three stories weaving through each other through hidden cameras, he got 25-year-old music director Sneha Khanwalkar into the studio, giving her a lyrics sheet with four lines - Tasveer utaarunga, mele mein dikhaunga, Jo dekhega usski ankhiyan nachwaunga. Banerjee seems to have pulled the rug from under her feet right away.
"I had never heard anything like that. It was weird, it was violent, yet somewhere it was interesting," says Khanwalkar, who was roped in for the project even before the script was ready. Khanwalkar worked with the shocking lyrics and came up with the LSD theme track, sung by Kailash Kher, which got massive airplay in the days running up to the film release. The song sounds gibberish at times, bitter and biting. It is also an unconventional salute to old R.D. Burman songs, presented in corny Hinglish as Khanwalkar somehow managed to nail down the perfect mood.
Khanwalkar, who arrived in a more or less-male bastion of Bollywood music with Kal and then Go, a Ram Gopal Varma film that tanked. She got some attention with the rasping tracks of Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! that gave a contemporary touch to folk music.
She tries something similar in LSD. Banerjee has used lyrics sparingly to titillate the audience and Khanwalkar has woven them with gunshots and screams and made it as dramatic as she could. "I wasn't working with a blueprint. The film required some dark psychopathic music. The songs don't forward the story in any way. The way they have been woven into the film is tricky," says Khanwalkar.
The film also includes a retro-rustic item song called I can't hold it any longer in Khanwalkar's voice. Apart from the first line, the rest of the song is twisted Rajasthani folk lyrics with dholaks playing in the background. "A madcap like Banerjee lets you do things the way you want them and I think that is the best thing about him. We exchange ideas and he gives his suggestions. So what comes out is a mix of Indian classical, soft rock, folk, retro and everything else that I can come up with," says Khanwalkar, who grew up listening to Hindi songs and Indian classical music from her mother and trained under the Gwalior gharana as a young girl.
One of the songs in LSD is also a tribute to the Jatin-Lalit kind of music on which she grew up. The song Mohabbat Bollywood style begins with the words, Adarniye Aditya Chopraji while a mandolin plays in the background. "I wanted a track with some mood music, and it has been sung by two reality show contestants. The music is very 90s style and anybody would quickly relate to this one," she says.
Another track, Tu gandi acchi lagti hai is raking in attention thanks to its previous controversial lyrics. The serious kind of tone to the song adds to the irony of the lyrics.
Khanwalkar is currently in Jharkhand looking for inspiration for Anurag Kashyap's next film called Wasepur. "I love packing my bags and travelling around to these little places where the village folk sing their traditional songs. They may not be in tune but their natural flair works for me. I like to use these voices directly in the films," says Khanwalkar, who will be cutting an album soon. We are waiting.
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