When Sujoy Ghosh directed Jhankaar Beats in 2003, Hindi cinema was still fascinated with Dil Chahta Hai A wave where stories set in big cities after urban men and women were the new thing ‘in’. Jhankaar Beats was the result of this wave of films where sojoi He was trying to keep the essence of the old days alive even as he looked to the future of cinema, and tried to combine the two with the perfect instrument – music.
The early 2000s saw the era of the remix at its height. Featured songs by veteran musicians such as RD Burman were repackaged on a weekly basis, and were well received by audiences. But there was growing disdain among music buffs as they stuck to their guns making the difference between being inspired by someone and directly copying their stuff and presenting it as something “new”. This idea took on a whole new meaning in 2022, but that’s a discussion for another day. With Jhankaar Beats, which was also the first project for composer duo Vishal-Shekhar, music was an integral part of the film. With RD Burman’s memory being an important plot point, the songs should be top notch. Here, Vishal-Shekhar drew his inspiration from the maestro but apart from the one song that required his bandmates to sing Pancham songs, they had all the original tracks.
Sujoy Ghosh is now known as the director who leads thrillers with Most unexpected twists But in his early days, the director was still finding his niche. With Jhankaar Beats, who also wrote it, he made a film in which the characters struggle with daily home and work issues, while also trying to work on a passion project. The concept is debatable in 2022 as well, although the movie looks a bit outdated now.
The Sujoy characters spoke Hindi and English with equal ease, and discussed topics that were considered taboo at the time. There’s an entire path in the movie where characters who work for an advertising agency have to come up with a proposition for a condom brand, which might be perfectly fine in the movie now, but was seen as “bold” at the time.
Jhankaar Beats had Juhi Chawla as one of the main cast members, who came with the mainstream Ilan. But apart from her, other cast members like Sanjay Suri, Rahul Bose and Rinke Khanna were seen as the new crop of actors who got involved in projects outside the mainstream. Sujoy was also a rookie at the time and in a conversation with Hindustan Times in 2017, the director shared that he didn’t even know he had to say “cut” at the end of the scene. “I was learning every day while shooting for the movie – from moving the camera to putting it on a cart to using the lens and a lot of other things. I would come home every day and read. I’m grateful that along with all the cast, the crew was also supportive. So, I basically learned While working. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and still cherish the memory of making it.”
Over the years, Sujoy has produced films like Kahaani and Badla and short films like Ahalya and Anukul. His next movie, Devotion of Suspect X, is currently in the pipeline, but in the 19 years since he started his career, he has moved away from the Jhankaar Beats genre. Of course, times have changed and Sujoy has clearly found his own niche, but it will be interesting to watch him revisit space once more because his voice in this genre was so vividly clear.