If you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely check out the item number "Kaal Dhamaal" from the 2005 nature horror film Kaal.
This opening credits item number is picturized on Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora - the second pairing of these two performers. They first appeared together in the infamous "Chaiyya Chaiyya" from the 1998 film Dil Se... where they performed on top of a moving train.
But the style of this Kaal item number is quite different. Though Farah Khan was the choreographer for both, "Chaiyya Chaiyya" offers a flavor of Punjabi culture while "Kaal Dhamaal" is raw and sensual. While the costumes in "Chaiyya Chaiyya" feature a bright palette of white, red, blue and orange, the costumes and set design of "Kaal Dhamaal" primarily focus on earthy colors from nature - gold, brown, gray, tan.
The song title "Kaal Dhamaal" is a good introduction to major themes of the film. Kaal has several meanings including time, death; angel of death; season; age; calamity; a snake; fate; era; age; date; period. Dhamaal means to create a ruckus, to have fun, to frolic, to live it up. As you watch the film you'll see that many of the characters in Kaal are doing whatever they desire - ignoring the "rules" - before they meet an unnatural demise.
In terms of the music, once you get past the creepiness of the item boy who whispers, "its time", you will probably find "Kaal Dhamaal" infectious. SmasHits.com gave the whole soundtrack of Kaal a highly positive review and said of the opening item number:
Jeanne hip-hop English lyrics set the mood for the title track "Kaal Dhamaal" as Kunal sings boisterously with Ravi "Rags" Khote, Caralisa and Salim. The song is choreographed on Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora with glitz and grace. Kunal has categorized himself in the bracket of top playback singers, as he impresses all the way.
According to 2005 interview with Karan Johar, the film was initially not going to include any item numbers - just background music. The decision to involve Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora was an evolving one:
Bollywood Mantra: How did Shah Rukh Khan agree to enact the song for the credit titles?
Karan Johar: He's the co-producer of Kaal. I decided to begin the film with a song and thought of several heroines, in a very Ramgopal Varma way. After all I've great regard for Varma and Kaal is definitely derivative of his school of filmmaking.
If Kaal does well, then I say 'Well done, Ramu. Thank you.' Anyway after going through a list of item girls I suddenly thought of Shah Rukh Khan as the item boy. I thought, why not? Shah Rukh is the producer and my friend and brother. We've an equation where I can take his presence for granted. I asked him and he readily agreed.
Shah Rukh is the best producer and item boy one can find. Everyone knows when he cries the world cries with him, when he laughs the whole world laughs with him. The one thing that Shah Rukh hadn't done was to flaunt his muscles. When you see him in the "Kaal Dhamaal" song you'll see he can be a stud if he wants to be.
Bollywood Mantra: Have you brought Malaika Arora into the song with Shah Rukh to recreate the "Chaiyya Chaiyya" magic?
Karan Johar: Malaika is a dear friend. I love her. She's one of the sexiest women on the fashion scene. Virtually Mother 2005! When I brought her in Kaal I didn't think of "Chaiyya Chaiyya". I just thought of her as the sexiest woman to accompany Shah Rukh on screen.
While we know that Shah Rukh Khan will do what he can to help promote his films, when Kaal was released the hero said that he is shy about being considered a stud:
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who finds subtle things more sensuous than in-your-face sexuality, says he felt embarrassed doing pelvic gyrations as an item boy in Kaal.
But the actor, who has played hero, anti-hero, supporting hero and now item boy, says he bent his own rules, thanks to close friend and co-producer Karan Johar.
"Why do my friends keep embarrassing me? I feel shy being talked about as a stud. In Kaal, Karan couldn't get a proper stud, so they made do with whatever they got," Shah Rukh told IANS in an interview while laughing at his own dance sequences.
"I'm a little shy about doing such stuff. I must tell you, I still find some of our dance movements a little strange.
"I don't think thrusting your pelvis in the camera is very sensuous. At least for me, it doesn't send off the right kind of signals. Sometimes I laugh through the movements. That's the only way to make them believable."
But it is Shah Rukh Khan's style that brings class and focus to "Kaal Dhamaal". This is a performance you don't want to miss.
SME and Sony ATV Publishing have blocked online viewing of "Kaal Dhamaal" beyond youtube.com and in certain regions. If you can't view this video here, click through to youtube.com to see if you can view it there. Or rent the film Kaal and enjoy!
If you liked this post, check out our other Music Monday posts.