Delving deep into ‘MaLoMa’ and its topsy turvy world

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As I write this, “MaLoMa”, a musical tale of extraordinary lives led by everyday people, is trending number 1 on YouTube Bangladesh & 38 on global YouTube. This song, as a whole, is many stories woven together as one, belonging to people from all walks of life. The stories touch hearts and inspire music lovers to ponder upon life in general. As Arif Dewan and Shagor Dewan sing their hearts out about how mistaken they were about life being a bed of roses, the chaotic city around them comes to life.

Composed and produced by Pritom Hasan, MaLoMa originally comes from a folk tale, obtained from the Dewan Family. “It is a very old song and I am honoured that Arif Dewan, a legendary musician, agreed to be a part of the production,” says Pritom. “I have thoroughly enjoyed making this song!” he adds. “For a change, I did not lend my voice in the song this time, and rather focused on the composition. I got to work with Sagar Dewan – an amazing singer! Aly Hasan, the rapper who arrives into the scene as the answer to all the questions asked in the song, is undoubtedly the face of rappers belonging to the new generation in Bangladesh.”

Upon listening to the words, it is hard to miss that the song has many layers of meanings and references. “One of them is adulting,” exclaims Pritom. “As people age, their burdens in life increase. Another layer would definitely refer to the fragility of the human body and how one can die any time,” he ponders. “However, I am glad that Aly Hasan managed to bring some balance to the song with his words and wit!”

Sprinkled with metaphors, the visuals of MaLoMa showcase unique camera work corresponding to the storytelling, meaningful heights explaining the haphazard constructions happening around, while simultaneously, actual elements from Old Dhaka spring up now and then.

With structures built disproportionately, half-visible buildings and floors hanging upside down from skies – a topsy-turvy realm was created on set to showcase the jumbled-up world that one lives in. In fact, people from villages and smaller towns move to these turbulent cities for better lives, says Adnan Al Rajeev, the director of the music video.

“For one, the inverted world was created to portray the bizarre unplanned city that we live in,” says Adnan. “This crazy architecture depicted perseverance and tenacity of those who survive amidst the congestion and unplanned set up, for real. We had puppets on set, played by actors, to show how the deprived are controlled by the powerful in these chaotic cities,” he adds. In addition, according to Adnan, the set up also resonated with people who migrate from their homes to these cities to live better lives. The research done by him and his team brought about these unpleasant realities and more that are faced by the city dwellers on a regular basis.

In another corner of the cluttered city, a group of women are smoothening the rooftop of a newly built building with a paddle-like tool, while their leader, a man in a shirt and a lungi, is dancing and giving out instructions. This age-old tradition of chchad petano accompanied with music and vocalization has been a delightful addition to the song, also adding color to the noisy city. “I found the video of the chchad petano group singing and smoothening the rooftop of a building on social media,” says Pritom. “I had initially sampled the song from this particular video. The group sings a part of the longer version of a Behula Lakhkhindhar song for the MaLoMa composition, that they usually sing while they work.”

Yet another metaphor, the boat – a constant throughout the production, is poignantly referred to as broken and filled with holes inside. Arif Dewan and Sagor Dewan both draw a picture of a boat, aimlessly floating in the river like a loner. Here, the comparison is with life as a whole, and how as one grows and struggles to make dreams come true, the challenges faced become too much of a burden. In a nutshell, sometimes adulting in a topsy-turvy world takes the most out of you.

LondonGBDESK//

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