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Amrita Virk - "Dil Tutia Lagda"

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Published on Mar 19, 2009

Relatively speaking, there aren't so many songs in the world of Punjabi popular music where a woman's "voice" (by which I mean perspective) really comes through. Most of the commercial stuff is men singing about bhangra dance or trying to woo a girl, and the women in the videos are just love interests / sex objects. Then again, there is that portion of the repertoire, more characteristic of the more general (all-Indian) genre of Hindi film music, where the man and woman are on equal footing, but the song is just melodrama about an ideal love, picturized in grand operatic style. This situation stands in contrast to the fact that in "traditional" Punjabi culture, most of the "folk" songs (the amateur type) are the purview of women. So women are always singing at home, but in the commercial realm you hear them less, or not in their native mode.

One of the exceptions to this in Punjabi popular music is the subgenre of "sad songs." Here is Amrita Virk doing one of those. She is fascinating to hear sing and to see, to me, because I think she really looks/sounds like a regular Punjabi woman from a working class, rural background. It is a funny thing to say, but the tastes/aesthetics she shows in clothes, make-up, jewelry, and dental care really DO tell a story about her that stands in contrast to most of the sheltered, half-Westernized babes you usually see in these videos.

Of course this video is also really interesting for its realistically awkward portrayal of the two lovers; they show a surprising lack of phoniness (the latter being the norm in pop music videos) and the "Heart seems broken" sentiment of the song really does seem sincere. I like it.

One more random comment: The way the singer rolls her "r" at one point, in a very subtle way, also communicates her social background. I don't suspect that most young viewers of this would pick up on this, but again her accent is telling us about her probable working class tastes.

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