Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman and National Award-winning writer Prasoon Joshi have enthralled fans for years. They may have worked together in only three films (Rang De Basanti, Ghajini and Delhi 6), but have created some of the finest compositions. Here are four of their best creations and the brilliance and nuances of each.
1. Luka Chupi (Rang De Basanti)
The innocence in the words Luka Chupi (hide and seek) are a perfect metaphor for the sheer disbelief of a mother on her son’s death. The reality is hard to accept for a mother who is almost begging him to return. But the son reassures his distressed mother that he is in a better place, a world free and without any boundaries. Though, his world can never be as beautiful as her.
If you pay attention to the words, they take us through all the seven stages of grief: disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance/hope.
Lata Mangeshkar’s fragile yet commanding voice is a perfect foil to Rahman’s carefree voice. The song is a fine example of why singers need to get into the skin of the characters too, to emote their feelings. Both Mangeshkar and Rahman give the song a beautiful closure with their sargam. There is no better way to convey a mother and son coming to terms with personal loss.
Kaise tujhko dikhaun yahaan hai kya
Maine jharne se paani maa tod ke piya hai
Guchcha guchcha kar khwabon ka uchal ke chuwa hai
Chaaya liya bhali dhoop yahaan hai
Naya naya sa hai roop yahan
Yahaan sab kuch hai maa phir bhi
Lage bin tere mujhko akela
Recommended: 7 lyrical gems from Amitabh Bhattacharya
2. Roobaroo (Rang De Basanti)
Rang De Basanti is a story of awakening of a bunch of youngsters in the midst of an existential crisis. The words in Roobaroo ask you to join this bunch of enlightened souls on a new journey. It doesn’t matter to them if they live or die, they are going to battle and win either way. It is the unshakeable confidence of a person with clarity: Dhuan chata khula gagan mera
The song is a perfect ending to the horrific climax. An almost Orwellian end to the story and yet it maintains a dim light at the end of the tunnel. The fire was lit, and every person felt the power of rebellion as they walked out of the theater teary eyed, the laughter of Karan and Diljit etched in their minds forever.
Aandhiyon se jaghad rahi hai lau meri
Ab mashaalon si badh rahi hai lau meri
Naamo nishaan rahe na rahe
Ye kaaravaan rahe na rahe
Ujaale mein pee gaya
Roshan hua jee gaya
Kyon sehte rahe
3. Behka (Ghajini)
You won’t see the beauty of the song if you judge Behka solely from its words. The magnitude of Prasoon’s difficulty dawns when you listen closely to the tune. It’s particularly unusual, yet the kind that compliments the quirkiness of Kalpana’s (Asin) character.
The point made in the lyrics is quite obvious with lines like hatke alag si thi wo, bilkulk judasi. (The music required smaller, simple words). But it’s devoid of Bollywood stereotype: naa hi adaayein, na koi angadai.
Prasoon managed to project the raw exuberance of Kalpana which in turn brings out a frolicsome side of Ajay.
Khatta samajhpan, mithi shararat,
thoda resham hai, thodi nazakat,
kabhi sharmaye, kabhi lehraye,
usme saahil hai aur jaane kitni gehrai
Notice how the music has an otherworldly feel to it in some parts and innocence in other parts. It picks up pace in the middle and then returns to a jazz-like trance, resembling the feeling of developing a crush. And AR Rahman blends all the rapidly changing moods of the character into this wonderful song.
4. Dil Gira Dafatan (Delhi 6)
Dil Gira Dafatan is another song that demonstrates how difficult it is to write to AR Rahman’s tunes. Notice how the instrument starts out fast but the singing is relaxed and lazy. It’s typical of the feeling of losing your heart to something. The world around you moves fast but you’re calm and completely detached from the noise outside.
The words don’t synchronously keep pace with the rhythm of the instruments. Yet, maintain a strange link to the context.
Gazlon ki sohabat mein,
geet bhi behek rahe hain
Par main jaagu, ek khumaari, ek nasha sa,
ek nasha sa horaha hai
Such lines lend an intoxicating vibe to the song. The heart has its own imagination bereft of any kind of logic.
Samandar lehron ki, lehron ki, chaadar odh ke so raha hai
Speaking of intoxication, only Rahman can come up with such unique use of bagpipes in a Bollywood number. There is a serene, meditative feel to the song which reminds you how it is to fall in love again.
Stay tuned for Part 2…
By Shridhar Kulkarni & Rima Fernandes
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