Monday, November 16, 2015

Pinga—Of पीर, and मांग

Pinga from Bajirao Mastani released recently. The song features Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra) and Mastani (Deepika Padukone) shimmying to the beats of a traditional Marathi dance. In Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Sanjay Leela Bhansali had self-referenced his earlier films, and it seems that in Bajirao Mastani, too, he is continuing that tradition. In his Devdas, Paro (Aishwarya Rai) and Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit), the two women who loved the same man, had danced together on Dola Re. In Bajirao Mastani's Pinga, it is the two wives of Bajirao who dance together. Comparisons with Dola Re are obvious, especially when the film-makers themselves are promoting it be like that. While Dola Re remains an iconic song with some of the most gorgeous choreography in my opinion, Pinga is a little subdued in its treatment by the level of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but still grand as compared to others. 
Pinga is the song where Kashibai welcomes Mastani in her household. The song begins with the following lines and some typical hand gestures. I have not been able to find the full meaning of Pinga, but some have suggested that Pinga means Goddess Durga. The same lines have been sung in Marathi folk songs.

Inga ga pori, pinga ga pori 
Pinga ga pori pinga

(Starting 03:40)

Both Kashibai and Mastani are dressed in a traditional Marathi silk saree, with a traditional necklace, a khopa hairdo and green bangles. The only difference between them seems to the color of the saree. While Kashibai is wearing a purple one, Mastani is wearing a dark-red one. This contrast symbolizes the personalities of these two women. Kashibai is royal and regal. The color purple is symbolic of power, wisdom, leadership, respect, and wealth. It has been worn by emperors in the past. Even in the song Deewani Mastani, Kashibai is dressed in purple hues. On the other hand, Mastani, true to her name, is dressed in dark-red, as red is a color of passion and determination. At one point in the song, she sings, "Haan tu jaane yeh duniyadari, main to hu bas mohabbat ki maari." She does not care of the worldly stuff, she is only immersed in her divine love. Pakeezah hasti hai teri, tu noorani hai. There is another moment in the song, when Mastani sits in front of Kashibai, which reflects her lower stature as the second wife. This similitude in the costumes points that both of them love the same man. Both of them share the love for and by Bajirao, with changes in color underscoring the difference in their personalities. In fact, at one point, they even sing, "Jo peer meri hai so peer teri hai."  What I worship, you worship it, too. In Dola Re, Paro and Chandramukhi dressed almost identical with no difference even in the colors, which reflected the shared love for the same man. At one point in that song, Paro advises Chandramukhi to put sindur, and gestures a movement where she puts sindur in Chandramukhi's maang, and then puts it in her own head, pointing that they both love the same man, although they don't know it. Here, they sing, "Are dono ki maang laage, sooni aadhi, aadhi laal." (Sidenote: How a loser like Devdas get two gorgeous women to love him is beyond my comprehension) The major difference is that in Dola Re, there were two distinct voices of Paro (Shreya Ghoshal) and Chandramukhi (Kavita Krishnamurthy), while in Pinga, although there is Vaishali Made, most of the song is sung by Shreya Ghoshal, including parts of both Kashibai and Mastani. Vaishali's portion is minimal, as pointed by good friends (here, and here), and even that sounds like Shreya. Perhaps, it is a coincidence, or perhaps, it is intentional, where in Shreya's voice is another indicator of their shared love. 

In addition to their costumes, I like that both of them have three roses on their heads. Pinga is about acceptance of Mastani by Kashibai, who welcomes her in her life. Kashibai is surrounded by women, while Mastani is all alone when she walks in, and it is the song about embracing her in the family. 

There is also the signature Sanjay Leela Bhansali bird's-eye shot in Pinga. The song reminds of Nagada Sang Dhol the most, not only because of the similar scenes from the top, but also because the song is shot in the night, and the use of lamps.

My favorite part of the song is the part where the sing about peer, and their maang is half empty, and half filled with vermilion. Jo peer meri hai so peer teri, are dono ki maang laage, sooni aadhi, aadhi laal. A wonderful composition.  

There is so much richness and diversity in our culture, and it is a shame that I don't know anything about it. And, I still can't get enough of the terrific Deewani Mastani which is simply stupendous. Eagerly waiting for Bajirao Mastani

Other Reading:
Thoughts on Bajirao Mastani (link)
Thoughts on the marvelous Deewani Mastani (link)
A fascinating paper on folk arts of Maharasthra (link)
Thoughts on the film's traiker (link)

Dialogue of the Day:
"Mere jiya mein utari,
Tune paini piya ki kataari,
Haan tu jaane ye duniyadaari,
Main tu hoon bas mohabbat ki maari."
—Pinga, Bajirao Mastani


  1. This was so beautiful. I loved the song and video but did not see it the way you presented it may ne because am not so aware about marathi history and significance of colours. I love this even more. I hope you write something like this after watching the film too so that I can enjoy the film more. Not being a mahsrashtrian I didn'r get most of thelyrics and while searching for meaming I got here. Can you please translate the song. Pleaseeee

  2. Beautifully interpreted! I have luvvvved all da songs of BM so far. I wish SLB sir could himself read ur post..... He will be pretty impressed. OK what about the polka dotted navvari sarees of both actresses? I have never seen such patterns in traditional navvari sarees....n me also maharashtrian......and did kashibai really welcome mastani in her Maratha household as per historical records or have they distorted facts?

    1. Awesome. Thank you for the great insight.

  3. TheM_A_D - I am not a Marathi myself, so I also did not get all. Will update when I find someone to help me :)

    Mitali - Thanks, :) I wish he could read it, too. I am not Marathi, so in all honesty, I thought the sarees were traditional, not too sure about it. Also, I think their relationship evolves with time, so perhaps, this is the time when they met each other, but later it changed, Kashibai became jealous of Mastani.

  4. Mastani was never been accepted in the Peshawa family as she was muslim and Peshwa's are chitpawan brahmin. There was mastani mahal in Shaniwar wada ,but later Bajirao built a new house for mastani in kothrud. The sarees and dance are not at all authetic. Kashibai was queen and as per traditions of then, it will be dishonour to dance in such way. The different handling is ok but changing the story and representing in altogether different way is not cool with me.

    Lets see how it will be , once the movie released.. but so far no pleased at all with the songs launched and sets ,, they look dull.
    Anywasy all the best for release

    1. kashibai was a queen is a wrong statement !! Period!!

  5. yes i am agree with dhanashri

  6. Lovely insights yet again, Pankaj. You may want to differ with me on this, but I felt that Deepika could not match to the ragale grace Priyanka brings to this song. Similar to how Aishwarya paled in front of Madhuri in Dola re, Deepika seemed a little out of her depth in this song. Not taking away a cent from her flawless acting prowess, but Priyanka makes it worth the time one spends watching this video :)

    PS: heer to badi sad hai is just so freakin awesome!!! Write on that :D

    1. I liked that song so much. So real and relatable. She is sad but like any girl in the real world she carries on with her life. She doesn't sit an cry on her window no drama, she wears pretty cloths, meets people, goes to work, even dances. Pankaj please write about this song ASAP

  7. Yes, Manvi and THEM_A_D, I will write when I go watch the movie, which will be soon :) :)

  8. Sir, I the statement you mentioned under 'PINGA': "The major difference is that in Dola Re, there were two distinct voices of Paro (Shreya Ghoshal) and Chandramukhi (Kavita Krishnamurthy), while in Pinga, although there is Vaishali Made, most of the song is sung by Shreya Ghoshal, including parts of both Kashibai and Mastani" sounds to be wrong because Shreya Ghoshal has sung only for Deepika Padukone and Vaishali Made for Priyanka Chopra. This statement was also mentioned during an interview b the singer on a television. But moreover, the difference between both the voices could be distinctly observed.

    1. I think they are not very distinct at all. U can't really tell who is Vaishali and when is Shreya singing their voice and style of singing is so similar

    2. Not at all. Its really clear.. Vaishali mhade`s voice is a bit of squeaky and strong while shreya`s is breezy and smooth.. Actually Vaishali has sung another song in the same movie called FITOORI. after listening to that song, you can easily distinguish between the voices..


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