Sunday, October 25, 2015

Agar Tum Saath Ho — Of Not Letting Go

In J.K. Rowling’s magnificent Harry Potter series, there is a charm called Expecto Patronum. The charm is used to fend off the happiness-sucking dementors, and one must muster the happiest memory they can think of, else the charm does not work. The happier the memory, the better the charm will work. Agar Tum Saath Ho from Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha casts a magical spell, but it is a reverse patronus. It will remind of a time of a devastating heartbreak, of a time of a wretched state, and of a time of a numbing hopelessness. The song has been filmed on Tara (Deepika Padukone) and Ved (Ranbir Kapoor), and the first fifteen seconds of the song are enough to bring back that flood of painful memories. Memories that one thought were purged, but in reality, they were buried somewhere deep in a small corner of the heart. 

Tara and Ved are at a conflicting point in their relationship. As seen in the trailer, Ved thinks he is a different person than the Ved Tara met in Corsica, while Tara thinks he is the old Ved. She is holding on to Ved as steadfastly as she can. She does not want to leave him. She cannot let go of him. But he wants to free himself. It is hard to be unmoved by that lachrymose hug she gives him. The hug will be etched in memory for long. Tara is pleading with him to stay with her. His love comforts her. It makes her forget every sorrow that she has in life. She will fill him in eyes; she talks to him without speaking. She molds herself in his habits, if he is with her. She is thinking of her loneliness, that her sorrows will come back since their relationship is ending, and perhaps, that sends her into paroxysms of wretchedness and she won’t let him go, and would hold him as tightly as she can.

The song is a testimony of the age old battle between the heart and the mind. Tara, dressed in dark red hues—hues that represent the color of the heart—is driven by her heart. Ved, dressed in lighter beige hues—hues that represent the color of the brain—is driven by his brain. Ved means a source of knowledge that resides in the brain. In a sublime moment, Tara and Ved put their head on the table. She slowly caresses his head, as if trying to nudge his brain to fall in love with her. She mothers his brain (quite reminiscent of Veera in the lullaby Sooha Saaha from Highway). Agar tum saath ho. But the brain is stubborn and adamant, and storms out. It is not ready to listen. It is practical. Bedard thi zindagi, bedard hai. Life was merciless; it is merciless, even if he stays with her. It does not make a difference. But, as it happens most of the time, if not always, the heart wins the battle. Perhaps, that is why Ved wears a red bandana over his head in the last few moments, of the same red color dress that Tara wore earlier, as if to signify that the heart has conquered over his brain. He has come around. Bedard thi zindagi, but maybe it will not be bedard if she is with him.

The hug is a repeating trope in Imtiaz Ali’s oeuvre. There is a scene in Highway, in which Veera (Alia Bhatt) gives a tight hug to Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) after she narrates him the story of her sexual abuse. She does not say anything to him and only holds him in her arms. The progressively tighter hug comforts her from her inner demons. In Rockstar, with fresh mehendi drawn on her hands, Heer (Narghis Fakhri) asks Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) to give her a tight hug. No reason. In Love Aaj Kal, Meera (Deepika Padukone) and Jai (Saif Ali Khan) decide to not meet any longer with one last hug and one last kiss because the tum vaali feeling will never go away if they are together. In Jab We Met, the relation of Geet (Kareena Kapoor) and Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) officially starts when Geet goes and hugs him at Ratlam. The hug plays a crucial part in the film’s climax where she sends a message to Anshuman that she is no longer in love with him, perhaps, she never was. In a romantic film, a hug is of course a common element, but this leitmotif in his body of work holds a special contextual meaning. Though I was reminded of the time in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani when Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) won’t let go of Naina (Deepika Padukone). “Mat ja Naina, yeh yahan acha lag raha hai, 5 minutes, please 5 second”, while here Tara won’t let go of Ved. 

The brighter parts of the song also tell an interesting story. At one point, Tara and Ved put their faces in the crystal clear water of the lake. The water is as pure as the emotion of love, and the act of dipping their faces in the water, is like they have been baptized in this virgin love. They have immersed themselves in the holy waters of this pristine emotion. Being dressed in ‘spotless’ white, they have tasted this ‘unblemished’ love.

I also really liked the way how the flare of a light has been used in the song. We see glowing rainbows coated around the incandescent lamps at the place where they meet. In addition, there are periodic flashes of a few microseconds of dispersed light when Ved is travelling around the streets, lined with reddish pinkish light. There is something addictive about the song, and I can’t seem to get enough of it. It reminds me of a time that I don’t want to remember, a time I thought I was in love, but I don’t think it was really love. But there are some memories of that time, and it seems to have wiped the dust off those sepia-tinted memories.

At one point, Tara and Ved are sitting on a hill with a drink in the hand, looking over the city. They are silent, and as Imtiaz Ali has shown us often before that love is a relationship in which one converses through shared silences, we see that here once again in the deep silence of Tara and Ved. Bin bole baatein tumse karun.

Song Credits:
Music: A R Rahman
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
Singers: Alka Yagnik and Arijit Singh

Other reviews of Imtiaz Ali's films:
1. RockstarLink
2. Love Aaj KalLink
3. Jab We MeetLink
4. HighwayLink
5. TamashaLink

Themes of the romance between Raj Kapoor-Nargis have also been observed (here and here).

Dialogue of the Day:
Pal bhar thahar jaao,
Dil ye sambhal jaaye,
Kaise tumhe roka karun,
Meri taraf aata har gham phisal jaaye,
Aankhon mein tum ko bharun,
Bin bole baatein tumse karun,
'gar tum saath ho,
Agar tum saath ho.
 Agar Tum Saath Ho, Tamasha

P.S. What is the special meaning of writing agar as 'gar?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Deewani Mastani—Of Mirrors and Golden Walls

In an interview given to Hindustan Times at the time of release of Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Raam-Leela, Sanjay Leela Bhansali had listed his top five favorite films. 
  • Pakeezah: Because it is Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari’s film. Because of its beautifully expressed anguish. And it’s a great film.
  • Mirch Masala: The interpretation of a village girl and a beautifully made film by Ketan Mehta.
  • Mughal-E-Azam: Because it’s sheer genius. Every second of the film is excellent.
  • Do Ankhen Barah Haath: V Shantaram is my favorite filmmaker. I am most impressed, inspired and influenced by him. 
  • 36 Chowrangee Lane: Aparna Sen’s best work and it will always be. It’s a beautiful film and Jennifer Kapoor has given a wonderful performance.
Sanjay has paid a tribute to these films in his own films. In Devdas, Chandramukhi's mujra dress in the Hum Pe Yeh Kisne Hara Rang Dala is strikingly similar to Sahibjaan's in Pakeezah. In Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Raam-Leela, the character of Rasila was inspired by Smita Patil's in Mirch Masala. In addition, there were mounds of chilli at Leela's house, similar to Mirch Masala. In Saawariya, Gulabji and some other prostitutes sing the song Ae Malik Tere Bande Hum; the song is originally from the film Do Aankhe Barah Haath, directed by V Shantaram. In Ram-Leela, the motif of peacock was inspired by Shantaram's Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje.  At another point in Saawariya, Imaan, Sakina and Badi Ammi watch Mughal-E-Azam and Badi Ammi remembers all the dialogues from that film.

In his next magnum opus and dream project, Bajirao Mastani, Bhansali again pays a tribute and what a magnificent one it is to Mughal-E-Azam. The film's song Deewani Mastani, picturized on Deepika Padukone, is a glorious homage to one of the most iconic songs of Hindi cinema—Jab Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya. Madhubala, dancing in front of the emperor of India, declared her love for Salim in complete defiance of the world. At one point in the song, she sings, "Chhup na sakega ishq hamara, chaaron taraf hai unka nazaara." Her images are then reflected across the mirror walls of the palace. She is everywhere.

In a similar fashion, Bhansali creates a opulent song in his trademark style using the Aina Mahal. In the song, Mastani enters the Shaniwar Wada for the first time. She comes dressed in a golden lehenga, wearing a golden Peshwa topi and a golden nose ring, holding a intricately carved golden mandolin. The golden color matches the walls of the palace. There is, perhaps, a special significance of the golden color, and the matching of the color of her dress and the color of the palace. A palace signifies something strong, grand, and brave. Perhaps, Mastani shares these characteristics with the palace.  Her story will stand the test of time, like the walls of palace are a testament to this era. She sings, "Mashoor mere ishq ki kahani ho gayi. Kehte hai yeh deewani mastani ho gayi." Her love story has become famous, and she has become mad in love. And, this story of hers will be written in 'golden' letters in the annals of history. As they say, itihaas ke sunehre aksharon me likha jayega. As Anarkali's love was everywhere in the walls of Aina Mahal, so is Mastani everywhere in the palace. The palace will be a testimony to her timelessness. Her sillage will linger in the walls of the palace for generations to come. Perhaps, that explains the amalgamation of Mastani and the palace in the song. I got interesting answers from some super awesome people on Twitter, who have articulated it much better than I.

Bajirao's first wife Kashibai, who is watching from the gallery above, is initially enthusiastic by the arrival of Mastani. However, given the radiant beauty of Mastani, and the way Bajirao seems to be charmed by her, a sense of pallid fear and a haunting vulnerability overcomes her. There is a sublime moment when she sees Mastani's image in the mirror walls around her. She will soon get to know that Mastani will indeed become her image, her shadow, her competitor, her rival with whom she has to share Bajirao's love. She was the undisputed queen till now, but things will change soon. The expressions on the faces of Kashibai's helps show that they will add enough ghee to this fire. This unspoken fear reminds me of Zafar Khan in Luck By Chance, when he realizes that his own actions might have created his new competitor.

Mastani dances like a dream, unafraid and unconscious of anything around her. She is madly in love with Bajirao, and this is her way of expressing it. Meera Bai danced and sang in front of the entire village for Lord Krishna, in complete bhakti of her master, unaware of propriety and her marital status; in the same way, Mastani is deewani in Bajirao's love. Meera Bai danced with a veena in her hand, Mastani dances with a mandolin. Her dance movements are like those of whirling dervishes. His love shows her the light. Sab noor noor sa bikhra hai. Ek tu hi khayalon mein utra hai.

My favorite part of the song is the last 45 seconds, when Mastani dances exquisitely, and those views from the top, what grandeur. I wish I could be in such a song, immortalized for ever. Alas, not everyone is as blessed as Deepika Padukone. In my jest, I created this picture. Perhaps, it is a good sign for Bajirao Mastani. December 18, you are awaited.

Song Credits:
Music: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Ganesh Chandanshive, Mujtaba Aziz Naza, Shahdab Faridi, Altmash Faridi and Farhan Sabri
Choreography: Remo D'Souza
Lyrics: Siddharth Garima and Nasir Faraaz
Song: Link

Other reading:-
1. More on Saawariya here
2. More on Ram-Leela here

Dialogue of the Day:
"Jab Ram naam ka raag lage to paani me bhi aa lage." 
—Leela, Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Raam-Leela

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Aiyyaa—Of Alice In Wonderland

Sachin Kundalkar's Aiyyaa is one of those films that make me happy just by thinking about it. I start laughing by myself when I recollect some of its scenes. The film has been universally ridiculed by one and all, but it is one of my all-time favorite films. It is a highly underrated film. There is a lot to admire in Aiyyaa, and whenever I watch it, I see a new perspective.
Aiyyaa is the story of Meenaxi (Rani Mukherji). She is a Maharashtrian mulgi. She works at a college. Her family wants her to get married as soon as possible. She has a mother, a father, a brother, and a grandmother in her family. She has a heightened sense of smell and is drawn to Surya (Prithviraj), a student studying arts. She follows him whenever he is around as she cannot take control of her senses in the presence of the hypnotizing smell. 

Rani Mukerji as Meenaxi is terrific. Meenaxi is a woman who wants to work so that she can buy her own small place where she can live by herself. The piles of garbage and its hideous smell are a metaphor for the suffocation she feels in her life. She wants to escape this. She does not want to do an arranged marriage as she thinks love is important before getting married to someone. It is a great feeling to see someone so madly in love with someone that she will go into uncharted territories to get her love. Whether it is the men's toilet, the red-light areas, or the dingy alleys of an industrial zone teeming with drunk men, Meenaxi tries to follow her heart. She would even buy drugs in the middle of the night to prove that her lover is not a drug addict. Though sometimes, she does cross the boundaries, like when she secretly goes to his room and steals his shirt and a photograph, which could be interpreted as stalking. Surya's smell relieves her from the garbage smell and helps her understand and explore her deeper desires. Sometimes, one has to fight to get their love, and she makes every effort. She learns Tamil to communicate better with him and tells him to keep the first button of his shirt open. She runs away from her engagement because she wants to spend her life with someone else. She wears his shirt just to feel closer to him, which I think is charming. She has an unfettered belief in Surya that he does not take drugs. She says, "Gore nahi, mujhe kaale log pasand hai," which is not to say that she is racist; this was a satirical remark on Indian fascination for white skin. There is a terrific scene in the end when they both talk about how low percentage they got in Class 10th. The way she counts in Tamil and mixes Aiyyaa and Aiyyoo, the way she kisses his picture, the way she secretly blushes thinking about him, the way she smells his painting, the way she smells him, Meenaxi is endearing, you feel for her, and you want that she gets everything.
Meenaxi says that her favorite book is Alice In Wonderland and that she has read it at least a hundred times, and sometimes, she feels it is her own story. Aiyyaa is like Alice In Wonderland. Meenaxi is Alice. Meenaxi's wonderland is her dreamland where she keeps on going, where there is a lot of space for herself, where there is no garbage, and everything smells beautiful. Mynah is the White Rabbit, always in a hurry as if on a stimulant. She also dresses as one later in one of the songs, and she keeps drinking alcohol from her bottle, Jumbo. Her father smokes four cigarettes at a time and repairs old telephones, and he is like the Caterpillar. Her grandmother, with golden teeth, who cannot see and yet can see everything is like the always grinning Cheshire Cat. As the Mad Hatter said to Alice, "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad," it is true for the film itself, where every character is mad. All characters have their own idiosyncrasies. In fact, the board outside their house has 'Insaanon Se Saavdhaan' written on it. Like the iconic blue dress of Alice, most of the time, Meenaxi is also dressed in blue color. In the end, Meenaxi's father says, "Is it a dream or reality?" which indicates a wonderland. I recently listened to Salman Rushdie, who said Alice In Wonderland is his favorite book. He made an excellent point and noted that the book has many darker themes, more suited for adults. In some ways, Aiyyaa has a much deeper theme than being only a comedy film as it is touted. It talks about the hidden desires of a woman. Two years ago, Vikas Bahl's Queen (link) also explored the theme of Alice In Wonderland, where Rani wore a sweatshirt with 'Alice In Wonderland meets the White Rabbit' written on it. Queen also explored the hidden desires and dreams of a woman named Rani. It is funny how coincidences work sometimes. Both the films have a 'Rani' connection, too. Aiyyaa is an Indianized Alice In Wonderland.
Rani's other suitor is Madhav (Subodh Bhave). He is a beautiful, wonderful person and certainly one of the best characters in the film. He is thoughtful, and as Meenaxi says, he is the first person who ever asked her opinion on how she feels about things. He loves movies by Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval, in which people communicate through eyes rather than words. He has a poster of Chashme Buddoor in his room, and sings Tumko Dekha Toh Yeh Khayal Aaya. He maintains a garden of roses on the roof of his house. When he finds out that Meenaxi is in love with Surya, he takes her to her room, says nothing at all through his mouth, but says everything with his eyes, and hugs her. One can't help but feel absolutely sorry for him. But the wonderful thing is when Meenaxi patronizingly says that they will always be friends, he chides her that he does not want to hear these Rose Day-type dialogues and wishes her the best in life. I am sure he will get over her soon and find someone he truly deserves. He is a gem of a person. The film could have chosen the easier path, where Madhav could be one of those silly boys who came to see her, but he is genuinely nice and husband material. For instance, in Dil Chahta Hai, Shalini was engaged to Rohit, a possessive and jealous boyfriend, but she loved Akash. The choice was clear from the beginning, and the film perhaps chose the easier way, given the unlikeability of Rohit's character. Madhav, though, will have to deal with heartbreak not because he is silly, it is just the way life works. The smell of his garden of roses is insufficient to attract him to Meenaxi.
Baradwaj Rangan writes, "Is the film's terrain not so much fantastic as Freudian, with id and ego represented by Suriya and Madhav, respectively the unconscious dark (and dark-complexioned) desire and the pull of practicality?" It is a fantastic point, but I tend to see Surya and Madhav as a statement on the two types of cinema—mainstream and art house. Surya is like those Tamil commercial movies, with larger-than-life props and men with perfect bodies. The song Dreamum Wakeupum is a reference to that kind of film. At one point, Meenaxi says Surya is like Guru Dutt, but once he leaves college, he will become Aamir Khan. In contrast, Madhav is like the art house parallel films of Farooq Sheikh, where everything is communicated through eyes, there are no designer clothes, and what matters are feelings, like in his favorite film Chashme Baddoor. Men do not have perfect bodies. In fact, we see Madhav's body when he changes his clothes, which is nothing like Surya's brawn perfection. At one point, both Surya and Madhav are coming towards Meenaxi. Both of them carry a bag in different styles, and both wear clothes that reflect their personality. It is this dilemma that Meenaxi has to resolve, just like in reality, where most commercial films win the box office and the popularity; here, too, Surya wins, and Madhav is left to find someone else who wants him.
At one point in the film, Meenaxi sees Surya perched on a wooden pillar. He sits quietly and is half-naked, wearing a pair of black shorts and a black vest. It is as if he is some kind of a statute. I was always confused by the meaning of the scene. The writers of Aiyyaa have said the film focuses on the female gaze. A female gaze is a cinematic trope where work is presented from a female perspective or reflects female attitudes. For instance, the song Dard-E-Disco in Om Shanti Om shows the chiseled body of Shahrukh Khan. In Aiyyaa, Surya is represented using a female gaze. He is objectified in the film's songs. Meenaxi imagines making love for his perfect body. We see the story from her viewpoint. It is, then, that this statue scene makes sense. We see Surya reading books by Michelangelo and Raphael. Michelangelo's David is considered the epitome of the perfect male human body. Surya sitting half-naked was perhaps a metaphor for Michelangelo's naked David, with Meenaxi able to see him as the object of her 'female gaze' here and at many other places in the film. The concept of the female gaze is also there in Mynah, also called Gaga Bai, who is obsessed with John Abraham and is not shy to talk about his body. It is, thus, entirely befitting that the film's major star is one of the top actresses, and the film's title credits open with her name.
With music by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya, the songs are as crazy as the film itself. Each song has a certain sense of lunacy and naughtiness. Most of the songs pay tribute to varied pop cultures. Ijjat Papad sung by Sneha' O Womaniya' Khanwalkar is fascinatingly weird. The song comes when Nana goes to Mynah's house to look for Meenaxi. Mynah, dressed in a bunny rabbit, opens the door and thinks that Nana is her lover; and she jumps onto him, and they start cavorting. If we hear and look closely, the song is a parody of the Lijjat Papad commercial that used to come in the early nineties. The commercial ended in a voice by a bunch of bunnies, and the same tune is used in this song. In the commercial, too, there are bunnies, and Lijjat Papad's logo is a pink bunny. Mynah is dressed in a pink bunny costume. Lijjat Papad, and Ijjat Papad sound the same. Every time I hear it, I am reminded of that commercial. The song also confirms that Mynah is the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland. The dance moves are a bit raunchy, but the song's premise is wonderfully crazy. I mean, who could have thought about this.
Mynah in Pink Bunny Costume
Lijjat Papad and Pink Bunny 
Lijjat Papad Commercial
Aga Bai has shades of Kama Sutra. It has excellent choreography. However, some scenes in it are almost soft porn. There is a sequence where the Surya puts petrol in Meenaxi's bike, and it is so raunchy that I start laughing. One has to see that sequence, but in all honesty, I did not mind it all. It is great fun, and I immensely enjoyed this song with double meanings when we are subjected to the most hideous skin shows. But again, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting her secret fantasies. 

Dreamum Wakeupum is inspired by Silk Smitha and Tamil Midnight Masala. It reminds me a lot about The Dirty Picture, but this song is a lot of fun.
Sava Dollar is a lavni dance, and Rani is again superb in it. The song is a great parody of Bollywood. At one point, she is seen endorsing a range of products, from toothpaste to cement. And the latest confirmation of one's status symbol in Bollywood is getting an invite on Koffee With Karan, which the song also shows. But my favorite song in the film is the delightful Mahek Bhi. Sung by Shreya Ghoshal, the song appears whenever Meenaxi thinks about Surya. I like the lyrics when it says, "Mahek bhi kahani sunati hai, sunlo agar. Hawaaon ke zariye batati hai, samjho agar." Even the fragrance tells a story of its own, and it tells it through the winds if you try to understand. It is so true that there is a story in every smell.
I laughed out at Mynah's antics. She takes inspiration from Lady Gaga; whether it is her necklace of pen drives, Armani and Gucci bags in Hindi, or her set of unreleased films, Anita Date is superb as Mynah. 
There is a particular focus on the use of colors in the film, predominantly yellow and blue. There are books by Michelangelo, Raphael, Atul Dodiya, Sachin Khandekar, and a portrait of Dali. What is interesting is that Surya's specialization is 'Faces.' My favorite scene is when he admires her face from the back of a one-sided mirror. There is also a Raja Ravi Verma reference where Meenaxi's mom is standing in the same pose as Verma's painting next to her.
I was particularly intrigued by two things. In the dream sequences from Tezaab, Chaalbaaz, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, or later from Dil, Meenaxi always wears oversized sunglasses in them. Was that a way to help distinguish the dream from reality where we cannot see her eyes? This is interesting to note because her grandmother is always in sunglasses, and as her father says, she cannot see anything, yet she can see everything. Was wearing sunglasses a sort of indication? I am not sure. I also liked the use of blue colors in Surya's paintings. Still, as this explains, "Surya's canvases are always daubed with blue, almost as if to underline his hectic, angst-ridden worldstudent in the morning, struggling artist by day and supervisor of his late father's business at night."
Not only Alice In Wonderland, but the film also shows Meenaxi reading famous Marathi author Prakash Narayan Sant's Zumbar. From whatever little Hindi text is available, the book is about a kid named Lampan and his feelings and thoughts, along the lines of R.K. Narayan's Malgudi Days. If only I knew Marathi, I could understand better about it (link).
Isn't that Guneet Monga?
It is a remake of Sachin Khundalkar's national award-winning Marathi film Gandha, a collection of three short stories connected by a sense of smell. The first story Lagnaachya Vayachi Mulgi and Aiyyaa is a remake of that part. While the original film was praised, I feel this film has been unfairly panned. It has a lot to think about and a lot to enjoy. I will be instant friends with someone who loves Aiyyaa and would go Wakda. We should form an Aiyyaa fan club. 

Other recommended reading:
1. Link—A great article on the palette of colors in Aiyyaa.
2. Link—An excellent article on the feminist themes in Aiyyaa.

Dialogue of the Day:
"Kaisi zaalim duniya hai, naa reality me jeene dete hai, na sapne me jaane dete hai."
 —Meenaxi, Aiyyaa

P.S.—My friend M, who reads my post, wants me to write that she is the most awesome person in the world. So, there it is, M. I wrote it :D

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Saathiya—Of Zulf Ke Neeche Gardan Pe, and Finding Abr

Sun Saathiya from ABCD 2 is my current favorite song. The lyrics and the picturization of the song are lovely. However, this post is not about that song but another saathiya song from Saathiya. It is one of my favorite movies, and is one of those movies when Rani Mukerji was at her peak, and was a superstar. I miss Rani in films. Nevertheless, I want to write about the title song Saathiya from the movie. I have already written before about two songs—Satrangi Re (link) from Dil Se, and Tumhi Dekho Na (link) from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, that how these two songs have a theme of rainbow in them. Everything in these songs is related to the seven colors. It seems that I have a particular fascination for the spotting rainbows. In Saathiya, too, we see the trend of rainbow. Like the other two songs, this song is also as beautifully choreographed and has splendid lyrics.

The song begins when Suhani (Rani Mukherji) smiles at Adi (Vivek Oberoi), as he is thrilled at her reciprocity. He had been chasing her, and finally, she speaks to him, and there is a feeling of uncontrollable joy in him. The song shows his exhilaration by showing the motley colors of the rainbow. In addition, the imagery of surrounding landscape varies throughout the song. He is singing the song for his Saathiya, his friend, his lover, and in it, he is comparing her to various elements of nature. The color of dresses that she wears depict this comparison. Many times, he is also dressed in the same color as her.

He says, "Hasti rahe tu hasti rahe, haya ki laali khilti rahe." He wants her to be always laughing and smiling, and the lipstick of shyness be always blooming. She is dressed in red to signify the redness of the lips. All around him are beautiful white flowers in full bloom, giving an indication that this is spring season. Then, he says, "Zulf ke neeche gardan pe subah-o-shaam milti rahe." This is the signature Gulazar imagery. I think it is a really naughty line where the lover is saying he wants to meet her at her neck, beneath her tresses. In other words, he wants to caress her, and make love to her.


Then, it is probably summer time, and they are in the fields. He says, "Peeli dhoop pehen ke tum dekho baag me mat jaana, bhanware tum ko sab chhedenge phoolon me mat jaana." He is telling her to not wear the yellow-colored sunlight and to not go into the gardens, near the flowers, as the bees might tease her. In this, she is dressed in different shades of yellow to signify the sunlight. They are surrounded by rocks.  


Then, he says, "Taaza gire patte ki tarah, sabz lawn par lete hue. Saat rang hai bahaaron ke, ek ada me lapete hue. Saawan bhaadon saare tum se." He is comparing her to a freshly fallen leaf, which indicates it might be the fall season, and thus, she is dressed in green, and is lying on the ground. Further, he talks about the seven colors of the rainbow, and which is why the entire song is based on its vividity. He says that rain is due to her. We see a river flowing besides him.


Further, he says, "Kabhi neele aasmaan pe, chalo ghumne chale hum, koi abr mil gaya toh, zameen pe baras le hum." He is telling her to come on a walk with him on the blue sky, and if they meet a cloud, then they will rain back on to the earth. It is a lovely, lovely comparison. Since they are talking of the blue sky, she is dressed in a blue saree. We see them surrounded by snow-clad mountains and trees.

He says, "Kabhi shab chamak uthi hai, kabhi shaam khil gayi hai.Somewhere, the night is shining with the light of the stars; somewhere, the evening is blooming. In this, we see her dressed in a shimmering costume in a shade similar to indigo. 


Further, he adds, "Tere baalon ki panah me, is siyah raat guzare; teri kaali kaali aankhen, koi ujali baat utare." He wants to spend the dark nights in the comforting refuge of her hair; and, through her black eyes, a beautiful thought passes by. She is dressed in black to signify the black hair, and the black eyes.


Finally, after all seasons we see the winter season, and he is playing in the snow. He says, "Barf giri ho vaadi me, unn me lipti simti hui, baat kare dhuaan nikle." He wishes that there is snowfall in the valley, and she is covered in woolen clothes, and when she speaks, smoke comes out of her mouth. She is dressed in a violet and white costume. I don't remember the last time I heard the word unn after kindergarten when a ball of wool was used to teach a word with bade u ki matra


We see the vibgyor—violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, and red—and black and white in the song with the only exception of orange. In addition, we see the various seasons, such as spring, fall, summer, and winter, and the different landscapes, too. Gulzar's lyrics, A.R. Rahman's music, Sonu Nigam's voice, and Geeta Kapoor's and Remo's choreography combine to create a mesmerizing song.

Saathiya, directed by Shaad Ali, is the official remake of Mani Ratnam's Alaipayuthey. Not surprisingly, I sensed a similarity of Saathiya Saathiya with Satrangi Re from another Mani Ratnam film Dil Se. Both the songs have the theme of rainbows. Both the songs have been sung by Sonu Nigam with music by A.R. Rahman, and lyrics by Gulzar. In fact, at one point, there is a similar step in the way Rani and Manisha play around with their costumes. Though I must add the song Saathiya is much brighter and cheerful than Satrangi Re

I saw on YouTube that Pachai Nirame song from Alaipayuthey also has this seven colors of the rainbow. I loved the video, and somehow, Pachai Nirame brings this theme more beautifully. It is a gorgeous song and Madhavan is fantastic in it. The images and colors used in this song are one of the best that I have ever seen, and am totally addicted to watching it, even if I don't understand the lyrics. As I say, sometimes, beauty of a scene can make one feel overwhelmed.


Someday, someday, I want to meet these people and learn from them.

More on Saathiya later, but I just realized that in Saathiya, Rani's friend is Shanoo Sharma, the casting director of Yashraj Films, who is credited with finding Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, and is now hot property for any youngster wanting to get a break in films.

The film's assistant director is Kiran Rao.

And, yes, the only film after Dil Chahta Hai where Deepa makes an appearance. Oh, Deepa, I hope you found someone better than that jerk Aakash. 

More later.

Dialogue of the Day:
"Kabhi neele aasmaan pe, chalo ghumne chalen hum,
Koi abr mil gaya toh, zameen pe baras le hum."

—Saathiya, Saathiya