Foreword: The following piece was written on December 22nd 2006, but wasnt posted due to lack of internet connection. So it goes here
Well, it is the end of the year and almost everyone is coming out of their winners of the year in weirdest conceivable categories. So while it may be the recipe of the year or the best and the worst dog owners of the year, some more cliché categories are still more fun. NDTV is still in its pursuit towards finding their Indian of the year to succeed a certain Mrs. Sonia Gandhi (yeah right) ... but they have already come up with their song of the year. And that is what has gotten me started on this column. They have chosen "Masti ki paathshaala" from Rang De Basanti as the most defining song of the year ... or at least I guess that?s what the title means. Had it just been popularity charts a certain smoking number (pun intended) called beady could very easily have upstaged the winner.
So is Paathshaala the song of the year. On first note, I must say that it?s not a bad choice. The song does itself no harm in my opinion being from a movie that has made its way to my top 10 personal favorite movies of all time. But that apart, even in itself it is a very good time. But like all my favorite things, I didn?t like the song to begin with. Rahman's music aside, my first reaction was that the song is sloppily written. But there is something about the song. It somehow sticks to your lips. You tend to keep humming it every now and then. And of course there is the catch line ... masti ki paathshaala. Isn?t that what like is all about ... a school of fun -- translating it a bit too literally. But that?s the spirit of the song. And it is this spirit that is the most vital aspect of both the movie and the song. Lose control ... Be a Rebel -- thoughts that have crossed our minds at some point or the other. Things that we all have wished to have done and been ... but due to our own inadequacies haven?t quite been able to. It is this effervescent of the youth that the song captures, and does so ever so successfully.
Coming to the lyrics -- I still stick to my first impression ... it is certainly not the greatest written. Were these the only words that could have captured this quintessential mood that the sing wanted to -- maybe, maybe not. I am no expert on that. But yes, it is a bit flippant. Easy to catch on to -- but certainly not something that would you get the best lyrics award. And this is where I think MY song of the year would have been a bit different. Yes it would be the same movie -- which I feel was not just the best movie of the year but also one of the best Hindi movies to have hit the BO for a long time.
Rubaroo -- face to face ... this is what the song does to you. Bring face to face with yourself. And in my books this is the song of the year. The musical brilliance remains the same. There is no doubting Rahman's sheer genius. But as I have said lyrical content -- it is here that the song is leaps and bounds ahead Paathshaala. First of all, in spite of being a bit on the heavy side -- the song still speaks the same language. It all starts with "ae saala" .... And ends with these two words as well. While some purists may be of the opinion that such songs (read such words) would have negative influence on certain sections of the society (read children). but isn't it a fact that children these days know a lot more that "saala" -- and when I say a lot more, I mean a way lot more. On the same note, let me clarify that such instances don?t condone the usage of what is considered abusive and unsocial, there is not hiding. So while a celebrated director of artsy stuff (all derogatory usage intended) makes movie as a reflection of the society, then let mainstream be measured by the same yardstick. And here is an instance, where I am of the opinion that no other word could have conjured emotions that "ae saala" does. So whether you like it or not, its there.
But the song does not end there. Does it. Every line in the lyric is a masterpiece. Every line conveys something. The song is highly contextual ... serving as the background for voluntary martyrs. But even played out of context, it is just as beautiful to listen to.
"abhi abhi hua yahkeen
ki aag hai mujhme kahin
main jal gaya
sooraj ko main
It is over here that I run out of words to describe the song. It need to be listened to and appreciated and experienced.
RUBAROO -- certainly my song of the year.
"Jo gumshuda sa khwaab tha
woh mil gaya
woh khil gaya
woh loha tha
sitaare mein badal gaya
dhuaan chhata khula gagan mera
nayee dagar naya safar mera
jo ban sake tu humsafar mera
nazar mila zara
aandhiyon se jhagad rahi hai law meri
ab mashaalon si badh rahe hain law meri
rahe na rahe
rahe na rahe
KYUN SAHTE RAHEIN