The Lagaan soundtrack: Your favorites?

Among the biggest strengths of Lagaan was its music, which ensured the film's completeness. A. R. Rahman did the honors. The lyrics were provided by Javed Akhtar (who is going to spend some time at Buckingham Palace with Shabana Azmi, per this piece). Add vocals by some of Bollywood's best ever. The result was a soundtrack and background score that were not only complementary but essential to the plot. Below is an overview. Which is your favorite song?

There was a song in anticipation of rain. Ghanan Ghanan was important in setting the tone for the film. For us cricket fans, it is still a mantra when India are in trouble on the pitch, and there is nothing to look forward to save the rain. A bunch of us sang "Kaale megha, paani to barsaao!" during the final of the 2003 World Cup :) On a more serious note, I remember undergoing a shift in mindset after this song, as I tried to stay cheerful during the rainy summer afternoons in Miami.


Then there was a motivational song. Mitwa is my favorite song from the film (sung by Udit Narayan, Sukhwinder Singh, and Alka Yagnik), for it tackles an issue that is inherent in being human. If there is one lesson to take away from Lagaan, it is a renewed belief in this: 'Sach aur saahas hai jis ke mann mein, ant mein jeet usi ki rahe' (translated as: 'the one who has truth and courage in the heart, is the one who ultimately wins'). It spoke to the earth belonging to us...


...and the sky belonging to us too. Why, then, would one be afraid?


A daandiyaa song, Raadha Kaise Na Jale, by Asha Bhosle and Udit Narayan, strengthened the foundations of the love triangle. It was a fun-filled and colorful spectacle, a treat for the senses. (Watch the song in this post.)


It started off at the temple, where Gauri was not too pleased with this discussion:


Gracy Singh as Gauri put in a spectacular performance in what was one of her strongest moments in the film. The dance was also why she was chosen ahead of Rani Mukherjee for the role.


A love song in O Rey Chhori (sung by Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, and Vasundhara Das) revealed where Bhuvan's heart lay. Bhuvan and Gauri gave us a memorable scene right before the song atop the hill...


...and Elizabeth looked divine.


But Bhuvan and Gauri sealed the deal, of course:


A Waltz for Romance was well done too...


...with Lakha, the traitor who was later forgiven, stealing the moment.


A song expressing a can-do attitude. Chale Chalo (sung by A. R. Rahman) doubled as a prayer and a fight song:


Ah, the Champaner dawn:


And finally, a devotional song -- O Paalanhaare -- by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan that has to be one of the best ever in Indian cinema. The timing, nature and extent of its use were perfect.


So there you have it. One of the best soundtracks for one of the best films. Which song was your favorite?


My music rating: 5/5 (of course!)

10 comments:

memsaab said...

O Paalenhare, hands down (and that's saying something, because I love all the songs except the Waltz thing---not so much).

It makes me cry just thinking about it; and the first notes as I watched the film sent shivers down my spine.

I've even learned all the lyrics so I can sing it myself (but only at home ;-)

theBollywoodFan said...

O Paalenhare is awe-inspiring, Memsaab. It has to be one of Lata's best this decade. The piece with Udit is fantastic as well.

Good going with the lyrics! Maybe we might be treated to some karaoke someday?! :)

Anonymous said...

I really really liked Radha Kaise Na Jale because it is even today played at dandiya shows everywhere.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

"Kaale Megha" is my fav, though "Mitwa" is a v v v close second- :D- so positive!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Anonymous: Ditto to Raadha Kaise Na Jale being a great song at events, festivals, parties, and weddings! Its applicability, as you say, is very broad. And it is a great song! Thank you for your comment.

theBollywoodFan said...

Kaale Megha is a beautifully done song, Shweta. It was really successful in setting up the rest of the film. Also loved that it got the entire village involved -- so many voices!

Mitwa is very positive, and I just find that I fall in love with it more after every listen. It offers hope!

bollyviewer said...

Like them all, but if I have to pick one, it would be Radha kaise na jale. Its a great song, the picturisation is superb (havent seen such good classical-based dance in a Hindi movie after the 50's and 60's), it carries the story forward, and is enjoyable to hear and watch even out of context.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Bollyviewer: The classical dance in Radha Kaise Na Jale was excellent. That's a great point! I wonder who else from among current actresses can perform that well. Vidya Balan might give it a shot.

Gracy Singh does spectacularly well and it might just be fair to say she was perfect!

maxqnz said...

This question is a no-brainer:
a devotional song -- O Paalanhaare -- by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan that has to be one of the best ever in Indian cinema.

I simply adore this song. I enjoy all the songs, especiallyO Mitwa and Radha Kaise Na Jale but this masterpiece is special. Even my totally gori wife, raised without any exposure to Indian culture, unhesitatingly picks this as her favourite song from this great movie. Perhaps because I returned to Indian cinema in my late 30s, my strongest memories of Lata's singing are all the terrible mismatches of her old, past-prime voice, with young actresses. The genius that is Rahman, of course, got it exactly right with this number, and uses Lata's contemporary voice to great effect, just as he did several years later with Luka Chuppi. I am an Asha fan first and forever, but thanks to Rahman's brilliance, this song stands as one of her didi's best, even right up there with Aayega Anewala and Lag Ja Gale for me.

theBollywoodFan said...

It's a fine, fine song, and I know it's almost unfair to pick only one from the album. That's an interesting tidbit about your significant other liking the song so much too. And I completely appreciate your comment on Lata and how her voice didn't align as well with the actresses in the 1980s/1990s.

I've been on a roll with catching some of the oldies, and I'm amazed at the breadth of her work, and of Asha's, of course. Such abundance of talent!

Asha Bhosle has often publicly thanked A. R. Rahman for resurrecting her career with Rangeela (1995). I was at her concert in Miami last year, and she still has an absolutely amazing voice, as does Lata. They've been doing some classical stuff this decade, which I need to check out...if you've listened to anything in particular, please do let me know!

Apologies for the late reply here, maxqnz. And as always, thank you much for stopping by and commenting. Cheers.