Thoughts on the Delhi-6 music, and lyrics and translation: Dil Gira Dafatan

The silence is a kind of serendipity: it allows one to sense what very few people know. Rahman’s music — always new, groundbreaking, wildly intuitive, experimental, a kind of sound that masters of cinema craft like Baz Luhrmann, Shekhar Kapoor and Danny Boyle say “they had never heard before” — is deeply rooted, in fact, “sourced”, from Rahman’s idea of divinity.

From The Mystic Master. A beautiful read (I love his take on ego -- what was that Margaret Thatcher quote here?), and perhaps a fitting segue to a discussion on A. R. Rahman's latest product. Think of the soundtrack to the upcoming Delhi-6 (lyrics by Prasoon Joshi) as a compilation of the vibes that evoked tranquility, aura, mystique, love, and religious symbolism in soundtracks to Guru (2007), Jodhaa Akbar (2008), and Ada: A Way of Life (2008). If you liked any one of these soundtracks, I'd highly recommend you buy a copy of the Delhi-6 soundtrack. You can listen to it at this link.

The film releases February 20 and is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (who gave us *drum roll* Rang De Basanti (2006)!) and stars Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Waheeda Rahman, Atul Kulkarni, Om Puri, Divya Dutta and others (including perhaps, in a guest appearance *Spoiler* the lyricist of the songs to the most talked about film on this blog (hint: its title begins with an 'L') *Spoiler end*. It also brings together the music director and lyricist duo whose previous products were Rang De Basanti (2006) and Ghajini (2008).

And its music is certainly top notch.

There's the jolly and beautifully worded Masakkali (it might just be the name of a dove who features prominently in the film, in which case, here's a shout-out to Handsome!) by Mohit Chauhan, who also sang Khoon Chala in Rang De Basanti. If Maskkali is indeed a bird (and I'll sound real dumb if it isn't :), think of the possibilities with its picturization! Here's its trailer, and I'm loving the accompanying dance moves.

A catchy, playful and funky Hinglish track in Hey Kaala Bandar (Black Monkey) by a number of vocalists contains chorus interludes that are an instant reminder of Dil Ka Rishta from Rahman's Yuvvraaj (2008). Also the third among Rahman's last five soundtracks with a reference to an explosive (Nazrein Milaana in Jaane Tu, and 'E-x-p-l-o-d-e' in Shaano Shaano in Yuvvraaj). I must admit I cannot wait to discover who the black monkey is. Maybe I'm being too picky about it (and it is premature). After all, if Singh is Kinng (2008) did, as some people from Punjab seem to say, 'do the community proud' (I don't see it as clearly at all and disagree, sorry...and I'm not Punjabi), then a black monkey shouldn't be too bothersome. Even if it sounds, per the last paragraph, that the subject is a politician who makes a positive difference.

Genda Phool (Marigold) by Rekha Bhardwaj and others is not only a well sung folk song, it's a fun experiment with folk and techno beats! It pokes fun at the in-laws, and its chorus reminds one of the music to Behka from Ghajini. Almost my favorite track from the album is Bhor Bhaye, nothing short of an excellent tribute to the late Hindustani classical music legend Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. The original song is available at this YouTube link, the song in Delhi 6 a fitting attempt by Rahman and Shreya Ghosal. It's a treat too, but I wish it involved a vocalist from the classical music scene, or a veteran from Bollywood who specializes in the genre -- Shreya's great and very versatile, but any fan of classical music knows this song could have been even better. A lot can be made up for with the right choreography, though, so fingers crossed for its depiction:

A couple of devotional tracks -- a qawwali Arziyaan and an aarti Tumhare Bhavan Mein -- have me wondering whether to expect significant commentary on Hindu-Muslim relations (it can work effectively when done with subtlety). The trailer to Arziyaan is great (the Old Mosque/Jaama Masjid of Delhi, its construction was ordered by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan), and seems to include footage from the aarti as well. And how can one mention Shah Jehan and not mention the Taj Mahal? I hope it makes an appearance in the film in a form other than in the picture. Raise your hand if you think there will be a love story around the religious angles!

Because there certainly is a love story, if two love songs offer any indication. Rehna Tu is sung by Rahman, but it is Dil Gira Dafatan which is the one truly unique track in the album. It brings an entirely new flavor to Bollywood music, integrating Indian folk with a Celtic ambiance, all in the scope of a love song that begins in very Boyzone-ish fashion and contains an unrestrained strumming in the background, which is lovely. Also lovely is the use of the word 'dafatan' ('suddenly', also translated as 'often'), often found in non-filmy ghazals and hardly ever in popular film songs.

What makes it all the more interesting is that, per the piece quoted at the beginning of the post, he [Rahman] got R&B singer Ash King from the bylanes of London to sing Dil Gira Dafatan for the forthcoming film, Dilli 6 [this was later changed to Delhi-6], although King didn’t know a word of Hindi, just because he liked the texture of his voice. Of course, he knew well what he was doing! And Chinmayee's voice is quite amazing too! Take a listen:

Here are the lyrics and my translation, the only footnote being that 'ghazal' was translated as 'love song', because the origins of this form of poetry (not of this song, but of the kind this song alludes to) lie in the composition of love poems (where the love could be one of the love of another person, or, in its purest form, of the love of God -- it's obviously used for the former here):

Brief, but one that should sound really good with Sonam Kapoor as the subject. I am probably one of the very few people who didn't dislike Saawariya (2007) at all (that's not to say I loved it), but does anyone deserve blame for being absolutely easily swayed by a beautiful belle with a beautiful smile in a beautiful shalwar kameez (or saree)? ;)

The soundtrack to Delhi-6, although reminiscent of some of Rahman's recent works, stands alone well as a fine product of music. Definitely recommended, and clearly the soundtrack to beat in 2009. I've listened to it enough times to have the opinion it's not going to be among Rahman's most memorable albums (he competes only with himself). That could certainly change with the integration of the songs in the film. Given the director, it would be unfair to expect anything less than very good.

Music rating: 4/5 (Excellent!)

And finally...
Here's the trailer to the sultry title song, which reveals two sides to Sonam! This film is going to be worth seeing in theaters for the cinematography alone. Keep spoiling us, Rakeysh Mehra! If you have yet to see Rang De Basanti, try to see it (and Ashu Gowariker's Swades (2004)) before seeing Delhi-6. There might just be a connection ;)


Darshit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darshit said...

P.S.: Here is story behind Masakalli.

Darshit said...

I am really sorry for comment posted earlier, format got worse, don't know why blogger behave like that

I just loved the drum rolls. RDB is always worth that. And that pic taken from theatrical promo is also apt. Thanx for putting red spoiler mark ther, [though I read all of the spoiler ;-)]

I am also hearing about Masakali being name of pigeon. Let's see what does come up on screen. And digging about 'Black Monkey'; I have come up with this :Remember there were rumours in Delhi about 'Killer Ape' - roaming at night? Harrasing people? I think here symbolism is used, listen carefully 'we all have black monkey inside us' [the lyrics]. Must be this connection. Or may be the Hindu-Muslim connection.

By that, I want to approve your guess of that connection. I just seen the theatrical promo, and it clearly shows the connection, being **spoiler****sonam-a muslim girl, father is Rishi, and AB-Hindu and mother is WaheedaJI***spoiler end****

And Yes, Taj Mahal is there. [My God, your speculations!!]. I saw snippets[just 2 seconds] of [hold it] 'Rehna Tu...', and Sonam is looking through balconies of Taj. Lovely sight. [I am 90% sure, it was Taj, though].

I knew you were going to translate 'Daftan' first. The word is so lovely. It gives whole new meaning to the song. And OMG ! Ash King doesn't know Hindi???? Mind blowing recitation though. And again OMG, You have found the original version of 'Bhor Bhaye' !! But I m quite disappointed about 'Rehna Tu'. You haven't written much about it. The pigeon looks lovely in promos, lets see he does equal job, as Handsome did.

Video of title song, reminds me of RDB's title song, where early morning scene was used as opening of the song. These scenes are constant reminder for me, tht I have to visit this amazing city. Hummm....that's interesting connection you have found with Swades. I know why are you recommending that. Good point.

Saurabh said...

That film was Lagaan! You have done a translation after a while, thanks for it. And I must say you have a good vocabulary. The words sound as good in English as they are in Hindi/Urdu (maybe because English is your first language?). Keep it up! The song is to my heart and it has a good poetry.

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Thanks for the link! No worries on the format, happens. Masakali is going to be a lot of fun, I hope there's an extended version of Sonam with the bird up on the roof of that building, as in the trailer. She reminds me of Kareena Kapoor in Yuva (remember the song 'Khuda Hafiz', also by A. R. Rahman?).

Your thoughts on 'Kaala Bandar' make a lot of sense. That last paragraph certainly makes up for it, yes. I have this habit of looking at things through the cultural sensitivity prism, which doesn't always work :)

Had not seen the theatrical promo. It leads to the story, yes. I wonder if Om Puri will be the conservative father, as he was in RDB. As for the Taj Mahal, look at what I found today! Look forward to the trailer of 'Rehna Tu', although I must say, the song is very good but not one I've liked as much as the others. Might take a while, but don't think I'm there yet.

And finally, it's always good to know people remember and appreciate our very own Handsome (and his spouse)! What a gift to Bollywood they were :)

Saurabh: Sure, thank you for your comment. It's a fantastic song, I love its music. I don't think the words sound as good in English, but Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) is my first language, so I might be biased :)

Bhargav Saikia said...

My favourites are Bhor Bhaye and Masakali. I love Hindustani classical and this track is very refreshing. I think it'll work very well with the audience.

And your review is brilliant. One of the best I've read on Delhi-6. Keep it up! :)


Nicki said...

Thanks for the translations. You rock. Now, I'm really excited for this film. I actually can't wait to see Sonam again because since Saawariya I haven't heard much about her.

Darshit said...

Oh, thanks for 'that thing you found'. Actually that 'Magnificent' pic, i found on the same day after I posted you comment. On official website of movie.

Check it out. Its superbly designed.

Anonymous said...

Hello Bollywoodfan, I love your blog and I love your song translations. I loved the songs of Jaane Tu after knowing the meaning line by line..Thank you so much for your effort...U rock dude...A small request, can you put the translations for all Delhi 6 songs. I am all crazy over it..Thanks a bunch in advance :)

Anonymous said...

You know I love your translations :) I am loving Delhi-6 actually, and for some reason the Kaala Bandar song is the one sticking with me!

Anonymous said...

"but any fan of classical music knows this song could have been even better"

Like with who else singing it?

theBollywoodFan said...

Bhargav: Masakali sounds really good, absolutely! And with you on Hindustani classical -- I love the genre as well! (Do you have a favorite artist?) Thanks for your kind words, A. R. Rahman deserves the praise for his wonderful music!

Nicki: Sonam's been pretty quiet since Saawariya, yes. I hope this film shows us why! She's certainly surrounded herself with the right director and musician. Fingers crossed for a good one.

Darshit: Thanks for the update on the update to the official site! The more I see of this film, the more I look forward to its art direction and cinematography. I hope the cast can pull off what is required of the film. Mehra did wonders with the young RDB team, so I'm expecting a lot.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous (I): Thank you for your kind words! You're very welcome, and it's always fun playing around with words. I'm glad you enjoyed the Jaane Tu lyrics. It's a fun album overall. As is that to Delhi-6, although I'm not sure I'll be able to get to any more any time soon :( This BollyWhat link has the translation to one other song, hope it helps.

Memsaab: Always a pleasure, thank you! :) Kaala Bandar is very catchy, glad you're enjoying the album!

Anonymous (II): Two vocalists who have sung for film (those who haven't are excellent too, but too numerous to mention) and who I really enjoyed listening to for their vocal ranges supporting those well suited to classical songs are Kavita Krishnamurthy (now Subramaniam, I think) and Shubha Mugdal. That's certainly not to say I didn't enjoy Shreya Ghosal in this -- it's extremely difficult to sing, and she's done really well too!

Anonymous said...

Adab theBollywoodFanji. Thanks for this great post & translation Nawab.

On my recent trip to India, when I had a rare moment in front of a TV, the Delhi 6 commercial play all the time, which was to the Masakali song. At first I thought it was a tooth paste commercial, since Aish was brushing her teeth in the beginning. I eventually figured out the Dilli 6 was not a toothpaste.

@ Darshit, I appreciate the Masakali link. I am glad to know that Masakali is a reprise of Maine Pyar Kiya’s “Handsome.” Yet now when I see the film I will wonder about bird treatment and how it was stuck to Aish’s head in that number.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Opps! I meant to say Sonam in my last comment, not Aish. I will wonder how that bird sticks to Sonam's head. Will there be one of those "no animals were harmed making this film" disclaimers as in Jodhaa Akbar?


Bhargav Saikia said...

I'm more into the instruments and I love Pandit Ravi Shankar and also I think Anushka Shankar is pretty good at it. Her albums have good fusion of western and Indian classical. I'm still exploring Hindustani vocal music; at school I was introduced to the Tarana form of music and I very much enjoy that :) What about you?

ajnabi said...

"Integrating Indian folk with a Celtic ambiance" is right! I don't think I've ever heard anything like it before... It's very lovely. Thanks for posting the translation too.

theBollywoodFan said...

Adab Sita-ji! Wouldn't it be cool if Sonam appeared in a tooth paste commercial with Masakali?! "Pure white pure as Rahman's music, and as white as Masakali!" :)

Those birds can be quite a lot of fun to play with, na? It'd be surprising if there were no disclaimer, though -- agreed.

Bhargav: I have always enjoyed the instrumentals by Ustaad Zakir Hussain (tabla; who, I think, has a strong bond with A. R. Rahman, since before Rahman scored Roja even) and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute). Pandit Ravi Shankar is awesome, I really like his album (Passages, if I remember its title right) with Philip Glass.

As for the vocalists, you might want to check out the wealth of content at this musicIndiaOnline link. There is so much that is so good!

Ajnabi: Sure. It's a lovely song, indeed a wonderful experiment. There was one Lata Mangeshkar interview last year (cannot find the link) in which she'd said that Rahman just tells her to sing whatever comes to her heart. That he'll find a way to integrate it in a song somehow. So cool.

Bhargav Saikia said...

Thanks a lot for the link! :)

Nida said...

Hi Bollywood Fan! Wow I'm really looking forward to this. Like Nicki, I've been eager to see more of Sonam.
Let's hope this is a good one for Abhishek's sake. If he can pull this off, it'll be a positive switch from recent projects. Though I'm saying that somewhat ignorantly since I haven't seen "Donstana" or "Drona" yet.

And I hate to state the obvious but...AR Rahman rocks!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Nida! This is the first Abhishek Bachchan movie I'm looking forward to in a long time (I think Bluffmaster was the last). I should have stayed away from Drona. Dostana, I have little (or no) motivation to see (even Miami wasn't motivation enough, and I've even been on the sets of the film, LOL), but I hear he's done well for what it was. Cheers!

Deepa Dev said...

janaab, thanks for the original youtube link for bhor bhaye ! much appreciated... as usual you rock! I am giving the entire soundtrack another 'proper' listen after this review :D

Deepa Dev said...

and janaab, how come you havent said a word about slumdog millionaire yet? another ARR gem.... I had conflicted emotions about the movie (mumbai is almost like second home to me in India) - but the soundtrack is kick-a** for lack of a better phrase... i'd love to hear your thoughts...

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Deepa, thanks for stopping by and for your comment! Hope all is well! I hope you enjoy the soundtrack again :)

The soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire is interesting. I've listened to it a couple of times, and I like a couple of songs quite a bit, but overall, maybe I'm just missing it. Or maybe I need to listen to it a few more times. Either way, I haven't seen the film (heard there's violence against children, so waiting for the DVD to have access to fast forward through that bit :), so it's probably a good idea to wait?

Deepa Dev said...

yes, there is a bit of violence against children - that was the hardest part for me to sit thru... not a bad idea to wait for the DVD :) .. also do you know where I can get the lyrics for Bhor Bhaye? I found a couple of links but they weren't accurate...

I agree Shubha Mudgal or Kavitha Krishnamurthy (yes, its Subramanian now) would have done an even better job, but Shreya Ghosal's vocal range is breath-taking - I mean, that high note she hits mid-song - I had to rewind and hear it again to actually believe she did infact reach that note... Perhaps her voice was more suited? I cant really say without the context of the song, but Kavitha/Shubha have more matured, experienced (?) voices...

theBollywoodFan said...

Yes, the only downside to not having seen it yet is that my colleagues at work keep messing around about me being a huge fan of Indian film and not having seen it, LOL.

Not sure of a good source for lyrics to Bhor Bhaye, all I could get is page 1 of Google results :( I'll need to do more research some day.

That's a good point about the maturity in the singers, which is absolutely valid and true. Shreya did great, and amongst the popular vocalists of her generation, was probably the best choice. I think it'll all work out well in the film. Guess I'm being too picky :) See, a Lata, Asha or Noorjehan in their youth would have hit it out the park! I'm sure we have excellent young singers today too, I'd just like to hear more of them. But then, Bollywood music is probably not the right channel to seek such much! :)

Saadia said...

A. R. Rahman is arguably the best music composer of our times, in my books. But his recent flirtations - particularly Yuvraaj and Ghajini - have been a tad disappointing. Thank God for 'Jai Ho' and 'Ringa Ringa' in Slumdog Millionaire! They helped restore my faith, because I was getting a bit scared...

theBollywoodFan said...

Definitely agree on Rahman. He's certainly in a league of his own, and has been there for a while. I for one cannot imagine the Hindi film industry without him.

Rather liked the music to Yuvvraaj, and Ghajini worked for me too! :P Jai Ho in Slumdog Millionaire sounds great too; the verdict on its integration within the film has been unanimous, and I cannot wait to see it (but waiting for the DVD, as noted in a comment above)!

Saadia said...

Umm, okay, if you really need me to say it, then yes, Yuvraaj has a couple of tracks that grew on me (Mastam Mastam & Shano Shano), but not the kind that you listen to, over and over again. The soundtrack for Slumdog is awesome, on the other hand.

Fun fact: While on the treadmill these days, I'm watching A. R. Rahman songs to kill time, and man, does he kill!

theBollywoodFan said...

Ooh, I love Mastam Mastam from Yuvvraaj! I was listening to Slumdog at the gym a couple hours ago, and I must say, 'Mausam and Escape' is by far my favorite, I can't get enough! Given the body of his work, he's had some great directors and cinematographers, na? Great going with the videos while working out! I wish I could multi-task like that (focus on the workout gets to me, LOL). :)

Anonymous said...

Its is quite difficult to agree with Saadia or anybody who just comments on Yuuvraj songs. It was a memorable album for ar rehman and his fans. It is one of his most remembered one even the film is a big boo...

Sorry Saadia or anybody about Yuuvraj

theBollywoodFan said...

I agree about the music, but I know several Rahman fans who didn't like the music to Yuvvraaj, so I appreciate that criticism as well. I'm not sure I agree on the film, though. I actually liked it! (And I know I might be one of two people on earth who did, but that's okay :)

Krishna said...

I found much more than usual in lyrics of ARZIYAAN,

Daraare Daraare Hain Maathe Pe Maula,
Marammat Dukaddar ki Kar Do Maula,
Jo Bhi Tere Dar Aaya, Jhukne Jo Sar Aaya,
Mastiyaan Piye Sabko Jhoomta Nazar Aaya,
Pyaas Leke Aaya Tha, Dariya Wo Bhar Laaya,
Noor Ki Baarish Mein Bheegta Sa Tar Aaya...

Beautifully Soothing and Serene lines by Prasoon Joshi. And the coherence among words interleaved with very sweet tunes by AR Rahman. I really found it special.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Krishna, thank you for your comment and welcome! Very true about these lyrics to Arziyaan and the perfect complement in Rahman's music. I like how in the first line, 'Daraarein Daraarein' alone can be interpreted in so many ways! Truly special stuff. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

can you tell me whats the meaning of noor ki baarish

theBollywoodFan said...

The literal translation of 'Noor' is 'light', but it's often associated with divinity and enlightenment. 'Baarish' means rain. Here, the term could mean 'shower of blessings' or 'shower of enlightenment'. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Hi...can u please post the lyrics and translation of Rehna tu also...

theBollywoodFan said...

There are several attempted translations available at this BollyWhat link. Hope this helps.

Shahid said...

[b]Hey buddy,sorry for not posting al these days,was kinda busy,n post Ghajini i was taking a break :D

Anyway Talking ab8 the music of Delhi-6,i would say it has some amazing songs.!

Bt wa8 i'm looking forward to is the background score which a source close to Rahman confirms is better thn the songs.!

A.r.r has worked a lot for dis album,n evn after winning the globe widout any celebrations he flew back to chennai to complete the post production work of dis movie.!

Well both the devotional songs r awsomee,n masakali sung amazingly by Mohit chauhan is a fun loving track.!

N shreya's voice in Bhor Bhaye is scintillating,i'm in love :)

Evry time i listen to dil gira dafatan i'm swept away in a diff world.! The use of guitar,the amazing vocal's makes this song a memorable one.!

Delhi-6 n Hey kaala bandar hav a gen-nxt kinda feeling to it,a bit of hip-hop influnce can b seen in kaala bandar though the lyrics of dis track dissapoint.!

Genda phool is also a good track,funny i wld say in terms of lyrics.!

N ofcourse my fav track rehna tu sung by who else bt the mastereo himself is such an amazing n hummable track.!

Al in al dis album has some gr8 songs to offer.! Some might say A.r.r needs a break,bt i wld say A.r.r wil deliver more memorable soundtrack in the coming yrs.!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hey Shahid, thanks for stopping by. A.R.R.'s music has been top notch through 2008 (and much of it has been memorable in my opinion, esp. Jaane Tu and Yuvvraaj), and I only hope he keeps up giving us more soundtracks! Fingers crossed for Delhi-6!

Anonymous said...

I was blown over by A R Rahman's Jai Ho as soon as I saw the movie SM on 20 Jan 09. I was sure it would be the one to get the Oscar and not O Saya.

That said, I consider ARR a genius at combining different styles of music, but NOT at composing original music. It sounds out of the world original only to those who don't know the original styles he is mixing. I can recognize, apart from the very obvious Bollywood stuff and the modern African American hip hop or rip rap or whatever it is called, six other different styles. I have listened to all those styles as separate music for a long time before I listened ARR for the first time in SM on 20 Jan, that is how for certain. I do not want to disclose the six different styles because I want ARR to keep his fame. I'm a South Indian who is proud of ARR and happy for his international success. But from now on I have decided to listen very very consciously to the six different styles I know he is borrowing from to find out if ARR is introducing anything new at all.

As to some of the music in Delhi - 6, in fact I have the CD of the music he has imitated so closely that the original composer could even sue him. The original composer is luckily dead. He is a Pakistani! He was very very famous in his lifetime.

Anonymous said...

After SM, I got Lagaan, and after seeing the trailer to D-6, I got its soundtrack too. Can someone please post the english translation to Noor, the last piece, done in the wonderfully mellifluous basso of Amitabh Bachchan? I just put it on repeat- I wish it lasted longer.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous [1]: I disagree with your take on A. R. Rahman. He's great at combining styles of music, yes, but he's also composed dozens of fantastic original soundtracks. No revelation of different music styles will ever hurt him :) And everyone 'borrows' from musical instruments -- they're the source of the music!

Anonymous [2]: Do excuse my very late reply. Here's my translation to Noor:

Zarre zarre mein us ka noor hai,
Jhaank khud mein, woh na tujh se door hai.
His might radiates from every particle,
Look within, He isn't far from you.

Ishq hai Us se toh sab se ishq kar,
Is ibaadat ka yahi dastoor hai.
Love everyone if you love Him,
That's the essence of worship.

Is mein, us mein, aur us mein hai Wohi,
Yaar mera har taraf bharpoor hai.
He lives amongst us and around us,
My Pal is the Omnipresent.

Vivek Gupta said...

What great translation! Hope I can link to this on FB.