Because music is an integral part of the reason for Falling in Love with Bollywood, the #musicmonday series highlights a Bollywood music video from my YouTube Bollywood playlist and why it attracts my attention.
About the Music
About the Story of the Film So Far
Raja Saab (Amrish Puri) is a powerful and greedy elderly owner of a coal mine. He comes across the beautiful Gauri (Madhuri Dixit) and becomes obsessed with her. Raja fools her into marrying him by sending a picture of Shankar (Shah Rukh Khan), a mute servant. During the wedding ceremony, Gauri discovers that she is marrying Raja and faints. Shankar sets out to uncover what was really going on and learns the truth of Raja's deceit. Raja and his entourage takes Gauri to the temple where the priest lectures her on showing respect to her husband. She appears to go into a trance, and Raja takes a burning stick from the fire and begins burning her skin. Shankar tries to stop this by beating the temple drums which prompts Gauri to begin dancing.
This song wasn't originally written for the film Koyla. It has deeper roots than that. According to Wikipedia:
"Sanson Ki Mala Pe" (literally: "On the rosary of breath") is a bhajan originally sung by Meerabai (c. 1498 – c. 1557 AD) a Rajput princess and a Hindu mystical from Rajasthan in praise of Lord Krishna. It is one of the most popular songs of legendary vocalist, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and was composed by Khan when he first visited India in 1979. The song remains popular in most Qawwali concerts, Music Reality Shows and devotional gatherings.
Another commentary, via Punjabi Janta, further explains the meaning of the song:
The title means "I pray the name of God on a rosary of breaths." Muslims (like Hindus and many Christians) use a string of beads to keep track of certain prayers. In this song, Nusrat is using each breath as a bead, keeping God on his mind continuously. As the song progresses, he becomes lost in the prayers, and night falls without him noticing the passage of time. Eventually, Nusrat becomes the prayers themselves.
Why I Love This Song
In the film Koyla, the song starts off as a prayer and develops into a devotional recognizing that Shankar has the potential to be Gauri's protector. The music is compelling and the dance is complex, reflecting a technical style that we've come to appreciate from Madhuri Dixit. Juxtaposing the music and Gauri's intricate dance against the raw drumbeats delivered by Shankar makes this performance memorable.
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