Because music is an integral part of the reason for Falling in Love with Bollywood, this series highlights a Bollywood music video from my YouTube Bollywood playlist and why it attracts my attention.
About the Music
Song: "Khwaja Mere Khwaja"
Film: Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
Composer: A.R. Rahman
Lyrics by: Kashif
Singer(s): A. R. Rahman
Picturized on: Haidar Ali
About the Story of the Film So Far
Jodhaa Akbar is a sixteenth century love story about a marriage of alliance between a great Mughal Emperor, Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) and a Rajput princess, Jodhaa Bai (Aishwarya Rai). After having secured the Hindu Kush, Jalaluddin furthered his realm by conquest until his empire extended from Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal, and from the Himalayas to the Godhavari River. To win the allegiance of the Rajputs, a marriage of alliance is arranged between Jalaluddin and Jodhaa Bai, daughter of King Bharmal of Amer. She accepts the marriage arrangement provided that Jalaluddin allow her to keep her Hindu faith and not try to convert her to Islam.
This song wasn't originally written for Jodhaa Akbar. In an interview posted on rediff.com, A. R. Rahman explains that the song was not meant for any film at all:
"I've been going to the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty shrine for almost 15 years," Rahman says as he gets discussing the five songs he has composed for Ashutosh Gowariker's historical and the passion he poured in the background score of the film. "I wanted to do a song on Khwajasahib for a movie for a long time. But it was not possible."
And then one fine day, in 2005, he decided to compose the song. "I composed it just for me to listen to," Rahman continues. "When Ashutosh told me the story of Jodhaa Akbar and about the influences of Sufis and Khwaja sahib, I told him of the song I had composed. He asked me to play it to him and he remarked immediately, 'I love it, I want to use it in my film.'
"So I told him only if you can give him (Khwaja Chishty) the respect he deserves, he can use it in the film," Rahman adds.
"He did not change anything of what I composed for the film," he continues. "We had to use interludes and extra sounds for the new version but the song has been put to great use in the film. The song was originally titled Kashif, for the person who wrote it. He was a very spiritual person as well. Therefore, the song is very spiritual to me."
In the film, much of the song is pictured on Haidar Ali, who wrote the film's story and collaborated with Gowariker on the script.
"Ashutosh told me he would use the song in a sequence showing Akbar triumphant," Rahman continued. "He is married to a Rajput princess and he had made an important political alliance. But he also sees a spiritual light as he watches the singers and dancers. It is accompanied with a Rumistic, Sufi kind of dance."
Why I love this song
The song begins with an idea sung by one person that ripples out and turns into a passionate devotional sung by many. As a Christian born and raised in the United States, I don't understand all the lyrics (though I have read various translations) or references. However, I do recognize that though we may understand our relationship with God in different ways, this deeply spiritual song of devotion touches a worshipful heart within me everytime I hear it. As I listen, I find my spirit standing and dancing along with Jalaluddin.
Here is "Khwaja Mere Khwaja" from the film Jodhaa Akbar. Unfortunately, the video clip from the film is no longer available, but you can listen to the outstanding music to appreciate this devotional.
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