The first time I heard the song, it was in the most chaotic of all situations: traffic. I was about 8 years old then. I was sitting on my father’s lap in the front seat of a car. We were on our way back home from a hospital in the evening, having gone there to visit an ailing relative; a very tiring day indeed. I was slowly falling asleep like I always do when I sit in a car idly. Just then, this song started playing on the radio and I was suddenly wide awake.
“Re re re ra ra ra…. oh oh oh!”
The melody in the beginning, sung by Mohit Chauhan, startled me, as if I had suddenly woken up from a deep sleep, in which I’d seen a beautiful dream that had made me immensely happy. At first, it hit my senses, then softly seeped within as the tune of the harmonica began.
All my fatigue went away and I became fresh, swaying my head slowly, as he began with “Masakali Masakali…”.
I tried to recall if I had heard it before, as the music evoked a sense of familiarity, but no, I was indeed hearing it for the first time. It was in February of 2009, the time when the film was released. I realised as the song progressed that I had never heard anything of that sort before, exactly like a true blue Rahman composition. I felt like the music had peacefully embraced me, giving me goosebumps when the singer mellowed and sang, “Ghar tera saloni badal ki colony, dikhla de thenga in sabko jo udna na jaane“.
I closed my eyes and smiled. I liked the sound of it. I was too young to understand the lyrics and their meaning, but even so the music felt like it celebrated the feeling of being carefree, as the singer sang with absolute nonchalance.
The song evoked bittersweet emotions, something I had never felt while listening to a song, and I liked the feeling so much that I instantly knew I was going to hear it again on a loop, never realising this would be one song that would stay with me forever. I was never into music as a kid, except to dance to. The pleasure of feeling intoxicated with the essence of a song while doing absolutely nothing – that happened to me with this song.
“Tujhe kya gham tera rishta gagan ki bansuri se hai, pavan ki guftagu se hai, suraj ki roshni se hai.”
As I write these lines now, I wonder how one can manage to write such painstakingly, perfectly beautiful lines. They strike the right chord every time. The song’s soft serenity always tugs at the heartstrings. I am sure that the spirit of the song lightens up anyone who listens to it, as it lightened up my spirit back then and continues to do so. Whenever I listen to it, I never want it to end, and the song lingers in my head for a long time. Maybe that’s why I can never get over this song and the memory of when I first heard it. And that is what they call the magic of AR Rahman.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.