House arrest on account of heavy rains has kept me indoors this weekend. To prevent cabin fever from taking over, I've been listening to Hindi film songs. When I played 'Jiya Jale Jaan Jale' from the 1998 film Dil Se, the husband remarked 'vandutaaya paati' (here comes the grandmother) referring to Lata Mangeshkar's aging voice in the song.
My husband and I do not like the same type of music. But on this count, I must say that I agree with him. With due respect to Rahman and Lata Mangeshkar, I feel she was not the right choice for this song.
The song is about a young, innocent bride looking forward to her wedding night. Gulzar's sensuous and smouldering lyrics sends shivers down your spine. Tells you so much without actually saying it. The picturisation was just right. A young fresh faced Preity Zinta, a bare bodied SRK, the lush greenery and the flowing water. The whole effect primordial and stripped down to the bare basics - Superb! And then that granny voice....Just listen to it:
Its not that I do not like Lata Mangeshkar's singing.Far from it. I think she has a golden voice and has given us some really memorable music. Take the song 'Jaise Radha Ne Maala Japi' from the film Tere Mere Sapne. Also about a young bride - although I guess its more about the glow from the wedding night! The tenderness and love that you get from this song is simply not there in Jiya Jale. And its not that the music is inferior. Music is top class in both songs.
Now here is a song from the music director everyone loves to hate - Anu Malik. Its from the film Asoka (you didn't know he was the music director for this film now did you?!).
The song 'Raat Ka Nasha Abhi' is laced with sensuality. (yes! Anu Malik does make good music once in a while) Also makes euphemistic references to sex. Again lyrics are by the inimitable Gulzar. The choice of singer, Chitra, in my opinion, lifts the song to another level. Call me a heretic, but for a song about love making, a 40 something singer is a better choice than a (then) 70 year old legend. The 'inspired' Anu Malik seems to know that. How come Rahman didn't?
And yet Jiya Jale was a super hit song - as it deserves to be. I just have the sense that, if say, Shreya Ghoshal had sung it, it might have moved from being a beautiful song to a mind blowing one.