Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Rahman's Delhi-6 has a lot of dil.
Like most of his works, it poisons you slowly, often taking several years (ten in my case) to come into full effect.
It is also his most complete album to date as it includes a peppy chartbuster (Massakalli), a rehashed folksong (Genda Phool), funky (Delhi-6), quirky rap (Hey Kaala Bandar), romantic (Rehna Tu) and soulful (Dil Gira Dafatan). Also, throw in a qawwali (Arziyan), an aarti (Tumre Bhavan Mein) and a retro classical (Bhor Bhaye). Phew!!
I would rather not comment upon the superlative use of instruments and vocals throughout the album because 1) that would be a futile attempt to dumb down something magical into mechanical and 2) I honestly have no freaking clue about tempo, pitch, sur and taal.
All I can say is that ARR (music) , Prasoon Joshi (lyrics) and the singers (Mohit Chauhan, Javed Ali, Ash King, Rekha Bhardwaj et al.) are outstanding!
Also, this goes without saying, any translation of Hindi/Urdu lyrics into English, strips the song of its rhyme, rhythm and essence. So, it is highly recommended to listen to the songs along, as you browse through my selected lyrical translations below.
'Rehna Tu' conjures in me the image of a long, casual, late night walk under a clear, yet breezy, moonlit sky. Suffice it to say that I absolutely love this song!
Rehna tu, hai jaise tu Thoda sa dard tu, thoda sukoon Rehna tu, hai jaise tu Dheema dheema jhonka, ya phir junoon
Stay, the way you are -
A bit of pain, a bit of relief.
Stay, the way you are -
A slow gentle breeze, a whirlwind of passion.
Thoda sa resham, tu hamdam Thoda sa khurdura Kabhi tu ad jaaye, ya lad jaaye Ya khushboo se bhara
Slightly silken, you are my love,
but also slightly bristly.
Occasionally stubborn and combative,
But at times, full of fragrance.
Tujhe badalna na chahoon, Ratti bhar bhi sanam Bina sajawat, milawat Na zyaada na hi kum Tuhje chaahon, jaisa hai tu
I wouldn't wish to change,
even an iota of you, my dear.
nothing more, nothing less;
I desire you, just the way you are.
Mujhe teri baarish mein bheegna hai, ghul jaana hai Mujhe tere lapat mein jalna, rakh ho jana hai
I want to drench in your downpour; dissolve in it.
I want to scorch in your flame; burn away to ashes.
Tu zakhm de agar Marham bhi aake tu lagaaye Zakhm pe bhi mujhko pyaar aaye
If you inflict a wound upon me,
You come and also dress that wound.
I am smitten even by this wound!
Dariya O dariya Doobne de mujhe, dariya River, O river, Let me drown in you!
The above might be a reference to this couplet -
Ye ishq nahin aasan, bas itna samajh lijiye;
Ek aag ka dariya hai, aur doob ke jana hai.
Understand just this, that love is not easy.
It's a river of fire that you need to sink and cross through.
Haath thaam chalna ho To dono ke daayen haath sang kaise? Ek daaya hoga, ek baayan hoga Tham le, haath yeh thaam le Chalna hai sang thaam le
If we have to walk hand in hand,
How can both our right hands be clasped together?
One hand will be right, the other will have to be left.
Come, hold this hand of mine.
We have to walk together, hold this hand of mine.
This is my personal favourite melody from the soundtrack. This underrated gem has amazing vocals, music and lyrics, and mesmerising picturization to top it!
Rahman has carved a niche for himself in the soulful-romantic-half melancholic-half cheerful genre (Kahin toh hogi woh and Kaise Mujhe are other examples in this category).
Dil gira kahin par dafatan Jane magar yeh nayan
Teri khamosh zulfon ki gehraiyaan Hai jahan dil mera
Uljha hua hai wahin kho gaya Tu magar hai bekhabar, hai bekhabar
My heart fell somewhere, all of a sudden.
But my eyes know this, that amongst the depths of your tranquil tresses,
lies my heart, entangled and lost.
But you are unaware, oblivious to it.
Reminds me of Ghalib's ghazal :
Aah ko chaahiye ek umr asar hone tak Kaun jeetaa hai tere zulf ke sar hone tak?
It take a lifetime for a lover's sigh to be acknowledged.
Who could live so long so as to see you untangle your hair?
Sipiyon ki honth se moti chalak rahiein hain Ghazlon ki sohbat mein geet bhi behak rahe hain Samundar lehron ki chaadar odh ke so raha hai Par mai jaagu ek khumari ek nasha sa ho raha hai Tu magar hai bekhabar, hai bekhabar
From the lips of the shells, exquisite pearls are spilling out.
In the company of poetry, even the music wanders astray.
The sea sleeps quietly, tucked under the quilt of waves. Yet I am awake. An intoxication, a fervour is taking over me.
But you are unaware, oblivious to it.
I think Rahman would not be the genius he is today, had he not converted to Islam. His trinity of devotional songs - Khwaja Mere Khwaja (Jodha Akbar), followed by Arziyaan (Delhi-6) and later bettered in Kun Faaya Kun (Rockstar), are heavenly (pun intended).
Arziyaan sari mein, chehre pe likh ke laaya hoon, Tumse kya mangu mein, tum khud hi samjah lo
All my requests, I bring to you, written on my face. What can I ask of you, you can comprehend it yourself, my Lord.
Dararein dararein hai maathe pe maula Maramat mukdar ki kar do maula, mere maula Tere dar pe jhuka hoon mita hoon bana hoon Marammat mukdar ki kar do maula
My forehead is marked with creases and folds, O Lord. Mend my fate Lord, my Lord! At your doorstep, I bow, I am destroyed, I am created. Mend my fate Lord, my Lord!
My lousy translation does little justice to the alluring metaphor used here.
Dararein are deep cracks (in a wall) that are compared to forehead wrinkles (which are indicative of fortune). So, the arzi here is to repair (marammat) the wall (fortune).
Jo bhi tere dar aaya, juhkne jo sar aaya Mastiyan piye sabko, jhoomta nazar aaya
Whoever has come to your doorstep, with his head bowed,
Is seen as dancing by others, drunk in a trace.
Pyaas le ke aaya tha, dariya woh bhar laya Noor ki barish mein beeghta sa tar aaya
He had come in thirsty, and left with a swollen river. In the dazzling shower, he swam out drenched.
Absolutely love this hyperbole.
O ek khusbu aati thi, main bhatakta jata tha Reshmi si maya thi, aur mein takta jata tha Jab teri gali aaya, sach tabhi nazar aaya Mujhame woh khusboo thi, jisse tu ne milwaya
A fragrance would present itself, and I would get lost in its pursuit. It was a silken apparition which had mesmerised me. When I came to your lane, only then could I see the truth. The fragrance was in me all along, you acquainted it to me.
Seems to be inspired by Kabir's doha -
Kasturi kundali basey, mrig dhoonde ban mahi,
Aise ghati ghati Ram hain, duniya dekhe naahi.
Musk lies in its navel, yet the deer wanders the forest in its search.
Similarly, God is present in each one of us, yet we fail to see it.
Toot ke bikharna mujhko zarur aata hai Par na ibbadat wala shaoor aata hai Sajde mein rehne do, abb kahin na jaunga Abb jo tumne tukhraya to sawar na paunga
I know, for sure, how to shatter and scatter into pieces, but I'm ignorant about the decorum of servitude. Allow me to prostrate at your feet, nowhere else will I ever go. If you reject me now, Lord, I will never be able to recover.
Sar utha ke maine to kitni khwahishe ki thi Kitne khwaab dekhe the, kitni khosishe ki thi Jab tu rubaru aaya nazarein na mila paya Sar jhuka ke ek pal mein mene kya nahi paya
In arrogance, I had yearned for so many desires, So many dreams had I seen, so many attempts had I made. But when you finally accosted me, I could not look you in the eyes. I bowed my head down and in an instant, what was it that I did not attain!