Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Aao Na (Haider)

Long before I saw Haider, I fell in love with its music. Rarely do I spend so long stuck on a single album. Vishal Bhardwaj is an excellent composer - maybe even the best right now. (Yeah, yeah; I'm a huge Rahman fan; but I can't remember a single song from his last album, or the name of the album for that matter - the one with Ranbir's cousin). Or maybe since VB is so involved in all his projects, the music just becomes a part of the movie-making process and in turn a part of the movie. On being asked which role of his (director, writer, music director etc.) he enjoyed the most, Vishal Bhardwaj said it was creating music which gave him the most joy - and it shows.  

Ironically, though the music of Haider is so apt for the film, the songs themselves seemed jarring to the flow of the movie, especially "Khul Kabhi". "Bismil" I found to be too in-your-face kind. Though, being a dramatic representation of Khurram's treachery, perhaps it was supposed to be that way, but I didn't really enjoy it that much. "So Jaao" (the gravedigger song), on the other hand, left me completely speechless. The gravediggers are trying to make their job a wee bit less morbid by singing and/or joking, but the song itself is no cheerful one and their sense of humor positively macabre. This song felt like a punch in the gut.

But the one song I kept waiting for was "Aao Na". The dark mood of the song is a perfect fit with that of the movie. In my mind, there's also a perfect place for the song in the movie - right at the end, when all that Haider held dear is gone - his father, home, girlfriend; and his mother. Life as he knew it is over. And his only burning desire - revenge - no longer matters to him. His only hope is that death will bring the peace that life denied him - सब्र ले लो,  कब्र ले लो - घर में आओ .  

Allow me to interpret the lyrics with this situation in mind.

Lyrics and Translation:

Jale hi jale hi jale
Diye se jale rahe, saari zindagi
Nahin bujhe bujhe nahin
Hawa se bujhe nahin, saari zindagi

[[All my life, I was on fire like a candle
Until now, no wind could put this flame out]]

Ek foonk se hua
Sab ud gaya dhuaan
Wo jo saans ki ik faans thi
Wo nikal gayi jo kharaash thi

[[But (it so happened, that) with this one whiff of air
Even the smoke is gone

The feeling of a splinter grating with every breath 
Is gone, and with it the itch (for revenge)]]

Ab seene ki, wo khalish gayi
Bekaraariyaan, beemaariyaan gayin

[[The anxieties of the heart have left me
All the restlessness and ailments I'm rid of now]]

Ab to aao, jaan meri, so bhi jaao

[[Let's just go, and close our eyes now (dear life)]]

Arey aao na,
Ke jaan gayi, jahaan gaya
So jaao

[[Come, now that neither life nor the world matters
Let's go sleep]]

Arey aao na,
Ke thak gayi hai zindagi
So jaao

[[Come, 'cause life itself is feeling drained
Let's go and get some rest]]

Na shaam na savera
Andhera hi andhera
Hai roohon ka basera
So jaao

[[(Let's go the place of) neither evenings nor mornings
Where a calm darkness envelopes you
(Let's go to) the abode of souls
And sleep]]

Hawa the hawa the hawa
Hawa the hawa hue, baaki to khala

[[What were be, but mere puffs of winds
And in these puffs of wind are we gone
Now all that remains is this expanse of space]]

Kabhi the to kabhi nahin
Kabhi the kabhi nahin, baaki to khuda

[[At times we were, and then we were not
'Cause what other than God is forever?]]

Ye tha azal se tha
Uske fazal se tha
Bada kaam tha jo zameen par
Wo to likh diya aa jabeen par

[[He was since time immortal
And it's by his grace
That we were sent to the earth
With our fates written (on our foreheads)]]

Jo guzar gayi wo guzar gayi
Bewajah yahan, na raho miyaan
Jo huaaaaa
Sabr le lo, kabr le lo
Ghar mein aao

[[Whatever is gone, is gone
It's no use staying here beyond a point

Whatever's happened...
Let's take the comfort of the graves
And go home]]

Arey aao na...........

Points to ponder:
1. Gulzar has felt the pain of partition, and feels very strongly about Kashmiri's every day struggle. He has made a movie about it (Machis), and the references keep popping up in his poetry and lyrics (वादी के मौसम भी इक दिन तो बदलेंगे (Yahaan)). So it was a given that a film set in Kashmir will bring out his best poetic imagery.

But he just adds more layers to this song with references to Hamlet/Haider's key question "कभी थे तो कभी नहीं, कभी थे कभी नहीं" (हम हैं कि नहीं/To be or not to be?) and the plea for a moment or a lifetime of rest of a population tired of the incessant battles, both personal and political (कि थक गयी है ज़िंदगी, सो जाओ!)

2. After "Dhan te nan", Vishal Dadlani gives another powerhouse performance for VB/Gulzar in this song. But another thing that reminds me of Dhan te Nan while listening to this song is the line "कई कब्रें हैं, कई खबरें हैं - जो भी सोये हैं कब्रों में उनको जगाना नहीं" - let those resting peacefully rest in peace. Two very different songs, two slightly similar lines. (Also कब्रों के दड़बों में लम्बी नींद सोना है from So Jaao)

3. Also, I'm totally going off on a tangent here, but this song is just too perfectly suited for Theon Greyjoy of A Song Of Ice And Fire / Game Of Thrones fame. The way he has never been sure of his identity (neither Greyjoy nor Stark; discarded by one family not wholly accepted by the other; is he Theon or is he Reek; does it really matter to anyone whether he lives or not) - कभी थे तो कभी नहीं etc. Plus, all that he has gone through, surely makes him want to say "कि जाँ गयी, जहाँ गया, सो जाओ" and just rest in peace.

So, there it is - my attempt at the song from Haider. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing about it. You can watch the song here:


  1. I interpreted this as the song of Roohdaar's life after watching the film! The first few lines of the song easily sum up the description that Roohdaar had told about his past life. Also, the music of this song comes at Roohdaa's entry. So it is like Roohdaar calling Haider, Aao Na! :)

    But that is the beauty of Bhardwaj's films. We can interpret it in many different ways and it still makes sense.

    1. Hey! That's a really interesting way to re-look this song.

      Though, for me, Roohdar never really wanted to die (even in those horrible prison conditions); in fact it just made him all the more revengeful. Plus, I'm still not sure if everything he told Haider was even true.

      But then, as you said, that's the beauty of a movie like Haider. The layers can be interpreted and reinterpreted in a hundred ways :)

  2. Can I please make a request? When you write lyrics in your interpretations in hindi could you also please write them in Roman hindi/urdu so fans like me who unfortunately cant read hindi can still read them.

  3. Really good interpretation. Impressed!

  4. Hi, there are a few mistakes in the lyrics you posted:

    1. "Ek foonk se hua" -> "Ek phoonk se miyaan"

    2. "Ab seene ki, wo khalish gayi" -> "Amaa seene ki, wo khalish gayi"

    Amaa: this is a figure of speech in Urdu. Just like we say "aray".

    3. "Bewajah yahan, na raho miyaan ... Jo huaaaaa" -> "Bewajah yahan, na raho miyaan ... Chalo miyaan"

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.



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