“Kaate chahe jitna, paro se hawao'n ko
Khud se naa bach paayega tu
Tod aasmaano ko
Phook de jahaano ko
Khud ko chhupa naa payega tu
Koi bhi le rasta, tu hai tu mein basta
Apne hi ghar aayega tu
Nadaan Parindey ghar aa jaa”
No matter how much you strive,
You cannot hide from yourself.
You can aim for a worldly height, leave everything behind
You cannot escape from the snarls of your mind
Take any way, you exist in yourself
In the end, you will come back”
Nadaan Parindey plays towards the end of Rockstar, JJ has lost the girl he loved the most and finds himself responsible for it. He stands on the stage, anguished and despondent. His friend and guide once told him that pain is the only requisite to being a true artist. He has become a true artist in that sense, but only after paying a price.
The relevance of the song in the film is not ordinary. It is not merely good music by AR Rahman and beautiful lyrics by Irshad Kamil, but a device to the emotional arc of the character. This is the beauty of music as narratives in Imtiaz Ali movies.
Love, passion and a journey: Imtiaz Ali movies are often an immersive experience. The audience goes on a quest with the audience to find themselves. The realisation is often combined with a journey.
Another aspect are songs that add another layer to the character, or further the narrative. Imtiaz Ali has time and again collaborated with director AR Rahman and lyricist Irshad Kamil to create songs that were not only melodious but also played an important part in the movie itself. They have worked together in movies like Jab We Met and Rockstar.
When Tara rejects Ved's proposal in Tamasha, he goes into a deep silence. He suddenly becomes very vulnerable as he struggles to find himself between appearance and reality. “Agar Tum Sath Ho” shows Tara vehemently trying to comfort Ved, who is like a cracked glass that would break if inflicted any more pressure. Tara is running behind Ved, who is going farther away, both literally and metaphorically.
Veera in Highway, who has grown up in luxury, always found herself alone and unhappy among people. She finds freedom under the open sky and the endless roads and eventually confides in her captor Mahabir. As the movie progresses, one realises they were both lost who found their way to each other. The song explains their relationship in a way that no dialogues could.
Haaye sataaye, manaaye, sataaye
Tu.. rulaaye, hansaaye.. bhi tu hi
Humsaaye.. har doori sharmaaye
Tu saath hai, ho din raat hai
“Aaoge Jab Tum O Saajna” in Jab we met, written by Irshad Kamil and sung by Ustad Rashid Khan is not just a divine melody. The lyrics of the song, against the backdrop of the character development of Geet from a happy-go-lucky girl to a heartbroken woman, away from family, serve as a perfect technique to the narrative of the movie.
And finally, it becomes difficult to hold back tears when Jai returns to India to meet Meera, who had ended her marriage as she loved him. The harness comes down, she starts crying as we hear the lines, “Kaha bhi na maine nahi jeena maine tu jo na mila...” from Yeh Dooriyan.
These compositions prove the mettle of AR Rahman, Pritam and Irshad Kamil as music composers and Imtiaz Ali, as a true author of his craft.