Song Sketch

Call From The Distant Land – Aye Ajnabi – Dil Se

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Paakhi paakhi pardesi…
O bird of the distant land….

The song is from the movie Dil Se.. (1998). It begins with these lines by Mahalaxmi Iyer. She has sung only these two lines in the song which are repeated after the stanzas and in the end; yet they leave an impact on the listeners. The lines are sung in many different ways and actually set the mood of the song; not just musically but lyrics wise too. It talks about a bird that comes from a distant land in search of food and water; it stays there for some time and goes away after the purpose is complete. In the meanwhile it creates new relations and friendships, but forgets about them while moving on. This is exactly the situation in the movie when this song is featured.

The song has many shades; sadness, pangs of separation, helplessness, and a mockery that comes out due to all these feelings. It has the effect of echo which complements the mood of the song very well.

Aye ajnabi tu bhi kabhi
Aawaz de kahin se
Main yahan tukdon mein jee raha hoon
Tu kahin tukdon mein jee rahi hai

O stranger…
Wherever you are, just give me some sign that you are there
Call out my name once in a while, show that you care
Look at the way I am living my life – in bits and pieces
Are you experiencing this fragmented life too?

The hero (Shah Rukh Khan) is in love with a girl (Manisha Koirala) who was with him for a short amount of time but now has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Many failed attempts lead the hero to think that he will never find her again. In the meanwhile his family finds a match for him. Thinking that in no ways he can unite with his lady, he agrees to get married by their choice; but the memories of the girl still haunt him.

Roz roz resham si hawa
Aate jaate kehti hai bata
Woh jo doodh dhuli, masoom kali
Woh hai kahan kahan hai
Woh roshni kahan hai
Woh jaan – si kahan hai
Main adhoora, tu adhoori ji rahi hai

Every day the soft, silken air touches my body
And asks me about you… where is she…
That fairer-than-the-milk angel, that innocent bud
That glowing and glittering cherubic face
That breath of your life, where is she?
See how incomplete I am without you
I am sure, you are incomplete without me too

He says that even the wind knows that he loves her, it teases him by asking questions about her and he has no answer. He says that his life is incomplete without her presence in it and hopes that she too is living an incomplete life without him. Look how beautifully the girl is praised and the praise is actually veiled in the form of question.

The lyrics are penned by Gulzar and the music is given by A.R. Rahman. Now to describe the output of the songs that these two wizards have given together would either require pages or maybe a single word which will say it all. I, this time, am falling short of such a word.

Tu toh nahi hai lekin teri muskuraahatein hain
Chehra kahin nahin hai lekin teri aahatein hain
Tu hai kahan, kahan hai, tera nishan kahan hai
Main adhoora, tu adhoori jee rahi hai

You are not here, yet your smile lingers on my face
I do not see you, yet the air beholds your footfall and tells about your presence
Where are you? Where can you be? You have left no trail behind
I am living here in bits and pieces, you are living there in fragments
Why are we living at all if we have to live separately?

Poor guy is so depressed that all he has is memories of this girl. Her smile, the sound of her footfall, everything he remembers; but she is nowhere to be seen.

In the film, the hero is shown working in All India Radio and is seen mentioning this girl in his programs every now and then. It seems that even the girl (who is actually on a terrorist mission) has fallen for him but cannot do anything about it. She comes across as a heartless person but when she hears his voice on the radio, it takes her to their time spent. Fearing that this might distract her attention from her from her mission, she decides to forget him and turns off the radio.

The idea of two lovers living life separately and or even one-sided romances is sad. To describe them in such a different way is amazing. The song has an evident rhythm to it, yet it is a sad song. Udit Narayan steps out of his comfort zone for this one and excels. We actually see the singer singing to his full potential and the earnestness in his voice is something that is the need of the song and kudos to Rahman for giving him this song.

This is to love and lost love. Hope your love calls out your name, at least once!

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