Song Sketch

Tanhaai – Loneliness, Desolation And Emptiness – Dil Chahta Hai



Tanhaai…. Tanhaai…
Loneliness, loneliness

An excellent composition by Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy and lyrics are penned by the ingenious Javed Akhtar. This was for the youth film Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Now interestingly, all the crew and cast of the film was young, well almost. Let us call it fresh (not to hurt anybody here). The director, the music directors and the lyrics (read Javed Akhtar). If you, for a minute, forget that Javed Saab has written the lyrics and listen to the entire album you would feel that it is by a very young, fresh, talented lyricist who has just made his/her debut in the film. The words, the rhythm of the words and the sheer energy that they create can only come from a youngster and this is all that Javed Akhtar is and it is reflected not only in his interviews but his work too.

This song is sung by the very dependable Sonu Nigam. The song needed a voice that could bring the feeling of love, lost love, and separation but with a kind of naivety to it. Sonu does exactly that. His voice glides through the entire song with the correct amount of sadness, not even at a single point does he overdo the emotions and yet the feeling of loneliness hovers over the song and that is why the very dependable title goes to him.

Dil ke raaste mein kaisi thokar maine khaayi
Toote khwaab saare, ek maayusi hai chhaayi
Har khushi so gayi, zindagi kho gayi
Tumko jo pyaar kiya maine to sazaa mein paayi
Tanhaai, tanhaai, meelo hai phaili hui tanhaai

I have fallen down on the road of love so badly
That all my dreams are shattered and a cloud of sadness is hovering over me
Every little happiness has become numb and my life is lost in this fog
I fell in love with you and so I received this punishment of desolation
Loneliness, loneliness, I have received this loneliness which is ever pervading

Here too there is an eagerness that peeps through the words, eagerness that today’s youth (today because Dil Chahta Hai has still that freshness to it which it had some 15-16 years ago. There is a particular word in the title song of this movie which is “kabhi na beete Chamkeele Din.” Now even Farhan Akhtar, the director was a little sceptical of using it but it was Javed Akhtar who believed in his words, literally, and it worked!

Khwaab mein dekha tha ek aanchal, maine apne haathon mein
Ab toote sapnon ke sheeshe, chubhte hain in aankhon mein
Kal koi tha yahin, ab koi bhi nahin
Banke naagin jaise hai saanson mein laheraayi
Tanhaai, tanhaai, palkon pe kitne aansu hai laayi

I had seen your glimpse in my dreams
It was your veil that I was holding in my hands
But now that dream has broken
And the shards of that dream are piercing my eyes
It was just yesterday that I had you and now there is no one
And this desolation is slithering in my breath like a poisonous snake
Loneliness oh this loneliness, how many tears it has brought upon my lashes

The connection between the veil in the dream ultimately becoming the poisonous snake is amazing. The lyrics just drift through the happy moments into the sad, lonesome ones so easily.

Kyun aisi umeed ki maine , jo aise naakaam hui
Door banaayi thi manzil , toh raste mein hi shaam hui
Ab kahan jaaoon main, kisko samjhaaoon main
Kya maine chaaha tha aur kyun kismat mein aayi
Tanhaai, tanhaai, jaise andhero ki ho gehraayi

Why did I have such a hope that was to remain unfulfilled
I made my destination so far away, so unattainable
That the day ended midway and it was night already
Now where do I go, who do I explain it to
What I wanted and why in my destiny came this desolation
Loneliness, emptiness, like the profound, never-ending darkness

Very few songs have the privilege of an interesting and intriguing start; this for instance has a very unusual beginning. It starts with the rhythm of the beats which play throughout the song making it very unique. The flute too is used in a very different way in the entire song.

The composers have used many instruments in the album. The use of Australian instruments like the didgeridoo in “jaane kyon” was interesting. They have used the kanjira, dholak and flute in this song giving it an edge above the others.

Picurised on Aamir Khan and Priety Zinta, it was on the lips of everyone during that time. Be it young, old, in love, not in love, heartbroken, et al. Everybody loved it then and loves it now.

The song ends with Sonu singing Tanhaai… tanhaai and we find ourselves doing the same.

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