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KK - THE MESMERIZER View topic - Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?



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 Post subject: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:57 am 
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This post would be a bit more polished if...certain events hadn't occurred and I'd had a little more time than I did, but...hopefully you'll like it anyway. Happy birthday, love. *hug*

August the twenty-third - expecting me, yes? ;)

I think that last year, along with setting the precedent for posts-for-the-gentleman's-birthday to come, I sort of...established a tradition of breaking with tradition. :P So that's what I intend to do. Hopefully you'll forgive the longest Cain Express intro ever, and the fact that I have only my own experiences to draw on; I give you my word it's emphatically not all waffle.

It's a pet theory of mine that the music-mathematics link people talk about is in fact only a part of the picture. I've no doubt there are people in whom that link is pronounced - but there are others who respond to music, consciously or not, the way they respond not to maths but to language.
Me, I am one of those people. I'm pretty sure at least some of you are. And in all the years I've known KK - as a musician and as a person, the former naturally longer than the latter - I've grown pretty firmly convinced that he's one of them as well. Not only has he often said he finds lyrics one of the most important aspects of a song (though seriously, can people not find anything else to ask him? :P), but his knack of uniting music and lyrics through instinctive (and often, if I'm not mistaken, split-second) interpretation speaks eloquently for itself. And for him. In other words, we're all so lucky to have the gentleman hardly any of us can even begin to fathom it.

So - re language. What I do here is interpret what I hear, on as many different levels as I feel it. You're all aware of my kink for the English language and the other one for Urdu words - and you're also all aware that I can't and don't actually want to write in Hindi/Urdu worth a damn. This latter is probably because for all intents and purposes English is my first language. I spent the first eight or nine years of my life with Hindi as this alien and often somewhat terrifying entity in the world around me; I only really began figuring things out after that, only really started understanding it after the gentleman Jo-Gaya-Vo-Gaya-ed into my life, and - get this - only really started appreciating the gorgeousness of the language three or four years later, after I stopped studying it.
The relationship I share with English is sort of symbiotic - I'm capable in some measure of giving back to English what it gives me. With Hindi/Urdu I can't do that. With music I can't do that. And so I thrill to the voice of our lion, thrill to the language, and endeavour to give both what I can.

When you read or hear something in any language, you're not supposed to realize the words are there. It's a medium for the conveyance of thoughts and emotions and ideas (just like music is. How strange. /sarcasm) and you're supposed to understand those ideas without noticing the intermediary. The aesthetic appeal of the words involved only comes into play later, while or after they're deciphered, but the cadence and rhythm of a language itself does play a role in one's understanding of it - and its distinction from others.
Now KK has a little habit of doing away with those distinctions. When I listen to him, for instance, it's as though he's speaking English. (Of course he might actually be speaking English - Cineraria what? - but yeah, you know what I mean.) The important thing he does with whatever language he's speaking is bring it closer to the listener - he made Hindi/Urdu more than a mere bunch-of-words-and-rules-supposedly-known-as-a-second-language to me. He made it a challenge - he made it a world. He made it something to discover. And eventually - through the love of him - he made it something to love.

So I'm going to celebrate the man today by celebrating something he gives all of us without even realizing it: the gift of understanding. And he gives it with aplomb.

Translation is a tricky business, which is why I sort of skirt its frontiers without ever really getting entwined in it. Most Hindi-to-English translations just go word to word, which is admittedly the easier way to do it but very often leaves the true meaning of the lines untouched. In this sense some things are entirely untranslatable - Teri Yaadein, for example, or O Haseen Zaraa, and there's no real linguistic analogue in English for raah-e-guzar or jaan-e-vafaa - and some things are better left untranslated: when I try to translate Nazar, the images I end up with are pretty damn creepy - and they're still better got across by the actual words than any translation. Waking up, for instance, to find someone's been watching you as you slept. And then realizing that someone is possibly an alternate self. (Now d'you know why I love Nazar?) The driven sensuality of Teri Tamanna translates as softcore pornography, which is...weird. And I have trouble translating romance because I don't actually write the cheesy Eros variety you find in most songs and that freaks me out a little, so yeah. :P
There are, however, several lines I've found - and continue to find - that read pretty damn well in English - and you'd better believe I hoard 'em. You think; therefore, you are from Main Khudaa doesn't count, of course (because it was practically a translation to Hindi to begin with - and though admittedly I can easily hear my protagonist say 'How far can you run? And who's your pursuer?', I can't quite figure out if it's a captive he's addressing or a captor). Which of course rules out the explicitly and gorgeously stated Don't mess around with love! as well. :P
Now since I've never mentioned these here before, I'm going to list each in English first. Try to figure out the line before you go further, if you will - and then tell me how it worked out. Right? Here goes.



My desire for you, my love, is insatiable.
'Tis an easy one to begin with. :P I am Cain, ergo this is Power Ballad. It is, I think, one of the lines that first changed how I thought about the language - and changed how I thought about passion.
And it plays the same role in the song. He's brilliantly, ruthlessly intense from the first note on, but at Main chaahoon tujhko, meri jaan, bepanaah... something shifts focus and slips into place, something's suddenly clearer and more vital than it was before. This song, each peak in the song (each repetition of this line, the wo-o segments and Bin tere har khushi hai bevajaah) - the echo of his soul in each raw, resonant note - is what passion is. Passion doesn't care for frill and fabrication. Passion has no use for unnecessary embellishment. Passion is a finger tracing the line of your jaw. Passion is the simple declaration that you're wanted. Insatiably.


Sometimes I think I'm a figment of your imagination.
The surrealism of this line is evident even in the original (Tujhko Jo Unplugged). It is, as I said while reviewing it, the classic case of romance-turning-into-passion: it begins with the usual romantic assertion that the Love Interest has drawn the Lover out of his individual existence, a nice little nothing-out-of-the-ordinary breeze metaphor - and then bang, Mujhe toh lagta hai main shaayad tere dil ki dua hoon... And he says it with the utmost confidence. Literally this could be taken as I'm the answer to your prayers, but the audacity it's taken to say the words means it's nothing of the sort. That slightly-breathless innocent sincerity is a deliberately transparent veneer; he's said all he had to say about how irrevocably he belongs to her, and is now proceeding to tell a deep-set truth under the tried and true cover of coquetry. This couple is so perfect that it wouldn't be more so if one had invented the other. And this couple is so perfect that one telling the other so is tantamount to blatant flirtation. XD



I am forever...I am time.
Admittedly this has been the about-me header on my blog for four years, so there's been ample time for the Team in particular to figure it out. :P Main Sadaa Hoon is one of my obscure favourites (I apparently have some sort of three-dimensional Venn diagram in my head rather than just a huge connected-and-interconnected flowchart now), and it's the gorgeous metaphor of this line that draws me to it. Main sadaa hoon, vaqt hoon is an assertion, much like the rest of the song, of the identity of the singer - and he carries it off like no other could.
What he's saying here is that he's a universal constant - and damn, do we know it. ;) Then again, by the time his invincibility - as well as the fact that the currents of time flow at his direction (Main toh chaloon jidhar, lamhaa mudhe udhar) - is established, he could pretty much actually say he was Time itself and be gladly believed.


- while daybreak sulks at my doorstep.
I'm going to clear my backlog soon, rest assured. I'm just trying to figure out how to split it. For now let's just say that I'm in love with the sheer aesthetic beauty of Kaafir Andhere. The imagery of almost every line (Dar pe khadaa hai muh ghumaake rootha saveraa...) is brilliant, and with him to make it soar the whole thing is so gorgeous it's crazy. I'll admit I kind of tend to think this and Rafta Rafta have a sort of yin-and-yang thing going on, because each has one of the two kinds of standard Industry non-content (love tormented and love tentative), but I forgive each of them for different reasons - not the least among which is simply him. He takes the unexpected image of dawn sulking at his doorstep and turns it from a weird allegory to a metaphorical statement of fact that is adorable - and ever so slightly frightening.


Silhouette vitiates silhouette - image cancels image.
Anjaana is another obscure favourite. I love it for its almost-impartial description of both sides of every argument his character can think of - and then for his almost-desperate abandonment of his former devil's advocacy, whereupon he waxes feverishly lyrical: Parchhaai se kat jaati hai parchhaai...
The entire song reverberates with a bowstring-taut tension born of his character's desperately reining himself in: he's always just on the point of breaking free from his self-imposed bonds, but never really does - possibly because he's a little delirious and doesn't realize he can. And the intensity is all the more far-reaching for the restraint.


Time is my witness. (Go ask her.)
As I said in the recent Jannat 2 review, this line in Tujhe Sochta Hoon is particularly delicious because Time would make an exceedingly good witness. Calling upon her is a stroke of genius, but at this point KK's character has no idea how brilliant it is - he simply wants to prove his point. Vaqt se poochh le - vaqt mera gavaah resonates with love and sincerity and truth, and the fact that he has no idea of the power he's awakened by calling Time as a witness is not only testament to his honesty, but also terrifying. It's one of the loose ends left by the song - and it's been left not by the lyricist but by KK himself. It could have been just a throwaway line, really, meant merely to emphasize the love factor, but there's so much more to it than that - and KK knows it and conveys it.


Who, after all, has survived me unscathed?
There's so much attitude in this line that once you're acquainted with the canon, it leaps off the page even when it's written down. This is attitude from before the time when the word apparently implied conceit; Mujhse takraa paaya hai kaun... is a statement of fact and nothing more. That his low-pitched rake-tipped denim-clad rendition of the line has more than a touch of but I am constant as the freakin' Northern Star about it only serves to make it that much more delectable.


- and life was breathed into existence.
O Maahiya is often overlooked in favour of the Dus Kahaaniyaan title track, but once stripped of the weird you're my fantasy, you're my ecstasy segments it's a pretty damn good little track. You can tell, for instance, that that little metallic hint to his voice isn't just the result of a smoothing-over in post-processing; it's his instinct for giving the music what it needs at work. The intro segment is particularly gorgeous - and what's more, it's intentionally gorgeous. Listen to Chun liye shabnami lamhen aankhon ne - tab chali zindagi saanson mein and tell me he doesn't know exactly what he's doing to anyone present. ;)


Freeze my blood in its tracks -
Mere Khudaa is a hard track to talk about because of its subject matter, but it portrays that subject matter in a way so gently sensitive and passionate at the same time that to say it's heartbreaking would feel ridiculously shallow. No one but KK could have made this track what it is - no one but him, in fact, could have made it anything but an insensitive parody of what it is. And Is nabz ko jamne de - jaane de jaan... is spoken with such oppressive finality that the brink, for that instant, seems real.


"You don't look pleased."
This is, of course, Lage tu khafaa sa - the latter half of the jauntily nonchalant first couplet of Jannatein Kahaan. It's a frisky sort of mea culpa, an acknowledgement of the fact that something's been amiss - but it's also a call to attention, and - as the gentle cuff-upside-the-head in the next couplet demonstrates - almost a call to arms.


My dreams are drowned in fathomless seas of memory.
As Zehreeli Raatein proves, it is not merely still waters that run deep. The turbulence of this track is vehement and desperate, and, when you think about it, so beautiful it kind of hurts. Yaadein gehri hain kis tarah, dil doob jaaye...Main toh dekhoon jo khvaab bhi, vo toot jaaye... is desolate, but not despondent; there's a subconscious spark of anger to it that dares to hold out hope - and dares anyone else to try and extinguish it.


Too real to be dreamt; too good to be true.
My hormone-drenched thoughts regarding O' Mama are no doubt well known by now. :P Let's just say that this is the most delicious of those cat's-cradle paradoxes. Darkness, spotlights, catlike footsteps, hands in your hair, the low khvaab mein mil jaaye, lekin vo - khvaab na ho... does it not drive you up the wall just thinking about it? *fans self*
Supposed translations of O' Mama, incidentally, are too freakin' hilarious for any sense to be made of them. :P 'A girl like miaow', indeed.


For madness' sake, speak not of caution now.
More of the backlog! I wondered if there was something to be found in Maahiya Re - and then when I delved in, I came up with a line of iambic pentameter. Respect, Mr Mukherjee. In fact it even seems to make more sense when written with the Old English custom of capitalizing each noun: For Madness' sake, speak not of Caution now.
Abhi abhi aavaargi aayi; abhi na karo sambhalne ki baat is not quite my favourite line from this track, but it is a close second. I love the intensity of this entire track, the intimacy, the conversational quality of it - and, at this point, the urgency. This entire segment feels as though it's to keep her quiet - don't talk, lady, don't ruin the moment, don't say this isn't sane enough, not now - and the rushed control of it all is gorgeous as all hell.


I'm your moment.
A lot of these seem to relate to time, for some reason. This one, main hoon tera lamhaa from Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai, is a pretty straightforward statement of the fact that the subject and the object, so to speak, belong to each other, but it's worth a mention for its devastating simplicity. Taken in conjunction with Tu vaqt mere liye, it's even more devastating - she's all of time to him; he's each of her moments - and though the result is the same, the contrast is compelling.


Trance or true? (You decide.)
I was determined not to touch Lamhaa...until trance or true came to me. Anyway, you all know how much I love Lamhaa - there may be songs ahead of it on the flowchart-Venn-diagram-thingy that serves the purpose of a list in my head, but Lamhaa Remix is the quintessential KK track. It's every single thing I love him for in exactly four minutes - plus, for pretty much no reason, a little bonus car-kinkery.
Ye nashaa hai ya pyaar hai - tu bataa! is breathtakingly blunt and equally breathtakingly gorgeous. In that last note he offers the listener his wrists - chooses to ask you to decide if it's trance or true, when he knows perfectly well it's both.


Slake me with a vineyard.
Nazar has had cause to appear before, of course, but that was the delightfully disturbing first stanza. The second, now that the stage has been set, gets down to business - and does a pretty good job of it too. I've taken a bit of a liberty with this one, I know a vineyard isn't a house of alcoholic spirits (surely there's a less mundane way to describe a bar than 'bar'?), but it was too good to pass up. Chand qatron se toh pyaas bujhti nahin - tujhko dena padega mujhe maiqadaa is perhaps all the more dangerous because it's meant anything but literally; not only is he sober, but he intends to remain sober - and if at this point he has any sanity left to lose, he's willing to go all in and risk it.


Your very bewitchment is yours to bewitch.
Admittedly I've taken a liberty here too, but again - too good to lose. Ek Pal Ke Liye is a gem in so many ways, not least for the restrained passion with which he treats every little nuance of the rendezvous it describes. (Also, it's even more of a waltz than Tujhe Sochta Hoon.) Teri hi deevaangi tujhpe fidaa would perhaps have been a delicate compliment were it not for the raw, vulnerable fervour with which he says it; no longer can it hide beneath that claim.


You're the instant between each breath and the next.
You're what keeps me breathing. You're my reason to go on. And no matter how frisky the world believes this song to be, you are my world, and that's enough.
Tu hai - tu hai yahaan - do saanson ke darmiyaan...
Need I say more?


The bounds of passion have been set ablaze.
Notice how we've spiralled back to passion? I was casually acquainted with Dilnashin for the first couple of years after its release, but never really got to know it well because I couldn't get hold of the cassette. (What prehistory that seems.) So I only really figured it out sometime after Power Ballad - and when I did, holy hvz. Whew.
Jazbon ke makaan mein - ek aag si lagi hai - sort of reminds me of the Pandavas' lac house that was set fire to: treachery, secrecy, determination - and flame. (Apparently a lot of people hear this as maqaam or territory, but I have driven myself crazy with this and sorry to rock their collective boat, but that's an n and the lac house reference stands. Before it's set alight, of course.)
Incidentally, has anyone else noticed what a lot of fire there is in this song? Listening to him talk about fire is kind of...fun, in a dark sort of way. And also extremely hot, though that pun is too sad ever to have been intended. Sorry. :P


Branding me a sinner will condemn you equally.
I blew a few circuits from Urdu overload the night I first heard Barham Hain Hum, and it was only when I could pick up the pieces and rewire a little that, you know...multiple deaths came into the picture. The sheer cascading intricacy of the song is overwhelming - not to mention the way he takes it and whirls it and bends it to his every whim.
'Gar gunaahgaar hoon main, mujrim nahin tu bhi kam... is beautiful and heartrending and true: no bystander can accuse another without revealing their own guilt - and certainly no bystander has the right to accuse a victim.
(I had occasion to explain this song to the friend of the kissing-smiley. Sitting in class and watching the cogs whirr in her mind after saying Agar main gunaahgaar hoon, toh tum bhi kam mujrim nahin ho. felt kinda nice.)
(Also I shall defend that apostrophe to the end of my days. *pats apostrophe*)


And to the amusement of every mirror there, I proceeded to make my own acquaintance.
I did a pretty rotten job of translating Ek Pal Mein once, and concluded that it was better to leave well enough alone. Let's just say that, like KK's character in the track, I'm wiser now.
I love Ek Pal Mein for so many reasons. Har aaina hansta rahaa...ab jaake main khud se milaa... is just one of them; the perfect structure of the lyrics and score merely back up the perfection of the man himself. This is also one of the songs in which his impeccable pronunciation is particularly evident - as is his brilliance when it comes to working with longer-than-average lines. Ek Pal Mein and Jannatein Kahaan are at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as that goes - and I love him for both equally.


Riddle me this - and only this: how can an inexorable force be stopped?
Door Se Paas will never stop knocking the breath out of me and sweeping me off my feet. Listen to him go on about inexorable forces when he's an inexorable force himself, for instance - that implies he has another to contend with; no wonder they're so fiercely attracted to each other. Ye paheli hai, sirf isko sochenge - ek jhaunka hai, kaise isko rokenge... is just subtle enough, just blatant enough, just knife-edge sharp enough to bring the listener up short in a single frozen moment before the song surges on with Havaaon se aage iska jahaan.
(How do you stop an inexorable force? By persuading it to change its mind, of course.)


And finally (Dil Ibaadat), the translation of Tu mujhpe khud ko de lutaa is - brace for impact - Lavish yourself on me.
I mean.
Lavish. Yourself. On. Me.
How hot is it possible to get? How adorable is it possible to get? Because I have a feeling we're officially beyond the stratosphere of both.



KK is and always will be more than a playback artiste. He's a singer - he's a musician - he's an artist. And he vitiates boundaries by his very presence.
Happy birthday, darlin'. Know that we all love you - now and always.


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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:32 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Thank you. =D
I'm aware that this whole thing may feel a little anticlimactic, but...what wouldn't be after last year? So instead of basically repeating that I decided to go all out and say something I'd never said before. We all owe the Cat so much, after all - it's probably time he knew this is part of it.
Thanks for commenting and therefore helping me get away with it. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:06 pm 
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absolutely!!

and, Cat? XD

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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:13 pm 
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Well, one can't say 'gentleman' all the time. Nor can one address him by name all the time. :P Admittedly Cat tends to surface when I'm tired, though. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:20 pm 
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haha :D Sexy it is ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:41 am 
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Translation you say, Miaow would beg to differ. This is rephrasing at its best. Very seldom do translations retain the lyrical aspect of the translated. They are often brutally prosaic. Albeit the songs were written by somebody else but your view had a refreshing originality. Its just like when one hears KK, one becomes completely oblivious to the fact that the lyrics were written by somebody else. All the emotions, they sound pretty much his own.

' a girl like miaow' all right. However hilarious it might be, that made me choose my username. :P

PS: Ignorance is not always a bliss. To my utter dismay, I have no idea of Kaafir andhere. Can anyone help.


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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Cain. it's an honour to know you.. Take a bow..


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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:42 am 
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^Totally!

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 Post subject: Re: Wherefore Art Thou, Soniye?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:30 pm 
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TEAM THE MESMERIZER
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Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:45 pm
Posts: 166
Miaow, rephrasing would imply it was in the same language. I've done it a lot in Sanskrit - its main application is the rearrangement of poetry to prose. Interconversion of isomers, as it were. So what I did to explain Barham Hain Hum to my friend would qualify as rephrasing; explanation is what I usually stop at; and translation can be done either literally (which often falls flat, as was my point here) or taking the sense of the whole line/stanza/song into account. Which latter is what I've endeavoured to do. =D
And you aren't the only one. :P A friend of mine went by 'Meow Si Ladki' for quite some months before reverting to her own identity. You were once mistaken for her, in fact. :P
Kaafir Andhere is from Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. It's probably a good idea not to take that into account except for mere information's sake. Then again that's what I do with almost all tracks. :P

Arre. Thank you, Isabel. :)


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