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KK - THE MESMERIZER View topic - Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)



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 Post subject: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:37 pm 
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TEAM THE MESMERIZER
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Or, In Which Cain Goes to Sea in an Intellectual Sieve.

I have no clue how to start here except by apologizing for the delay. I am aware that radio silence was getting ridiculous. First I had to pick myself up out of the intellectual equivalent of a forced adrenaline crash, and then my brain, such as it was, decided to run off in all sorts of different directions. Besides, I've spent a lot of time sleeping during my most productive time of day (read: night), because my mornings have been taken up with learning the ropes of various cars. (I've just barely graduated to the CS; the difference between her and Caffeine is freaking staggering and I am working diligently toward the latter. Let us not get into how in love with the latter I am again.)
I had this written down for the intro earlier: Jannat 2, lifeline though it was, was a small blip in a disturbingly flat graph. Well, that was before Maahiya Re (Abhi Abhi to most of you). I've been writing this through a fog, and I haven't let myself relax into Maahiya Re as much as I could have, so I have a lot of intellectual and emotional catching up to do with it. Suffice it to say that I'm in love all. over. again.
(In retrospect, it looks like it was Tujhe Sochta Hoon I had to write through a fog: this post really belongs to Jannatein Kahaan, but the former couldn't really have been put anywhere else. I may come back and edit parts of this post later; in fact it's extremely likely that I will. Also apparently my subconscious meticulously graphs a lot of things and stacks them all in some sort of mental filing cabinet.)


All right.
*rolls up sleeves*
Jannat 2.

Let's get the preliminaries out of the way first. Believe me, I wouldn't say this unless I had to: From solely the music angle, this album is...I don't know what the hell it is.
I've long since stopped expecting to be able to tell music directors apart (though damn could I do that once, and in the blink of an eye too), but each song usually has a flavour, a colour that isn't the singer's alone - if that weren't the case all KK's tracks would be rich yellows and oranges with the occasional red: the colours of fire and almost nothing else. And yet O Jaana has hints of laser green, while KYRH is russet and purple and carmine and indigo; Dus Kahaaniyaan has hints of turquoise and darkness; Rabba Rabba is purest crimson...which would no doubt dry brown if you let it, but I'm not here to be macabre. Yet. My point is this: with the exception of Jannatein Kahaan, if it weren't for the singers, all the tracks in Jannat 2 would be colourless.
I don't know how many of you understand where I come from with the whole sound-in-colour business, but not sensing colour in sound is more terrifying than you know. If it were blackness that surrounded the voices it would be all right, because at least blackness is a constructive sort of nothing; if it were a void it would be possible to fill it. This is not a constructive sort of nothing. This is just nothing.
Yes, I understand that the content of a film has some bearing on its music. Yes, I grant you that the music was meant to be slightly subdued. Yes, I grant you the music does a good job of backing KK up, particularly in Jannatein Kahaan, but...don't do this, Industry. Just don't. It's just as well you have a KK to avert the consequences of your inaction.

There is one other issue: Yes, I understand that Jannat and Jannat 2 are completely different films. That does not, however, take away from the fact that it is the Jannat franchise - and I'm sorry, but within that universe you do not give the analogue of a Zara Sa to anyone other than KK. You do not, in particular, give anyone else anything else with the Power Ballad qualifier. It's simply not done. I don't know exactly who did it, but it's shortchanging a lot of people - yes, including the other guy. Note that I have no issues whatsoever with the alternate version of Tujhe Sochta Hoon: it's the other I mind, and with reason.
I know the gentleman himself will consider this no big deal, and that what's done is done, but what's done was not the decent thing to do, and there's no getting away from that.

There - that had to be said. And now for the big guns.


The first thing one feels on listening to Tujhe Sochta Hoon is an overwhelming sense of familiarity. There are traces in the music of everything from Zara Si to O Meri Jaan to the non-rock Dil Ibaadat, to Ek Din and Haal-E-Dil which aren't even his, and to Allah Beli, for crying out loud. The major similarity is to Tujhko Jo Unplugged, though - there may be important differences, but there are also interesting parallels, and it sounds sort of like...well, coming home. Though now if anything else reminds me of Tujhe Sochta Hoon I'll have a hard time figuring out whether or not it's actually Tujhko Jo or O Meri Jaan my mind is flashing back to - or if I follow the trail to Allah Beli, I'll know it's the pianos.
Then again, you don't actually notice it's started until he starts singing. The introductory piano notes are so unobtrusive that it's he who's left to ease you into the track, with the result that - the first couple of times, anyway - you suddenly realize after the first two lines that the song's in full swing already and dude, when did it start, what happened? *intellectual scramble* :P
Beyond that, the score is minimalistic - and curiously enough, that actually works. The piano's more of a base than the drums are, which is a tricky sort of inversion to carry off and is therefore all the more satisfying to hear when done properly - and thanks to him, this is definitely done properly. There's something surreal about the aura of this track that can't make its way onto paper or screen - there are no footholds, no branches, nothing to prevent one from being swept up in the current - and the loss of control is in equal parts fathomless release and sheer terror.
There are no separate planes here, no notches, only waves; no angles, no curves, merely the rise and fall of fluid or fabric. The beat is surreal and racy, hovering like a pulse that isn't quite there; the song is slightly drugged, like Bojhal Se except that this is clinical, maybe medical. Or else it's simply circulatory shock.
Or both.

Tujhe Sochta Hoon is a waltz. You're going to have to trust me here. I know nothing technical about...anything really, but I'm telling you it's a waltz: it's a waltz. [edit: I have actually just gone and looked up waltzes and it could pretty damn easily be Viennese waltzed to. In denim or something. Wtf am I doing.] It has the kind of loping windswept rhythm that makes you feel you're skimming the floor - and the loping windswept drawl to go with it. He drawls the entire song and besides adding to the whirlwind feeling of the thing, it is ridiculously hot.
The song is, frankly, very nearly ruined by the extra vocals which are...indescribably weird and absolutely inextricable from the rest (believe me, I tried), but - equally frankly - in spite of all those extra voices, he had me almost sobbing on the road to college the morning I got hold of this. The uncanny knack he has of catching the music exactly where it needs him most, cresting its waves and caressing its troughs, is particularly powerful when there's no footing to speak of; he's neither undercurrent nor overtone but part of the fabric, coasting on the same level as everything else. And apart from the passion in his voice, there's something raw and barbed and deadly - perhaps his character is somewhat aware of that, perhaps he isn't, but it's there.
There's more self-discovery about this track than anything else. It's just as much about him as the object of his affection: from the first stanza to the second in particular, you hear him realizing why he feels the way he does, and that he's prepared to stand by that - and, if the need arises, defend it with all his soul.

The first stanza begins on a sweet-by-intention note...which quickly spirals into something else entirely. Tujhe sochta hoon main shaam-o-subah - isse zyaada tujhe aur chaahoon toh kya... somehow sheds its veneer of romance halfway through and melts into delicious, delicious defiance. Defiance that tastes like mangoes. I'm not even kidding. By the end of the second line he's decloaked entirely, eyes glinting, hint of a smirk, and the repetition of the second half cements that image. Normally rhyming a word with itself emphatically does not work (don't get me started on the intricacies of rhyme), but this is the exception to end all exceptions: So. I love you. So what?
Repetition actually works pretty well with this song as a whole - it's not as much refrain as affirmation, reassertion, which corroborates the self-discovery motif and contributes to the surreal surging atmosphere of it all in one fell swoop.
Bas saare gham mein, jaana - sang hoon tere...
Har ek mausam mein, jaana - sang hoon tere...
Ab itne imtehaan bhi...naa le mere...
I love the fact that the lines of the refrain come in threes. Everything in music (or rhythm in general; this applies to writing too) is in multiples of two or four by default, so switching to threes is a subtle and effective way to destabilize things just a little, tip the balance just a little toward apprehension or excitement - or set it swaying between the two. (In prose, the defaults are three or four, so it sometimes helps to switch to two instead; just saying. Tricks of the trade.) Besides, the aalaaps are in a similar identical set of three, which makes the slight deviation of naa le mere at the third beat of the six all the more thrilling.
I cannot stress enough here that the lyrics are excellent. They're just the right blend of gossamer (meri dhadkanon mein hi teri sadaa) and spun steel (is qadar tu meri rooh mein bas gayaa) - and he's taken them and woven the two even closer. Time, for instance, is an oft-used motif in the Industry, but it's usually portrayed as either drifting or kind - nothing in between, really, but there's another perspective entirely here: Time is impartial. Time would, in fact, make an exceedingly good witness. Vaqt se poochh le - vaqt mera gavaah is my favourite line, partly for that reason and partly because the defiance has now solidified to certainty.

I would have said the graph of this track was a sine wave, but it's more like a sinus rhythm than that - if a sinus rhythm that's ever so slightly unsure of itself. There is an extra-voice-filled interlude at this point, followed by what can only be described as a gentle but inexorable slide. The rhythm and tune are more waltzlike than ever:
Tu mera thikaana - mera aashiaana; dhale shaam jab bhi, mere paas aana...
Hai baahon mein rehna - kahin ab na jaana; hoon mehfooz inmein, buraa hai zamaana...
...and suddenly there is less control than ever. Dhale shaam jab bhi feels like the crumbling edge of a shore; by buraa hai zamaana the current has you entirely in its grasp. And through it all there's that curious ring of defiance: the listener may be baffled, but he knows exactly what he's doing and why. It's that more than anything else that contributes to the terror of the moment, powerful enough to fling you to your knees, and it's not even really a hug you end up wanting - it's simply to catch hold of him so you both have something concrete to hang on to.

The aalaaps themselves are drop dead freakin' gorgeous. They're a blatant flirtation with arrogance, always just on the verge of it but never there; his character's confidence subtly builds through the first set, then he radiates self-assurance for the entirety of the second...then mellows ever so slightly in the third before sort of softly taking off into the end.
That end is slightly dampened by more superfluous voices, and the very end is in fact a split second too late - you (or at least I) can hear the guitar signing off. I don't really feel like removing that little hitch, however, because it sort of feels like the music is taking a breath, trying to ground itself like he hasn't needed to but the listener has. Feels right, somehow - as though that's all the closure there's ever going to be.

There are two directions this can go in if the gentleman chooses to sing it live: rock or seduction. Being the predictably awesome cat he is, he will naturally take it as far into rock as it can possibly go. Which, frankly, sounds like fun. XD

Slight coda to Tujhe Sochta Hoon - a friend texted me a few nights after its release and this edifying conversation occurred:
Friend: Jannat 2...Tujhe Sochta Hoon...My oh my!
Me: I know, no one can make aalaaps that hot. *pats him*
Friend: Pats?? Grabs and pins him against wall! *wishful thinking*
Me: XD
So, ladies and gentlemen, next time you think I'm getting too risqué, think of this. :P



Zara Sa - Jannatein Kahaan has, unlike the other, a colour. It's a deep smoky laser-volcano red. Not quite soft enough a red to imply a silk shirt, not quite pure enough to have blossomed from an artery, but a billowing, vital red that seeps through every inch of the listener's being. Unfortunately it is also possessed of a) a variety of generic male hillbilly-sounding backup voices and b) rap.
Now I'm not fond of rap at the best of times, but this is just ridiculous. If the lyrics of the song aren't all that love-oriented, no one has any business shoving in rap that endeavours to make them so - and, incidentally, what in the hell do Mars and Venus have to do with, well, anything? (In any case the Mars/Venus concept is basically and blatantly a vessel for all kinds of gender stereotypes, and it infuriates me no end. A lot of the world's problems could be solved by applying a little intellectual corporal punishment to rap in general.) There is a lot of unconnected nonsense about 'me and you against this world' and wanting to know what some girl put in something that sounds like 'minibus' but admittedly probably isn't. 'You're the only love that I breathe / you're the only drug that I need' makes an odd sort of sense, but when taken in conjunction with the rest? Sorry, but no. I shall get to the backup dudes later.
So I cut all that jazz (all that jazz! Including the backup dudes.) out...and ended up with a one-minute-fifty-five-second track. This, then, is a song that's not even two minutes long.
Then again.

This is the version that's in my head, so it'll probably be easier to take things in context if you listen to it a couple of times. It may be short, but it is seamless, and I must admit I'm sort of proud of that - considering the sheer lack of material I had to work with. *shakes head*


Sirens begin it. This was evidently meant to give the track a degree of situational context in the film, but...well, let's just say I ended up with something subtler. Nevertheless, I love the implication of the sirens: they're the first indication the listener gets that something is a little off, something somewhere is not quite right - some mischief is afoot.

Zara sa, zara sa!
Lage tu khafaa sa!
The first thing the opening lines tell you is that he is in power. The exclamation marks sound loud and clear - except that they could easily be replaced by dashes. There's thrill and suspense in equal measure in his tone, the breathless crazy caution of the surefooted tightrope walker: the situation is unpredictable, he is in command, and the reason he is in command is because he's running on instinct. Chaos calls for instinct, and few can respond to that call while maintaining their sanity in the face of it. Damned if KK isn't among them.
Second thing: he's addressing someone...someone who may or may not, depending on how you look at it, be you. He's familiar, perhaps intimate, with the person he's speaking to; the statement he's making is the equivalent (if you were slightly miffed at him) of him walking up to you right in the open, grinning rakishly and a little sheepishly, and saying, "You don't look pleased." And then possibly saucily raising his glass to you.
And it's delicious - but somewhere within it rings the note of tempered steel. He's speaking here from a sort of subverted pedestal; he's commanding not from a typical position of command, but from a henge, an alcove, a crater - an amphitheatre, if you will. And he's not commanding by choice. He's sort of fallen into the role, realized the reins are his - and he doesn't really mind. There's an air of desolation about the whole thing, as though he's stepped to the fore not because no one else would, but because there was no one else to.
I love what he does with the wo-o segments. He was one of the first in the Industry to work with them, of course, but they were initially introduced as a sort of filler-popularity-ploy hybrid ("Sing with me!") that had no meaning beyond catchiness - and then he took it and turned it right around into an art form. It's his wo-os in Jannatein Kahaan that give it the strong foundation it has - that it needed, incidentally, and that Tujhe Sochta Hoon did not, and therefore did not get.
The music contributes to the foundation at this point, though. Next time you're listening to the song, let him envelop you and simply concentrate on that deep vibrating buzz supporting him during the first couplet; if it doesn't drive you up the wall with glee, this sentence is probably just my sapiosexual hormones at work.
Also I'm not usually in favour of varying spelling with pronunciation or, well, anything, but the syllable stress in that first line is so delicious that I sometimes write it Zara sa, zaraa sa, mainly when quoting it in conversation. (Yeah, I quote it in conversation.)

Zara sa, zara sa!
Gilaa bevajaah sa!
The music intensifies here, along with him. Gone is the glass-raising nonchalance of the first couplet; what traces remain of it are merely his natural rakishness, no more. The scope of the implied second-person widens significantly - he's making his declaration to whomever is present to listen, leaving no room for dispute.
Though it's implied that he's speaking in his own defence, this is a simple statement of fact. Suddenly he's on level or almost-level ground (a shallow amphitheatre, then, or one falling to ruin), and he is still known to at least one of the people he's addressing. The lights lifted with the opening of the track; now suddenly there's a wind, one that almost whips through his hair and would certainly howl if it was let.
This entire song is so laconic it is gorgeous, and this part is the definitive embodiment of that. There is a certain breed of pseudointellectual which argues that all brevity is ugly, another which argues that all brevity is good; to them Cain simply says that brevity is beautiful when done right. Hell, everything is beautiful when done right; nothing in the world of language is absolute, and music is more about language than anything else. Gilaa bevajaah sa is direct and brilliant and universal, and it could mean so damn much - and somehow he makes it mean even more. In that line, you are his. If you're the complainant, you're being gently chastised and reassured at the same time; if you aren't, so much the better - you don't know what the issue seemed to have been, but you do know now that there wasn't one.

Tere hi liye tujhse hoon judaa...
Jannatein kahaan bin hue fanaah...
The music eases slightly here and leaves him more centre stage than ever. This (entirely predictably, but who cares) is the first peak in the graph of the track; he is an anchor, walking confidently forward, never a faltering step, while the music freewheels around him. The hint of reassurance is still there, but there are traces in his voice of desperation past - of trials you as the listener know nothing of, but that have made the man who lights the arena before you with his eyes. And he's telling you a universal truth: nothing worthwhile is attainable without sacrifice - or immersion, depending on how you look at it - or both.
Again, he's implying past surrender - surrender, possibly, from the same era as the irrelevant complaint - but also emphasizing that that's all in the past. The ring of certainty in his tone is unmistakable; caution may be to the wind, but deliberation never.


Zara sa, zara sa -
Mujhe hai gumaan sa -
At this point the electric guitars kick in. What I love about this is that it's not the electric guitars that make him seem as though he's more comfortable than he was during the first stanza - he is more at home than he was during the first stanza, and the electric guitars back that up. The easiest way to ensure an audience knows that KK (or his character in a track) is comfortable is to notch up the electric guitars. Everyone knows this, and it is adorable.
So he's getting down to brass tacks now, getting more introspective, thinking aloud, and he's suspicious. He's surrounded by desolation and he's not sure why, though he has a good idea - so he's treading carefully, on his guard. And also he may, just slightly, doubt you. He's too courteous to say that outright, but he won't trust anyone too much or too lightly: if you weren't the complainant in the earlier stanza you're a stranger, and if you were you haven't exactly trusted him much yourself, have you? The fault may possibly have lain on both sides, but he is entirely within his rights in questioning you.
I love the way he says gumaan so much. That quick drop at the end of each zaraa analogue is breathless and enticing and uncageable - untameable. The entire track plays with syllable stress in a subtle and beautiful way, and he takes the insouciance of the first couplet and the gleaming pinpoint awareness of the second and melds the two into a single glorious rollercoaster instant at the end of each operative word. He's playful and sinister, seductive and solitary, and he conveys so much in a single note it's impossibly more brilliant each time.

Zara sa, zara sa -
Abhi hai nashaa sa -
Again, this could mean so many things. It's the tip-of-the-iceberg mental shorthand one uses when talking to oneself, and it tells if one dares to listen of turmoil beneath. How often does it happen to each of us - surrounded by movement, alive in isolation, and the one thought that surfaces, vocally or not, is how surreal it all is.
And how empowering it all is. Averted or met tooth and claw, there's often nothing as empowering as adversity; whatever doubts he's had of himself in the past are long gone. This line reveals more than anything else that the reason he's placed centrally here is because he's in command of himself. Which is also the reason his internal monologue can now unfurl into full-fledged soliloquy.

Tere hi liye tujhse hoon judaa...
Jannatein kahaan bin hue fanaah...
Second peak.

Aab ek dhuaan sa dikh-taa hai, jo bhi likhoon main mit-taa hai, do pal mein hi - vo baatein, vo raatein, vo yaadein kisi ki -
Chhoot-ti-hi jaa rahi hai, toot-ti-hi jaa rahi hai vo har kadi - in saason ko, aahon ko mere gunaahon ki mil rahi hai koi sazaa - jannatein kahaan bin hue fanaah...
Third and steepest peak. Whereupon the wind drops, the lights fade and the curtain falls.
I love the whirling staccato feel of this. You're spiralling with him, control out of your reach - but never far from his. Control is, after all, his strength. He's fought for it tooth and nail, and even when it seems to those along for the ride that all is lost, it never is. Illogical logic. Control free from control. Command is not a chain; there are no boundaries.
Literally none: I don't know where to break the lines. This verse is one stream-of-consciousness sentence, one gorgeous lightning-quick train of thought. Of course one knows where the lines should end, but try ending them at the points logic dictates and they simply, gently, fall to pieces. If do pal mein hi starts a new line, so should vo har kadi, which makes no sense; breaking the line before mil rahi introduces a pause that shouldn't and doesn't exist; making the dikhtaa hai / mit-taa hai rhyme and its analogue couplets simply shatters the flow of the whole damn thing. Only logical solution: make the entire verse a sort-of-couplet-thing.
Writing this down, as opposed to typing it, actually kind of ruins it because you run into the end of the page several times before the line breaks. It's almost like a certain fictional drug that sets the buttons in the human mind 'free-swing', each syllable suggesting the next in free association: He said, in a dreamy voice, "Surrealismus of Panamy hearts in three-quarter time for a cup of coffeedom of speech." (Isaac Asimov, I'm In Marsport Without Hilda. The story is kind of...*ahem*. Let's just say, don't read it on my account. I have absolutely no idea how I manage to end up quoting all this risqué stuff here. Nevertheless, it is Asimov and intellectually sound despite the bawdiness, and I stick by it.) Each fragment of thought suggests the next, but instead of incoherent gibberish it is glorious near-insanity that, like all near-insanity, makes perfect sense. (Another point in favour of highs that don't involve ingested substances: you stay, or become, coherent.) It's breathless and delicious, and bewildering at first - you feel you're going around in circles, and then you realize you aren't; you're spiralling instead. You don't return to your initial position - you land several steps ahead of it. It's terza rima of the mind: everything is connected to everything else with the precision of a laser-cut jigsaw, and unless you stop to think you won't be quite sure where the connections are - and you cannot stop to think.
Aab ek dhuaan sa dikhtaa hai, jo bhi likhoon main mit-taa hai is, predictably, my favourite line. In one breath the surreal atmosphere is heightened, the desolation emphasized. If this is a metaphor (which it might well be; he's not saying everything he thinks, remember.) it's simply saying that nothing is as it seems; if it's only a semi-metaphor it implies that the wind has picked up again and there's hardly anything to stop its progression. Also apparently aab doesn't just mean water, it also means temper (as of steel) / lustre / sharpness, which makes this line even more delicious and affirms what I said about there being no boundaries: everything is blurred.
It seems a little (and apparently a lot to every lyrics site in existence) like the word should be ghadi, but if one cares to delve beyond the obvious (like I did - my apologies for having had to look this up.), one meaning of the word kadi is a link in a chain, and another is a rafter. Either makes perfect, perfect sense - and the latter even adds to the impression of a crumbling ruin. Therefore it is kadi, he is, as always, impeccable, and I am not cracked. (Well, not on this count, anyway.) I will admit, though, that it sounded to me at first as though he were referring to handcuffs, which both baffled and delighted me. Kadi does away with the bafflement.
Creation is impossible here, for nothing is likely to last, and that's more than enough adversity for a creative soul such as his. The tumult is such that even intangible thought and memory are hard to protect: one must simply concentrate on outlasting the storm. And the last line, bleak though it looks on paper, is infused with the thrill of one who encounters and melds with an equal. It's not a sentence he's receiving here: it's absolution. He's letting himself be taken by the wind, and gaining from it the strength to rebuild - rebuild his own soul, and the ruins around him with it. He's never more vulnerable than in this last line - and, as the lights fade to the answering radiance of his smile, never stronger.



Right. I've heard several, mostly unfavourable, comparisons of Jannatein Kahaan to Power Ballad (to Cain there is only one Power Ballad, and that is the one belonging to Zara Sa.); let's work through them. The trouble with this is simply the fact of it: there is, ladies and gentlemen, no comparison. You'd compare Aasraa and Aasraa Reprise because they're versions of the same song. You'd compare Don and Don v2.0 because they spawned from the same idea. These are simply two different tracks with a connection: an indelible connection, it is true, but merely a connection. There is no reason to compare them: beyond physical motifs, there are no overlaps.
Parallels, however, can be drawn.
One, the physical motifs. The phrase zara sa and the wo-o segments are obvious enough: there's also bevajaah, which immediately ties it to Power Ballad rather than plain Zara Sa and was probably part of the reason I fell for it so hard. There's also the whole judaa motif, and the aab ek dhuaan segment is clearly meant (and is gorgeously successful in doing so) to parallel the ab meri segment in Power Ballad. It's pretty clear that his character in these two tracks is the same: it's also clear that he's speaking to the same second person.
Then there's the tune of tere hi liye tujhse hoon judaa; jannatein kahaan bin hue fanaah. This is obviously meant to be completed by the wo-o segment in the other voices, but goddamn those scrubby brown voices. I. Cannot. Stand. Them. And they're made even worse by the fact that he is somewhere among them. I could, in all honesty, have taken the rap - I'll admit the track kinda feels more complete with it, and if it had consisted merely of nonsense phrases like 'shake it' and 'bring it on' I might even have left it in; it was the 'girl' crap that drove me to ruthlessness - but I could cry tears of rage at those damned other voices daring to smother him. The backing music for these wo-os is bloody brilliant and I hate to have lost it, and I'm sure they were meant to boost the ruin-desolation-postapocalypse feeling of the track, but I will not apologize for preferring the murkiness in my lakes to be of a more deliberate variety than mud.
Out, therefore, went all the extras.


The intensity of Power Ballad builds gently (I'm not saying it's gentle, mind you - it's anything but. I'm saying it builds gently.) Jannatein Kahaan, on the other hand, is rushed and tumultuous, the maniacal harmonic to Power Ballad's standing wave. It's less raw than Power Ballad, because its passion doesn't resonate as deeply; where Power Ballad radiates its namesake from the depths of its being and makes everything in the vicinity its own, Jannatein Kahaan strides across a barren landscape, maintaining its integrity while deliberately letting itself be taken. Power Ballad begins and ends in metal-glinting, orange-lit, contained darkness; Jannatein Kahaan takes place in the storm-tossed open. Power Ballad's battle scars are worn with elan and not a little pride; Jannatein Kahaan tells of fresh scars and still-open wounds.
In other words, everyone is looking at this the wrong way round: Jannatein Kahaan takes place before Power Ballad. Jannatein Kahaan is a prequel. It is, in a sense, a companion piece, but in the absolute it sets the stage for Power Ballad to pitch freakin' perfection. It is a prequel.
Everything snapped into place now? Yeah? Good.

Jannatein Kahaan and Power Ballad each give the impression of a performance. The key difference is this: Power Ballad doesn't give a damn about the audience - but in Jannatein Kahaan, the audience is everything. KK is always just on the point of flirting with the audience, teasing them, tantalizing them, playing them like a lyre - and yet he's distinct from them in a way that the KK of Power Ballad never is. The smile the lights lower on in Jannatein Kahaan is wry and delighted all at once; Power Ballad fades to deep breaths and set jaw. You feel his eyes sparkle at the end of Jannatein Kahaan; at the end of Power Ballad they're closed, and it's his breathing that tells you just how riotously alive he is.


One last geeky theory. I'm sure you've all heard of a certain epic poem by John Milton called Paradise Lost. Now I haven't actually read the entire poem, because I didn't have the brains when I was younger and now that I do I'm damned if I have the time, but I have read parts of it, I have read a lot of different opinions/analyses/whatnot of it, and I'm addressing an aspect of it that I was led to by science fiction anyway, so basically I'm not talking through my hat here. Hopefully I'll make some kind of sense.
Quoting Isaac Asimov's Gold: Dystopias are intrinsically more interesting than utopias. Milton’s description of his dystopian Hell in the first two books of Paradise Lost is far more interesting than his description of utopian Hell in the third book. (I will vouch for this. You find yourself trying to follow the story of why the Fiend was hurled down with such 'hideous ruin and combustion' in the first two books, but the third is just blah blah 'pale dominion' Paradise 'Adam's abode' blah blah. And the Fiend 'bowing low' as though subservience is his middle name. He was once an angel, come on.)
And yet pure dystopian tales are as dull and as unbearable as pure utopian ones. The pure utopian tale can only hit the single note of "Isn’t it wonderful - wonderful - wonderful." The pure dystopian tale can only hit the single note of "Isn’t it awful - awful - awful." And one cannot build a melody on the basis of a single note.
Remember, they are poor only if they are pure. Milton's Hell was made interesting because of his portrait of Satan, courageous even in the ultimate adversity, feeling pangs of remorse even when immersed in ultimate evil. Milton's Heaven was without interest because there was no way of introducing danger in the face of an omnipotent, omniscient God. His dystopia was not pure, his utopia was.

Now look, I know I'm treading on dangerous ground here with the religion business and all, but this is a published work and, say what you will, Asimov's analysis of it is pretty damn accurate. Without the religious characters and imagery it would still be a story of damnation and redemption, and it would still have the utopian and dystopian elements, which are what I'm after.

Jannatein Kahaan is set in a dystopia. There's rack and ruin all around, physical, emotional, intellectual, what have you. The reason it lives is the innate nobility of the man singing it, his determination to ride the wind and rebuild after the storm. And Power Ballad could easily have been a utopia in itself - were it not for the glorious humanity of the man. Maybe we weren't meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through, struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can't stroll to the music of the lute; we must march to the sound of drums. (Star Trek.) In short, it's the nobility of our Cat that rescues each of these songs from the fate of the dreary and obscure.

So I've been building to the Paradise Lost analogy for months. The morning I eventually decided attaching a Zara Sa to the title of the song felt right, I toyed with the idea of calling or nicknaming it Zara Sa - Paradise Lost. And then I realized that everything I was thinking was vindicated to the greatest possible degree.
What's Paradise Lost in Hindi, after all?
Jannatein Kahaan, that's what.
Mind. Blown.


And now that I've quoted everything possible except the poem itself:
Their song was partial, but the harmony
(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?)
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment
The thronging audience -

Taking with ravishment a thronging audience sounds a very, very apt description to me. Next time I'm at a concert of his I shall be gleefully conscious of the fact that I'm being taken with ravishment. Thank you, Milton.

For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.

And fade to black.

Consider radio silence broken with a vengeance.


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Bunch of random footnotes:
(Also, sorry. XD)
The stream-of-consciousness sentence, prompted by the word surreal (appropriate what?), follows this train of thought: Surreal - surrealism - isthmus of Panama - my heart (assuming the bloke who was speaking had an American accent - perfectly reasonable assumption) - two hearts in three-quarter time (apparently this is a thing. It was the only link I missed, and I've just looked it up, and not only is it a thing, it's a freaking waltz. Life, you are mental and I love you.) - time for a cup of coffee - freedom of speech. Cup of coffeedom of speech may be one of the most awesome phrases ever coined, though. XD
Terza rima is a rhyme scheme that in sonnet form goes aba bcb cdc ded ee. I don't want to go into maniacal specifics because I've lived my life playing the language by ear and intend to go on doing so, but which should give you an idea of what I mean. Also I think I've quoted Shelley's Ode to the West Wind on this forum at some point, each verse of which is a terza rima sonnet.


Also I wasn't sure where to put this in the actual post, but the whole prequel scenario would play out pretty naturally live. I can easily see him using a drop in the lighting and a solo wo-o to segue from Jannatein Kahaan into Power Ballad - but then again I can just as easily see him merging the two, if only because he's forgotten part of one or the other. :P And I'm hard put to it to figure out which sounds more gorgeous.


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:31 pm 
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WOW!! I won't speak about KK here.. But Para, you are simply brilliant..!!


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:36 pm 
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I endeavour to please, m'lady. *bows* Glad I could. Thank you. :)

Incidentally, the sky over Gurgaon has just turned red. O.o. Where is my amphitheatre.


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:55 pm 
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Awesome post!
The best of Cain Express.
See.. We have always believed the best of Cain is yet come.
And every time You keep raising the bar of expectations, whether it be for us or your own goals.

I bet, KK himself did not give this much thought to these two songs.

'more like a sinus rhythm' :P
And the color thing.. :D
I missed Dil Ibaadat in that paragraph.


And a special thanks for this -
"The uncanny knack he has of catching the music exactly where it needs him most, cresting its waves and caressing its troughs, is particularly powerful when there's no footing to speak of;
he's neither undercurrent nor overtone but part of the fabric, coasting on the same level as everything else.
And apart from the passion in his voice, there's something raw and barbed and deadly
- perhaps his character is somewhat aware of that, perhaps he isn't, but it's there."
- Absolutely Perfect!!


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:56 pm 
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You toh. Thank you. =D

Of course he didn't. That's what I'm for. :P Really, though, he conveys so much it's pretty easy to miss most of it; the least I can do is provide a reference point for anyone who lands up here. (...Hopefully I manage more than that.)

My loyalty is to Dil Ibaadat Rock, which takes place on an almost-wooded cliff lit only by the probably-not-entirely-full moon - except that it's also slightly volcanic, so there's a magma pool somewhere nearby, never seen but for its glow. The non-rock version is more dark green and clear sky, I guess. Never was too keen on the backup lady, but there you have it.

You are welcome indeed. =D Circulatory shock may be my new keyword (/keyphrase) for Tujhe Sochta Hoon. I apparently have weird medical data stored in a corner of my brain. Comes of years of research for writing, I guess. XD


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:52 pm 
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just one word,,,,,,,,, its brilliant


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:51 am 
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And purple, apparently. :P Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:57 am 
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Incidentally, I've just run a word count on this post and it is SIX THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX WORDS LONG. YOU GUYS. No wonder I take so long to write this stuff. My standard fiction hovers from one-five to two thousand words a piece, you guys. I love being prolific somewhere. And I love having the gentleman to thank for it. XD


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 Post subject: Re: Play Me Like A Lyre (aka: Gilaa bevajaah sa!)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Keats, in endymion said, " A thing of beauty is a joy forever". So true for KK who can hold you forever in his thrall and the same holds for your equally riveting reviews. I was as much eager for your review as I was for the music launch of Jannat2.
It's heartening to have someone share similar sentiments regarding the so called power ballad of Jannatein Kahan.
Waiting for 'mera in rahon se hai rishta koi' and maahiya re

Hurray the big day's coming close. Whats in store for 23rd.......


Last edited by miaow on Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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