These are the lyrics from one of my favourite songs.
This song defines EVERYTHING that bravery means to me. It defines everything I want to be. It is an unbelievably beautiful composition by the Kavi Guru- Rabindranath Tagore. It is one of those songs which transcend barriers of language and go straight to your heart- one of those which bring tears to you eyes and a blush to your cheeks. It cries out for you to shake off your shroud and march forward, to stand against what is wrong and stand up for what is right- even if you do so alone. This song is my inspiration- it is a burning torch that guides me on the path that I want to follow for my whole life- to never, ever stay silent in the face of a misdeed. It is the song that will be the acid test for my actions, forever.
The message of this song was brought out impeccably in one of the most excellent films I have watched in recent times- a film called Kahaani.
This hauntingly beautiful movie is about a
woman called Vidya (portrayed by Vidya Balan), who is in the city of Kolkata (my hometown!) to search for her missing husband. Alone in the midst of the swirling crowds of the Mahanagari, Kallolini Tilottoma, she rushes through a bewildering criss-cross of lies, deception, friends and foes, only to find that in the search for her husband, what she finds is not necessarily what she sought for.
While Kolkata celebrates the festival of Durga Puja- the return of Ma Durga, the warrior goddess, to the earth, this woman, fighting for her love, is trapped in a web of betrayal and loss. But just as Ma Durga fought against demons alone and emerged victorious, Vidya does too, in a heart-stopping climax that upsets everything you had thought throughout the story of well-woven, fast paced, edge-of-the-seat action.
The story of the film is refreshingly different and joltingly unexpected. The director, Sujoy Ghosh, has done a splendid job, made even more remarkable by the fact that he is also the scriptwriter, screenplay director and editor! You can feel his personal touch and his love for Kolkata in every frame of every sequence. The city has been captured beautifully throughout the film.
But perhaps the one who deserves the most praise are the actors, each and every one of them. The whole cast have seamlessly fused with their characters and coloured in their shades with absolute perfection.
Vidya Balan truly delivers an award-winning performance in this film, and no wonder. She is one of the best actors out there, with sharp skills and an easy-going, endearing charisma of personality. She brings this charisma into the character of Vidya, along with the vulnerabilities of a woman and the intelligence, determination and sheer power of a warrior. The film ends with a scene that clearly showcases Vidya’s battle, and its culmination in the hope it brings to people weary of violence and cheated of courage.
And this song- this remarkable call for freedom from cowardice, is sung as the scene ends, a beautiful ending to a perfect portrayal of a lone woman’s solitary fight for justice, for vengeance- for love.
Kahaani is the story of this song. A song with such a powerful message can never be silenced- it will surely ring true in the hearts of millions, and echo across aeons. But has its resonance become a little muffled now? Or have we lost our ability to hear?
During the days of the Freedom Struggle in India, this song was a guiding power- a shining beacon of hope to millions. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite song.
But I think, along the line, somewhere in the shadow of time, this light has been snuffed out.
Here is this song as it was sung in Kahaani.