I touched upon Indians not making it easy for others to appreciate their art recently. I then mused about the melting pot that is India, and how difficult it can be for Indians to appreciate their own regional arts. Hence I would like to experiment sharing my affection of a Marathi song, and see if music is indeed a universal language as they say.
The song is “Mana Tuzhe Manogata” from the Marathi feature film “Kalat Nakalat”, composed by Anand Modak and sung by the versatile Asha Bhosle. Not only do I love the song immensely, I think it can be a learning experience to examine how Modak uses the composition to express the meaning of Sudhir Moghe’s lyrics.
It helps to visualize as follows:
- Voice: Soul, the being expressing itself.
- Flute: Close Friend, representative of the Child in a person.
- Piano: Friend, who punctuates the entire vocal expression. It plays host to the whole scene.
- Violin: Friend, who enters the scene later, but is the most eloquently empathetic.
- Chorus: Group of empathetic friends.
मना तुझे मनोगत मला कधी कळेल का? Mana tujhe manogata mala kadhi kalel ka?
(Dear Mind, can I ever understand you?)
This question sets the context of the entire poem and song. Are we able to fully understand ourselves? Are we able to empathize with our deepest thoughts and emotions?
The mood of the song is introspection and sharing. Introspection invokes a panorama of thoughts, emotions, memories, fantasies, etc. It typically happens in a situation of conflict, as in this movie drama of an extra-marital affair. The song provides a musical backdrop to this conflict, and its instrumentation evokes empathetic sharing.
The poem describes a being trying to understand itself, a soul addressing its mind. A soul, with a great magnitude of sensitive and often irreconcilable thoughts and emotions is wondering whether it can understand its mind. Usually, this is represented as a conflict between thoughts and emotions, mind and heart, but this song transcends all that. It does so by providing a harmonious backdrop to the interplay between the mind and heart, an intimacy between emotion and thought. Is this a dialogue between a thinking heart and an emotional mind?
तुझ्यापरी गूढ सोपे होणे मला जुळेल का? Tuzhyapari goodh sope hone mala julel ka?
(Can I be enigmatic and simple like you?)
Will I be able to make any complex thing appear simple, like you do? The soul is thus respecting the mind by saying that the mind can solve each and every mystery in the world. The descending order of notes reflects this ability of the mind.
The multiple notes of pari preface the word goodh (enigmatic) to highlight its complexity. The word goodh is in simple notes, highlighting the ability of the mind to simplify complex things. But, this simplicity is achieved only after traversing the complex notes of pari. Such is the action and capability of the mind.
The flute, a close friend, is the expression of the Child, adding emotional value to the voice. Whereas the voice has a relatively simple tune, the flute adds all the intricacies denoting the Child’s emotional convolutions.
The flute is a friend who understands not only what is explicitly conveyed, but also empathizes with what is shared emotionally. It says: “Yes, I understand how it must have felt”. It acts like a friend who resonates and encourages one to share further.
In the ending notes, it tries to anticipate the intense emotional experience that the soul needs to share and entices it into sharing further.
कोण जाणे केवढा तू व्यापतोस आकाशाला; आकाशाचा अर्क देशी, एका मातीच्या कणाला
Kon jaane kevadha tu, vyaaptos aakaashaala; aakaashaacha arka deshi eka mateechyaa kanaala
(Who knows how much you engulf the sky; you can extract the essence of the sky into a single soil particle)
Observe the helplessness in the notes of the words “Kon jaane” (who knows). This helplessness suggests that nobody knows.
When the tune reaches ‘aakaashaalaa’ (sky), it literally flies. It roams the sky. Its notes are like the flutter of a bird taking flight.
Meanwhile, the chorus is behaving quite empathetically, letting the soul know that it is understanding. It’s rising notes also anticipate, that the peak of the emotional expression, is yet to come. It anticipates the high notes, like a friend who anticipates what we’re going to say. This pattern of the chorus is repeated again with the same effect in the following stanzas of the song.
The stress and emphasis of the second line is in the word ‘ekaa’ (single). The word is given importance by its position in the meter and its low note, making it a fulcrum. The low note and emphasis on this word provide the necessary impact for the meaning of the line.
तुझे दार माझ्यासाठी थोडेतरी खुलेल का? Tuzhe daar mazhyaasaathi thodetari khulel ka?
(Will your door open, at least a little, for me?)
The peak arrives poignantly, the voice expressing a yearning desire to let the soul get a glimpse of the mind! The notes are as if a futile, yet persistent attempt is being made to open an automatically closing door. There’s helplessness in the tone, expressed also by the pauses in the voice as if taking a breath before trying to push the door open. The task seems impossible, unachievable.
The piano arpeggio takes off from where the voice left, and completes the emotional expression. It also returns the ear to the main note, forming a bridge or circle.
The flute continues acting as a friend, also inviting the Violin into the scene. It implores the Violin into joining its empathetic understanding. The Violin enters, reservedly, as if saying, “Yes, I am trying to understand”.
कळीतला ओला श्वास, पाषाणाचा थंड स्पर्श Kaleetla ola shwaas, pashanaachaa thanda sparsha
(The wet breath in a flower bud, the cold touch of stone)
तुझ्यामध्ये सामावला वारा काळोख प्रकाश Tuzhyamadhye samavala vaara, kalokh, prakasha
(Within you are encompassed wind, darkness, and light)
The notes span and traverse the scale, expressing how the mind encompasses everything in the universe – all dimensions of nature.
तुझे अरूपाचे रूप माझ्यापुढे फुलेल का? Tuzhe aroopaache roopa mazhyapudhe phulel ka?
(Will your formless image blossom in front of me?)
The soul is helplessly trying to understand the mind. It is yearning to comprehend and formulate the formless mind.
Now, even the so-far-reserved Violin understands the saga. It reaches the peak of its emotional expression. It becomes completely overwhelmed by emotions, languishing in them, as if reaching to the Chorus for support.
The soul is desperately trying to calm the Child in itself.
खुळा ध्यास आभासांचा पाठ्लाग कोणासाठी Khula dhyaas aabhasaancha paathlag konasaathi?
(For whom, this idiotic unremitting contemplation and pursuit of sophistry?)
तुझ्या मनातले आर्त माझ्या मनी ढळेल का? Tuzhya manaatale aarta mazhya manee dhalel ka?
(Will your intense longing yield to my mind?)
The poetic climax! While the soul has been addressing the mind so far, here, it is also referring to a mind of its own! This is symbolic of the fact that though there may be conflicts between them, the soul, mind, and heart are entwined together in an inseparable fashion. The listener is cajoled into this discovery, by the piano arpeggio. It is as if that this was what it was trying to convey since the beginning!
The film doesn’t feature the complete song – rather, it uses it in two sections for two scenes. As far as I know, a soundtrack album was never released, hence the song is not publicly available in its entirety as a single song (you can listen to 2/3rds of the song here). I was fortunate to get the full version but have split it into sections to respect copyrights.