Music Appreciation: मना तुझे मनोगत

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.16note1tn

Musical Elements

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.

Introduction

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?

1-trebletnThe 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.

Stanza I

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. 16note2tn
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.

Stanza II

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)

1-notestnObserve how the voice express­es the ten­der­ness of the bud of a flower. The note with which the sec­ond line ends, leaves us with the sud­den, unex­pect­ed, cold touch of stone caus­ing a shiv­er.

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.

Stanza III

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.

कशासाठी कासाविशी, कशासाठी आटापीटी image010tn Kashasaathi kaasaveeshe, kashasaathi aataapi­ti?
(For what, this agony; for what, this strug­gle? )

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?)

It is ask­ing the Child to fol­low the mind, and not indulge in fan­tasies of its own. It is ques­tion­ing the desire for make believe, ask­ing its Child to come down to earth.

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!

Footnotes

music-BWnotesThis is a per­son­al inter­pre­ta­tion only, and is in no way to be con­strued as that of any­one else, who may quite jus­ti­fi­ably have their own.

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.

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  • hey did­nt know you were back (although I was sort of under­ground for the last few months)!

    That was a very unique and insight­ful way of look­ing into the aspects of a melody. Beau­ti­ful! And yes, the song is beau­ti­ful too 🙂

    Arun

  • Hi,
    This song is quite beau­ti­ful, and I was won­der­ing if you could pos­si­bly email me the song? I mean, only if you are com­fort­able, that is. I dropped in on your blog from Paul Sunstone’s blog, I liked your icon (and can’t find a big­ger ver­sion of it anwhere to get a decent look at it).

    Your inter­pre­ta­tion was intro­spec­tive and had depth to it. Very enjoy­able 🙂