‘SELFIE LE LE RE’ SONG – SALMAN KHAN | BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN | T-SERIES

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There is a definite purpose with which I have chosen this song, which talks about Lord Hanuman. First of all I needed to show a comparison between the first song that I reviewed – Deva ho Deva…, with this one. Both have a devotional touch to them. But the 1980s song was more traditional and this other song is actually a rap. Besides the tune is so feet-tapping, that I was floored from the time I heard it for the first time. This follows my dictum – music is music and it is good music if it is good to hear.

Movie: This song is a part of the movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015). Produced by Salman Khan and Rockline Venkatesh, the movie was directed by Kabir Khan. It starts with villagers in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir watching an India-Pakistan cricket match together. There is a pregnant woman, Rasia (Meher Vij) among these villagers. She gives birth to a daughter and names her Shahida after Shahid Afridi, who had won the afore-mentioned match for Pakistan.

When Shahida (Harshaali Malhotra) turns 6, falls from a cliff-top and lands on an overhanging tree, which saves her life. The girl is mute, so cannot call for help. Her mother gets concerned about her and takes her to the Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Auliya’s shrine in Delhi, hoping that Shahida would be able to speak again.

When they are returning from Delhi, the train has to get repaired, for which it stops. Shahida boards off the train to save a lamb. Unknown to her the train leaves and she gets into a freight train, landing in Kurukshetra, Haryana.

It is during this situation, where this song is placed that the hero, Pawan Kumar Chaturvedi alias Bajrangi (Salman Khan), a pious Brahmin and a fervent devotee of Lord Hanuman, is introduced and Shahida comes face to face with him. Then begins his journey, to take Shahida, whom he calls Munni, back to her family. For Shahida, he becomes Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Song: Lyricist is Mayur Puri and music composer is Pritam. I had heard an interview of Mayur Puri on the radio channel – Vividh Bharati, some days back. During the interview he spoke about how this song was composed. Initially, he had written a bhajan on Lord Hanuman. But Pritam had rejected it saying that he wanted a rap song on the Lord, which would be more in sync with the times.

The song goes this way, “Hail Lord Hanuman, who has immense strength! Please strangle the voice of our enemies. Public announcement is being made about the attributes of the Lord. Let your grace be there for us. Then there won’t be fear or doubt. We, the spoilt brats, will dance. Sages will create their magic. Your soul will blossom. Come; take the Guru mantra of Lord Hanuman. Take a hug from anyone, maybe your own people or strangers. Come on son, take a selfie.”

The song has been made by bringing together some rhyming words, but they don’t seem to have any connection. However, each phrase conveys some message or the other and is not meaningless as in some songs. The lyrics are difficult to mouth keeping with the music.

Video: The scene is of a fair, perhaps near a Lord Hanuman temple. The idol is realistic and moves with the rhythm of the song. The pendent on the idol in the shape of a mace is fascinating. The cymbals, in the idol’s moving hands, gives the feeling that the Lord is enjoying the rap bhajan and giving music to it. The extras have been made up as the vanar (monkey) sena of Lord Hanuman. That is very attractive. Some of the children, dressed up as vanars jump down like monkeys from the idol’s chariot and that gives a natural look. People, who have read the Ramayana, will feel that they have been transported to Kishkindha, Vanar Sugreeva’s abode, whose minister was Lord Hanuman. At the same time, Salman and other ‘humans’ cropping up in between will remind them that it is a song from a movie. When Salman turns towards the camera for the first time during the song, he brings his hands together in a Namaste, which is very appreciable.

The action of, a man wearing a Hanuman costume, taking a selfie gives a modern look to the essentially traditional appearance of the song. At one place, a whole set of large dhols (musical instrument – drums) are being hit and with that Salman has been made to do some monkey tricks, which is visually different and good. The movement of the heads and shoulders of the vanar sena, with the mace on their shoulders is funny and entertaining. So is the sudden appearance of ‘Ravan’, a ‘Seth’ (businessman) and a mendicant. It looks good and appears like different people are interpreting the song in different ways.

The lyricist and the music composer have a fantastic knowledge of dance. They have made a foot-tapping music for the song and the choreographer has also done a good job of it.

Artists: Vishal Dadlani, Pritam and Nakash Aziz, Rap by Badshah with URL and Aditya Pushkarna. Salman Khan is seen singing and dancing to the music and Harshaali happens to come there.

Cultural Influence: The song has been picturized on a mobile idol of Lord Hanuman (His eyes and fingers move). The situation has been created like a Ganeshotsav celebration. The reason is perhaps that the hero is a staunch devotee of Lord Hanuman and his introduction perhaps was needed accordingly in the movie. The movie talks of friendships beyond borders or any other things that stop us from being compassionate with other people and the humanity of one person. I loved the theme of integrating people coming from 2 different parts of the world.

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