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‘Our song is about India’

Mehboob, who wrote the lyrics for AR Rahman’s CWG anthem, on what makes it different from Palash Sen’s Dilli meri jaan...’

music Updated: Sep 03, 2010 17:26 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

After Rangeela, Bombay, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Yuva, Mehboob has once again collaborated with AR Rahman on the Commonwealth Games theme song.

The lyricist says that they have been working on it for almost six months, since the day the Oscar winning composer called to ask him to take the night flight out to Chennai. “Since then, I have made a few more trips to Chennai and occasionally, when Rahman was in Mumbai, we worked here too. We changed the words many times and also the tune. But eventually, we came up something that we both like,” says a jubilant Mehboob, enthused by the overwhelming response to the song. “Of course, there are those who don’t like it but that’s expected. I’m 100 per cent sure ‘Swagatham…’ will be really popular. ”

Truly Indian anthem
Will it be as big a hit as Shakira’s FIFA chartbuster, ‘Waka, Waka…’? “Why compare? Shakira has her own place and Rahman his own. Today, when the world’s eyes are on our music, why do we need to draw parallels?” he retorts. Comparisons are being drawn with Palash Sen’s Delhi anthem that the state’s chief minister, Sheila Dixit, has said will continue playing long after the Games are over. In fact, a debate is currently raging about which one is the actual CWG anthem.

“I heard about this song only two days ago and haven’t listened to it yet. But I assume it has more to do with Delhi while our song is about India and welcomes friends to our country. So I’d think it’s the real anthem,” he argues. Mehboob points out that the song upholds the sporting spirit through the lines, ‘Yeh toh khel hai, Bada mel hai, Mila diya, O rukna rukna rukna rukna rukna nahi, Haarna haarna haarna haarna haarna nahi, Junoon se kanoon se maidaan maar lo… (This is a game that promotes togetherness, don’t stop, don’t lose, with renewed zest, following the rules, decimate the competition).

He adds that in keeping with the colloquial Hindustani flavour, the lyrics are an amalgamation of different Indian languages. For instance, lines like ‘Laagi re ab laagi re lagan, Jaagi re mann jeet ki agan...’ are drawn from Rajasthani folk. “At the same time we are targetting the youth with simple, easy to understand English words like ‘Let’s go, let’s go, Play o jiyo heyo let’s go…’ And the basic theme in encapsulated in four words… jiyo (live), utho (stand up), badho (move forward) and jeeto (win),” he says.

“There’s a lot of energy and excitement reflected in India’s biggest sporting event.” Mehboob had put his directorial debut on hold for this song but expects to flag it off this month. “It’s too early to give out any details about my film. It’s a beautiful script with a blend of commercial ingredients and a subtle underlying message,” he says. Will Rahman compose the music? “Now, you’re fishing,” he laughs. “All I can say is that you’ll be delightfully surprised.”

Swagatham: CWG ’10 Theme Song

Oh yaaro, yeh India bulaa liya
Diwaano yeh India bulaa liya (bulaa liya)
Yeh toh khel hai
Bada mel hai
Mila diya (mila diya) (2)

Oh rukna rukna rukna rukna rukna nahi
Haarna haarna haarna haarna haarna nahi
Junoon se kanoon se maidaan maar lo

Let’s go, let’s go
Play o jiyo heyo let’s go
Play o jiyo heyo let’s go (2)

Parvat sa uncha hoon dhun toh yeh
Duniya salaami de
Sardil iraade na ho jaayein kahin
Dil toh bas suraj dale
Jiyo utho badho jeeto
Tera mera jahaan let’s go
Kaisi saji hai saji hai dekho maati apni
Bani rashke jahaan yaara ho
Kai rang hai boli hai kai desh hai magan
Yahin jag hai samaaya saara ho,

Laagi re ab laagi re lagan,
Jaagi re mann jeet ki agan,
Uthi re ab iraadon mein tapan,
Chali re dholi chali ban than
Let the games take over me
We like the time , the will to win to thrill to drill
Play o jiyo heyo let’s go

Kadamon mein ik bhanwar ka hai din
Jashn ka aaj din hai
Seeno mein toofan ka hai din
Baazu aasman yeh din hai
Yeh din hai, Yeh raat din hai
Tu zor laga chal aankh mila
Dhal na aaye din yeh
Jiyo utho badho jeeto
Play o jiyo heyo let’s go
Jiyo utho badho jeeto
Tera mera jahaan let’s go