Mani Ratnam’s Raavan has just been given a new song, thanks to that poet par excellence, Gulzar, who saw the film and suggested the embellishment.
The director, always open to fresh ideas from his team, readily agreed. Composer Rahman was informed and that’s how Raavan got a new song.
Gulzar Saab, just back from Goa after participating in the stage rendition of four of his plays, says the song was almost a gift he owed Mani Ratnam for gifting him something that he, Gulzar, had never received in his entire 47-year old career as a lyricist.
Mani sent the poet-lyricist a note after the release of the music of Raavan congratulating Gulzar Saab for the songs.
Says Gulzar Saab, “In my entire career I’ve never received such a heartwarming endorsement of my work. I received a note from Mani Ratnam congratulating me and saying he’s very proud of the music. And look at the humility of this genius. No filmmaker has ever sent me a note like this. Mani is the only one. And this one gesture has enchanced my respect for him even more.”
Not only this gesture, Gulzar Saab also received an invitation from Mani to see the film at a special screening for which the poet flew down to Chennai recently. It was there that the new song suddenly happened.
Recounts Gulzar Saab, “After editing Raavan, Mani wanted me to watch the film. No filmmaker invites even the technical crew for a preview, let alone the lyricist. I flew down to Chennai to watch the film. I’d never do something like this for anyone else. This is how strongly I feel about this man’s humility and greatness.”
As the end-credits rolled and Rahman’s music began, Mani Ratnam and Gulzar Saab thought there ought to be a song at the end.
That’s how Gulzar Saab wrote an additional number for Raavan.. Ab iss shareer ke sirey khol dey/Aur goongi aatma ko bol dey.
Says Gulzar Saab, “Both Mani and I felt the music that Rahman had composed for the end titles was too beautiful to go wordless. We decided to give words to Rahman’s creation.”
Rahman was then given the task of turning the music piece into a song. Interestingly, neither Mani Ratnam nor A R Rahman fully understand Gulzar’s Urdu poetry.
Defends Gulzar Saab, “But they are never short of questions. Never does a word go in until Mani is fully convinced of its relevance. He’s never hesitant about asking. I would be appalled if my words were accepted blindly by a director. Even if his Urdu is weak, Mani has a terrific sense of poetry and images. Yes, I’d agree with you when you say my collaboration with Mani Ratnam is the most rewarding one since I worked with Hrishikesh Mukherjee.”
- Subhash K. Jha / Sampurn Wire