In 2009, 3 years before visiting Delhi for the first time, I watched the song Masakali on the tiny television we had in my home back then.
They used to play it day and night, so I am assuming it was popular right from the start.
For me, it was more than just a ‘hit track’ though. I realise that recently.
With all the controversy around the song after its infamous remake, I went back to the original track.
And it still felt new, which is a testament to A.R. Rahman and Prasoon Joshi’s talents.
It invoked the cheerfulness that only novelty of a tune does.
You know? When you listen to a great song for the first time, and feel like you have hit a jackpot?
It happens only once.
Unless of course it’s a song like Masakalli.
This one never gets old. It always lifts your spirits and always makes you groove.
Back during my Lucknow days, I used to watch the song intently to get a sense of how Delhi was. The roof where Sonam dances with a pigeon on her head, the metro escalator, the aangans of purani Dilli.
Masakalli had a lot of warmth to it, and so did Delhi, in my head. 11 years on, I can comfortably vouch for the latter.
It is also a song about being unafraid, something conveyed beautifully by genius Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
A pigeon. An aspiring singer. Dreams. Feathers. Flights. Delhi.
Stitch all of them together and you have Masakalli.
But obviously we see that now, because the director saw it first. Otherwise, who would have thought that one could give the same life advice to a young woman and an old bird, and make it work?
There is also the romance part.
Sonam, doing her riyaaz on the terrace, spits gargle water on Abhishek, an NRI, lying on a charpaayi.
He gestures, asking ‘what?’.
She wipes her mouth and leaves.
And that, is as endearing as Abhishek’s failed attempt to summon a pigeon to impress Sonam.
So it to wrap it up, I’d say: What A.R. Rahman and Prasoon Joshi managed to do with this song and what Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra achieved with its picturisation, is near-perfect – and no one should try to touch or tamper it.