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Thread: Expressing Muslim sentiment through Bollywood songs

It is said that there's a Bollywood film song to fit any situation. Most useful are the filmy sad songs that, at least in my generation, everyone resorts to listening when they experience heartbreak.
I think that songs of unrequited love are the sweetest and most meaningful. I like to listen to these sad songs of anger, lament, complaint etc even when I am not sad.
Lately, I've felt that many of these songs seem to touch a different painful chord. The lyrics of some of these songs make me think of my relationship with my country and seem to express the emotions that result from my position of being a Muslim.
I am not talking about the songs which are pretty straightforward. For example, ‘Maula Merey le le meri jaan’ from Chak De (2007) which is a pathetic retort of a Muslim suspected of being disloyal.

Or, even the lesser known ‘Ye Faasle teri galiyon ke hamse tai na hue’ from Mammo (1994) about a generation being torn by the Partition.

I'm actually talking of songs that have otherwise nothing to do with politics. They are about unrequited romantic love, as is evident also from the accompanying visuals.
During the anti-CAA movement, brutal police violence on Muslims and protesters made me feel personally bereaved. I tried to cheer myself by listening to some of my favourite songs. To my surprise the lyrics about unrequited love seemed to acquire political meaning.
The evergreen ‘Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi’ from Mr X in Mumbai (1964) seemed to describe my state of mind better than I could using overtly political prose. Every single stanza is precious.

This made me think of how it was so appropriate to think of Muslim patriotism as unrequited love—eloquently expressed through Bollywood songs.
Another such song is ‘Ya dil ki suno duniya walon’ from Anupama (1966). Framed in a slightly complicated situation, hero feels that his love interest has been deprived of her father’s love. His advocacy for her is quite unafraid.

This song also seemed to express a response to all the lecturing that Muslims get in the public sphere about what is appropriate for them to say and which ideas are foolish. Like Anupama, this mix of neglect, control and thought policing renders them 'silent'.
Dharmendra standing in one spot throughout the song reminded me of young #SharjeelImam’s speech in which he is seen advocating for his community with his peculiar combination of cynicism and audaciousness.
During the lockdown on one hand there was rabid media campaign vilifying Muslims as deliberately spreading Corona virus, while on the other hand I was witness to innumerable Muslims involved in organising relief for the poor who had no means to fend for themselves.
The song that acquired a political meaning for me, fitting this situation is ‘Beqarar dil tu gaaye ja’ from Door ka Rahi (1971). It perfectly captures the state of the people working for a better society with agitated hearts.

These days anti-CAA participants and activists are being questioned and arrested by Delhi Police Crime Branch in relation to cases of rioting in NE Delhi earlier this year. Barring a few all of the arrested are Muslims, as were the victims of said violence.
Did the young scholars & activists have an inkling of the exact dangers that lay ahead for them? But surely, they understood well the nature of this regime. The bizarre web of conspiracy that the crime branch investigation is weaving around these activists is heartrending.
I think of Safoora, Ishrat, Gulfishan, Khalid, Meeran in prison and the bleakness of the possibility of justice stares at me. A prayer more fitting, perhaps cannot be found in Hindi films, than ‘Maula Saleem Chishti’ from Garam hawa (1973).

I can think of several songs where a particular stanza/couplet is striking for the reasons I described. But the lyrics of the few songs I have shared in this thread are apt in their entirety.

If a similar thought has occured to you listening to a song do share in the comments
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