Chapter 12: Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe
“Hum hain naye, andaaz kyun ho purana.“
Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe is the first song of the film. The setting is the graduation party of Akash, Sameer, and Sid at a nightclub. The gregarious Akash takes the stage and cracks some of his typical jokes, and then dismisses the idea of having a career by saying, “Who cares where the hell we land up.” He believes that they should all celebrate the present moment. (Later, in Goa, he would express the same view about not being too concerned about the future when Sid tells him that their paths would diverge in life with time.)
Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe provides a window to the personalities and the worldview of the people in the film. The three of them sing that they do not care if someone calls them crazy. If the world fights, let it fight, and they won’t bother much. They do not have any reverence for relationships. If a relationship breaks, let it break, they say. Our culture usually extols others’ happiness over our own; however, the people in the song tell us to think about ourselves first.
Duniya roothe, roothne do,
Bandhan toote, tootne do,
Koi chhoote, chhootne do, na ghabrao.
There is a stanza where the lines sung by the three friends fit perfectly with their character. Sid, the dreamer and the thinker, sings, “Sapnon ka jo des hai, haan hum vahin hain pale.” We have grown up in the land of dreams. Sameer, who wears his heart on his sleeve, sings, “Thode se dil phenk hai, thode se hai mann chale.” We are a few heart-throwers and also a little shy. Akash, who mesmerizes with his charm wherever he goes, sings, “Jahan bhi gaye apna jaadu dikhaate rahe.” Wherever we went, we spread our magic. Akash had said a similar line to Sameer earlier in the film, “Uncle Sam, yeh Akash ka jadu hai, kabhi fail nahi hota.“
They also say that they belong to a new world, so why should their style be old. Hum hain naye, andaaz kyun ho puraana. The same is true about the film. Its andaaz was something that the film industry had never seen before. It was a game-changer that ushered in a completely new style to the language of Hindi cinema. A young new director changed the way we saw films.
Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe is beautifully sung by KK, Shaan, and Shankar Mahadevan, giving Sid, Sameer, and Akash their voices. The picturization of the song has psychedelic shots in fluorescent and blue lights. The signature step is the one where they all jump together with their arms raised in the air. Preity Zinta loved the song so much that she insisted on being a part of it even though her character Shalini did not attend the same college.
Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe also does a nice throwback to Aamir Khan’s career. Aamir’s first acting appearance in a film was in Ketan Mehta’s Holi (1984). However, his first full-fledged role as a lead actor was in Mansoor’s Khan Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988). The film was a tragic love story inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The film became a huge box office success. The first scene of Aamir in the movie is the one when he sings the iconic Papa Kehte Hain song during his college farewell. Based on the hopes and the aspiration of youth, the song became a college anthem giving India a heartthrob who would go down to become one of the country’s biggest superstars.
Thirteen years later, in 2001, Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe, again starring Aamir Khan, became an anthem of the youth. Both the songs are shot in college graduation. In Papa Kehte Hain, Aamir’s character Raj sings, “Papa kehte hain bada naam karega, beta hamara aisa kaam karega.” He further adds, “Koi engineer ka kaam karega, business mein koi apna naam karega.” He is singing that his father tells him that his son will earn success one day. He does not know what his final destination will be, but he and his friends would most likely go on to become engineers and businessmen. On the other hand, in Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe, Akash does not care whatever anyone says, in complete contrast to the reverence for his father’s words in Papa Kehte Hain. Akash also has no regard for traditional vocations, such as engineers and businessmen, saying, “Who cares where the hell we land up.” He even jokes about finding jobs where he says that he will sing about a hundred ways to find a job. Naukri milne ke sau tareeke. In a later scene in the film, Akash also mocks movies based on Shakespearean themes, which would include films, such as Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. India underwent a drastic transformation from 1988 to 2001, as visible in the two contrasting songs of Aamir Khan. The economy became liberalized. The youth who were earlier limited to becoming an engineer, a businessman, or a doctor, started to broaden their horizons. They aimed for the stars and created their destiny. Sitare bhi hum tod lenge, hamein hai yakeen. A new wave had come even in films. India had changed while traveling from Papa Kehte Hai to Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe.