Love stories in books and films have been a favourite forte to look at, a recent movie I saw is no different. But something about this film struck a chord with me. Read on to find what.
20th May 2021
Laila Majnu (2018) starring Tripti Dimri and Avinash Tiwary is an ordinary film of a long known tragedy. Up until 2021, I had never seen it, because there was no reason to. What I did do was listen to one song from the film repeatedly, always. It was and has been one of my favourites, 'O Meri Laila'. Now, this song, it is a stereotypical love song, boy sings for girl, girl replies, they are in love and in the most picturesque location of the world, Kashmir and they are happy. And the biggest pull, Atif Aslam lends his voice to the song! So, naturally what is there to not love about this song? The lyrics by Irshad Kamil and the melody keep you hooked and you smile as you recall them.
But, but, here is the catch. It carries the essence of this entire story. In just 4 minutes and 49 seconds, you know the adoration they have for each other. You know Majnu and why he is called Majnu. Except for a few snippets and the melody of the song being played as background music, nowhere does the song feature fully in the film. But it's okay, you're too busy to notice. The movie keeps you glued to the screen with greatly orchestrated chemistry between the lead actors and beautifully cinematographed locales of Kashmir and you want to sit through till the end.
We all know how Laila Majnu ends, but still, you want to sit. You long to sit. So, you sit and you watch the slow descent of Qais into Majnu. It is puzzling first, you think, 'Laila and you finally have a chance to be together, why don't you get better now?'
While you wonder to yourself, Qais answers your unasked question,
"Pichle chaar saal se main bas intezaar kar raha hoon ki ek waqt aayega jab sab theek ho jayega..." (For the past four years I have only been waiting that a time will come when everything will be alright)
"....Main khush ho jaunga. Par ab main jo kar raha hu na, jis bhi tareeke se aap log chaho, khush hu", (I will be happy. But what I am doing now, however it may be, I am happy) he says and gives his best friend a content smile. Laila is not with him. He is not with Laila. But their love isn't over. It lingers in everything and slowly like they accept this, you accept it too. And the film ends. Credits roll.
A melody plays. It is that song. It hooks you on right from the first beat of Kashmiri folksong and then Atif Aslam sings. Now you want to hear more. The lyrics are a confirmation that they tell each other, that they show everyone. It has always been Laila and Majnu, even if not in this world. In some world, in an alternate reality where there is no such thing as a tragedy, "Kab se main tera hoon, kab se tu meri laila" (I am yours and you're mine, Laila) they are together and they are happy. Their love is invincible, even if they weren't. Like a reflection of their feelings, it is intense and it draws you in and holds you tight. It gives you some hope and a semblance that any form of love, somewhere through something, it stays and it lives on forever. Without the other person or without both of you.