Tujhse naraaz nahi Zindagi: Gushing over/over-analyzing a heart wrenching song

Life can be puzzling to even the oldest and most experienced. It’s equally hard to express these feelings of confusion and even pain. The song makes the effort by employing its characters to deliver the message that life can be very tumultuous, and it’s okay to be confused. You learn from every trial you face and that everyone feels this way at their lowest — You are not alone in this. The director of the song “Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi”, (I’m not upset with you, life) Shekhar Kapur, and the lyricist, Gulzar, strengthen their message and theme by utilizing emotional and thoughtful scenes, heavy lyrics, minimal dialogue, and even peculiar lighting and camera angles. This effectively leads the viewer to identify with the character’s feelings, therefore, delivering the message over that life can sometimes be full of trial and tribulation, and sometimes it’s okay to ask why that is.

Kapur and Gulzar commence the piece with a scene of a woman flipping a light on and off, deep in thought as the song starts with the lyrics, “I am not angry with you, Life, simply baffled by your innocent questions.”(0:40–0:50) This sets the melancholy tone of the piece and relates to the overall message of life being full of trials, leading you to confusion. Throughout the piece, she is seen to be heartbroken, and in pain, shifting from sadness, anger to simply confusion directed at life. The woman is left in deep thought-feeling utterly helpless in her action, prompting you to build a connection and empathize with the character. This connection of empathy allows a thorough bridge on which the message can reach the people who have either felt the same low feeling in their lives or simply just the viewers of the film who understand the context of the piece. The message is broad enough to umbrella a majority of people that the acting enough can hit anyone with a sense of relatability.

At this point, the director and lyricist duo have included minimal dialogue. The only exception is one line said by the child, who opens his eyes, having clearly cried as well, and says, “Sorry aunty” (1:46–1:49). This reveals that this woman isn’t his mother-at least in his perspective and may be a foster or adoptive mother, and though this isn’t explicitly said, it’s heavily implied. With a shift such as that, the changes in both lives are immeasurable, which may explain the pain both characters share. The actions are enough to set the scene, but the child apologizing leads you to ponder what his role was in this and wonder at the relationship between the two. Not only that, the absence of any other dialogue only strengthens this one’s existence. Suddenly, viewers are given an insight into the piece and are led to ponder the relation between the two characters. But with the extensive reach of the scene, it could still exclude some who just cannot make a strong connection with the sentiments shown here. To make up for that loss, the creators employ other styles to rein their audience’s attention back. Though part of the purpose of this piece is to entertain its viewers as it’s part of a film, the main purpose is to relate the message with all its viewers and that seems to be the main focus.

The lyrics in their own right tug at heartstrings. Kapur and Gulzar built up a tense moment at the beginning of the piece with the use of heavy lyrics, such as “Never thought life would extract a price for every smile. Now whenever I smile, it feels like these lips are pursed in debt.” The lyrics are weighted in meaning, accusing life of being burdensome, and even expressing that she had never realized how life was so hard until even smiling felt like a debt. The use of this style of wording suggests helplessness and moroseness. At this period in time, there is no light to look forward to. In this point of grief, there is only pain and uncertainty. This resonates with viewers who can relate to this feeling, and amasses enough people in this generalization. There is no mention of the conflict, which broadens the audience considerably with lyrics can be applied to any low point of life. These lyrics reassure the viewers that they are not alone in this downing time.

The makers also utilize interesting camera angles, as well as lighting tricks that further push the message forward to viewers. The camera angles and lighting are artistic choices that use an emotional route to people’s hearts, with the child and woman crying, and you are left wondering why. Viewers are invested in the story, and during that connection, the message can be far more impactful.

During the beginning of the piece, the character is found blindly flipping the light switch on and off until walking into the darkness only to open a door that floods the hall with light. She is in a point between light and darkness and unconsciously seems to decide what path she will take. The camera doesn’t immediately cut to a scene from inside the room, but rather stays in a fixed position to spot the growing light of the room, and eventually see her hand open the door. This can represent her inner turmoil, and questioning of whether whatever she did was right or wrong. The use of the lighting creates an atmosphere illustrating the inner battle with herself. This impacts viewers of the song as they analyze the character’s decisions themselves.

Camera angles were also a big part of the “tools” they applied to effectively carry the message across. Most of the song is her sobbing on the stairs as the camera slowly zooms out, going from the stairs to the window to the house, leaving her to seem like a small component that can easily remain unseen at a glance. The zooming out makes it seem like an issue of every house, existing everywhere. The house is quiet and seems unbothered and mundane-serene and normal, like how the world would see the family/household members. But as you look carefully, through the window, to the stairs to the sobbing woman, you get a closer look that no matter the pretense that’s put up, on the inside, there is confusion and pain-as any household has in balance. Every house has a story. This personalizes the piece to its viewers, making it seem like it applies to their life as well, it reminds them that they are never alone in a crisis. This choice effectively relates the overall message with its viewers.

Later in the song, she’s seen back in the boy’s room, holding a cubicle picture frame, having pictures of another woman with the boy, suggesting that that woman might be his real mother. She turns it over constantly, speeding up as the camera switches between the accelerating cube and her frustrated face. Eventually, she drops it. Looking angry, she storms out of the room again, only to run into a mirror. This time there is no darkness. There’s only her reflection staring back at her. The scene and piece ending with her looking at herself may symbolize that she is trying to fill in that role. She could be trying to see herself in that woman’s place. This can appeal to people who have faced similar identity crises. In this context, it could be trying to fill a mother’s role, but the scene is broad enough to resonate with nearly any viewer.

Kapur and Gulzar don’t explicitly state the message that life can be full of worry and trial, nor do they push the viewers to take only one singular theme from the piece. The duo keeps it open to interpretation and allows the audience to apply the piece to their own lives, shaping the situation to fit themselves. Rather than saying it outrightly, they instead deliver the message across as they work in meaningful acting, interesting camera angles and lighting techniques, poetic lyrics and even the use of minimal dialogue, making the one line spoken that much more impactful.

The piece is effectively closed with a visual of the character gazing at her reflection, allowing both the character and viewers to scrutinize the message for themselves. The piece reassures viewers that they are not alone. The feeling of helplessness and utter confusion directed towards life in general leaves people feeling hopeless and lost, with no light in sight — but they are not alone.

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A 17 year old Indian girl that asks too many questions, and tries to find her own answers.

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Muskaan Jadeja

A 17 year old Indian girl that asks too many questions, and tries to find her own answers.