Begum Jaan song: 'Woh Subah Hami Se Aayegi' a soaring ode to determination

The latest song of Srijit Mukherjee's film brings back Sahir Ludhianvi's unpublished version of his song from Phir Subah Hogi (1958).

Shriram Iyengar

The period drama about rebellion, Begum Jaan has a powerful voice of the post-partition era backing it. The latest song from Srijit Mukherjee's film is woven around the unpublished part of Sahir Ludhianvi's poem 'Woh subah kabhi to aayegi'.

Sung in the voices of Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal, the song's music has been arranged by Anu Malik according to the original composition of Khayyam. 

Originally written for Ramesh Saigal's Phir Subah Hogi (1958), starring Raj Kapoor and Mala Sinha, the lyrics to the song were not used in the film. Sahir Ludhianvi reportedly wrote two versions of the poem, depicting the hope and determination of the suffering characters. However, the second version remained unused in the film. It is this part of the poem that has made its way into Begum Jaan. 

While the original song was an expression of hope in a dark time, the new one suggests a determination to transform that hope into reality. The lyrics are based on the four unpublished stanzas of Ludhianvi's poem. While they are the same as the original song from the Kapoor film, the only variation lies in their last line 'Woh subah hami se aayegi' (We will bring that morning to life). 

Malik's mellow music arrangement allows the lyrics to soar without any embellishments. Singers Singh and Ghoshal do a credible job of replicating the magic of Mukesh and Asha Bhosle from the original. However, there is nothing else that sets the song apart. 

One of India's foremost progressive poets, Ludhianvi, seems an apt choice for a film about partition and women. Ludhianvi, a victim of partition himself, was known for his progressive voice.

Speaking to a national daily, Mahesh Bhatt said, "Srijit was hungry for the right song that went with the new narrative. He needed the same emotional peak that 'Bharat Bhagyo Bidhata' awakened."

Begum Jaan also stars Pallavi Sharda, Gauhar Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Ashish Vidyarthi and Chunky Pandey among others. The film is scheduled for theatrical release on 14 April.