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Shakuntala Devi song ‘Paheli’: Shreya Ghoshal beautifully emotes this track about a mother-daughter relationship

The song, written by Priya Saraiya and composed by Sachin-Jigar, details the difficulties the two face over the years.

Sonal Pandya

After two upbeat numbers, ‘Pass Nahi Toh Fail Nahi’ and ‘Rani Hindustani’, composers Sachin-Jigar change gears with a softer track, ‘Paheli’. The song, written by Priya Saraiya, is a wistful number that examines the troubled relationship between a mother, Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi, and her daughter, Sanya Malhotra's Anupama.

After her separation from her husband Paritosh (Jisshu Sengupta), Shakuntala takes up the responsibility of raising her daughter by herself. But from the lyrics of the song, it seems to be suggested that the genius mathematician is not quite the mother Anupama expects her to be, no matter how hard she tries.

Saraiya’s lyrics point out the close bond Anupama hopes to have, and the song’s title ‘Paheli’ also frames Shakuntala as a maths puzzle that can’t be easily solved. The mother-daughter relationship gets tested as Anupama grows older, and both share their resentments. Maths has always come in the way of their relationship.

Shreya Ghoshal's vocals sound softer and younger somehow, to match Anupama’s mindset. The singer renders the melody beautifully, bringing in the right amount of the character’s emotions at being neglected sometimes. It is also so rare for a female singer to get a solo number these days (even in a woman-orientated film), so it is great to see Ghoshal soar with the track.

The composer duo Sachin-Jigar sound more like themselves on this slower track. Their composition hits all the emotional notes of a daughter asking for more from her mother. The chorus portion of the song almost feels like a lullaby.

Shakuntala Devi, directed by Anu Menon, is due to be released on Amazon Prime on 31 July. Watch the song below and let us know if you are keen to watch the film.

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