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Rahman’s ‘Hosanna’ Song In Trouble

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Amy Jackson and Prateik in “Ek Deewana Tha.”
  • MUMBAI, India

    This reporter has always felt that no single factor makes a song or a film, so why try and stretch limits till one offends hardliners and fanatics? Correction: who decides who is a fanatic or a normal, devout human being? 

    For example, any self-respecting Hindu will be offended by nude paintings of Hindu goddesses or pictures of “Aum” or a deity at the wrong places. The same goes for the abuse of symbols or hurting of Islamic, Christian, Sikh or other feelings.

    The latest entity to land in trouble is the song “Hosanna,” composed by A.R. Rahman for “Ek Deewana Tha.” The Christian Secular Forum says that “Hosanna,” which means glory, is not merely a synonym for the word but a sacred term. They have threatened public agitation unless it is removed from the song. 

    The spokesperson of the CSF has stated that “Hosanna” is a prayer in the Bible and is sacred to both Jews and the Christians with strong reverential and religious connotations. “To make a song and dance out of it where a guy is professing love for a girl is utterly unacceptable. Why do you use a term like this in a carnal love song?” asks the spokesperson, who dismisses the fact that the use of the same term in the Tamil version of the song (Rahman has re-treated the song in Hindi) was not objected to down South by stating that it may not have noticed. In an interview, Rahman had stated that he was keen on using the word.

    This is the second consecutive time that Rahman’s creations have elicited angry reactions — with some justification. Apropos an earlier report in India-West about a feature in the Times of India, noted Sufi qawwals from Mumbai and Jaipur have stated that “Rockstar” has taken the Sufi genre to “a new low,” though their highest criticism has been for the so-called poetry in “Kun Faya Kun” rather than for the tunes.

    But our point is different: why tread such unhealthy terrain at all? With any kind of freedom of expression comes the Conditions Apply tag that first speaks of responsibility. And in this case, was Rahman really incapable of making a song minus the word, or at least an alternative for it, especially in this age when Generation Y goes for hooks rather than an entire song?

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