mann hota hai

Listen to the song before reading on any further:

Youtube video:

I set “mann hota hai” as my status on the instant messaging clients. Apparently (from the responses I got to this) the words “hota hai” are forever attached to “kuch kuch” (roll eyes… sigh.). From those who actually heard the song, a common response was “he sounds like a woman broke his heart”.

My analysis of the songs will be based on the words and the connections within the song, disconnected from any particular kuchkuchness and romantic connections.

First of all, I like the tone of the song. The piano and the piano pauses, the music is not constantly playing. So in some moments all you get is the singing sound. I like how that works out. I like how the singing does not drown in the music.

Now for the lyrics… the words:

khawaboon se… khelne ko
mann hota hai… mann hota hai

I find it interesting that he uses the word “khelne”… “to play”. What does it mean to play with a dream?

haathon se… chunay ko
mann hota hai… mann hota hai

Interesting still. I connect these lines to the dream. So then what does it mean to touch a dream?

To play with and touch a dream… to make it real?

kisi ki naa pe roo dun to…
khilonay toot jaye to…
koi jab mugh se puchay…
kyun rota hai…?
mann hota hai… mann hota hai

There’s so much going on in these words. First, the rejection or disapproval, “kisi ki naa”. Then, the tears.
“khilonay” is also an interesting choice, a toy is something you play with and can touch. The broken toy is a shattered dream. I really like how that connects with the last two bits of the song.

Then the question and response. “kyun rota hai?” and “mann hota hai”. I don’t know if that makes grammatical sense. I know that “mann chahta hai” in the same way that “dil chahta hai”, but how does “mann hota hai”. I know what it means and the implications, yes. But the words are… different.

So back to the question and response. “kyon rota hai?”… “why do you cry?”. Because “mann hota hai”. Now, in the song “mann hota hai” might not be designed as a response to the question, but for me it is. Because “mann hota hai” is the reason there are tears. But here’s the rub, the response to the question itself should cause more tears because it is the reason in the first place. So it’s circular, the tears are circular (they often are).

kabhi sardi ki raatoon mein…
koi khirki jo kholun to…
liye muskaan chehre pe…
koi hota hai…
mann hota hai… mann hota hai…

The obvious conclusion to make here is that he misses the “muskaan” of some other person. But I find it interesting that a window is used here. Because a window also shows you your reflection. Could it be that he’s remembering a time when he used to smile himself? And wishes that moment was back?

But a window also represents communication, because opening a window is a gateway to the outside world (or whichever world you want it to be). Sure, you have to squeeze through it, but it’s still a path, it’s still a way.

But why would you open a window in cold weather? Wouldn’t it make more sense to leave the window closed to retain the heat? Or does he want the cold winds? The need to cool down, the longing for a smile. Interesting.

Needless to say, I find this song interesting.

8 thoughts on “mann hota hai”

  1. this is a good song and a good post. atif should comment. but i wish there was no video, or that collage, to it. because it’s as if the video takes away something from the song. dard. or something.

  2. I am studying Hindi and listen to atif aslam a lot. I really love this song and stumbled on your blog while searching for translations for it. your thoughts are fantastic. true gems.

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