I try to listen through my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify every week, and I don’t get to do so every week, but when I do I usually come across at least one song that I adore. Early in January I was suggested this song, “Deewani Mastani.” I was OBSESSED, I played it over and over. Having just returned from India studying Indian classical, I was happy to be exposed to more popular music of the region. (That being said, I do not claim to be an expert on Indian music! I am a student and appreciator of the art, and may have overlooked something that could enrich this short analysis, I’m happy to be enlightened!) The song is from a Bollywood film called Bajirao Mastani, which is the tale of warrior princess Mastani, who trades in her home life to follow Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I., becoming his second wife.
I didn’t watch the film until recently, which is why I’ve once again become so obsessed with this song. Seeing it in the film is absolutely chilling, but even as a stand alone video, it is mesmerizing. The infectious song is the moment where Mastani declares her love for Bajirao. Mastani is stepping out in front of everyone and unabashedly letting everyone, including Bajirao, just how deep her love runs. In my interpretation, this is a feminist move. We are still being fed the false idea that men must be the ones to declare feelings first or be the ones who do the chasing, portraying their emotions holding greater importance. Understanding this, her bold movements can be interpreted as resistant to a norm. And adding to her depth as a great feminist character, Mastani’s love is as fierce and piercing as her swordsmanship; the film includes many scenes of Mastani’s masterful battle skills. This scene alone is so visually stunning and the song is absolutely wonderful, but I do recommend watching the entire film to see Mastani in all her glory.