How AR Rahman’s ‘O Paalanhaare’ became a prayer board for people battling COVID-19

In these trying times, music has given hope to many.

‘O Paalanhaare...’, a song from 2001 superhit Hindi film ‘Lagaan’, has re-surfaced in public memory. It is being widely heard by doctors and patients who are battling the second wave of the Coronavirus.

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The comments section of the song has almost been converted into a prayer board, with people seeking guidance to help overcome the health trials of their loved ones. One of them reads: ‘I am a doctor doing covid duty. This song gives me strength’. Another talks about how the track is an apt reflection of the current situation in the country.


‘O Paalanhaare’, written by Javed Akhtar and composed by AR Rahman, is structured like a prayer hymn. The lyrics talk about an appeal to God to give people strength and patience, something that seems to have connected with people caught in these unprecedented circumstances, as social media fills with pleas for oxygen and hospital beds. It is sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan.

How AR Rahman’s ‘O Paalanhaare’ became a prayer board for people battling COVID-19

Though the song video was uploaded in 2015 by the official music label, Sony Music, the track has garnered a lot of attention in the last month or so, with the onset of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple comments from people state that they are listening to it every day, in the hope of a better future.

AR Rahman is known not just for his Sufi-related songs but also his tracks that feature other religions; Tamil track ‘Anbin Vasale’ from Mani Ratnam’s ‘Kadal’ being one example. The song, in praise of Jesus, was sung by Haricharan and written by Madhan Karky.

In an earlier interview with ‘The Hindu’, AR Rahman stated that art can unite people. He said, “I think movies — or art, for that matter — are a unifying factor. When someone sees it, they see it only as a thing of beauty. Not one created by a Muslim and an atheist. Isn’t that beautiful?”

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 10:51:01 PM |

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