An interpretation of Maar Dala from Devdas

Maar Dala was performed by Madhuri Dixit (Chandramukhi) in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s legendary Devdas

yeh kiski hai aahat, yeh kiska hai saaya
hui dil mein dastak yahan kaun aaya
hum pe yeh kisne hara rang daala
oo, hum pe yeh kisne hara rang daala
khushi ne hamaari hamein maar daala, oo maar daala

She is presented initially in a red veil and her main dress is hidden behind the same red. Her head is covered. She is dressed very modestly (red, plain, with little embroidered designs, sequins, flower hues and patterns). This contradicts her role as a ta’waif – who will otherwise dress extravagantly, not necessarily exposing skin but style and beauty, a garment to capture the attention of those who lay their eyes on her. This very simplicity of her red veil over her head and body symbolises her newfound fidelity to this one man, Dev. Remember she is sitting there, waiting for Dev to appear. The choice of red is also quite interesting, though my interpretations may be unfounded. Caution: I do not know enough of Indian culture to make these judgements. Try I will anyway. I am a dancer. The choice of red (love..and see its link to ‘Maar dala’). The initial movements (first few seconds) of the dance is very particular, but nothing grand. Simple. Subtle. Hui dil mein dasthak (she taps her heart), yahan kaun aaya as Devdas enters, she salutes. See the choice of word ‘Dasthak‘ – you may have different interpretations, but it generally means ‘knock in my heart’. When ‘hum pe yeh kisnee…‘ begins, realise she throws this red off of her. Possible interpretations: She mentions the knock in her heart, then the veil opens like a door to a newer, brighter world upon Dev’s arrival (knock, door). When she is revealed, notice the colour of her costume, brighter green, more ornate, sequined, heavy (from the initial red and plain). But the overlapping colours of red and green lends itself to the meaning of the rest of the song- the song goes ‘haar rang daala’. Do you see the relation between the costume, the dance, the meaning of the song? It’s an outstanding performance, outstanding design, setting…


In Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, Madhuri’s outfit had to re-adjusted and literally drawn down because it was too heavy for Madhuri to dance in. The piece she eventually danced in Kahe Ched Mohe was 30 kg! That piece is an outstanding piece.


5 thoughts on “An interpretation of Maar Dala from Devdas

  1. Hey!Nice interpretation.But,let me express my views.Actually,Red is the most attractive colour.Sometimes,in India,we even link red to seducing.So,red is generally the preferred colour of Tawaaifs.Even she wears Red in Kahe ched mohe.Green is the Holy colour of Allah(God of Muslims).So,she gave up her immoral and illicit profession and cleaned herself spiritually after Dev entered her life.That’s why the ‘Hara’ Green colour. Enjoy :-)

  2. Fantastic take on Maar dala l have always been fascinated by Indian music and beauty and being a xhosa woman from the Eastern Cape l embrace everything beautiful….Maar Dala…Singing…

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