Come celebrate under the living canopy tonight,
‘neath the golden embroidery of the deep blue sky.

Day after day giving away bits of my life and soul,
I have spent many a sleepless, weary night on burning coal.
Without hesitating, I blew away the trace of sleep in my eye,
and burned many a finger counting stars in the sky.

Can you taste the night? Sweet as honey, try it.
Your heart is the final frontier. Do not deny it.
The kohl lining your eyes beautifully,
works its dark witchcraft on me.

For ages it has been left unsaid, bereft of words,
eyes lowered, don’t be afraid, let them be heard.
The twinkle in your magical eye, so bright,
Let me immerse myself in the divine light.

Let victory prevail!

(Adapted from Hindi, ‘Jai Ho’ by Gulzar)


This song from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, won an Oscar, and quite rightly so. The poetry in this piece has many layers to it, being penned by one of the best in India, Gulzar. On the face of it this is merely a love song,a boy singing it to a girl he has finally gotten together with. Going a bit deeper, this is a song about the movie’s lead character’s victory, with his life in the slums being described. This is also an allegory of life. Where victory is considered the lover and not just material victory, but victory over a difficult life.


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