BABY MARVAKE MAANEGI : Beware, Raftaar is testing your brains! (Opinion-Piece)
Updated: Feb 25
( - MC $anskriti )
In 1897, when Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov conducted the notable Dog and Bell Experiment to discover the Classical Conditioning Theory of Learning in psychology; where he first presented a dog with a piece of meat to see it salivate, then with a bell to get no response, and further with both to see it salivate again, and finally only the bell to see it salivate merely at the bell due to the association of meat with bell now - to determine how new reflexes are created during new experiences and how an individual behaves over a period of time reacting in a similar manner[¹] - nobody would have ever expected a similar experiment to be conducted on the audience in an Indian music video !
Now, how does this psychological theory pertain to you as a music-listener ? Well, when you first watched commercial urban music videos in the late 2000s or early 2010s , you associated pop and (sadly) rap music with clubbing, partying, meaningless lyrics or perhaps having ambiguous meanings, etc. What happened with you while you were listening to Raftaar's [²] Baby Marvake Maanegi was a witty experiment conducted by the artist to know to what extent you are classically conditioned, and how much you are ready to accept new reflexes; where maximum people interpreted the song to have a double-meaning and just a casual party-song - which is false.
What happened? Why did you misinterpret? Well, the answer is:
(1) YOU WERE MULTITASKING: While you are watching a music video; you are actually meant to pay attention to a lot of things - the visuals in the video, the instrumental music, the vocals, the lyrics and their meaning... there are numerous aspects you need to focus on, as a result of which, your mind gets confused, and is not able to manage all these tasks together. Researchers in psychology have found that it is not possible to 'do multiple tasks together' , rather, the mind 'switches' between tasks; and that the cognitive load or information overload makes the mind unable to process information while switching tasks[³] . Apparently, your mind subconsciously starts prioritizing what to interpret first; the result being it giving preference more to visuals, music and vocals - and meaning of the lyrics is the last thing you can analyze and conclude.
(2) YOU WERE CLASSICALLY CONDITIONED: as stated earlier, you are so much used to seeing meaningless/double-meaning songs in commercial music that you never tend to think the other way, that you can take the straight or literal meaning of a phrase too.
The point to be noted here is that you may have misinterpreted in your very first listening, or you might have taken some time to reach to a point where you understand the meaning of the lyrics (there is a fine line of difference between listening some lyrics and understanding their meaning) , shouldn't have taken more than 5-6 listenings; but what about those listeners who listened to this on loop? What about those who remember the entire lyrics but still do not understand what it means?
First of all, if you are still wondering what the lyrics mean, well the lyrical theme is about an independent woman clubbing and driving for fun, which is a good theme to portray. But there is much more than what you think here: produced by American Grammy-winning record producer BlackOut, this is India's first song in Dancehall genre. As the name suggests, of course, the music video, directed and choreographed by National Films attention to the music being played and people dancing and clubbing.The main bars of the Dadasaheb Phalke Film Award-winning artist Raftaar's rap in this record are :
'Iski capacity ke charche hain sab mein,/ Ehre-gehre ke mooh naa lagti hai club mein./ Koi chhede toh lagti hai gaali bakne,/ Isko pataane ke tu dekhiyo naa sapne./'
(Everyone talks about her capacity,/
She doesn't talk to random strangers in the club,/
If someone molests her, she starts cussing them,/
Don't you dare see dreams of wooing her./) Furthermore,
'Yeh naa teri car mein aayi hai,/ Naa teri car mein jaayegi,/ Naa tere baap ka khaati hai,/ Naa tere baap ka khaayegi./' (×2)
(She has neither come in your car,/
Nor will she go home in it,/
Your father never fed her before,/
Nor is he ever going to./) (×2) [⁴].
Note that the latter was repeated, that too with an emphasis, to make you realize the insight behind the theme, which many listeners miserably failed at. Further, these bars were the reason why 'Baby Marvake Maanegi' (Baby's gonna get you killed).
Coming back to those listeners who listen to or have/had listened to this song on loop and the ones who remember each and every line from the piece, but didn't understand what it means, psychological theories defended you on your initial listenings, what about the twentieth time you listened? Probably, you believe in the general perception of considering music (even poetic music) as a mere source of refreshment and entertainment. Well, countering to that, what you are inferencing as entertainment, is actually a piece of art - and when it is art, there will be creativity, skills, wit and intellect involved; and your mind paying attention to these and understanding these is a prerequisite of these parameters. Being a good audience is itself a skill, and sadly most people lack this skill in themselves.
This article appreciates the witty intellect of all the artists involved in this project, and their courage and enthusiasm to conduct such an experiment : the way Raftaar balances between Real Hip-Hop and Commercial Urban Music, how Nora Fatehi agreed to play the role of this independent woman (becoming whom is the dream of almost every girl on this planet) , the direction and choreography of Remo D' Souza, especially when Raftaar points towards a dog in the line, 'Isko pataane ke tu dekhiyo naa sapne./' (Don't you dare see dreams of wooing her./), to beware strangers or molesters who are like a dog in heat; and also how at the end of the video, there is an image of a woman's hand wearing bangles with a tightened fist, raised to show empowerment; and the zeal of Zee Music Company to accept and promote such a double-entendre based, experimental project; as well as each and every other artist involved in the making of this masterpiece.
A still from the original YouTube video of 'Baby Marvake Maanegi' on Zee Music Company's YouTube channel displaying Women Empowerment[⁴].
Long live Art, Craft, Wit and Real Hip-Hop.
( Article by MC $anskriti )
NOTE: This is an opinion-piece which is meant to appreciate real art and craft, created on an absolute non-profit basis. We do not own the rights to the song 'Baby Marvake Maanegi' , the rights lie with the original producers, who are credited below as follows:
Written and Performed by - Raftaar
Music Producer - BlackOut
Album - Zero to Infinity
Video direction and Choreography - Remo D' Souza
Starring - Nora Fatehi
Record Label - Zee Music Company
Producer - Ankit Khanna
Powered by - One Digital Entertainment
Executive Producer - Shakeel Khan
1. Robbins, S. P., Judge, T. A. (2019). Personality, Learning and Values. In Ed. Vohra N. (Ed.) Organizational Behaviour (18th ed, p.177). Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd.
2. Baby Marvake Maanegi [Song]. On Zero to Infinity [Album]. Zee Music Company.
3. Muse. (2018, April 25). The Multitasking Myth: Understanding Cognitive Load. Choose Muse https://choosemuse.com/blog/the-multitasking-myth-understanding-cognitive-load/
4. Srivastav S. (2018, September 15). I listen to Baby Marva Ke Maanegi with my mom and wife, says Raftaar on how all his songs are meaningful. Hindustan Times. https://www.hindustantimes.com/music/i-listen-to-baby-marwa-ke-maanegi-with-my-mom-and-wife-says-raftaar-on-how-all-his-songs-are-meaningful/story-f6I7NtBYyLmsgsfkWiAvoO.html
5. Zee Music Company. (2017, May 9). Raftaar × Nora Fatehi - Baby Marvake Maanegi | Remo D' Souza | Hot Dance Song [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/AtUh3lJeac8 Raftaar (2017).