Qala’s Ghodey Pe Sawaar Is A Song About Consent

In Qala's Ghodey Pe Sawaar the heroine is singing in the language of the lover —  the lyrics are sharp, they subvert the traditional role!


In Qala’s Ghodey Pe Sawaar the heroine is singing in the language of the lover —  the lyrics are sharp, they subvert the traditional role

I love old Bollywood music —  which I realize when I say that, is a very big umbrella. My exposure to Hindi music was mainly through my friends, the radio and my mother playing the radio.

Even before I could understand romance and attraction, I liked slow, fuzzy music. As I grew up, I started noticing that a lot of love songs, so to say, hardly had any female vocalists.

In these songs, it was always the men describing their object of affection and never giving them the opportunity to sing back their complaints!

There was lack of female voices expressing love

For example, these lines from —

Ye Shaam Mastani:

“Teri haya, teri sharam
Teri kasam mere honth seeye jaae
mujhe dor koi kheeche
teri ore liye jaae.”

[Your modesty, your coyness

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They seal my lips, I swear on you

A string is pulling me

Towards you]

Or from

Roop Tera Mastana:

“Roop tera mastana
pyar mera diwana
bhool koi humse na ho jaae.”

[Your beauty is intoxicating

My love for you is crazy

I hope mistakes don’t happen]

Most of these songs had protagonists creating havoc

Apart from the blatant fact that the protagonists acting on their urges is going to wreak havoc on the obviously narrow-minded social code — the heroes are REALLY obsessed with either the heroine’s roop (beauty), or her haya (modesty).

Neither of these did the teenage me identified with. And the songs that followed into my adulthood too had a similar pattern of crazy in love men, who refused to listen to the women they were singing for!

Then Qala’s Ghodey Pe Sawaar happened

Which is why when I listened to the song everyone on Instagram is obsessed with, and have used to create over a million reels, I had a moment of clarity about its lyrics! I heard Ghodey Pe Sawaar, from Qala on a loop, and I realized its brilliance.

“Dheere dheere
Jatan karne se, dulhaniya ke khulte
Hriday ke dvar hai
Jaane balma ghode pe kyu sawaar hain?”

[Slowly slowly

Express our affection, Bride’s heart would

Open its doors

Wonder why dearest is mounted on the saddle of urgency?]

Why is the lover in hurry, indeed?

Talking about this song makes me a bit overwhelmed because I love it so much, I don’t think I can express it —  and on the other hand, I want to scream from terraces how it is a study in consent —  that too, rooted in our context, which makes the study even more precious.

The heroine is clearly conveying to her lover —  the gates to my heart would open if you express your love slowly, but of course, it isn’t something the quintessential hero can wrap his head around.

The heroine is speaking in the language of the traditional lover

What also blows my mind is that the heroine is speaking/singing in the language of the lover —  the lyrics are sharp, they subvert the traditional heroine and yet sound just like her. The music and melody is so playful, there is no gunjaish [doubt] of someone thinking the singer is complaining.

If I picture myself as the heroine, this is how I would talk to my best friend —  my lover, arguing with him is pointless —  he is so set in his ways:

Jo Main Toku
Kaha Na Mera Maane
Bhavo Ko Aise Taane
Behas Bekaar Hai”

[If I interrupt him

Unhearing my words

Raises his eyebrows

An argument with him is pointless]

Consent is a constant work in progress

Everything in this song is about understanding how consent is a dialogue between two people!

The bride is not unwilling, but hesitant and trying hard to make her groom understand! And her beloved husband is so madly in love that they don’t stop to address her comfort and needs. It is a beautiful song, showing how people in love are not always on the same page and need time and communication!

After Pasoori by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill, this is a song that I just can’t stop thinking about. I love that OTTs are coming up with films and music, which mainstream cinema seems to be losing since the last few years.

Are there old Bollywood songs you identify with, or on the other hand remember being angry with?

This piece was first published on author’s Instagram on, has been updated and edited for Women’s Web.

Image Source: Still from trailer of Qala, edited on CanvaPro

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