Constant experimentation is probably the single biggest characteristic of AR Rahman’s career. The 50-year-old music composer made his film debut with Roja (1992), and among his early earworms was Urvasi Urvasi from Shankar’s Tamil film Kadhalan (1994). Rahman has reinvented the popular hit by releasing a new version on MTV Unplugged. The lyrics have been crowdsourced from fans, resulting in a song that, in a first for a composer known for his political correctness, has loaded lines that comment on demonetisation and the American elections set to the original refrain “Take it easy policy”.
Here are some translations of Urvasi Urvasi 2017: “Ainooru ruba sellama pona, take it easy policy” (If the Rs 500 note becomes useless, take it easy policy).
“Donald Trump president aana, take it easy policy” (If Donald Trump becomes president, take it easy policy).
“Kadalai naduvil battery theerndha, take it easy policy” (If the phone battery dies while flirting, take it easy policy).
“Belt potum veshti avuntha, take it easy policy” (If the dhoti slips despite wearing a belt, take it easy policy).
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Some movie fans will miss the images that accompanied Urvasi Urvasi, which featured lead actor Prabhudeva dancing with abandon on the streets of Chennai and stalking and pawing college and school girls. With its trendy and irreverent lyrics, Urvasi Urvasi was tailor-made for young crowds in the early 1990s, who rode green Pallavan Transport Corporation buses to college and wore baggy pants, just like the dancing hero. The new version misses out on the sexist images, but retains the edge of the original tune through its contemporary lyrics.