Chaiyya Chaiyya

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"Chaiyya Chaiyya"
Song by A. R. Rahman from the album Dil Se..
Released 1998
Recorded Panchathan Record Inn
Genre Bollywood, Filmi, Sufi
Length 6:48
Label Sony Classical, Venus Records and Tapes, Varèse Sarabande
Writer A. R. Rahman (music)
Gulzar (lyrics)
Producer A. R. Rahman
Music sample

"Chaiyya Chaiyya" (English: [walk] in shade) is an Urdu-language Indian song from the 1998 Hindi film Dil Se.. directed by Mani Ratnam. The song was composed by A.R. Rahman, written by Gulzar, and sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi. It quickly became popular upon release and its music video gained the same status, partly because it was filmed on a moving train. The Hindi version of the song is called "Chaiyya Chaiyya", while the Tamil version is called "Thaiyya Thaiyya".

In 2002, ‏the BBC World Service conducted an international poll to choose the ten most popular songs of all time. Around 7000 songs were selected from all over the world. According to the BBC, people from 155 countries voted "Chaiyya Chaiyya" ninth in the top 10 songs.[1]

About the song[edit]

The lyrics of "Chaiyya Chaiyya" are based on the Sufi folk song "Thaiyya Thaiyya" with lyrics by poet Bulleh Shah. Singer Sukhwinder Singh originally suggested the song to A.R. Rahman who was looking for a Punjabi devotional song to include on the soundtrack of Dil Se... Gulzar subsequently rewrote the lyrics and changed the name to "Chaiyya Chaiyya".[2]

"Chaiyya Chaiyya" reached the top of the charts in India and became popular in the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

Malaika Arora Khan in the music video of "Chaiyya Chaiyya"

The video was filmed on top of the Ooty train (the Nilgiri Mountain Railway) in mountainous Tamil Nadu, southern India while actor Shahrukh Khan dances with model/actress Malaika Arora and other dancers. The film was directed by Mani Ratnam and photographed by Santosh Sivan. The choreography was completed in four and half days by Farah Khan.[3] No major back projections or post-production special effects were used in the music video. Malaika Arora, one of the performers, recalls: "Would you believe it? Well, the "Chaiya Chaiya" song was shot exactly as you see it on the screen: No camera tricks, no back projection, no post-production special effects!"[4] She also said that "...One of the unit members tripped and hurt himself. Other than that, things were safe."[5]

Popular culture[edit]

The song was featured in the opening of the second act of the musical Bombay Dreams, in which the train sequence from Dil Se.. is recreated on stage. Remixes of the song were used in the opening and closing credits of the 2006 film, Inside Man, starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen, directed by Spike Lee and produced by Brian Grazer. The opening credits have an abridged version of the original with additional trumpet accompaniment and the closing credits feature a hip-hop-inflected remix featuring Panjabi MC ("Chaiyya Chaiyya Bollywood Joint").

The song was featured in the pilot episode of the television show Smith. A cover of this song was performed in episode 5 of season 5 of CSI: Miami.

The original track and a live version of "Chaiyya Chaiyya" are featured in AR Rahman's compilation album, A.R. Rahman - A World of Music.

The song was used during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi on October 3, 2010.

"Chaiyya Chaiyya" became famous in Indonesia in 2011, after Norman Kamaru, a policeman from Gorontalo, Indonesia recorded himself lipsync-ing it and uploaded the video to YouTube. The name of the video is "Polisi Gorontalo Menggila" (Crazy Gorontalo Police).[6]


  1. ^ "The World's Top Ten". BBC World Service. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  2. ^ "‘Music, like religion, has a soul. If you get this right, you can have different arrangements’". Indian Express. 7 September 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Poojari, Chatura (1998-09-11). "My first break: Farah Khan". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2008-08-08. .
  4. ^ A.A. Michael Raj. "From tube to screen". The Hindu. Retrieved 2002-02-11. 
  5. ^ Sukanya Verma. "'I expect a lot from myself'". Rediff. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  6. ^ "Goyang India Polisi Muda". Yahoo! News Indonesia. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

  • An English translation available at BollyWhat.