Inside Man | Bollywood Music


What I would like to focus on, looking at Inside Man, was the opening and closing song of “Chaiyya Chaiyya” written by Bollywood heavy-hitters A. R. Rahman in collaboration with Gulzar. Given the distinctly American blockbuster-crime-thriller-cop-movie feel of the film, I was very surprised to hear a popular Bollywood song as part of the film’s opening sequence. Written originally for the Bollywood romantic thriller Dil Se, I have a hard time seeing how this song relates to the rest of Inside Man. The two romance sub-sub-plots of Denzel Washington and Clive Owens’ respective love interests are so irrelevant to the larger plot that they barely bear mentioning, and  had no real effect or impact on the narrative arc of the film. Why then a song whose lyrics are all about passionate love and lovers, walking in the shade together? Is this trying to make sense of an ending where Denzel is about to propose to his girlfriend with the diamond Clive slips to him? An ending that feels disconnected from the rest of the film?

The closing version of the song comes inserted with Punjabi MC’s English rap. He talks about New York, Bollywood loving stories straight out of a film: “that was the moment she pulled the world together / now all I gotta do is show my love back” is a lyric that resonates with the other Hindi lyrics of the song, but not with the film overall. I wanted to bring this up because in previous Spike Lee films, the song at the opening/closing credits provided a valuable lens through which to examine the movie, but I struggle to do the same here.