Akshit Dhall has had a decent run so far when it comes to heartfelt, soulful pop numbers. Often shifting between Hindi and English, Dhall’s new single is a deeper and darker Hindi track called Mann Darne Laga.
Unfortunately, the concept is a grim reality that many might have faced in their childhood, this reality being harsh human behavior.
While words stemming from rudeness and rage can hurt anyone, they tend to have a more terrible impact on young children. As Dhall puts it himself while describing the song, ‘in our country people don’t think before they speak with a child, the words they tell a child, impacts his brain and eventually the child (when he grows up) starts believing all that he’s been told.’
Mann Darne Laga delves into such childhood traumas that later result in insecurities and self-doubt for these children who turn into adults.
Dhall relies on his usual brand of mellow acoustic guitar fingerpicking and vocal layers to bring out this sense of fear in a melodious manner. Along with the vocals, a few sound clips expressing human cynicism play faintly in the background.
However, while Dhall’s other tracks are often comparable with similar acoustic releases, Mann Darne Laga somehow shows a greater maturity in his singing and songwriting. The lyrical content feels way more personal than his previous discography and a harmonized outro with an overall realistically gloomy tone tends to elevate the song above similar releases that might have addressed mental health in the past.
In fact, using mental health as a song’s theme is in itself a tricky slope. While some succeed at touching upon other’s or their own mental struggles, some seem to just shamelessly capitalise with preachy discourses on trauma. By no means is Akshit Dhall claiming that he knows how to fight this ‘andhera’ (darkness). All he’s doing is grieving at his genuine best and hoping that the bad days get better. And it’s with this hope that the song subtly ends leaving enough room for interpretation…
Verdict: A poignant, heartfelt exercise in addressing childhood insecurities without any generalisations or stereotypes.