Monday, June 1, 2015

Mera Yaar Mila De (Saathiya)

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As Gulzar often says, if a lyricist is devious and smart enough, he would build multiple layers into his songs. As you scratch the surface, another layer will reveal itself. And this way he would sneakily say the thing he wanted to say, along with the thing the director wanted him to say.

The song begins with an anguished cry - a cry of someone lost, someone in despair.

On the screen we see Adi (Vivek Oberoi) frantically looking for Suhani (Rani Mukherjee) - in the background the track begins - "Banjar hai sab banjar hai, hum dhoondhne jab firdaus chale / Teri khoj talaash mein dekh piya, hum kitne kaale kos chale". On the face of it, this song is a lover's search for his beloved.  And the deft picturisation by Shaad Ali makes us believe it is, indeed, about a lover's quest.

But if we strip the song off its picturisation, the words are all about the quest for God. Gulzar's desposition for the Sufi way often manifests itself in his songs and poetry. This one is no different. To him, God resides not in idols or stones ("kankad, patthar, but") - but in a loving and devoted heart. It's not by looking for firdaus (Eden/heaven) or looking at the stars ("maine tote-tote taare chune") that you can find Him. When your love for God becomes an obsession, and transcends even that; when you destroy your identity in that quest; is when you can truly find Him / be one with Him.

Lyrics and translation:
Banjar hai sab banjar hai hum dhoondhne jab firdaus chale
Teri khoj-talaash mein dekh piya, hum kitne kaale kos chale
Banjar hai sab banjar hai

[[Seeking heaven, all I see is this wasteland
How many joyless miles must I travel looking for you?
It's just wilderness all around ...]]

Mainda yaar mila de saaiyaan, ik vaar mila de saaiyaan

[[God, please unite me with my beloved. All I want is to see him but once.]]

Maine pota-pota falak chhaana, maine tote-tote taare chune

[[I have shattered the stars to pieces and searched through every inch of sky with my own fingertips]]
(Thanks Anurag Bhardwaj for correcting the Punjabi bits for me :) )

Taaron ki chamak ye subaho talak, lagti hi nahin pal bhar ko palak

[[The incessant starlight till the morning, doesn't let me sleep even for a second.
(even the gentle starlight is agonizing for someone in love)]]

Maine pota-pota falak chhaana, maine tote-tote taare chune
Sirf ek teri aahat ke liye kankad, patthar, but saare sune
Hun mende te ruswaaiyaan

[[I have shattered the stars to pieces and searched through every inch of sky with my own fingertip
Seeking the sound of your footsteps, I've borne the silence of pebbles, stones and idols alike.
And yet I find only disgrace and ridicule]]

[Mainda yaar mila de saaiyaan, ik vaar mila de saaiyaan]

Aa dekh meri peshaani ko taqdeer ke harfe likkhe hain

[[Come, and see the words of fate written on my forehead ]]

Pairon ke nishaan jab dekhe jahaan sau baar jhukaaya sar ko wahaan

[[Wherever I see even the hint of your footsteps, I bow my head a hundred times]]

Aa dekh meri peshaani ko taqdeer ke harfe likkhe hain
Main kitni baar pukaarun tujhe, tere naam ke safhe likkhe hain

[[Do you not see the words of fate written on my forehead?
How many times must I call out to you? Pages have been written only of your name.]]

Tera saaya kahin to bolega, main sunta raha parchhaiyaan 

[[In the hope of hearing your voice, I've spent my life listening to shadows]]

My two  three cents:
  1. To Shaad Ali's credit, he absolutely nails the picturisation. "How many joyless miles must I travel looking for you?" - the way Adi travels through cities/village by whatever means - buses, trucks, tractors. And the way religious symbols keep popping up in the visuals - a saadhu showing him the way, a photo of Mother Mary in the hospital, an abandoned church in the back - it all ties up really well.
  2. The line 'Tera saaya kahin to bolega main sunta raha parchhaiyaan' reminds me of 'Main hawa pe dhoondhoon uske nishaan' from Chhaiya-Chhaiya - Listening to something intangible, in the hope of finding some sign of his loved one/God.
  3. Of course, both Chhaiya-chhaiya and this song are Sufi in nature - so the underlying theme is very similar - though the songs themselves are as happy and as despairing as can be. But one thing that I found very interesting is the line "Jinke sar ho ishq ki chhaon, paaon ke neeche jannat hogi" (for those in love, heaven is easily achievable) in Chhaiya-chhaiya. In turn, in this song, "Banjar hai sab banjar hai hum dhoondhne jab firdaus chale" (seeking heaven, all he finds are wastelands). So, it's not by looking for heaven that you find it, it's by being one with your loved one. And then the heaven is at your feet.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Naam Ada Likhna (Yahaan)

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"Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of", go the words to a famous nursery rhyme.

Human mind forms connections between two completely unrelated things at times. My mind has adopted this as a hobby. For one fine day, listening to "Naam ada likhna" reminded me of this little nursery rhyme. Specifically this line (and others of this metre):

"Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai"
"The moon perches by my side at times; and at others the colors of evening cloak me."

The heroine of "Yahaan" is Ada, a child-woman who, though caught right in the middle of the Kashmir conflict (her brother is an insurgent), somehow remains untouched by it. For her, the world still holds hope; and joys however small (such as getting to wear a pair of jeans) still make her jump about in delight ("Urzu durkut"). And it is perhaps this optimism, that allows her to fall in love with Aman, a captain of the Indian army.

This is a song of young love, the kind that fills hearts with hope, against all odds.  

"Barf pade to, barf pe mera naam dua likhna" 
(When it snows, right down my name on it as a wish.)

"Aao na, aao na, Jhelum mein bah lenge
Vaadi ke mausam bhi, ik din to badlenge"
(Let's float about in the Jhelum till love is allowed to blossom in the valley once again)

"Kal jo mile to maathe pe mere sooraj uga dena"
(If we get a future together, mark it with a red dot of sindoor)

Composed by Shantanu Moitra and sung by Shreya Ghoshal and Shaan; it is the kind of song that fills you with calm and puts a smile on your face. (Somehow I always assumed it was composed by Vishal Bhardwaj, Kashmir + Gulzar connection, I guess. Anyway, all credit to Shantanu Moitra for creating a timeless tune.)

Lyrics and Translation:
Poochhe jo koi meri nishaani, rang henna likhna
Gore badan pe ungli se mera, naam ada likhna

[[If asked who I am, tell them I am "Ada",
The name scrolled on my fair body, in the color of henna]]

Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai

[[The moon perches by my side at times; 
and at others the colors of evening cloak me]]

Aao na, aao na, Jhelum mein bah lenge
Vaadi ke mausam bhi, ik din to badlenge

[[Let's float about in the Jhelum,
till love is allowed to blossom in the valley once again]]

[Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai]

Aaun to subah, jaaun to mera naam saba likhna
Barf pade to, barf pe mera naam dua likhna

[[When I arrive, see me as your morning; and if I leave, say I was a gust of wind
When it snows, right down my name on it as a wish]]

Zara-zara aag-vaag paas rahti hai
Zara-zara kaangde ki aanch rahti hai

[[She warms me like a blazing fire
There is a kaangdi-like glow about her]]

[Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai]

Shaamein bujhaane aati hain raatein
Raatein bujhaane tum aa gaye ho

[[The way nights come to put out evenings,
You have come to put an end of my nights]]

Jab tum hanste ho, din ho jaata ho
Tum gale lago to, din so jaata hai

[[Your smile makes the sun shine brighter
The comfort of your embraces make the days drift off]]

Doli uthaaye aayega din to, paas bitha lena
Kal jo mile to, maathe pe mere suraj uga dena

[[When the day comes, make me sit next to you
And if we get another tomorrow, make the sun rise on my forehead]]

Zara-zara aas-paas dhoop rahegi
Zara-zara aas-paas rang rahenge

[[We'll always have our bit of sunshine
And we'll always have our share or colors]]

Monday, January 5, 2015

Phir Se Aaiyo (Namkeen)

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"Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha, ki main ik baadal aawaara / Kaise kisi ka sahaara banoon, ki main khud beghar bechaara"
[From Chhaya (1961), lyrics by Rajendra Krishan]

How can someone who drifts about like a cloud, having no home or stable income, support someone else? Isn't one a fool for falling in love with such a man?

For Mithu, who has only known despair and loneliness all her life, this very drifter is the ray of hope, happiness and love. It matters not to her that Gerulal is a truck driver who is in her village for a few days in passing; it matters not to her that he doesn't even realizes she loves him. Perhaps it's not even her intent to make him know. Right now all that matters is that his presence is enveloping her life like the clouds envelop their village atop the mountain; making it look a bit less miserable; giving a semblance of serenity and even beauty to it.

Needless to say, the trio of Pancham-Gulzar-Asha has once again succeeded in creating a song full of pathos. Gulzar's words as well as Asha's voice are at once full of hope and longing. Pancham gives a haunting score like only he could. Like another of this trio's song (also my favorite), Chhoti Si Kahaani Se, this song is picturised in the hills - except that instead of dripping with rains, these hills are covered in mist - just the sort of place this song takes you to, even without the visuals.

But what indeed is much more stunning about the visuals here, is Shabana Azmi. Without uttering a single word, she manages to convey so much. The tiny smile constantly playing on her lips is a dead giveaway of the state of her heart. Roaming barefoot in the mist-covered valley, she looks content and happy - she couldn't care less if no one else listens to the tune of her heart - it's for her and it's for him, the cloud-like drifter that she awaits.

Lyrics and Translation:
Phir se aaiyo badra bidesi, tere pankhon pe moti jadoongi
Bhar ke jaaiyo humaari talaiya, main talaiya kinaare miloongi
Tujhe mere kaale kamli waale ki saun

[[Come again, O visiting cloud; and I'll embellish your wings with pearls
Make the pond full of water; and it's by its shore that I will meet you
I beseech you, in the name of God!]]

Tere jaane ki rut main jaanti hoon, mud ke aane ki reet hai ki nahin
Kaali darga se poochhoongi jaa ke, tere mann mein bhi preet hai ki nahin
Kachchi puliya se ho ke gujariyo, kachchi puliya kinaare miloongi

[[I know that you have to depart come the season, but would you promise to return as well?
I intend to ask the gods if you love me the way I do
Come by the narrow bridge, and it's here that I will meet you]]

Tu jo ruk jaaye meri atariya, main atariya pe jhaalar laga doon
Daaloon chaar taabeez gale mein, apne kaajal se bindiya laga doon
Chhoo ke jaaiyo, humaari bageechi, main peepal ke aade miloongi

[[If you promise to stay longer, I'll bedeck the terrace with frills and lights
I will put amulets around your neck and mark you with a black tikka with my kohl (to ward off evil)
When you come to touch my garden, it's by the peepal tree that I will meet you]]

My two cents:
Like Ijaazat's Maya and Aandhi's JK, Mithu writes poetry. In fact, as someone who cannot speak, her diary is her only outlet - It's here that she writes of her woes and fears; and of her dreams and hopes. Like Maya and JK, Mithu is all about sentiments and uses poetry to get away from the harsh reality that is her life.

Maya is in this on-again-off-again relationship with a married man, which she knows leads nowhere. JK was married to a woman who was poised to become (and indeed does become) much more successful and powerful than him, leaving him on the way up. Mithu has only known a life of poverty and misery, living with her senile mother and two sisters, while barely making a living.

All three are surrounded by uncertainty and heartache. Words are their escape. (Like Gulzar? Like all poets indeed?)

Watch the video here:

(You can watch the full movie on youtube here)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Seeli Hawa (Libaas)

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[Contains spoilers] [Long post]
"Kitne kam logon ko ye baat samajh mein aati hai ki dhun bana lene se hi gaana nahin ban jaata. Tumhare apne lafzon mein, use nourish karna padta hai, uski parvarish karni padti hai. Ghanton aur pahron tak nahin, balki kai dinon tak gaate rahna padta hai. Tab jaakar uski chamak nikalti hai. Tumhari peeth peechhe kaha karta tha, aaj tumhare saamne kah raha hoon - tum jitne bade creative fankaar the, utne hi bade craftsman bhi the."
(Few people understand that creating a tune alone doesn't make a song. In your own words, a song has to be nourished. A few hours won't make it, it has to be sung for days - only then does it really shine. I used to say this behind your back, today I say this to your face - Not only were you a creative artist, you were just as big a craftsman!)
[-Gulzar, about RD Burman]
And thus a song was nourished for days, and allowed to ripen; so that when we reaches us, it lights up not only our brains, but our very hearts. And like a fine wine, it has not only stood the test of time, but gotten better with it. RD Burman, boss, what a musical genius you were indeed! And knowing how you had the perfect tune, not letting it go overboard with instruments, but allowing the mellow voice of Lata Mangeshkar transport us to the neeli nadi and letting us go inside the happy-yet-pained heart of the heroine - brilliant indeed. 

I have wanted to do this song for a long, long time; but was avoiding as I had not watched Libaas. Fact is, I have still not seen the movie, and I'm basing my interpretation of this song on the short-story Seema (also by Gulzar) on which the film is based. (available in a book called "Raavi Paar").

The stage is set thus:
Sudhir (Naseer) and Seema (Shabana) are married - Seema to Sudhir, and Sudhir to the theater. So devoted is Sudhir to his theater that he views Seema first as an actress and then as his wife. ("Seema, theater sirf tumse hi nahin, mujhse bhi jyada important hai.. Hum donon baad me aate hain, aur theater pahle"). Seema ends up finding love in TK (Raj Babbar), Sudhir's happy-go-lucky friend. But is she really in love with TK or just running from the unrelenting demands of Sudhir?

The way I see it, it's the story of Seema as she tries to come to terms with herself and find peace within. Sudhir and TK are just instruments in taking her journey forward. She loves Sudhir, but feels suffocated by his overbearing persona. When she is with him, it feels as if her own identity is fading away. And while TK lets her be, she finds herself thinking of Sudhir more and more. Like a lot of us, she is not absolute. She is still sorting out her confusions and that's what makes her so real

"Ghar mein rahti thi to ghar bore karta tha, theater mein ho to theater bore karta hai.. Hamesha wahaan rahna chahti ho jahaan nahin ho, aur jahaan ho usse kabhi khush nahin ho. You always want to be somewhere else, not where you are... and you don’t even know where you want to be!"
[-Sudhir, about Seema]

Anyway, I was hugely disappointed when I saw in the trailer (posted below), that my favorite song was picturised on Seema and TK. In my mind, I always thought that the song would be picturised while Seems thinks of Sudhir ( + admittedly, I don't much care for Raj Babbar)

So, now that my year-old belief has been turned on its head, I try to interpret this song as well as I can.

Lyrics, and translation:

Seeli hawa chhoo gayi, seela badan chhil gaya
Neeli nadi ke pare, geela sa chaand khil gaya

[[A dampened moon blooms beyond the blue river
At a time like this, even a misty breeze chafes my skin]]

Tumse mili jo zindagi, humne abhi boyi nahin
Tere siwa koi na tha, tere siwa koi nahin

[[I have not shared with anyone the life that you've given me
There was no one but you, there is no one but you]]

Jaane kahan kaise shahar, le ke chala ye dil mujhe
Tere bagair din na jala, tere bagair shab na bujhe

[[Where does this heart of mine takes me to?
Neither a day lights up, nor does a night put itself out without you]]

Jitne bhi tay karte gaye, badhte gaye ye faasle
Meelon se din chhod aaye, saalon si raat le ke chale

[[The closer I try to come, the farther away I feel
Leaving behind days long as miles, I carry with me nights that feel like years]]

[[Kanu's comments: This antara I feel reflects Seema's inner turmoil. The more she's trying to get in touch with herself, the harder it seems. When she was with Sudhir, each day seemed to go on forever under Sudhir's tyranny; but now the nights seem to last forever without him. Earlier she didn't have the peace of mind, now she can't find the peace in her heart.]]

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Aao Na (Haider)

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Long before I saw Haider, I fell in love with its music. Rarely do I spend so long stuck on a single album. Vishal Bhardwaj is an excellent composer - maybe even the best right now. (Yeah, yeah; I'm a huge Rahman fan; but I can't remember a single song from his last album, or the name of the album for that matter - the one with Ranbir's cousin). Or maybe since VB is so involved in all his projects, the music just becomes a part of the movie-making process and in turn a part of the movie. On being asked which role of his (director, writer, music director etc.) he enjoyed the most, Vishal Bhardwaj said it was creating music which gave him the most joy - and it shows.  

Ironically, though the music of Haider is so apt for the film, the songs themselves seemed jarring to the flow of the movie, especially "Khul Kabhi". "Bismil" I found to be too in-your-face kind. Though, being a dramatic representation of Khurram's treachery, perhaps it was supposed to be that way, but I didn't really enjoy it that much. "So Jaao" (the gravedigger song), on the other hand, left me completely speechless. The gravediggers are trying to make their job a wee bit less morbid by singing and/or joking, but the song itself is no cheerful one and their sense of humor positively macabre. This song felt like a punch in the gut.

But the one song I kept waiting for was "Aao Na". The dark mood of the song is a perfect fit with that of the movie. In my mind, there's also a perfect place for the song in the movie - right at the end, when all that Haider held dear is gone - his father, home, girlfriend; and his mother. Life as he knew it is over. And his only burning desire - revenge - no longer matters to him. His only hope is that death will bring the peace that life denied him - सब्र ले लो,  कब्र ले लो - घर में आओ .  

Allow me to interpret the lyrics with this situation in mind.

Lyrics and Translation:

Jale hi jale hi jale
Diye se jale rahe, saari zindagi
Nahin bujhe bujhe nahin
Hawa se bujhe nahin, saari zindagi

[[All my life, I was on fire like a candle
Until now, no wind could put this flame out]]

Ek foonk se hua
Sab ud gaya dhuaan
Wo jo saans ki ik faans thi
Wo nikal gayi jo kharaash thi

[[But (it so happened, that) with this one whiff of air
Even the smoke is gone

The feeling of a splinter grating with every breath 
Is gone, and with it the itch (for revenge)]]

Ab seene ki, wo khalish gayi
Bekaraariyaan, beemaariyaan gayin

[[The anxieties of the heart have left me
All the restlessness and ailments I'm rid of now]]

Ab to aao, jaan meri, so bhi jaao

[[Let's just go, and close our eyes now (dear life)]]

Arey aao na,
Ke jaan gayi, jahaan gaya
So jaao

[[Come, now that neither life nor the world matters
Let's go sleep]]

Arey aao na,
Ke thak gayi hai zindagi
So jaao

[[Come, 'cause life itself is feeling drained
Let's go and get some rest]]

Na shaam na savera
Andhera hi andhera
Hai roohon ka basera
So jaao

[[(Let's go the place of) neither evenings nor mornings
Where a calm darkness envelopes you
(Let's go to) the abode of souls
And sleep]]

Hawa the hawa the hawa
Hawa the hawa hue, baaki to khala

[[What were be, but mere puffs of winds
And in these puffs of wind are we gone
Now all that remains is this expanse of space]]

Kabhi the to kabhi nahin
Kabhi the kabhi nahin, baaki to khuda

[[At times we were, and then we were not
'Cause what other than God is forever?]]

Ye tha azal se tha
Uske fazal se tha
Bada kaam tha jo zameen par
Wo to likh diya aa jabeen par

[[He was since time immortal
And it's by his grace
That we were sent to the earth
With our fates written (on our foreheads)]]

Jo guzar gayi wo guzar gayi
Bewajah yahan, na raho miyaan
Jo huaaaaa
Sabr le lo, kabr le lo
Ghar mein aao

[[Whatever is gone, is gone
It's no use staying here beyond a point

Whatever's happened...
Let's take the comfort of the graves
And go home]]

Arey aao na...........

Points to ponder:
1. Gulzar has felt the pain of partition, and feels very strongly about Kashmiri's every day struggle. He has made a movie about it (Machis), and the references keep popping up in his poetry and lyrics (वादी के मौसम भी इक दिन तो बदलेंगे (Yahaan)). So it was a given that a film set in Kashmir will bring out his best poetic imagery.

But he just adds more layers to this song with references to Hamlet/Haider's key question "कभी थे तो कभी नहीं, कभी थे कभी नहीं" (हम हैं कि नहीं/To be or not to be?) and the plea for a moment or a lifetime of rest of a population tired of the incessant battles, both personal and political (कि थक गयी है ज़िंदगी, सो जाओ!)

2. After "Dhan te nan", Vishal Dadlani gives another powerhouse performance for VB/Gulzar in this song. But another thing that reminds me of Dhan te Nan while listening to this song is the line "कई कब्रें हैं, कई खबरें हैं - जो भी सोये हैं कब्रों में उनको जगाना नहीं" - let those resting peacefully rest in peace. Two very different songs, two slightly similar lines. (Also कब्रों के दड़बों में लम्बी नींद सोना है from So Jaao)

3. Also, I'm totally going off on a tangent here, but this song is just too perfectly suited for Theon Greyjoy of A Song Of Ice And Fire / Game Of Thrones fame. The way he has never been sure of his identity (neither Greyjoy nor Stark; discarded by one family not wholly accepted by the other; is he Theon or is he Reek; does it really matter to anyone whether he lives or not) - कभी थे तो कभी नहीं etc. Plus, all that he has gone through, surely makes him want to say "कि जाँ गयी, जहाँ गया, सो जाओ" and just rest in peace.

So, there it is - my attempt at the song from Haider. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing about it. You can watch the song here:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Aye Udi Udi Udi (Saathiya)

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Saathiya is one of those movies that I can watch any time. It makes me put my cynicism aside, and brings a smile to my lips. This is all the more true for its soundtrack, which is one of my all time favorites.

This particular song is picturised on the newly married couple, played by Rani and Vivek. Quite expectedly, all their time is spent making love and doing goofy things together - and the moments of resentment are few and far between. What makes it work so well is the sparkling chemistry between the lead pair - they make every frame shine with their madness and sudden smiles. It makes me want to fall in love all over again!

And the job of putting this young love to words was given to Gulzar, who was close to 70 years old at that time. One sometimes wonders what keeps his words so fresh, even though the situations in our movies remain more or less the same. The thought he gives while writing songs comes through here --  Vivek plays a character (Adi) who is very much in love and not at all shy about showing it. Rani's Suhani, on the other hand, is more mature and cynical. While they're both in love, it's quite obvious that Adi's is the head-over-heels kind; but Suhani's, not that much.

Lyrics, and translation:

Aye udi udi udi
Aye khwaabon ki pudi
Aye ang-rang kheli
Aye saari raat holi

[[The wrapper that held my dreams has come undone, giving them wings
Entire nights I now spend, soaked in colours of desire]]

Halki, ae halki, kal raat jo shabnam giri
Akhiyaan-vakhiyaan bhar gayin kal to; haath pe dab-dab giri
Pahli-pahli baarish ki boondein
Pahli baarish bheegein

[[As if the light dewdrops from last night
Filled my eyes; And on my hands fell
The first droplets of rains
And I feel drenched, as if in the first rain of the season]]
((My life is suddenly full of freshness (like dewdrops) and joy (such as brought on by rains).))

Uljhi hui thi, khul bhi gayi thi, lat wo raat bhar barsi
Kabhi manaaya, khoob sataaya, thi sab yaar ki marzi

[[Twining and untwining, that strand of your hair rained down on me all night long
A little cajoling, a lot of teasing around - whatever my beloved wanted (she did)]]

[Aye udi udi udi ...]

Chhed doon main kabhi, pyaar se to tang hoti hai
Chhod doon rooth ke, to bhi to jang hoti hai 
Chhed doon main kabhi, pyaar se to tang hoti hai
Khwaamkhaah choom loon, to bhi to jang hoti hai

[[Sometimes, it's my flirting that annoys her
But there's bound to be a war, if I leave her, sulking
Sometimes, it's my flirting that annoys her
And my unwarranted kisses are sure to begin a fight]]

Zindagi, aakhon ki aayat hai zindagi
Palkon pe rakkhi hai, teri amaanat hai
Zindagi ye zindagi ye zindagi

[[My life - a verse written by my eyes,
Held dear by the eyelids,
I'm trusting it all to you]]

 [Uljhi hui thi ...]

Lad-lad ke, jeene ko, ye lamhe tode hain
Mar-mar ke seene mein, ye sheeshe jode hain
Tum kah do, sab la dein, bas itna socho to
Ambar pe pahle hi, sitaare thode hain

[[We've fought everyone to snatch these moments away, (to live (with one-another))
We've put these pieces together, giving it all that we had
Just say the word, and I'll bring it all to you... but then
The sky only has a few stars left, as it is!]]

Zindagi, aakhon ki aayat hai zindagi
Palkon pe rakkhi hai, teri amaanat hai
Zindagi ye zindagi ye zindagi

[[My life - a verse written by my eyes,
Held dear by the eyelids,
I'm trusting it all to you]]

 [Uljhi hui thi ...]

  1. As I was going through some reviews of Saathiya yesterday, one thing that almost every reviewer noted was how Vivek Oberoi was the next big thing. A few even went on to say that Shah Rukh shouldn't have given a special appearance in the movie, given how it starred his rival. I really liked Vivek Oberoi at that time (specially in this movie), and think that he could have been so much more. I hope that both he and Rani can find their footing once again.
  2. Back in Banasthali, we used to watch this movie a lot. Not the entire movie, just a scene or two whenever we felt like. It was full of very witty sort of dialog (such as, शादी के बाद हर आदी इत्यादि बन जाता है जाता है). It was years later that I realized that the dialogs were written by Gulzar, who also won a Filmfare for it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Raah Pe Rahte Hain (Namkeen)

People find it 
Some Gulzar songs elevate themselves from the status of being mere songs, and turn into a life philosophy. Be it "Aane waala pal, jaane waala hai" (Gol Maal), "Musafir hoon yaaron" (Parichay), "Ye lamha filhaal jee lene de" (Filhaal), "Goli maar bheje mein" (Satya), "Aye zindagi, gale laga le" (Sadma) or the song that is the subject of this blog post - these are not just easy on your ears, they can well be life anthems for you or me.

At its most superficial, Raah pe rahte hain is the song of a truck driver (Sanjeev Kumar), who seems visibly pained and disillusioned with life. And even though Sanjeev Kumar's face conveys his despair and the song talks about how memories are all he has; it will find a connect with anyone who's a wanderer at heart. Because it's not a song about looking back; it's a song about forging ahead and making your peace with the journey (called life).

Raah pe rahte hain, combined with Musaafir hoon yaaron make me believe that deep down, Gulzar is also a wandering soul ... intent more on the journey than the destination.

Lyrics and translation:
Raah pe rahte hain, yaadon pe basar karte hain
Khush raho ahal-e-watan, hum to safar karte hain
[[We are the nomadic ones, spending our lives on roads and making do with memories
Hoping you find your happiness, as we have found our solace in this journey]]

Jal gaye jo dhoop mein to saaya ho gaye
Aasmaan ka koi kona odha, so gaye
Jo guzar jaati hai bas uspe guzar karte hain
(Raah pe rahte hain ...)

Whatever the journey throws his way, a traveler finds a way to grow and learn with it...
[[When burned by the sun, we became the shade that gives others shelter
(We don't need fancy hotels to sleep) Tucked under a corner of the sky, we sleep peacefully
Memories are what keep us alive ... ]]

Udte pairon ke tale jab bahti hai zameen
Mud ke humne koi manzil, dekhi hi nahin
Raat-din raahon pe hum, shaam-o-sahar karte hain
(Raah pe rahte hain ...)

[[When the road seems to flow under the speeding wheels
How does one find the time to ponder over what's left behind?
We find comfort in the roads; and this is where the sun rises and sets for us]]

Aise ujde aashiyaane, tinke ud gaye
Bastiyon tak aate-aate, raste mud gaye
Hum thahar jaayein jahaan, usko shahar karte hain
(Raah pe rahte hain ...)

[[We have seen the worst of times... Seen homes torn apart in shreds
Soon as we find ourselves nearing a town, a turn in the road would take us elsewhere
That's how we have learnt to make home wherever we stay
('Cause we are the nomadic ones, spending our lives on the roads and making do with memories...)]]

A little history of the lines "Khush raho ahle-watan, hum to safar karte hain":
Some time back Sandeep (@stwta) sent me this link, which has a long poem by Bismil, written when he was in prison following the Kakori Kand. The poem had this line "Khush raho ahle-watan hum to safar karte hain". Of course, it made me immensely happy, 'cause I love finding connections between pieces of literature/poetry.

Later on, I chanced upon this link, which chronicles Bhagat Singh's conviction and execution for the murder of Saunders. In addition to other details, it also has Bhagat's last letter to his brother Kultar; which again quotes the line "Khush raho ahle-watan hum to safar karte hain" (in addition to couplets from Iqbal and others).

So it made me think, may be Bismil and Bhagat Singh were both quoting someone else. So I searched some more, and found this page. Here I finally found out, that the line was originally written by Wajid Ali Shah. He wrote this couplet while being exiled from a place he loved, Lucknow:
"Dar-o-deewar pe hasrat se nazar karte hain
Khush raho ahle-watan hum to safar karte hain

Humne apna dil-e-naazuk to zafa ko saunpa
Qaisari bagh jo hai usko saba ko saunpa ...."

Hmm! So there it is, my little piece of research off the Internet, which has obviously made me happy enough for today :)

Plus it adds another name to the list of poets that Gulzar has quoted - Ghalib (Satrangi Re, Dil Dhoondhta Hai) and Khusrau (Zeehal-e-miskin). And I must confess, till some 10 years back I thought "Dikhaayi Diye Yun" (written by Mir Taqi Mir) was penned by Gulzar.

Here's a video to the poem written by Bismil, which was later used in the movie "Aandolan", and sung beautifully by the inimitable Bhupinder. (Again, thanks to @stwta)

(The movie Namkeen is also available on Youtube)
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