Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gulzar and co.

As a kid I often spent my holidays with my relatives: mostly my maternal grandparents and at my father's sisters. All three houses had a number of people, and the conversations of various sorts had played a serious role in shaping my childhood. The lawn at Kalighat, the walks with my grandfather through Lake Market or Potopara, street cricket at Dover Lane - everything remains incredibly detailed and rich in my memory.

One of my memories involves a large group watching Abhimaan in the TV room at my aunt's. I didn't understand major parts of the classic (partly due to my limited prowess in Hindi, but mostly due to my inability to come to terms with the assortment of adult emotions portrayed in the movie) other than the fact that the tall leading man shouted and brooded through the movie, and his  diminutive wife kept quiet. The other memory that stuck was the fact that all the women present in the hall were weeping, especially during the song at the climax of the movie, that went
Tere mere milan ki ye raina
Naya koi gul khilayegi, tabhi to chanchal hai tere naina
Dekho na, dekho na.

Years passed by; the movie and song both went on to become my favourites. I came to know that the movie was based on the 1954 classic A Star is Born; the song was based on the Rabindrasangeet যদি তারে নাই চিনি গো; and despite the fact that both Kishore and Lata were at their melodious best and the leading pair put up sombre expressions while putting their rehearsed lips to the song, the fact remained that the lyrics (at least the first two lines, if not the entire song) were entirely physical.

If you don't believe me, go through the lines again. I don't think Majroohji ever wanted to hide the fact that the man was craving for the night to arrive, and could see a similar sensuous desire in the eyes of his beloved. Neither do I have an objection to the tone of the song. What I don't like is the universal acceptance of the fact that the song is an innocent romantic aphysical one. I wish people listened to lyrics somewhat more carefully.

*** *** ***

Gulzarji, however, belongs to another level altogether. It wasn't easy to describe the physical desire in a Hindi song without being vulgar. He managed to create magic, as always... portraying a woman's physical longings for her husband and the effects they have on her body, soul and entire existence, her sheer desperation during for those sessions during her long waits for him, and at the same time, manage to sound innocent and lyrical. I wish I could write anywhere remotely close to this:
Jab bhi khayaalon mein tu aaye,
Mere badan se khushboo aaye,
Mehke badan mein rahaa naa jaaye
Rahaa jaaye na.

And then,
Reshmi raaten roz na hogi,
Ye saugaaten roz na hogi,
Zindagi tujh bin raas na aaye,
Raas aaye na.

If that isn't brilliant, I don't know what is. Possibly just another proof that you need not display flesh on screen to enhance sexuality. And then, you can't deny Rekha's screen appearance which simply took the masterpiece to the next level.

6 comments:

  1. hnya hnya. amio chhotobelay 'abhimaan' dekhe kichhu bujhte partam na. tobe lyrics gulo je physical seta bujhechhilam as soon as i learnt to properly understand hindi.
    yes, i was a rather paka bachcha.

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  2. good one Abhi... keep it up !!! see i kept my promise :)

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  3. very true.
    a double meaning song, but not overtly vulgar.

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  4. it brought tears to my eyes.wht more can i say to explain.

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  5. electrifying, shortlyApril 26, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    In a country where over a billion "gul" has "khila", the one that stands out is "Gul-zar"...(wink).

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