Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Modern-Day Sahir?

This evening when I got back home, I thought of writing a post on R.D. Burman, since his death anniversary falls on January 4. Now I am no authority to write on him, but then, the blog gives you the opportunity to indulge in that sense of importance. But what new to write about RD, I thought. He has composed most of Bollywood's best songs till date. He has set to music the lyrics of Gulzar, of Javed Akhtar, of Majrooh, of Anand Bakshi, of Gulshan Bawra, of Yogesh, and so on. Then, for a moment, I wondered: has he ever composed the music for Sahir Ludhianvi's lyrics?

I thought hard, and the answer turned out to be 'no'. The senior Burman has, in Pyaasa at least, but not RD. Then I thought harder and the answer came like a flash, as if in reward for thinking so hard. There was a movie made in the 70's called Aa Gale Lag Jaa, starring Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore and Shatrughan Singha. Music: R.D. Burman. Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi. I, like many others of my generation, had seen the film only on Doordarshan: we had missed watching it in the theatres by 15 years.

No one but Sahir could have written the lyrics for a movie like this: the story of a skater who falls in love with a rich man's daughter. It's while skating they sing the famous Kishore-Lata song Waada karo nahin chhodogi tum mera saath (promise that you won't leave me ever). Then circumstances make them make love and they end up have a child. The rich man takes his daughter away, and Shashi Kapoor is left to tend to the child, who turns out to be lame. He is bitter about losing his love, but nevertheless is content seeing her in the child.

As the child grows up, Shashi Kapoor, in Kishore's voice, sings a heart-wrenching song for his disabled son, Ae mere bete, sun mere kehna, chahe dukh hoe, hanste hi rehna (O my son, listen to me, smile ever in sorrow). The film has another popular song, Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi (I think we have an old bond). Only Sahir could have written these songs, the importance of which I did not realise during the Doordarshan days. But today I sat thinking, replaying these songs in my mind, and also the songs of Kabhie Kabhie, yet another testimony to Sahir's genius.

I was wondering how to translate such intensity into words when someone, suddenly, made it easy for me. As I sat staring at the blank page, wondering what to write, a message arrived -- a comment for one of my posts. The commentator turned out to be a fellow blogger. I clicked on his (I presume the gender to be 'his' because the blog profile does not specify anything) ID. His post -- his first and the only so far -- jolted me out of the mattress. I suddenly saw a modern-day version of Sahir -- the Sahir of Aa Gale Lag Jaa combined with the Sahir of Kabhie Kabhie. If you think I am being over-enthusiastic in my reaction, why don't you judge the post for yourself? Here it is.

7 comments:

R! said...

This couldn't have been better!
Thanks a ton for directing us to this wonderful piece of feelings. I am overwhelmed!
Immediately got connected to: Aaj bichde hain, kal ka dar bhi nahi; Zindagi itni mukhtasar bhi nahi...

Arundhati said...

The post is mind blowing, for sure and definately stands on it's own merit! But comparison with Sahir? Ummm.....

The Happy Prince said...

Hey Sir,

I'd say this was fascinating, mind blowing, meticulous, impeccable, fabulous, nostalgic, titvating, spruced up etc etc...you write really well. However I'm not going to say it all beacause you havealso written that you are the editor of Indian Express. So you HAVE to be all i said above to be there. So all in all....quie expected from you. Nothing Great!

VAraD

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

r! & Arundhati: Thanks.

Happy Prince: I wish I was the editor of Indian Express. But thanks a lot for your back-handed compliments :)

Anonymous said...

"Maine tujhe maanga, tujhe paaya hai": Movie - Deewar; Lyrics - Sahir; Music - RD Burman.
There may be more such songs!

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Anonymous: Thanks a tonne for reminding me. :)

About Health Blog said...

Then I thought harder and the answer came like a flash, as if in reward for thinking so hard.