Monday, June 26, 2006

Gulzar Redux... Ijaazat onwards

This rejoinder is in response to a friend’s request that the earlier Gulzar piece made too long a leap from Ijaazat to Buty Aur Bubli. And also, in deference to Mad Momma who is currently heading the Association of World Cup Widows!
So here goes…

Gulzar’s last twenty years seem to throw up a whole lot of modern idiom in his work, his versatility bowing to the changing speech patterns. Not compromising on the poetry but still managing to put in a friendly nod to the Gen Next!

While lesser mortals still grappled with archaic notions of boy-chasing-girl, Gulzar exemplified the persistence of the lover through “Sara din raste mein khali rickshey sa, peechhe peechhe ghoomta hain…

He brought in Hinglish through the voice of Vimmi Saluja of Pankhi Nagar when she screamed out loud “Chand ka teeka matthey lagake / Raat din taaron mein jeena veena easy nahin”… and while at it, don’t miss the Punjabi trait of saying roti-shoti, kukkar-shukkar, jeena-veena!

Aks had a ‘remix’ of the traditional Ramleela ditty… in which Seeta asked Hanuman to e-mail Ram since Ravana had cut off all the phone lines! (I recall a letter to the ‘Readers Don’t Digest’ column in Filmfare pompously pointing out that there was no phone-email during the Ramayana times… sigh!)

But this new trend in his poetry has had no impact on his string of mixing metaphors and providing refreshingly new points of reference.

* Shaam ki khidki se, chori chori nange paon, chaand aayegaSaathiya
The moon makes a quiet entry, tip-toeing through the window left open by the evening.

* Udaasi ki haldi hatake tamanna ki laali pakne to doKhubsoorat
Let the jaundice of grief be replaced by a scarlet desire.

* Itna lamba kash lo yaaro, dum nikal jaaye / zindagi sulgao yaaro, gam nikal jaaye / Dil phnooko aur itna phnooko, dard nikal jaayeHu Tu Tu
Take such a long puff that your breath gets taken away. Burn your life down to smoke out the grief.

* Sannate ki sij pe soye yeh saap si sarakti raat, yeh kaali zehrili raatAks
Asleep in a burrow of silence is the slithering night, a black venomous night.

In 1993, he also penned lyrics for Maya Memsaab, which did not do anything for either Deepa Sahi or Shahrukh Khan's careers but had enough delicacies to elevate the music. The most obvious one being the title song which was a lovely play on the word Maya... Ek haseen nigah ka dil pe saaya hain / Jadu hain, junoon hain, kaisi maya hain. A bewitching vision has eclipsed my heart... A magic, obsession or illusion?

However, my personal favourite of this period is also one of the most popular non-film songs ever, one that has remained in everyday memory & lingo despite never being part of any album… the title song of Jungle Book!
Jungle jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai
Chaddi pahan ke phool khila hai phool khila hai..
Ek parinda hua sharminda, tha wo nangaa
Isse pahle ande ke andar tha wo changaa
Soch raha hai baahar aakhir kyun nikala hai
Arre chaddi pahan ke phool khila hai phool khila hai..

Also, an interesting point to note here is an increasing use of onomatopoeia in his antaras.
* Chhaiyya chhaiyya – Dil Se
* Chhalka chhalka – Saathiya
* Chhai chhapa chhai – Hu Tu Tu
* Chappa chappa charkha chaley – Maachis
* Dhadak Dhadak dhuan udaye re – Bunty Aur Bubli
What about this? Or am I reading too much into four/five songs that came to mind simultaneously?


the mad momma said...

don't write him off yet folks!!! he's back - and how!!! Loved the post... no i dont think ur reading too much into it.

Surya said...

Not much of a movie buff, but enjoyed the rest of your blog. I've got to visit it more often :-)

Anirban bNaaRu said...

Wonderful! Dipta always had that zest in his writing. Am listening to the evergreen "Fursat ke raat din" while penning this note. Can't help adding that like all true poetry, most of Gulzar's songs are and about moods - you could listen to them and assimilate them and add your own thoughts and make your own wonderful moments - tiny colourful droplets brought back from the past!

" Dil Dhuu.ndhataa hai phir vahii furasat ke raat din
Baithe rahe tasavvur-e-jaanaa.N kiye hue "

Haven't we all done this in our own ways? Yet it takes a Gulzar to pen down the crystallized thoughts.

One of all time favourites ( I am not prodding Dipta at all, its almost impossible to talk about ALL of Gulzar's lyrics in one or two pieces) from Khamoshi ( oh no, not the 1990's one please) :

"Hamne dekhi hai in aankho ki mahekti khushboo
Haath se chhuke isse rishto ka ilzaam na do
Sirf ehsaas hai ye ruh se mehsoos karo
Pyaar ko pyaar hi rehne do koyi naam na do

Wah, wah, so deliciously fragile; so frail, yet so rich.

BTW, I couldn't help noticing one thing. Is the line really

“Chand ka teeka matthey lagake / Raat din taaron mein jeena veena easy nahin”

or is it

“Chand ka teeka matthey lagake / Raat din taaron mein jeena veena bhi nahin”

My take on this line is - enough of daydreaming, lets get out on the road and get some real dough. Quite possible I am wrong but will someone with a good enough soundsytem and an unscrtached CD (an an unwaxed ear drums possibly !) please check?

On a related isue, most places on the net give you the following lyrics for kajre Re which I am quite convinced is wrong

"Ho tujhse milna purani dilli main
chod aaye nishani dilli main
pal nimani dari betalab
teri meri kahani dilli main"

Huh! What on earth does "pal nimani dari betalab" mean? I think it is

"balli maran se Daribe Kalan tak,
Teri meri Kahaani Dilli mein"

balli maran and daribe kalan are places in old Delhi. That gives so much more sense to the song. An old man telling his debauched lover about the good old times they had, the old sparks between them and thats why Gulzar has consciously chosen names of some of the oldest but most prominent places in the country's history. That makes the song so much more than an "item song" - lends it a wonderful fragrance of forgotten romance that never fruitioned. Or maybe its all a fig of my imagination. Who knows, may be "pal nimani ..." whatever does have some meaning! See, told you a song is so much about the mood and the interpretation :-)

Keep the good work up Dipta.

Anonymous said...

chand ki bindi waali ..
bindi wali ratiyaan


Unknown said...

I also thought it was Balli Maraan se Daribe talak.. Only recently i read this nimani and dari stuff and wondered what it meant

Lakshmy Iyer said...

And yes.. The other two you mentioned are my favourites too
Annd you described perfectly that outstanding quality of his work... Finding something poetic in everday life... Which North Indian wouldnt identify with " ya garmiyon ki raat jo purvaaiyaan chalen, thandi safed chaadaron pe jaagen der tak, taaron ko dekhte rahen chhat par pade huay." so banal and so poetic when he describes it.... And then the imagery if "noor ki boond hai sadiyon se bahaa karti hai..." the blending of space, time, and state( fluid light)...probably my first taste of true poetry...