Gulzar, the unassuming genius. His eyes are so solemn, one would never imagine the depth of talent and spirit that resides behind them.
Often, I have fallen in love with songs, without singling the lyrics, composition or the singer as responsible for its appeal. Often have I loved songs, and discovered much to my awe, that Gulzar is the feeling vocalizer – Gulzar, the Gul-e-Gulzar.
Gulzar’s appeal is the depth he brings to his songs. without sacrificing simplicity. It is the simplicity that most often grants longevity to his songs.
Every night passes, yet, here, the night is refusing to pass, the night that has brought with it separation. The night that has brought with it so much burning that it fails to be extinguished by the eyelids soaked in tears.
Jaya Bachchan looks enchanting in this song. She too has the simple beauty, which was lasting on celluloid. As she sings of times gone by, of forgotten names, her imagination brings forward her departed father, Sanjeev Kumar, who likely had taught her the song, which he himself must have sung with his late wife.
Gulzar’s lyrics have so much power as he delves into nature around and weaves it into a loving structure of the song. He has used repetition in his words, which also accentuates the appeal.
biti hu_i batiyaan ko_i doharaaye
bhule hue naamo se ko_i to bulaaye
chaand chaand ho~ o~ o o o
o~ chaand ki bindivali, bindi vali ratiyaa
jaagi hu_i akhiyo me raas na aa_i rainaa
biti na bitaa_i rainaa birahaa ki jaa_i rainaa
How appealing is the twist of repeating words and words that correlate… Words which in the antara below, take the listener down the path of history… wide and distant…and then bring one close to the minuscule span of a moment, a moment whose memory is untarnished with the passage of eons. Such are the matters of the heart.
yug aate hai aur yug jaae
chhoti chhoti yaado ke
pal nahi jaae
And then Gulzar does another somersault. Comparing the night with a black lie. The night looks darker than a black lie, looks dark, the night (Translations of such beautiful twist of words, pretty well removes the beauty)
jhuth se kaali laage, laage kaali ratiyaa
ruthi hu_i akhiyo ne laakh manaa_i rainaa
That one can consider one night and attribute it with so much… impatience that it fails to go away, and is burning without reprieve. A night with a “bindi” on its forehead. A night that causes one to look through large spans of time and get tied up with memories of a small, small moment. The night is worse than the darkest lie. Only Gulzar can create such poetry, which, when combined with lovely music by RDB and the beautiful vocals of Lata and Bhupinder, gives us a song for the eons.
Written on Gulzar’s birthday, 18th August 2017
Sneh Dhingra (nee Khanna) was born in Delhi to an Army Officer father; consequently, she spent time in several cities, going to school at Patna, graduating in Physics major from Meerut, and also living in Delhi, Lucknow and Kanpur before migrating to Canada, where she has lived since 1975. She is currently based in Ottawa.