Ishk Mujh ko nahi wahsat his sahi
I wonder if Bharat Bhushan was ever shown engaged with a villain in fisticuffs or in an exchange of bullets. If he was he would have been at odds with himself. He had a soft exterior; his eyes dreamy, a tad philosophical. His countenance evidenced a man of heart, of honest emotions, of surrender – a devout whether of the god or His feminine creature!
This devout in him was in full view as he acted Baiju (a Hindu) in the film with the same name. Recall the bhajan Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj…this bhajan owes its immortality not only to three Muslims, but also to this Hindu on screen. He looked a bhakt with an unmistakable divine aura. He demonstrated this incomparable sentiment again in that Basant Bahar classic, Bhai bhanjana…
But when he donned the mantle of a Muslim – of the peerless Ghalib – he so much looked the great poet, so much so that when I think of Ghalib, I only get the image of Bharat Bhushan! For the people of my generation, or perhaps even of later, Bharat Bhushan gave a physical identity to Ghalib. So much so that when I saw Naseer playing Ghalib, I resented him.
ishq mujh ko nahīñ vahshat hī sahī
merī vahshat tirī shohrat hī sahī
qat.a kiije na ta.alluq ham se
kuchh nahīñ hai to adāvat hī sahī
mere hone meñ hai kyā rusvā.ī
ai vo majlis nahīñ ḳhalvat hī sahī
ham bhī dushman to nahīñ haiñ apne
ġhair ko tujh se mohabbat hī sahī
ham koī tark-e-vafā karte haiñ
na sahī ishq musībat hī sahī
ham bhī taslīm kī ḳhū Dāleñge
be-niyāzī tirī aadat hī sahī
yaar se chheḌ chalī jaa.e ‘asad’
gar nahīñ vasl to hasrat hī
Ghalib (Bharat Bhushan) sounds pensive, a bit ‘aggrieved’ too, as he begins his recital but loses his poise on realizing that his muse, the reason for his angst, is right there. The recital changes its pace and mood mid-course to express a protest, an ire that is almost self-directed.
Talat’s gaayaki is just about perfect for an intimate rendering of the poetical nuances and of the articulated mood modulations.
And it will be a truism to say that this poetry of Ghalib is a masterpiece. He is handling here a strand in relationship that is more manifest in negatives but yet he will yet not let it go…even if that risks his love being dubbed a madness, even if it gets him notoriety instead of fame, even if fidelity remains unreturned, and even if the relationship is an unmitigated adversity! What abiding commitment in love, even if it has soured by all accounts!
Enjoy the muffled anger of this man (Ghalib–Bharat Bhushan) of soft body and tender heart.
And also enjoy Talat of blue mood turning a tad crimson.
Originally written on Bharat Bhushan’s birthday, 14th June, 2018
Exceptional thinker and writer Vijay Kumar was with The Ministry of Tourism, New Delhi, where he resides. He enjoys his children, dotes on his grandchildren, and loves Hindi film songs with meaningful lyrics.