Kisko khabar thi, by Sneh Dhingra

Devdas came in 3 colours – antique, with K L Saigal; B&W with Dilip and multicolour with Shahrukh Khan. The new generation raved about the SRK starrer because of its pomp, unrealistic sophistication and glitter. However, those that had seen the original with KLS, swore it was a true representation of the Sarat Chandra novel. The sandwich generation(that listened to their parents as well as children) swore by the Dilip starrer.

Everyone has to die someday – Aaya hai so jaayega, zinda bacha na koye. But, some folks are experts at reducing their life-span and enjoying themselves to the hilt in the process. They toy with the delicate organs such as the liver, lungs and heart by indulging in liquor and tobacco, like there really is no tomorrow.

Devdas took to the bottle to drown his sorrow. Dilip’s portrayal was amazing. HIs eyes grew lifeless as the film footage untwined. He truly looked the part of a human who was out to waste himself – as there was no purpose to his life. It would be nice if such people bequeathed their organs to science and allow scientists to study and inform people how much real time it would take for them to dwindle to nought.

Mitwa.. laagi re ye kaisi anbujh pyaas.. what a song.. Dilip Kumar is sitting with a rifle in his hand. Wonder if he was contemplating suicide here or was he going to kill a bird that appears at the 2:09 mark? On close inspection, at 0:32 there is evidence that he was indeed a “chidimaar”. Regardless, Dilip’s expression is one of the most poignant, as his eyes are bereft of any semblance of life or enjoyment thereof. His eyes are as dead as dead can be – whether he looks up or is downcast – his eyes are totally lifeless. It seems like life is floating right outside his eyes and hanging on to him by an eyelash. Surely, he appears to show that depression can lead to a conflagration that envelopes and snuffs out the spirit from a life.

Coming to the song – what a beauty! There is only the mukhda and one antara to cover the 3:16 mins of melancholy. The words of Sahir, almost seem like once again he was breathing his own life story into the words. SD Burman used minimum instrumentation in this song to ensure the pathos in the words oozed out of the larynx of the inimitable Talat Mahmood with no competition from the composition of instruments.

There you have it .. a song that spells gloom and invites an impending death.


Originally written on 27 May 2018

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.

4 thoughts on “Kisko khabar thi, by Sneh Dhingra

  1. What a remarkable ghazal by Sahir, rendered so well by Talat! Dada Burman did respect the words by turning it into a rhythmless, Senza Misura experience…this is wonderful!

    And your intro? Top class, especially the point about the rifle in Dilip’s hands…wow!

    1. Thanks a heap, Manek. There is so much to learn of the nuances of music of which you are the Guru. Might take the better part of the rest of life to patch that into the memory, which is starting to sing a different tune.. a capella and out of tune!

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