Phir Wohi Shaam, by Monica Kar

Jahan Ara (1964) – Rajinder Krishan – Madan Mohan

Rajinder Krishan is a poet who has a vast repertoire of all sorts of songs in Hindi Film Music. It’s hard to describe him or pin him down to any one ideology or emotion. Perhaps the true test of sincerity is its steadfastness. In an age when Shakeel, Sahir, and Shailendra–not to forget Majrooh–ruled, Rajinder Krishan wrote consistently and well. Proving that he was a worthy contender among the greats. His work is vast. His thoughts provide you the image of a well-read, sensitive writer.

Ever since I can remember, the album Jahan Ara has held me in its grip. It’s a delicate album with music by Madan Mohan that, had the movie done well, would have been a chartbuster. As it is, it connects with fans even after half a century.

The delicacy of this album hides a tensile, inherent strength that makes the nine songs in it unforgettable. The two duets, ‘baad muddat ke ye ghadi aayi’ and ‘aye sanam aaj ye kasam khaayein’ have completely different emotions. The first is a meeting of two lovers for whom waiting has been punishment enough “ishq mar-mar ke kaamyaab hua, aaj ik zarra aftab hua”… while the second is a life-long commitment, challenging even God “dekh kar range-e-wafa, muskurayega Khuda”. Befitting that Madan Mohan stops all music after that challenge before it restarts with a repeat of their commitment.

One of his richest musical scores, this richness is more than apparent in the third duet, sung by two dancers, in Jahan Ara’s court, in a transferred emotions kind of song, “Jab-jab tumhein bhulaya, tum aur yaad aaye”. The pen of Rajinder Krishan works wonders here, too.
“marne ki aarzu mein hum jee rahe hain aise
jaise ke laash apni khud hi koi utthaye…” sing Lata and Asha in one of their best-ever duets. The a capella portion of this duet uses two couplets from another ghazal sung by Talat Mehmood in the movie, “main teri nazar ka suroor hun”, a ghazal that is the powerful and confident, if sad, proclamation of a lover who believes he is still loved: “teri aashiqui ka guroor hun, tujhe yaad ho ke na yaad ho”. A strong poem of faith in one’s love:
“tere dil mein main bhi zuroor hun, tujhe yaad ho ke na yaad ho” – lines that the dancers in court sing too, but with such a different flavor!

A story of a Royal Princess and a commoner in love, with no future, the poetry in the movie is rich with sadness. The sadness of the inability to be a couple. Even though they are childhood friends. The very public Princess and her lover must even woo in public. Rajinder Krishan makes that happen with stealth. Rafi’s
‘kisi ki yaad mein duniya ko hain bhulaye huye…
hazaar parde hon, pehre hon ya hon deewarein
rahenge meri nazar mein to vo samaaye huye’

and Lata’s
‘haal-e-dil yun unhein sunaya gaya
aankh hi ko zubaan banaya gaya…’
are sung in a full court with people not only listening but enjoying the beautiful poetry. Completely uff!

The anguish of being separate when your loved one is hurting has hardly ever been expressed better than here in Talat’s befitting voice:
“teri aankh ke aansu pee jaaun, aisi meri taqdeer kahaan
tere ghum mein tujh ko behlaaun, aisi meri taqdeer kahaan…”

When pain and hopelessness reach their peak, the result is often a deep, intense silence. So frightening is this silence of hopelessness that it prompts the people who care for such a one to plead:
“jo ashk pee bhi liye, jo honth see bhi liye
to sitam ye kis pe kiye
kuchh aaj apni sunao, kuchh aaj meri suno
khamoshiyon se to dil aur dimaag jalte hain
vo chup rahein to mere dil ke daag jalte hain…”

But for intense love that is helpless, there is no recourse except the memories of better times. Rajinder Krishan’s poetry stops me in my tracks – this same lover, when he thought there was a way he could relieve the agony his lover faced sang,
“aye kaash jo mil kar rote, kuchh dard to halke hote…
…phir ranj na hota itna, hai tanhai mein jitna…”

but, now that he’s alone “jaane ab tujh se mulaqat kabhi ho ke na ho, jo adhoori rahi vo baat kabhi ho ke na ho…”, all he wishes for is solitude, to lick his wounds without well-meaning well-wishers who don’t understand why that solitude is important “dil ko samjhaane teri yaad chali aayi hai, phir wo hi shaam, wo hi ghum, wo hi tanhai hai…” as if that solitude itself is to be cherished as her memories will come-a-visiting…
“hijr ki raat, magar pyar ki baatein hongi…” and their love will be relived “phir muhabbat mein tadapne ki qasam khaayi hai…”.

“Phir tasavvur tere pehlu mein bittha jaayega
phir gaya waqt ghadi-bhar ko palat aayega
dil behel jaayega, aakhir ko to saudaayi hai….” 🙂

Rajinder Krishan ji, ufff!
Aap ki kalam ko, aap ke saudaayi dil ko, aapki bhaavnaaon ko, aap ke izhaar-e-bayan ko naman _()_

~~~~

Originally written on 6th June 2018, Rajinder Krishan’s birthday

Monica Kar received her BA in English Honours from the University of Delhi. She now lives in St. Charles, Missouri, where she wears several hats, including doing voluntary work as an educator and homemaker.

3 thoughts on “Phir Wohi Shaam, by Monica Kar

  1. Manek, aap me qadr ki, gaane ki, soch ki, tehreer ki – aapka shukriya. Tah-e-dil se. 🙏🏻
    Being featured on your website feels like a Medal of Honor, always!
    Jahan Ara was an amazing album. I’m glad I got the opportunity to say so, in my own little way.

  2. Madam ji, gaana to bakamaal hai hi, magar aap ki soch aur aap ki tehreer ki bhi kya baat hai _()_ 🙂

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