I am very fond of Hindi songs, especially old Hindi songs. Most of the lyricists of the era when I was small and later young wrote in Urdu. I have brought out elsewhere in this blog that Urdu – A Language of the Heart is best suited to give expression to the emotions of people in love. Indeed, I have often concluded that poets and lyricists of yore must have been in love themselves to bring out such deep and meaningful thoughts in their poems and songs. For example, Kaifi Azmi’s “Dil ki naazuk ragein toot ti hain, yaad itna bhi koi na aaye” (why should I miss someone to that extent that heart’s tender threads should break down?) or Neeraj’s “Saara aalam hai giriftaar tere husn mein jab, mujhse hi kaise yeh barsaat sahi jayegi; aaj to tere bina neend nahin aayegi” (Complete ambience is as if captivated by your beauty; then how can it be expected that I should go through the rains without being with you? Tonight, I won’t be able to sleep without you)One of the obsessions of the Hindi lyricist, or rather Urdu lyricist has been Chand (Moon). Some of the finest songs have been written on it.
Having Chand in the lyrics has had various purposes; the commonest one being to describe the beauty of the beloved. It is difficult to pick the best in this category. However, I think my maximum votes would go to the 1960 song Chaudhvin Ka Chand (14th day moon or full moon). Shakeel Badayuni has carved out the words to perfection. I can’t imagine a woman listening to it and not being in a trance (as Waheeda Rehman was when Guru Dutt sang this for her in the movie by the same name). Ravi provided such excellent accompanying music that one cannot imagine the song without it. Finally, Hindi movies best singer ever, Mohammad Rafi sang it in such a way that the words seem to come alive. Sample just one of its three stanzas:
Chehra hai jaise jheel mein hanstaa hua kanval,
Ya zindagi ke saaz pe chhedi hui ghazal,
Jaane bahar tum kisi shayar ka khvaab ho.
Chaudhvin ka chand ho, ya aftaab ho,
Jo bhi ho tum khuda ki kasam lajwaab ho.
(Your face is like a lotus smiling in the lake,
Or you are a melody played on the instrument of life,
The Spring that you are, you are a poet’s dream come true.
Are you are a full moon, or a fairy,
Whatever you are, God knows, you are incredible.
Anand Bakshi penned some exquisite lines describing the beauty of a woman in his 1963 song, “Chand aahein bharega, phool dil thaam lenge, husn ki baat chali to sab tera naam lenge.” (Moon will mope, flowers will feel defeated; when they talk about beauty, all will only think of you). The song was sung by the most versatile singer of that era Mukesh. Another song of the same combine of singer-lyricist was the 1965 number: “Chand si mehbooba ho meri kab aisa maine socha tha; haan tum bilkul vaisi ho jaisa maine soch tha” (I used to wish that I’d have a beloved like the moon; yes, you are exactly like how I had wished)
Here is a variation from the great lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri for the 1967 movie Diwana (Crazy): “Ai sanam jisne tujhe chand si surat di hai; usi malik ne mujhe di to mohabbat di hai” (O’ my darling the one who has given you a moon-like countenance; the same almighty has given me something called Love)
Then, there is nothing like Chand as a witness of the lovers; a friend who can be asked by the lovers to do anything they want in love. There are many songs on this theme. The best is difficult to choose from amongst so many really good numbers. However, I would repeatedly listen to 1960 number sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh for the movie Banjaarin (Bedouin). The lyricist was Pandit Madhur and music was provided by Pardesi: “Chanda re meri patiyaa le jaa saajan ko pahuncha de re; vo likh sakein jawab unhe tu mera pata bata de re” (Moon, my pal, take my epistle and deliver it to my Love; so that he should be able to write back, please tell him my address)
|Raj Kapoor and Nargis in 1951 movie Aawara|
How about Chand building an atmosphere or trance or enchantment? Once again, there are many on this theme. Here, I don’t have to be confused about choosing the best. My favourite singer Hemant Kumar sang this for the 1952 movie Jaal (Net): “Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan, sun ja dil ki daastan” (This night, this moonlight will not come again; tonight listen to my heart’s tale):
|Dev Anand in Jaal singing the best song ever on Moon|
Talking about Hemant Kumar, there was no one like him to convey an entire ambience through his singing; he easily transported you to the world being talked about in his songs. His “Yaad aa gayin vo nasheeli nigahein” (Memories of those intoxicating eyes haunt me) remains an all time favourite with me. However, I shall talk about it when I write a post on my best Hindi songs on eyes (aankhein).
Getting back to being entranced by the Moon, here is another favourite: “Dil ki nazar se, nazron ki dil se; yeh baat kya hai, yeh raaz kya hai koi humein bata de.” You are bound to ask, where does Chand get into it? Well, here is a stanza: “Hum kho chale, chand hai ya koi jaadugar hai; ya madbhari yeh tumahaari nazar ka asar hai?” (We are being entranced, is it just Moon or a Magician; or is this the hypnotic effect of your eyes?):
A moonlit light is of no use unless your Love is with you. Even though the word ‘Chand’ or ‘Chandni’ does not occur in it, it is all about “Suhaani raat dhal chuki, na jaane tum kab aayoge?” (Moonlit night is long past its prime, I don’t know when you’ll come?) Moon is a part of the suhaani raat. This song has the Hindi movies’ best ever combination of Mohammad Rafi (singer), Shakeel Badayuni (lyricist) and Naushad (Music director):
To end let me talk about Meena Kumari’s immortal poem “Chaand tanhaa hai, aasmaan tanahaa“; the music is by Khaiyyam:
“Chaand tanahaa hai, aasmaan tanahaa
Dil milaa hai kahaan kahaan tanahaa”
(The moon is lonely, the sky is lonely
My heart that I have is lonely everywhere)
Hindi songs fascination with Chand (Moon) is abiding.
I love Hindi songs; I love Chand.