Thank you very much for the enthusiastic response to the new series. Here is how it started:
I have been giving you Raaga Based Songs of the Day (eg, ‘Raaga Based Song Of The Day #80‘) for the last nearly three months now. Many of you, who know your music well, have many a times pointed out that a particular song, though ostensibly close to one raaga has traces of other raagas or has deviated substantially from the chosen raaga. I have readily admitted that, pointing out that it is not the job of the film songs composers to stick to the purity of any raaga. Their job is to produce tunes that would be popular and would tug at the emotions of the listeners.
With that in mind, I started a new series yesterday to give you songs that tug at your emotions even when they are not based on any raagas.
These are the songs that stay in the creases of your mind long after you last heard them, somewhat like the strains of the song of The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth.
I also feel that these are the songs that make you wonder whether the lyrics influenced you more or the composition or is it the composition that made you look at the beauty of the lyrics?
The first of these was put together by lyricist Shailendra and composer Salil Chowdhury and singer Talat Mahmood for the 1957 Dulal Guha movie Ek Gaon Ki Kahani starring Talat Mahmood, Mala Sinha and Abhi Bhattacharya: Raat ne kyaa kyaa khwaab dikhaaye (‘Songs That Tug At Your Emotions – Song #1‘).
Today’s song is another special one.
It is from the 1961 Bimal Roy production Kabuliwala that was directed by Hemen Gupta who was private secretary to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The movie was based on a story by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and starred Balraj Sahni as an Afghan, Abdur Rahamat Khan, who travels to Calcutta from his village near Kabul (that’s why the title) so as to earn more and give better life to his family, particularly his little daughter played by Baby Farida. Whilst in Calcutta as a dry-fruit seller, he develops affection for a small girl Mini, played by Sonu, the daughter of Rama (Usha Kiran) and her husband (Sajjan). He sees in Mini his own daughter in his Afghan village.
This song, penned by Prem Dhawan, composed by Salil Chowdhury, and sung by Manna Dey is a poignant one when Balraj Sahni and other Afghans miss their country and their loved ones that they left behind whilst seeking greener pastures in India. The strains of the song stay with you long after it is over. Many of us actually sing the song as a devotion to our own country, which is but natural.
The song also fills you with silent pride about the kind of movies that we made in just independent India. We made movies, for example, on the plight of Jews, on Iraqis (particularly Baghdad), and on themes driven by Egypt, China, Burma and Japan.
Many a times, our music directors assimilated notes from these foreign locales. For example, the song that I have selected for you is based on a folk-tune of Afghanistan.
We were the best in portraying themes of humanism, international cross cultures and search for mutated identities of people affected by large-scale migration.
Just to drive home that point, let me add that Rabindranath Tagore’s story Kabuliwala was translated into English by an Irish woman Margaret Elizabeth Noble, who was so influenced by Swami Vivekananda‘s ideal of humanism and service to mankind, that she became a lifelong disciple of the Swami and was given the name Sister Nivedita (dedicated to God) by Swami Vivekananda, in Calcutta, much before Mother Theresa embarked on her Service of God theme.
I am in love with this song and I assume it fills you too with emotions that are bound to be there when one has travelled far from one’s country of birth. So powerful is this theme that many decades later when Pankaj Udhas came up with his Chidhi aayi hai, it evoked equally strong emotions.
Please enjoy: Aye mere pyaare watan, aye mere bichhade chaman, tujh pe dil qurbaan…
ऐ मेरे प्यारे वतन, ऐ मेरे बिछड़े चमन
तुझ पे दिल क़ुरबान
तू ही मेरी आरज़ू, तू ही मेरी आबरू
तू ही मेरी जान
(तेरे दामन से जो आए उन हवाओं को सलाम
चूम लूँ मैं उस ज़ुबाँ को जिसपे आए तेरा नाम ) – २
सबसे प्यारी सुबह तेरी
सबसे रंगीं तेरी शाम
तुझ पे दिल क़ुरबान …
(माँ का दिल बनके कभी सीने से लग जाता है तू
और कभी नन्हीं सी बेटी बन के याद आता है तू ) – २
जितना याद आता है मुझको
उतना तड़पाता है तू
तुझ पे दिल क़ुरबान …
(छोड़ कर तेरी ज़मीं को दूर आ पहुंचे हैं हम
फिर भी है ये ही तमन्ना तेरे ज़र्रों की क़सम ) – २
हम जहाँ पैदा हुए
उस जगह पे ही निकले दम
तुझ पे दिल क़ुरबान …
When I was young, I hadn’t seen the movie. All throughout my life I was in love with this song, so much so that I didn’t want to see the movie lest it should wreck the atmosphere that I had personally built around the song. Finally, in Dec 2016, I picked up courage to see the movie. And, I was able to see what a beautiful movie Hemen had put together. They built up to the song very well and I thoroughly enjoyed it in the movie too.
I hope you enjoyed it too.
Please await tomorrow’s song.
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