Edited by Kiara Lakdawala
I remember the first time I had heard Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi. My family and I were on our way from Chandigarh to Kasauli. The windows of the car were rolled down, and the wind was ecstatic. My mom had put on the new Gulzar CD she had purchased. The other songs had washed over me but when this particular song played; my ears somehow became more alert. I listened to the song attentively, trying to capture its essence in its truest form but perhaps I was too young to understand it. Once the song got over, I asked my mother to play it again. My mother gave me a knowing smile and simply asked, ‘Did you like it?’
That is when my I got acquainted with Gulzar Saab’s work. We all know that he is a magician when it comes to poetry, lyrics, and films. But the good thing about him is that his song lyrics are very relevant to the plot of the story yet written in such a manner that everyone can relate.
Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi (Masoom)
Gulzar wrote this song for the movie Masoom which is also famous for the song Lakdi ki Kathi. The movie was about a happy family - loving parents Indu and DK, with their two daughters. DK soon finds out that he has an illegitimate child, Rahul. Rahul’s existence had been hidden from DK by his mother because she did not want to spoil DK’s marital life. However, she had passed away and Rahul needed a home to stay at. Indu could not cope up with the fact of her husband’s infidelity and could not look at Rahul, who was a constant reminder to her of that.
The song took a course over two parts, one from the point of view of Indu and the other from the point of view of DK.
Hairaan Hoon Main
O Hairaan Hoon Main
Tere Masoom Sawaalon Se
Pareshaan Hoon Main
O Pareshaan Hoon Main
The two people are bewildered by life and how it throws surprises and shocks at every turn, some good and some bad. They are not upset with life but rather weary at how it always turns it to be. Life asks them questions which cannot they cannot answer.
My favourite stanza one:
Jeene Ke Liye
Socha Hi Nahi
Dard Sambhaalane Honge
Muskuraane Ke Karz
Muskurayoon Kabhi To
Jaise Honthon Pe
Karz Rakhaa Hai
They had never realized that they would have to bear the pain of grief to lead a happy life. It seems as if to smile is to take a debt because, with every smile, there is more hardship to see. While DK feels guilty for what he did, he still loves his child and wants to treat him like he treats his daughters. However, he also wants to relieve his wife of her pain which she cannot get rid of due to the existence of the child. Indu, on the other hand, knows that she cannot blame the child for anything. She knows the facts and knows how to react but she cannot bring herself to do so.
Dil Dhoondta Hain (Mausam, 1975)
The movie Mausam was made along with Aandhi and was written by and directed by Gulzar ji too. This song is the type which can make anyone nostalgic, transporting back to their good ol’ days. It takes place when the male protagonist reminisces his old days with his deceased beloved.
Dil dhoondta hain phir wahee furasat ke raat din
Baithhe rahe tasawwoor-ye-jaana kiye huye
It means that the heart longs for those peaceful days. He now sits thinking about the face of his beloved (tasawwoor-e-jaana)
Jaadon kee narm dhoop aur aangan mein let kar
Aankhon pe khinch kar tere aanchal ke saaye ko
Aundhe pade rahe kabhee karwat liye huye
The warm sunlight on a cold day, soaking it up while lying in his backyard, that is what the male protagonist wants to relive - the small moments of happiness and satisfaction.
Iss Mod se Jaate Hain (Aandhi, 1975)
The movie was written and directed by Gulzar ji himself. He has always made independent women, ahead of their times. The movie is about a couple- J. K and Aarti, who part away because J. K., a poet at heart and a hotel manager by his living could not keep up with his wife’s ambitions to become a politician.
They meet after several years, when Aarti had become a renowned politician and had to while campaigning, she met J. K again. When they met, all the emotions and memories came back, creating that yearning. They both wanted to reunite but Aarti did not want to tarnish her established career.
Is mod se jaate hain
Kuch sust kadam raste
Kuch tez kadam raahein
Here the mod could be the turn of life, wherein J.K and Aarti have to take decisions and match their steps - J.K. is lazy and slow ones to Aarti’s fast-paced ones.
Patthar ki haveli ko
Sheeshe ke gharaundon mein
Tinkon ke nasheman tak
Is mod se jaate hain
From now on, it depends on them if how they will carve their futures. They could build a sturdy stone palace, which no one can break, or a home of glass which is vulnerable or else a nest made of twigs which even the wind can blow away. These are metaphors for how their relationship can transform into.
Chhaiya Chhaiya (Dil Se, 1998)
The song that made its way to toy mobile phones as an annoying ringtone, this is one song to which every 90’s kid has danced to. It made Malaika Arora famous and dancing on the top of a train cool. It has excellent beats (Rahman ji ki badaulat) but the lyrics are more than what meets the ear (Gulzar ji ki khairiyat).
Jinke sar ho ishq ki chhaaon
Paaon ke neeche jannat hogi
Jinke sar ho ishq ki chhaaon
Chal chaiyya chaiyya…
It says that the ones who have the shelter of love will have heaven below their feet; thus keep walking in the shade. Living life is tough in itself and the presence of love makes it beautiful and bearable.
Gulposh kabhi itraye kahin
Mehke to nazar aa jaaye kahin
Taweez banaake pehnoon usay
Aayat ki tarah mil jaaye kahin
Gul-posh means to be ‘covered in flowers.’
He is saying that she is always covered in flowers and is only recognized by her fragrance. He wants to keep her close to his heart in the form of a ‘taweez,’ which is a locket mostly worn for religious purposes.
‘Aayat’ either denotes miracles, signs or quotes from the Quran. Here, he is saying that he will keep her like a taweez only if he does find her, which itself would be a miracle.
Chupke Se (Saathiya, 2002)
The movie was about imperfect couples and how things are not as smooth as they seem. It had delicately shown the fragility of relationships. Aditya and Suhani have been facing marital problems and the song shows their separation.They miss each other yet do not want to be with each other then.
Doston se jhoothi-moothi doosron ka naam le ke,
teri-meri baatein karna
Yaara, raat se din karna
Lambi judaai teri bada mushkil hai,
aahon se dil bharna
Yaara raat se din karna
The first line is very amusing as it shows the general human behavior. Here it is said that Aditya discusses them (the couple) with his friends by using false names. He spends to whole night yearning for her, while time passes and transforms into a new day.
Farvari ki sardiyon ki dhoop mein
Moondi-moondi akhiyon se dekhna
Haath ki aad se
Nimmi-nimmi thand aur aag mein
Haule-haule marwa ke raag mein
Meer ki baat ho
The feeling of the sun infiltrating our bones on a cold afternoon makes a comeback (Remember Dil Dhoondta Hain?). If you are from North India, you would very well know that this type of sunlight makes one sleepy, hence explaining ‘moondi-moondi akhiyon.’ Her lover looks at her by covering his face with his palms (because of the direct sunlight) with sleep-ridden eyes.
The mention of Raag Marwa is symbolic because Raag Marwa is said to be the raag of lovers, the samay (time) being the evening when the sun sets in a lethargic manner. Raag Marwa, however, also has a lot of komal notes, which gives pain to it. This can accentuate the pain between both the lovers.
Do Jahaan (Haider)
This song is unheard of and perhaps underestimated, yet my favourite. Sung by Suresh Wadekar and Shraddha Kapoor, it takes place after Haider (Shahid Kapoor) kills Arshee’s (Shraddha Kapoor) father and flees. It is a slow ballad interspersed with Kashmiri verses.
In the movie, Arshee had a woven a red scarf for her father who was a police officer. Her father had caught Haider who was attempting to kill his uncle and tied his hands with that red scarf itself. Haider had managed to run away but he was caught again by Arshee’s father, whom he killed with a gun.The red scarf was found near the killing spot which the police returned to Arsee. Look at the girl’s plight; her father was killed by her beloved. She was in a shock and the last she was shown was untangling the scarf while singing these Kashmiri verses of the song to herself.
Bitti naayi doorye
Kya kar hove tham
The verse translates to:
‘I am far from you
I am your soul mate
Oh my beloved
What should I do now?
You have shown me everything
The song starts like this:
Sire udhad gaye hain
Subah sham ke
Who mere do jahaan saath le gaya
Tamaam dastaan saath le gaya
Like the unraveled scarf, the morning and the evening have unraveled to the present.
The third line suggests that that Arshee had two worlds - one of hers and one of her lovers. These two worlds had dissolved into each other so much that now that he has gone, he has taken away both of their worlds.
My favourite stanza is:
Main sajde se utha toh koi bhi na tha,
Who paanv ke nishaan saath le gaya
Sajda is a form of prayer to Allah in which the devotee bends and touches the ground with his head. In Sufism, one’s lover is equivalent to their God and vice versa.
Hence, when she got up from her prayer to her lover, he was no longer there. He had vanished.
Paanv ke nishaan means the identity one has created in the world. So when Haider went away, he took her identity along with her.
Gulzar ji shows the pain of longing very carefully, amplifying yet healing the wounds through his words. ‘Mera Kuch Saamaan’ from Ijaazat portrays this too, where a girl is waiting for her husband to come back.
Gulzar ji has always kept up with the times, instead of cursing it. The beauty of his language and his word remains. That is why his lyrics are still loved, and people still revere him. In the sea of absurd lyrics like ‘Blue hain paani’ and ‘Fevicol,’ dil dhoondta hain fursat ke raat-din.