(Also published in Northern India Patrika, December 22, 2013)
Once upon a time Hindi movie songs acted as anti-depressants. Now Hindi film music gives rise to depression! Modern songs devoid of meaning and set upon incoherent beats in the name of music give rise to headache instead of removing it! Earlier songs depicted certain philosophy, which added a new dimension in the script of the movie. The movies made by Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor effectively used songs to introduce new twist in the story. It’s altogether a different story in modern cinema. There are item numbers or poorly inserted hopelessly romantic numbers.
First, there is dearth of talented lyricists and, second, there is lack of good music directors. The bunch of music directors that we see are primarily technocrats, relying heavily on technology. Some will argue that we have talented lyricists but the ability to write one or two catchy one-liners doesn’t make anyone a lyricist! Listen the lyrics and it would be hard for you to decide whether it’s an English song, or a Punjabi song, or a Hindi song. Look at the music compositions. It’s either for the hip-hop generation or it’s for the night clubs. It’s not merely that times have changed and we need to adjust to new trends. There is something terribly wrong with the creativity involved in making of songs! Should we not assume that capitalistic traits have murdered real creativity? Overseas rights of distribution, heavy fees extracted from rights of satellite channels and numerous other equations enjoy greater concern than ensuring bliss!
I do not wish to appear stupidly nostalgic caught in the time warp. As an evidence of the creativity, which prevailed in 50s and 60s, I am presenting four songs of lyricists who have really inspired me a lot. Every time I come to hear a song written by them, it leaves me in state of intoxication. I am referring to trio comprised of Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badauini and Shailendra. These “Triple S” always stirred my emotions to no extent.
Bimal Roy’s Madhumati (1958) is very close to my heart. Not only it strengthens our belief in re-birth, a prominent concept in Indian philosophy, but also it makes us believe in the power of true love. As per this movie the impact of true love transcend many generations. This movie is really a classic in world cinema. Right from the first scene till the last frame of this movie, it keeps the viewer in state of trance with its gripping presentation of the story and its enchanting music. I remember when I went to see this movie in a theater couple of months ago in a film festival, the theater was jam-packed. Not a single seat was available. And I saw many of the viewers sitting on the floor of the balcony and many others still having argument with the gate-keeper to move inside even as the movie had started. Shailendra and Salil Chaudhary made each song a masterpiece. Well, this time I wish to introduce first song of this movie “Suhana Safar Aur Ye Mausam Haseen”. Every time I move on a beautiful passage passing through the valleys, I always come to remember this song. Shailendra has borrowed the appeal present in poems of Wordsworth. Nature has come alive in this song where one can actually feel that clouds are kissing the earth! – “Ye Aasman Jhuk Raha Hai Jameen Par”. Notice the wonderful prelude of this song. It’s so impressive that it has virtually become part of my consciousness! Immediately you come to realize that this song features mountains! That’s the magic of these songs. One of my favourite past-time in school and college days was to identify the song after listening clip of prelude. Anyway, it’s time to listen the whole song! Also notice the way how great maestro Bimal Da has picturized this song!
That’s a song which speaks volume about the singing ability of Mohammed Rafi. It’s been so deeply and soulfully sung by Rafi that it leaves you speechless. Aadmi was released in 1968 which had music under direction of Naushad and songs were penned by Shakeel Badayuni. Naushad had a special place for Shakeel in his heart and he went out of the way to help Shakeel in his last days troubled both by financial crisis and bad health. The movie highlighted love triangle and fascinating performances on part of Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rahman and Manoj Kumar made it an unforgettable movie. The song makes it clear that one can be strong willed even if one’s heart and mind have been shattered by the cruel twists and turns of the fate. The song has tragic melody which not only depicts personal loss but also highlights that pain ultimately leads to realization of highest type- perfect union with the Lord! The camera work is wonderful in this song as it captures the roaring sea waves hitting the rocks! The song makes an appeal that someone who has begun a new journey should not be haunted by the past episodes of life!
I met lots of people in this short life, who preached me in pompous tone that ego is bad, money is filth, ladies are evil and etc. That I have had heard umpteen times since childhood, and, interestingly, I came to live a more realistic and down-to-earth life than those who talked about such values publicly in glittering company of like minded souls! I found people, talking about life devoid of ego, the most egocentric souls, chasing name and fame with greater passion than anyone else. I met shrewdness disguised as faithfulness. Friend or beloved, they turned out to be more like poison placed in silver cup.
And still, having seen such worst contradictions, I feel life is a beautiful affair. Life’s canvas still motivates me to live life fully. May be life has some more cruel lessons to offer me! But I am now no more interested in life’s equations similar to one which we notice on chessboard-you win I lose types. In fact, its cruel maneuvers never appealed to my sense instinctively. Precisely, that’s why I have never been passionate admirer of life’s idiotic episodes. My philosophy, until now, has been to deal sincerely with whatever came to cross my path. For me, the very fact that you have arrived in this world of human beings is a big mistake- a divine joke. May be for a greater lot, these changing facets of life turn out to be as important as a life and death issue, but in my eyes, the life mired in deceptiveness at its every turn, does not evoke great concern. I find even the most beautiful episodes of life, have their genesis in some sort of deception. So as I suffer pain, when I come to hear about loss of loved ones, or when I anticipate a blissful episode, the nothingness of life keeps me in state of peace.
Sometimes back I read powerful arguments in favour of death. And one of them stated that death is very much needed since if you continued living, you would realize that people who lived around you as picture of faithfulness were nothing but beings mired in selfishness! Death arrives to retain your illusion. It does you a great favour by keeping your faith intact in flawed people. I am sure had life allowed a legitimate route to embrace death all by oneself, I am sure many would have adopted that path. India’s great revolutionary Bhagat Singh had made a remarkable comment- hanged to death by the British Government in the pre-Independence era- that had he been living, life would have heaped upon him some more chosen scandals. So he is so happy that death has embraced him in the prime of his youth; that death kept his so many vices secret. That’s why he was more happy than sad when hanged to death order was delivered to him. In my eyes, he was the ideal example of these words: “Those whom the gods love die young.”
It’s pathetic that laws of this nation-may be elsewhere too-are strange. They treat suicide a crime. However, the same lawmakers, being devoid of accountability, fail to ensure that people who abetted suicide of innocent person should not go scot-free. The policymakers take no measures to keep away those scenarios, which compel anybody to think about killing oneself. Paradoxically, aiding and abetting suicide, becomes a cause of concern only when someone brings the issue in the court. It’s easy to understand that why it’s never the case. The case in court drags for years and in the end we find the accused denied punishment in want of concrete evidences. So it’s really amusing, and tragic as well, that society first promotes crime and then the same society delivers verdicts. Isn’t that height of absurdity?
Anyway, the pretenders, who unfortunately claim to be my close friends- the ones who are guilty of complicating my simple life, dare to ask me as to why I am not a public figure, why I am not that involved in life’s silly episodes the way they are? Interestingly, they are like the conspirators, standing by your side as a mute spectator, just like you, witnessing the tragedy given birth by them. Since they often dare to ask me such a question with straight face, I need to quote these lines by well known poet Sahir Ludhianvi as a reply to these curious souls-the conspirators:
“क्या मिलिए ऐसे लोगो से जिनकी फ़ितरत छुपी रहे,
नकली चेहरा सामने आये असली सूरत छुपी रही
खुद से भी जो खुद को छुपाये क्या उनसे पहचान करे,
क्या उनके दामन से लिपटे क्या उनका अरमान करे,
जिनकी आधी नीयत उभरे आधी नीयत छुपी रहे।”
“Is there any point in meeting with people, having dubious intentions?
Who project their unreal image, but keep the real one hidden
People, who have kept secret from themselves, too, their own real image
Why should I embrace them, and seek them ?
People who half disclose their intentions, keeping close to their hearts the actual intentions.”
Another brilliant poet, Nida Fazli, has exposed the real elements, which constitute the so-called beautiful episodes of life. These verses in my eyes reveal the reality of life. For a simple person like me, I don’t think that such a cruel world can ever elicit deep attention on my part. It’s another thing that for people of the world, I might look like living, but internally I am on par with dead.
“हर तरफ हर जगह बेशुमार आदमी,
फिर भी तनहाइयों का शिकार आदमी,
सुबह से शाम तक बोझ ढ़ोता हुआ,
अपनी लाश का खुद मज़ार आदमी,
हर तरफ भागते दौड़ते रास्ते,
हर तरफ आदमी का शिकार आदमी,
रोज़ जीता हुआ रोज़ मरता हुआ,
हर नए दिन नया इंतज़ार आदमी,
जिन्दगी का मुक्कदर सफ़र दर सफ़र,
आखिरी साँस तक बेकरार आदमी”
“Everywhere there is sea of people
Yet a person suffers from isolation
Carrying the burdens from morning till evening
Human being has become some sort of moving tomb
Everywhere you find busy roads
Wherein one person becomes victim of other person
Every day a person wakes up only to die a bit more
And still greets each day with great expectations
The destiny of human life from its one episode to another
Is to remain anxious till last breath.”
P.S.: Translation Of The Verses Done By The Author Of This Post.