A Brilliant Duo

Have you ever found your favorite song not listenable at times? I have many in that category, but timeless Gulzar- RD Burman songs almost never fail to deliver. Every time, I cannot help thinking about how remarkably these songs have been created.

GGulzarulzar-RD Burman is a combo much spoken about. And Asha’s voice is the icing on the cake. Chhoti si kahani from Ijaazat is effervescent sounding with an underlying tinge of nostalgia, just like the effect of rainfall on your mind. The use of Asha’s own voice as a background vocal has been well unified. This is one of the examples of the many RD songs in which music did justice to Gulzar’s delightful lyrics.

“Katra katra milti hai “is another absolute favorite. Like Chhoti si kahani, dual vocal of a single singer has been used, but not only as a background vocal this time. I believe this has a greater impact –almost like feeling of talking to oneself.

Right from the starting line “Katra katra milti hai” to the three stanzas of the song, every line is an exemplar of “subtle expression”. Subtlety is his forte and Gulzar is a master of this art truly.

Kabhi to kuch aisa hi aisa hi huwa tha
Neend mein phir tumne jab chhuwa tha
Girte girte bahon mein bachee mein
Sapney pe paun pad gaya tha

Tumne to aakash bichhaaya
Mere nangain pairon mein zameen hai
Paake bhi tumhaare aarzoon ho
Shayad aise zindagi haseen hai

Halke halke kohre ki dhuwein mein
Shayad aasman tak aagayi hoon
Teri do nigahon ke sahaare
Dekho to kahaan tak aagayi hoon

I can’t even imagine how he comes up with lines like “Sapney pe paun pad gaya tha” – a beautiful simple sounding phrase but not ordinarily used.

One of my favourite RD-Gulzar songs with Lata, is “Tuhjse naaraz zindagi” from Masoom, which aptly fits the storyline of the movie. Otherwise also, it is befitting most people’s life. Nobody plans for sad things to unfold in life. But when unfortunate things happen, we tend to question life/fate. Gulzar has beautifully depicted this in word, particularly in these lines.

Jeene ke liye socha hi nahin, dard sambhaalne honge
Mushkuraye to mushkuraanein ke karz utaarne honge
Mushkuraayein to lagta hai, jaise honthon pe karz rakha hai

And we can’t undermine the RD’s music which, without even sounding typically melancholic, is perfect for the lyrics.

Aajkal paon zameen pe from Ghar is closest to my heart. This song describes what is to be on cloud nine!!

Neend si rehti hai, halka sa nasha rehta hai
Raat din aankhon mein ek chehraa basaa rahtaa hai
Parr lagi aankhon ko dekhaa hai kabhi udte huye

Jaane kya hota hai har baat pe kuchh hota hai
Din mein kuchh hota hai aur raat mein kuchh hota hai
thaam lena jo kabhi dekho hamein udte huye

If you pay attention to the lyrics, you will experience the pure bliss of falling in love. I didn’t find a song as beautifully narrating the feeling to be madly in love, so much that I end up feeling sad recounting the happy memories associated with the song in sadder times.

There are many precious gems from this duo like Tere bina jaaye na from Ghar, Do naina aur ek kahani from Masoom, Piya baawari from Khoobsurat, Roz roz ankhon tale from Jeeva , Naam gum jayega and ek hi khwaab kai baar, Aane wala pal from Golmaal  from Kinara  and all songs of Ijaazat, Masoom and Aandhi.

My list is of course not exhaustive and I am no expert to judge which of their songs is the best but these are just the honest emotions evoked by these songs.

Do let me know if you come across a less-popular but beautiful song from the duo.

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Diamonds and Rust – Joan Baez

Joan Baez with Bob Dylan
Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. 08/28/1963

About 3 years ago Tinkerbell first introduced me to the works of Joan Baez, and soon ‘Diamonds and Rust’ by Baez made its way to my ‘Top 25 played songs’ in iPod/iTunes. In the song, written and performed in 1975, Baez recounts an out-of-the-blue phone call from an old lover, which sends her a decade back in time. If I try to summarize the song in one sentence, it will be –  “memories bring ‘diamonds and rust’”, i.e. time turns dirty charcoal into beautiful diamonds and shiny metal into ugly rust.

It is  believed that the song describes Baez’s relationship with Bob Dylan, ten years prior. The fact was confirmed by Baez herself during an interview with music writer Mike Ragogna.

MR: “Diamonds And Rust” was another magic moment. You’ve said when you began writing the song, it started as something else until Dylan phoned you. Then it became about him. That must have been one helluva call.

JB: He read me the entire lyrics to “Lily, Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts” that he’d just finished from a phone booth in the Midwest.

MR: What was the song about originally?

JB: I don’t remember what I’d been writing about, but it had nothing to do with what it ended up as.

But in Baez’s memoir, And a Voice to Sing With, she recounted how she told Dylan that the song was actually about her husband David Harris.

The following excerpt shows Baez’s rendition of this conversation between her and Dylan:

“You gonna sing that song about robin’s eggs and diamonds?” Bob had asked me on the first day of rehearsals.
“Which one?”
“You know, that one about blue eyes and diamonds…”
“Oh”, I said, “you must mean ‘Diamonds And Rust’, the song I wrote for my husband, David. I wrote it while he was in prison.”
“For your husband?” Bob said.
“Yeah. Who did you think it was about?” I stonewalled.
“Oh, hey, what the f*** do I know?”
“Never mind. Yeah, I’ll sing it, if you like.”

Here goes the lyrics of “Diamonds And Rust”

I’ll be damned

Here comes your ghost again

But that’s not unusual

It’s just that the moon is full

And you happened to call

And here I sit

Hand on the telephone

Hearing a voice I’d known

A couple of light years ago

Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes

Were bluer than robin’s eggs

My poetry was lousy you said

Where are you calling from?

A booth in the midwest

Ten years ago

I bought you some cufflinks

You brought me something

We both know what memories can bring

They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene

Already a legend

The unwashed phenomenon

The original vagabond

You strayed into my arms

And there you stayed

Temporarily lost at sea

The Madonna was yours for free

Yes the girl on the half-shell

Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing

With brown leaves falling around

And snow in your hair

Now you’re smiling out the window

Of that crummy hotel

Over Washington Square

Our breath comes out white clouds

Mingles and hangs in the air

Speaking strictly for me

We both could have died then and there

Now you’re telling me

You’re not nostalgic

Then give me another word for it

You who are so good with words

And at keeping things vague

Because I need some of that vagueness now

It’s all come back too clearly

Yes I loved you dearly

And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust

I’ve already paid

Open letter to Suman Chatterjee aka Kabir Suman

I was sixteen when I first heard your song. It was, ironically in a CPIM’s meeting at Brigade Parade Ground. I have always been politically conscious, but never involved in active politics. The only reason me and my friend went to the Brigade, was to watch Utpal Dutt’s play (most probably ‘Tiner Taloar’). It was getting late, and as usual, the play was delayed. We decided to abandon the plan and go home. We had to pass through the front of the podium to go out. Then suddenly one guy with a guitar, started a song – ‘Haal cherona bondhu…” (don’t give up my friend…). We stopped…and keep on listening to your songs, one after another…for another hour.

I am still standing there.

Correction, I was still standing there, until recently, when you decided to run for the election as a Trinamul candidate!

I have all the songs sung by you. From ‘92 to 98, I went to at least 50 of your live performances. Anywhere you performed, from Kalamandir to Girish Mancha, I was there. In fact, one of the main reason I started this blog, bigbangbong, is to translate your songs for one of my non-bengali friends.

I never judged you by the context of your personal life, only formed your image in my mind by your songs. Turmoils in your personal life never touched me. Neither I was surprised when CPIM (and their nasty sidekicks) tried to run the dirty character assassination campaign against you. Given their track record, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I never met you personally either. There were many opportunities, I never wanted to. Near Asuthosh college, we were returning from tuition – I saw you at the sweet shop. All my friends rushed to get your autograph. I didn’t. Years later, you were waiting at Dumdum Airport, for a Biman Bangadesh flight to Dhaka, I was waiting there for my flight to Singapore. I felt like going in front of you and say ‘do you know that, whatever I am today, my sense, my soul, you have a huge contribution to that’. I couldn’t. I was scared, what if Suman in person change my perspective of of Suman the singer and one of the building blocks of my life?

And now, you are running for a political chair, as a Trinamul Congress candidate, shoulder to shoulder with Mamta Banerjee! With one statement, with one news – you just massacred one part of my identity. Your political viewpoint and actions are not a matter of your personal choice only, they are the foundations of your songs.

Don’t get me wrong here, I would’ve been same way disappointed, if you decided to run for CPIM. Also, I strongly believe that mass de-politicalization of youth is one big reason of the political downfall of India. But, Trinamul Congress? Why Sumon, why? ‘Enemy of my enemy is my friend’ – is such a medieval sentiment!

I am deleting all your songs from my music library. Thank goodness I don’t have the disks and cassettes here with me – I would’ve shattered them in thousand pieces by now. Thanks for destroying one huge portion of my identity. One thing at least I learned in my 33 years of lifeform – everything changes, still somehow having problems internalizing this!

Dekhte dekhte shaab palte jai

Rehna tu translation

A non-hindi speaking friend of mine had asked me the meaning of “Rehna tu” song from Delhi-6. Since I love translating songs, I couldn’t stop myself from translating it instantly. Prasoon Joshi’s great as ever. Without much frill, posting the translation. I am not much clear about the deeper meaning of the last stanza. Any suggestion people?

Rehna tu, Hai jaisa tu
Stay as you are
Thoda sa dard tu, Thoda Sukun
A little pain, a little relief
Rehna Tu, Hai Jaisa Tu
Stay as you are
Dheema Dheema jhonka, Ya phir junoon
A gentle breeze, a strong gust of wind
Thoda sa resham, Tu hamdam
A little silky, you are my love
Thoda sa khurdura
A little rough
Kabhi tu adh jaaye, Ya ladh jaaye
Sometimes you are stubborn, Sometimes you end up fighting
Ya khushboo se bhara
Sometimes (you are) full of fragrance (sweetness)
Tujhe badalna na chahoon
Don’t want to change you
Rati bhar bhi sanam
Not even a bit
Bina sajawat milawat
Undecorated, Unaltered
Na zyaada na hi kam
Neither more nor less
Tuhje chaahon, jaisa hai tu
I like you, just the way you are
Mujhe teree barish mein beegna hai ghuljana hai
I want to drench myself in rain (of your love).. I seek union with you

Tujhe chaahon, jaisa hai tu
I like you, just the way you are
Mujhe tere lapat mein jalna rakh ho jana hai
I want to get burnt in your tresses…burn away to ashes
Tu zakham de agar
If you torment me,
Marham bhi aakar tu lagaaye
You soothe me too
Zakham mein bhi mujhko pyaar aaye
Even in pain, I find you adorable

Dariya oooo dariya
Doobne de mujhe dariya
Doobne de mujhe dariya
Let me sink in your love (river-like)
Rehna Tu, Hai Jaisa Tu
Stay as you are

Thoda sa dard tu, Thoda Sukun
A little pain, a little relief
Rehna Tu, Hai Jaisa Tu
Dheema Dheema jhonka, Ya phir junoon
A gentle light breeze or a strong gust of wind

Haath thaam chalna ho
If we hold hands and walk
To dono ke daye haath sang kaise
Then how our right hands will be intertwined
Haath thaam chalna ho
If we hold our hands
To dono ke daye haath sang kaise
Then how our right hands will be intertwined
Ek daaya hoga, ek baaiya hoga
Only the left and right hands can join
Tham le, haath yeh thaam le
Hold my hands…hold my hands dear
Chalna hai sang thaam le
Hold my hands…in the journey (of life)

Jinhe naaz hai hind par (Bilqis)

Mera naam Bilqis Yakub Rasool
Mujhse hui bas ek hi bhool
Ki jab dhhundhhte thhe vo Ram ko
To maen kharhi thhi rah mein

Pehle ek ne puchha na mujhe kuchh pata thha
Dujey ko bhi mera yehi javab thha
Fir itno ne puchha ki mera ab saval hai ki

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan the
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Mera naam shriman Satyendra Dubey
Jo kehna thha vo keh chukey
Ab parhey hain rah mein
Dil mein liye ik goli

Bas itna kasur ki hamne likha thha
Vo sach jo har kisi ki zuban thha
Par sach yahan ho jatey hain zahriley

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan the
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Mujhe kehte hain anna Manjunath
Maine dekhi bhatakti ek laash
Zamir ki beech sarhak Lakhimpur Kherhi

Adarsh phasan jahan naaron mein
Aur chor bharey darbaron mein
Vahan maut akhlaq ki hai ik khabar baasi

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan hain
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Mazha nau aahe Navleen Kumar
Unnees june unnees var
Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees vaar

Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees unnees unnees unnees
Unnees vaar

Looto dehaat kholo bazaar
Nallasopara aur Virar
Chheeno zameen hamse hamein
Bhejo pataal

Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan hain
Jinhe naaz hai vo kahan hain

Rabbi Shergill’s new song Bilqis (Jinhe naaz hai) from his latest album “Avengi jaa nahin” builds upon one line from the song “Jinhe naaz hai hind par vo kahan hain” from the movie “Pyaasa” (which in turn was a simplified version of Sahir Ludhianvi’s nazm “Chakley”). The powerful lyrics of the song presented in form of words of Bilqis Yakub Rassol, Satyendra Dubey, Manjunath and Navleen Kumar has wonderfully captured the emotional anguish and questions of victims of communal violence and the new-age martyrs who paid with their lives for raising voice against corruption and fighting for rights of dispossessed people. The interspersed Indian national anthem tune and the song reaching crescendo with “unnees” repeated nineteen times add the desired strong impact and leaves you spellbound. Throughout the song, you could feel the haunting voice of the martyrs questioning us – Where are those who were proud of India, Where are those who are proud…
Hope such beautifully composed song doesn’t get unnoticed and gets well-deserved recognition.

Translation in English:

My name is Bilqis Yakub Rasool
I committed just one mistake
That I stood in their way
When they were looking for Ram

First, one asked me but I knew nothing
Then another but my answer was the same
Then so many that now I have a question
Where are those who were proud of India
Where are those who are proud

My name gentlemen is Satyendra Dubey
I’ve already said what I wanted to say
Now I lie on the road
With a bullet in my heart

My only fault being that I wrote
A truth that was on everyone’s lips
But truth here turn poisonous

Where are those who were proud of India
Where are those who are proud

My name brother is Manjunath
I’ve seen the corpse of conscience lying
In the middle of the road at Lakhimpur Kherhi

Where ideals are stuck in slogans
And the royal courts are full of thieves
There the death of righteousness is old news

Where are those who were proud of India
Where are those who are proud

My name is Navleen Kumar
Nineteenth June and nineteen wounds
Nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen
Nineteen wounds

Nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen
Nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen
Nineteen nineteen nineteen nineteen

Nineteen wounds
Loot the villages and open markets
Nallasopara and Virar
Snatch our land and send us to
Hell

Where are those who were proud of India
Where are those who are proud

Source

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Kahin to hogi woh

There is nothing like perfect life or ultimate happiness. But many a times, you find yourself dreaming about that unattainable bliss. Tough goal may be achievable, crazy dreams realizable but some life you desire so much, some person you love so much, is just not made for you. “Impossible is nothing” or “Nothing is impossible”, both way round, stands useless here. For some stuck in situations of life, where despite all sweet ingredients of love with someone, you are bound to have separate destinations….and the thing you at the most can consoled yourself with is — to share the journey of life with the one. Don’t know how long but the longer the better. Understood and compromised and restrained but human heart still wishes for the impossible and laments for the lost chance time again. Some songs successfully capture all such emotions in simple words.

There must be some place where you and I can be together
Where only our emotions reign supreme
Where I can see morning sun rays through your lashes and
and hear Moon’s lullabies in your arms
Where is that world – if at all it exists?


Soulful music by AR Rahman, lyrics by Abbas Tyrewala and sung by Rashid Ali and Vasundhara Das, the song Kahin to hogi woh duniya from Jaane tu ya jaane na is sure to keep haunting me for days….If it make you sad, the other number Kabhi kabhi Aditi cheers you up.

Full lyrics:

Kahin to, kahin to, hogi woh
Duniya jahaan tu mere saath hai
Jahaan main, jahaan tu
Aur jahaan bas tere mere jazbaat hain

Hoti jahaan subah teri, palkon ki kirnon mein
Lori jahaan chaand ki, sune teri baahon mein
Jaane na kahaan woh duniya hai
Jaane na woh hai bhi ya nahin

Jahan meri zindagi mujhse
Itni khafa nahin
Jaane na kahaan woh duniya
Jaane na woh hai bhi ya nahin
Jahan meri zindagi mujhse
Itni khafa nahin

Saansein kho gayi hain kiski aanhon mein
Main khogayi hun jane kiski baahon mein
Manzilon se rahein dhundhti chali
Aur kho gayi hai manzil kahin raahon mein

Kahin toh, kahin toh, hai nasha
teri meri har mulaqat mein

Hothon se, hothon ko
Chumte rehte hai hum har baat mein
Kehti hain fiza jahaan
Meri zameen aasmaan

Jahaan hai tu, meri hansi,
Meri khushi, meri jaaan
Jaane na kahaan woh duniya hai
Jaane na woh hai bhi ya nahin
Jahaan meri zindagi mujhse
Itni khafa nahin…

Jaane na kahaan woh duniya hai
Jaane na woh hai bhi ya nahin
Jahaan meri zindagi mujhse
Itni khafa nahin…

For all who want this song translated, someone did a good translation here.

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Shopno Dekhbo Bole (‘Cause I want to dream) by Mousumi Bhowmik [Bengali Song]

During the wild wild era of urban-folk-songs in Calcutta (90’s), apart from Sumon and Anjan, few other singers grabbed my attention. One of them is Mousumi Bhowmik. I really liked her album ‘Tumio Chil Hou’ (You become an eagle too). That’s a long time back. I left Calcutta, living in Singapore for last 8 years. Bengali song trend also changed from urban-folk songs to band music, but I still carry on the nostalgia in my iPod. Few days back I found this new (at least new to me) song by Mousumi – ‘Shopno Dekhbo Bole’ (‘Cause I want to dream) and got mesmerized by it!

“Shopno Dekhbo Bole” (‘Cause I want to dream)

by Mousumi Bhowmik

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/19197183/view]

Here goes a real crappy, quick (almost literal) translation [please don’t hate me]

I’ve heard…that day, you went to touch the blue horizon
riding the waves

I’ve heard…that day, you walked alongside the salty shoreline
for miles after miles

I’ve never went to sea
never glided on blues
never glanced at the wings of a seagull

Next time, when you’ll go to the sea
will you take me along?

Will you?

I’ve heard…that day you, you and you
in an ensemble, discussed many complex conundrums
and unspoken words

Why this eternal rat-race?
Why endless series of monologues?

Living on, this self centered life
if there is no love
only empty loneliness

Where can I get a dollop of peace?

Where can I?

I’ve heard…that you still get dreams
still write stories
chant music from bottom of your soul

Saga of human existence
still makes you think

Your love blossom like a rose

Today I am here at your doorstep
with this faithless soul, open arms
and bending knees…

Only emptiness in deep of my eyes,
there are no dreams in my nights

To dream I opened my eyes
to dream I opened my arms
towards you

Bengali Lyrics:

Ami shunechhi shedin tumi shagorer dheu-e chepe
Neel jol digonto chhuye eshechho
Ami shunechhi shedin naki nona bali teer dhore bohudur bohudur hete eshechho ..
Ami kokhono jaini jol-e
kokhono bhashini neel-e
Kokhono rakhini chokh dana mela gangchil-e
Abar jedin tumi shomudrosnan-e jaabe,
Amakeo shathe niyo … nebe to amay?
bolo … nebe to amay?
Ami shunechhi shedin naki tumi, tumi, tumi mile
Tomra shodolbole shobha korechhile –
Ar shedin tomra naki onek jotil dhadha,
Na bola onek kotha, kotha tulechhile
Kano shudhu chhute chhute chola,
Ak-i ak-i kotha bola,
Nijer jonno bacha nijeke niye?
Jodi bhalobasha naai thake,
Shudhu aka aka laage,
Kothay shanti pabo … kothay giye?
bolo … kothay giye?

Ami shunechhi tomra naki akhono shopno dekho,
Akhono golpo lekho,
Gaan gaao pran bhore
Manusher bachamora akhono bhabiye tole,
tomader bhalobasha akhono golap-e phote
Astha harano ei mon niye ami aaj
Tomader kachhe eshe du haat petechhi
Ami du chokher gohbor-e shunnota dekhi shudhu
Raat ghum-e ami kono shopne dekhi na …
Tai shopno dekhbo bole .. ami du chokh petechhi
Tai tomader kachhe eshe .. ami du haat petechhi
Tai shopno dekhbo bole .. ami du chokh petechhi