Film Ghazal Mohammad Rafi

In a maudlin mood..

Rafisaab’s immortal ghazal from Lal Qila

Bollywood has always considered Talat Mahmood as the Emperor of the Blue mood, for a very good reason. So many of his eternal ghazals are laments and touch the soul. So many of them are known to my generation without actually having seen many of these movies.

However there are some others by other singers that are equally (if not more) effective. Talat Mahmood got to sing the blues a lot more as a percentage of his total body of work, but others have also been able to convey the same effectively. Rafisaab, Kishoreda and Mukeshji have all had their share of sad songs and have left lasting impression in the genre.

Take this example from Lal Qila. A movie that focuses on the last days of the War of Independence fought in 1857 with the last figurehead Moghul notionally in charge in Delhi, Bahadurshah Zafar.

The movie was made on a shoestring budget by Nanabhai Bhatt. It had some great music by S N Tripathi. The “lyrics” have been credited to be penned by Bahadurshah Zafar himself, but are actually by Muztar Khairabadi.

By all accounts available in contemporary historical texts, the power of the Moghul rule from Delhi had dwindled to its being reduced to a virtual non entity by then. Delhi had been repeatedly overrun by Marathas but the Moghuls not unseated. Symbolically they continued to rule with a lot of factionalism and internecine fights amongst the members of the family and the courtiers as well. As the power of the Moghuls withered, the satraps were increasingly emboldened and accumulated both power and wealth to themselves. To the point where Bahadurshah Zafar spent more time in writing poetry, attending dance performances and generally whiling away time and reducing himself increasingly to a nonentity over time. Amazing how history repeats itself. No moghul princeling bothered to change the situation or challenge him to the top job for the sake of good governance, they were preoccupied with their own hedonistic pursuits. I find traces of that part of moghul history being played out once again in the decadent dynasty with a far less talented scion of an irrelevant family of criminals reducing himself to a pitiful spectacle over the last 20 years.

न किसी की आँख का नूर हूँ, न किसी के दिल का क़रार हूँ
जो किसी के काम न आ सके, मैं वो एक मुश्त-ए-ग़ुबार हूँ

न तो मैं किसी का हबीब हूँ, न तो मैं किसी का रक़ीब हूँ
जो बिगड़ गया वो नसीब हूँ, जो उजड़ गया वो दयार हूँ
न किसी की आँख का…

मेरा रंग रूप बिगड़ गया, मेरा यार मुझसे बिछड़ गया
जो चमन ख़िज़ां से उजड़ गया, मैं उसी की फ़स्ल-ए-बहार हूँ
न किसी की आँख का…

पए-फ़ातेहा कोई आये क्यूँ, कोई चार फूल चढ़ाये क्यूँ
कोई आ के शम्मा जलाये क्यूँ, मैं वो बेकसी का मज़ार हूँ
न किसी की आँख का…

One of the best songs ever rendered by Rafisaab with minimal instrumentation. Truly a magnificent composition. The movie had Jairaj and Nirupa Roy as the lead pair with Helen, Bharat Bhushan and Kamal Kapoor as other members of the cast.

S N Tripathi was born in a traditional family with his father being a headmaster. He was more interested in music and trained in the Pandit Bhatkhande’s Morris College of Music in Lucknow after graduating from Varanasi. He moved into Bollywood and was a multifaceted, creative person. The spectrum of Tripathi’s multi-faceted work included being a composer, writer, actor, and director of films. The first of the movies he directed Rani Rupmati was unique and had a great musical score by himself. His acting career, which actually started in Jeevan Naiya (more famous as being Ashok Kumar‘s debut film) was quaintly associated with his portrayal of Hanuman, which he did in a number of movies, including producing one himself. His quality as a composer, not reflected in most lists by casual observers nor ordinary critics was extraordinary. Ustad Amir Khan of the Gwalior Gharana, who was usually quite dismissive of the merits of the film music composers, rated only Naushad Ali, S. N. Tripathi and Vasant Desai  and to some extent C Ramachandra as notable composers.

Stay happy folks, stay calm, we have a Chinese Virus to beat.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “In a maudlin mood..”

S N Tripathi was known more for his classical music based songs mostly from historical or mythological films often written in pure Hindi. He was truly versatile for he was quite capable of composing for songs such as Hatim Tai & this one & also western classical music based songs such as picnic mein…
Urdu lyrics generate poetry in itself & if you top it with the golden, soulful voice of the ‘Shahenshah- e- tarannum’ , Rafisaab the effect of this ghazal is truly magical & holds the audience spell bound & filled with pathos. His voice does not need an instrument to sound polished.
The lyrics of the ghazal was penned by Maulan Mustar Khairabadi better known as ‘ Kulliyat e Mustar’ & not by the last Mughal Emperor.

Liked by 1 person

Supernaji has very rightly pointed out
SN Tripathi’s prowess not known to many..
This Rafi song and it’s ठेहराव..are so
Unique that easily. This is Rafi’s top
10 song👍👍👍👍🙏
Thank you one of my very very favourite song🙏And went through the pain of watching the movie which was in a
bad print to top it all..😄👍👍

Liked by 1 person

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