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It might have been , yet again….

Today is the 2nd Death anniversary of one very talented composer in Bollywood. By a rather weird twist of fate, his wife passed away a few days ago at home of senescence. Mohammad Zahur Khayyam passed away today in 2019. Jagjit Kaur on 15th August, their son Pradeep had passed away earlier and the husband and wife ran a charitable foundation for film artistes after that.

Khayyam gave us such beautiful melodies over nearly 7 decades in the industry, from his debut in 1948 as part of a duo Sharmaji- Varmaji. He had taken the name Sharmaji for this movie. Unfortunately his partner Rehman Verma ran away to the Land of The Impure and Khayyam went solo. His work was never voluminous but always melodious and distinctively different from his peers and he is always remembered for what he created. I will focus on a few of his less known aspects in the days to come.

The song of the day is from a less popular movie Lala Rookh, made by Akhtar Siraj, based on an English Poem written by Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh, which was notionally a romantic tale of a fictional daughter of Aurangzeb. Lalla Rookh means rosy cheeked, and the poem is actually a narrative poem, 4 poems linked by a connecting tale in prose. Aurangzeb had no daughter by this name, but the story in the narrative poem is interesting. Engaged to the young king of Bukhara, Lalla Rookh goes forth to meet him, but falls in love with Feramorz, a poet from her entourage. The bulk of the work consists of four interpolated tales sung by the poet: “The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan” (loosely based upon the story of Al- Muqanna) , “Paradise and the Peri”, “The Fire-Worshippers”, and “The Light of the Harem”. When Lalla Rookh enters the palace of her bridegroom she swoons away, but revives at the sound of a familiar voice. She awakes with rapture to find that the poet she loves is none other than the king to whom she is engaged. Moore actually based the story/poems on this era on Lord Byron’s advice and fell in love with his own creation to the extent that he even named his own home after the title of the poem.

The movie stars Shyama (a wonderful actress in her own right, who somehow didn’t have the cookie crumble right for her- she ended up being the bridesmaid rather than the bride despite a number of very memorable roles and movies, she married the famous cinematographer Fali Mistry and I remember treating her in her old age) and Talat Mahmood. Talat looks much more than passably handsome, and can actually be seen to act much better than his peers but somehow his acting skills weren’t quite appreciated and he switched over to being a full time singer, and of course left an indelible stamp on the genre. Kaifi Azmi is the lyricist and the words make an excellent poem by themselves.

The song is in two versions, a duet between Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle and a solo version (Asha Bhosle). Both are absolutely delicious, extremely pleasing to the ear and satiating the soul.

Wonderful, truly eternal music with all three aspects beautifully executed, the lyrics, the composition and the singing. I love the way Ashatai says “Baaqui” rather than as Baaki. Adds a different dimension to the verse.

The lyrics of the two versions are slightly different from one other as can be expected.

The duet is as follows:

त: प्यास कुछ और भी भड़का दी झलक दिखलाके
तुझको परदा रुख-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा

आ: इतनी गुस्ताख़ न हो इश्क़ की आवारा नज़र
हुस्न का पास निगाहों को सिखाना होगा

त: तुझको परदा रुख-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा
आ: हुस्न का पास निगाहों को सिखाना होगा

त: चाँद तारों को मयस्सर है नज़ारा तेरा
मेरी बेताब निगाहों से ये परदा क्यों है
आ: चाँद आईना मेरा, तारे मेरे नक़्श-ए-कदम
ग़ैर को आँख मिलाने की तमन्ना क्यों है

त: तुझको परदा रुख-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा
आ: हुस्न का पास निगाहों को सिखाना होगा

त: तुझको देखा तुझे चाहा तुझे पूजा मैं ने
बस यही इसके सिवा मेरी ख़ता क्या होगी
आ: हमने अच्छा किया घबराके जो मुँह फेर लिया
इससे कम दिल की तड़पने की सज़ा क्या होगी

त: तुझको परदा रुख-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा
आ: हुस्न का पास निगाहों को सिखाना होगा

त: प्यास कुछ और भी भड़का दी झलक दिखलाके
तुझको परदा रुख-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा

आ: इतनी गुस्ताख न हो इश्क़ का आवारा नज़र
हुस्न का पास निगाहों को सिखाना होगा


And the solo number is thus:

प्यास कुछ और भी भड़का दी झलक दिखला के
तुझको परदा रुख़-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा
चाँद में नूर न तारों में चमक बाक़ी है
ये अँधेरा मेरी दुनिया का मिटाना होगा

ऐ मुझे हिज्र की रातों में जगानेवाले
जा कभी नींद जुदाई में न आयेगी तुझे
सुबह टपकेगी तेरी आँख से आँसू बनके
रात सीने की कसक बनके जगायेगी तुझे
तुझको परदा रुख़-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा
ये अँधेरा मेरी दुनिया का मिटाना होगा

कोई अरमाँ हैँ न हसरत है, न उम्मीदें हैं
अब मेरे दिल में मुहब्बत के सिवा कुछ भी नहीं
ये मुक़द्दर की ख़राबी ये ज़माने का सितम
बेवफ़ा तेरी इनायत के सिवा कुछ भी नहीं
तुझको पर्दा रुख़-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा
ये अँधेरा मेरी दुनिया का मिटाना होगा

प्यास कुछ और भी भड़का दी झलक दिखला के
तुझको परदा रुख़-ए-रोशन से हटाना होगा

The duet is filmed so cutely, with the backdrop rather tacky and clearly seen with Talat Mahmood strumming his mandolin, and Shyama looking stunningly captivating on the other side of the cloth screen. Romance doesn’t have to be in your face display of bare skin and flesh, does it?

After seeing this movie, I am reminded once again of what might have been, only if Talat Mahmood had been recognised as a singer- actor.

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”

― John Greenleaf Whittier in Maud Miller.

Stay safe folks, stay away from the Chinese and stay healthy. Take the jab, your best shot at protecting yourself.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

10 replies on “It might have been , yet again….”

Wow ! Wow wow!!! What a share SIRJI🙏🏽
Just superb poetry and genius singing 🙏🏽
God knows how you gather those precious details of the movie and songs🤭🤭🤭🙏🏽
It just brightens the song with thousand watts!
Yes Ashaji’s Baqui.. is sooo sweet n adorable!
I must say I am again impressed by Kaifi sahab to the hilt🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
Share of the day SIRJI🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

Liked by 1 person

Wonderful lyrics…..Beautiful song with very interesting narration….Shyama is looking really very beautiful and Talat Mehmood ji is looking absolutely handsome ….. Ashaji and Talat ji this duet is really a melodious treat for the ears with supersweet voice of Ashaji and velvety voice of Talat ji…..👌👌👌👌

Liked by 1 person

Khayyam was one of the best composers. Why was he not given so much work or did he not bother about it? There will be unanswered questions.
Again, why did best film music pour out about pre- and post-Partition days and the golden Era of Hindi films coincide with it?
Would you like to make surmises ?

Liked by 1 person

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