Killing me softly

I have always loved Roberta Flack’s “Killing me softly” ever since I first heard it in my first few weeks at the Seth G S Medical College.

If I ever had to think of a parallel in Bollywood for this immortal song, it would be this amazing bittersweet melody created by the combined talents of Madan Mohan (the composer who helped create so many immortal ghazals in Bollywood), Talat Mahmood, the uncrowned King of Ghazals in India, and Kaif Irfani Bhopali, a relatively less known poet (to me) who has poured his heart out in this amazing lamentation of a love not realised.

Chhote Babu is the movie, now largely forgotten which had the amazing ghazal as well as other divine Madan Mohan songs. The movie has Nimmi and Abhi Bhattacharya in the lead with Leela Mishra, Kanhaiyalal and Shekhar in the other roles.

As is the case with many movies, the movie is pretty much not worth the trouble of seeing, but the songs are amazing. I just love this one, Talat Mahmood on song (Pun intended). One of his all time best. He could infuse so much feeling into the song given the right lyrics and composition. Here he has both, courtesy Kaif Irfani and the great , true master of melancholia, Madan Mohan

What I really loved is the innovation by the singer, the uncrowned Emperor of Ghazals. I loved the way he appears to add a half ‘हे’ in the ‘बहे’ / ‘कहे’ in the second lines of the first two shers of the 2nd antara, to cover for the unequal lengths of the lines of the verse and reach the सम correctly. Subtle trick that you would only realise if you sang the ghazal (say on Karaoke) and then stumble to find the सम yourself. And Talatsahab needless to say does that with consummate ease.

His voice caresses my soul like a silk scarf brushing lightly against the face when she approaches me in the winter. The static electricity adds a degree of sensuousness to the touch.

I also loved Madan Mohan ji’s mastery in composing the ghazal. Each antara starts in a higher octave and ends with the refrain दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने in a much lower octave that Talat sahab effortlessly climbs down through during the antara. The bridging piece in the interludes is truly magical with the flutes setting the platform for the violins to ascend on, to reach the higher octave. Awesome skill on display from the maestros.

दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने
कुछ खोया है, कुछ पाया है
दो गम के आँसू हमको मिले
जीने का चैन गँवाया है
दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने….

अरमान है जो निकले भी नहीं
कुछ आँसू है जो बहे नहीं
अरमान है जो निकले भी नहीं
कुछ आँसू है जो बहे नहीं
कुछ ऐसे भी अफ़साने है
जो हमने किसी से कहे नहीं
कुछ हँसी में बदले है आँसू
और अपना दर्द छुपाया है
दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने…..

ऐ दिल तू हमें तड़पाता था,
ले हमने रुलाया है तुझको,
ऐ दिल की लगी तू जलाती थी
ले हमने जलाया है तुझको;
इस दर्द को वो जाने जिसने
घर अपना कभी जलाया है….
दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने….

इस बात पे खुश है दीवाना,
मेरे जख्म किसी के काम आये;
इस बात पे खुश है दीवाना
मेरे जख्म किसी के काम आये,
एक रोग नया हम ले बैठे
क्या जाने कब आराम आये,
ऐ दिल इतना बेताब न हो
जब गम को गले लगाया है!
दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने……

दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने
कुछ खोया है, कुछ पाया है
दो गम के आँसू हमको मिले
जीने का चैन गँवाया है
दो दिन की मोहब्बत में हमने….

What can you expect from the two best exponents of this craft of presenting a ghazal but pure wizardry?

Come get enchanted and lost in this magical world with me. For me, this one ghazal will keep me in a calm trance, numb to the perturbations of mundane life.

Stay safe folks, stay healthy and happy. Stay away from Chinese malice and do take the jab, our best protection against the nasty virus.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

12 replies on “Killing me softly”

Ohh I heard it brand new.. 🤭👌👌👌lovely
Your endeavour of reviving the less heard gems is really praiseworthy 👌👌👌🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
There is no great pleasure than reading your post of such lovely songs. A big THANK YOU🙏🏽

Liked by 1 person

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