No one better suited for this….

I am always amazed at the ability of certain singers to emote through their singing and embellish the bard’s words and convey the precise meaning that’s intended. This ability is a godsend in the truest sense and cannot really be acquired. So a Mukesh bares his soul, Kishoreda brings forth the effervescent spirit, Rafisaab is really amazing in that he can convey any mood, Manna Dey, again a versatile voice that conveys moods from classical music to even rock. But Talat Mahmood holds sway when dealing with the raw pain of a lonely soul. His silken voice can show the deep stab in the heart, the traumatized soul, the bleeding that refuses to be staunched.

When it comes to conveying the intensity of suffering in silence, Talat Mahmood distinctive tremolo is uniquely suited and able to convey so much more than anyone else before or since.

Listen to this song from “Ek Saal” a movie with an interesting lead pair: Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. They had been cast together in movies of a different genre too previously notably Howrah Bridge and Mahal. But Ek Saal is a different kettle of fish.

A movie where a Bombay based Retired Colonel (widowed of course and in keeping with the perceptions in Bollywood of the time, rich beyond imagination) who hires Ashok Kumar as an estate agent and then finds out that his beautiful daughter, the apple of his eye (Madhubala) has a brain tumour and expected to survive just one year (giving rise to the name). Ashok Kumar apparently falls in love with Madhubala and shows a lot of care for her, too, but it turns out that it is just an elaborate ploy to grab the family riches after the certain demise of the heiress to the fortune (what with her intracranial tumour).

Ashok Kumar was the only leading actor of the time who was both well equipped and prepared to take on complex roles of the kind which had such shades of dark grey and also pull them off with panache and verve. The song shows his amazing abilities, by way of a conflict of his inner thoughts and selves with himself.

The sardonic smile/ leer on his countenance when he is sermonising and asking some very probing questions of his own, repentant self is amazingly revealing, and the depiction of the voice of conscience in a dark suit as a reflection in a mirror is a masterstroke of symbolism to convey the director Devendra Goel’s ideas. Prem Dhavan’s lyrics are meaningful as usual and the fantastic composition is by Ravi, a wonderful master of his craft who (as with many others) never could get due recognition of his skills. Lata’s version sounds different with different set of lyrics.

But of course Talat Mahmood can convey even greater hurt and pain, contrition and pathos than anyone else. Lata’s sublime singing doesn’t quite sound as good, when one thinks of the song, one always thinks of Talat Mahmood and I can’t blame too many for not even knowing a version exists in Lata’s voice.

तलत                                                        करते रहे ख़िज़ाँ से हम सौदा बहार का
बदला दिया तो क्या ये दिया उनके प्यार का

सब कुछ लुटा के होश में आये तो क्या किया?
दिन में अगर चराग़ जलाये तो क्या किया?
सब कुछ लुटा के होश में आये तो क्या किया?

हम बदनसीब प्यार की रुसवाई बन गये,
ख़ुद ही लगा के आग तमाशाई बन गये,
तमाशाई बन गये,
दामन से अब ये शोले बुझाये तो क्या किया?
दिन में अगर चराग़ जलाये तो क्या किया?
सब कुछ लुटा के होश में आये तो क्या किया?

ले-ले के हार फूलों के आई तो थी बहार,
नज़रें उठाके हमने ही देखा न एक बार,
देखा न एक बार,
आँखों से अब ये परदे हटाये तो क्या किया?
दिन में अगर चराग़ जलाये तो क्या किया?
सब कुछ लुटा के होश में आये तो क्या किया?


न पूछो प्यार की हमने वो हक़ीक़त देखी,
वफ़ा के नाम पे बिकते हुई उल्फ़त देखी,
किसी ने लूट लिया और हमें ख़बर न हुई,
खुली जो आँख तो बर्बाद मुहब्बत देखी...

सब कुछ लुटा के होश में आए तो क्या किया,
दिन में अगर चराग़ जलाए तो क्या किया?

मैं वो कली हूँ जो न बहारों में खिल सकी,
वो दिल हूँ जिसको प्यार की मंज़िल न मिल सकी,
मंज़िल न मिल सकी,
पत्थर पे हमने फूल चढ़ाए तो क्या किया?

जो मिल न सका प्यार, ग़म की शाम तो मिले,
इक बेवफ़ा से प्यार का अंजाम तो मिले,
ऐ मौत जल्द आ, ज़रा आराम तो मिले,
दो दिन ख़ुशी के देख न पाए तो क्या किया ..

Truly a different planet, a different era….

And I am reminded of the words Paul Simon’s Bookends… So very apt for my current frame of mind

Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you

Stay safe, folks, I will run around lost in Talat’s inimitable voice. Stay healthy and happy. Take the jab if you’ve not done so. 770 million and counting, proving all doomsday prophets (news mongers) of the West motivated and ignorant.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

7 replies on “No one better suited for this….”

lovely song…..beautiful lyrics….
Both Talat ji and Lata ji’s versions of song are very beautiful…. as they are set for different occassions….. But the expression of pain and sorrow are conveyed more touching to the soul in Talat ji’s version of singing….Truly wonderful voice…..
Madhubala looking very sweet and innocent as always…..
Thank you for sharing such a wonderful song Aniruddha sir🙏🏻🙏🏻💐💐

Liked by 1 person

Talat saab ki voice ka to koi jawaaaab hi nahi sir ji…very touching gazal…bahut hi maza aaya …sir j
Tnx for sharig …


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