Ghazals Mohammad Rafi Sad Songs

An unusual melody

The song for today is an extremely unusual one. Unusual because this is actually a beautiful ghazal by Jigar Moradabadi that was sung by the great Mohammad Rafi saab. The ghazal didn’t figure in any film at all, but is quite a well known one. I must thank the dedication of the powers that be in All India Radio who took their role very seriously and are primarily responsible for the wonderful and rich musical fare we have taken for granted over the century of its existence. One must remember it was AIR that was responsible for the name of the singer appearing on the records in the first place. This happened due to the enormous popularity of Aayega aanewala in Mahal. When the persistent queries of the listeners of the radio broadcast of the song enquired about the singer’s name, AIR presenters of the day (they didn’t call themselves RJs those days) enquired about the name with the recording company, who didn’t know it either. The persistence of the AIR officials led to the disclosure of the singer’s name and the young lady just out of teens became a superstar. We came to know about Lata Mangeshkar by her name after this incident.

AIR had dedicated programs devoted to non film songs and I’ve several wonderful memories of the many unforgettable melodies I’ve heard. Take the case of this song itself:

Wonderful words by an accomplished poet (Jigar), a wonderful composition by Taj Ahmed Khan, and predictably soul stirring singing by the one and only Mohammad Rafi saab make this creation in Todi truly unforgettable. The song is forever imprinted on my memory.

The lyrics by Jigar sahab are just sublime:

साक़ी की हर निगाह पे बल खा के पी गया 
लहरों से खेलता हुआ लहरा के पी गया 

बे-कैफ़ियों के कैफ़ से घबरा के पी गया 
तौबा को तोड़-ताड़ के थर्रा के पी गया 

ज़ाहिद! ये तेरी शोख़ी-ए-रिन्दा ना देखना 
रहमत को बातों बातों में बहला के पी गया 

सर-मस्ती-ए-अज़ल मुझे जब याद आ गई
दुनिया-ए-एतबार को ठुकरा के पी गया

आज़ुर्दगी-ए-ख़ातिर-ए-साक़ी को देख कर
मुझ को ये शर्म आई कि शर्मा के पी गया

ऐ रहमत-ए-तमाम मेरी हर ख़ता मुआफ़
मैं इंतिहा-ए-शौक़ में घबरा के पी गया

पीता बग़ैर इज़्म ये कब थी मेरी मजाल
दर-पर्दा चश्म-ए-यार की शह पा के पी गया

उस जान-ए-मय-कदा की क़सम बारहा 'जिगर'
कुल आलम-ए-बसीत पे मैं छा के पी गया

The vocal rendition by Rafisaab naturally only includes four of these ash’aar. I have highlighted in the ghazal. The composer and singer have taken the liberty of flipping the ash’aars around in the version that’s sung, the ash’aar that appears earlier in the ghazal comes at the very end.

सर-मस्ती-ए-अज़ल मुझे जब याद आ गई 
दुनिया-ए-एतबार को ठुकरा के पी गया

Rafisaab’s vocals and the dard in his voice is just amazing. No one of this generation can bring in the prominent and easily identifiable underpinning of pain as he could. That too with minimal instrumentation. This art of conveying much feeling with less noise and more melody is sadly, all but lost of late.

The ghazal was once rendered by Jagjit Singh early in his career and treated as a song of joyous import. The composition is clearly based on ( “creatively inspired by”) Jaidev‘s Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya from the iconic Hum Dono By Navketan with debonair Dev Anand , Sadhana & Nanda. I am afraid the song didn’t work at all.

Stay safe, folks, stay healthy and happy. Enjoy your Sunday. My Sunday began in the stiff cooling breeze sleeping on the rooftop under the stars (something I did after more than half a century, I last remember having done in Adampur in 65-66) that was extremely refreshing and beats sleeping in an air conditioned bedroom hollow. Take care guys and do take your jabs


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

2 replies on “An unusual melody”

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