Melodies and meanings

Remember the time when you fell in love with a song for all of the reasons? The melody, the lyrics and the singers? There are some songs that I love for the sheer depth of what they convey, some of life’s most deep feelings, thoughts and truths. I am not saying that none exist in today’s music, but I daresay, a lot less! Here’s a few that come to mind, duly transliterated for benefit.

Zindagi jab bhi, teri bazm mein laati hai humein (Umrao Jaan)

It goes “Zindagi jab bhi teri bazm mein laati hai humein, Yeh zameen chaand se behtar nazar aati hai humein”. It means ‘Whenever life brings me in your company, the earth feels better than the moon’

There’s a line in this song that is etched forever in my brain

‘Har mulaqat ka anjaam judai kyon hai, ab toh har waqt yehi baat satati hai humein’.In the context of this song, it is about two lovers and them separating after each meeting. But I always took it to mean life and death itself, a reality that we must accept, for it isn’t a choice but a truth!

Sung by Talat Aziz, picturized on Rekha and Farooq Sheikh, the song is a treat to watch as much as to listen.

Ithu Oru Ponmalai Pozhutu (Nizhalgal)

Well when one of your favorite songs is also your dad’s favorite songs, it is extra special. This is a gem of a song, I discovered that it is Vairamuthu’s first movie as a song lyricist. Needless to say SPB’s flawless rendition and the meaning of the song, and Illayaraja’s magical music make this a must listen for me every once in a while.

The song is descriptive of the twilight sky, I found a wonderful transliteration of it on this blogsite: http://ohmysleepingchild.blogspot.com/2005/09/idhu-oru-pon-maalaip-pozhudhu.html

My favorite lines from this are: ‘Vaanam Enakkoru Bothi Maram
Naalum Enakkathu Saethi Tharum
Oru Naal Ulagham Neethi Perum
Thirunaal Nigazhum Thaethi Varum
Kaelvigalaal Vaelvigalai Naan Seivaen’

 To me the sky seems like Buddha’s Bodhi tree, Everyday she reassures me with glad tidings, That one-day we shall live in a fair world, And that day is not far away, Through my introspections and questioning, I do penance and wait for that day

Yeh Kya Jagah hai doston (Umrao Jaan)

The pathos of the protagonist Umrao Jaan in the climax of the movie is when the song Yeh Kya Kagah hai doston is sung. It is an emotional melody, a heart rending outpouring of Umrao Jaan as she is brought to sing and perform at the place she was born and raised, with her mother listening to her from behind the curtains. There is so much beauty in this song, its sorrow and its melancholic melody. I found some great transliteration on this blogsite: https://mrandmrs55.com/2013/07/28/yeh-kya-jagah-hai-doston-lyrics-and-translation-lets-learn-urdu-hindi/

Yeh kis maqaam par hayaat mujhko lekii aa gayii?
To what realm has life brought me?
Na bas khushii pe hai jahaa.N, na gham pe ikhtiyaar hai
In this place I have no control over my happiness, and no choice in my sorrow

Tamaam umr ka hissaa maa.ngtii hai zindagii
Life demands an account of all my years
Yeh meraa dil kahe to kyaa? Yeh khud se sharmasaar hai
What will this heart of mine answer? It is so ashamed of itself

In their depth, glory, romanticism and sorrow, for me Umrao Jaan has stood out, I know each of its songs byheart replete with musical interludes!

Kuch toh log kahenge (Amar Prem)

Set in the context of comforting a courtesan/prostitute who is slandered by people, this classic song has lyrics that most people know and cherish. A most beautiful way in which one conveys that one must remain unaffected by what others say, in this big wide world, these things don’t matter!

Kuchh to log kahenge
logon ka kaam hai kehnaa
chhoRo bekaar ki baaton mein
kaheen beet na jaaye rainaa

People will keep speaking, for it is their job to speak. Let us not get disheartened by their talks, and lose this beautiful night

kuchh reet jagat ki aisi hai har ek subah ki shaam hui..
tu kaun hai tera naam hai kya sita bhi yahaan badnaam huyi
phir kyon sansaar ki baaton se, bheeg gaye tere naina

The tradition of this world is, that there’s an evening for every morning. What do you have to lose in a world where even Sita was condemned? Why are your eyes moist listening to what others have to say about you?

Music – for every mood and every feeling, perhaps the most eternal love is the love for songs itself!