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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

melting views on the window pane….

The constant pitter-patter of rain on the window pane in the silent night brought with it memories of those days in the Lake Hall, Kalyani. It’s almost 50 years back, yet those days are not forgotten. As I wipe the panes of memory with my hand the dim pictures have suddenly become bright. …come back to life…for, is it ever possible for anyone to erase the sweet memories of college days?

Those were the Kali puja days…. Evenings were invariably spent in and around Puja pandals. One such evening, a song blared out by a speaker caught my attention:
                        Naa jeo naa
Please, don’t leave
                        Rajani ekhono baaki aaro kichhu baaki
The night’s still tender. There‘s so much to offer
                        Bole raatjaga pakhi
The night-fowl twitters
                        Naa jeo naa
                        Please don’t leave
I at once whispered… Aree! atato hindiganer nakal … how come! There is a similar tune in a Hindi film. Exactly same! And it was again Lata in Hindi too! Interjecting my surprise, my classmate shouted at me… “kee Murty atato bangla gan ... Durga pujar gan. Atato Salledar gan, Kee bustheparchoo!” What Murty! It is a Bengali song, released during Durga Puja season. It’s Salil Chowdary’s song, understand!”

Yes, in Hindi too, if I am not wrong, Salil Chowdhary was the music director. What a beautiful song it is! Then my other friend, who is conversant with Hindi films too, of course, confirmed: “Yes! Murtyda you are right, there is a Hindi song too of this very tune… but it came later. This very Bengali tune was used by Sallilda for Hindi picture too! Of course it was also a great hit like this Bengali song”. As I went on listening to it…
                         Aami je tomari sudhu jeebone marane
In life and death I belong to you solely
Dhria rakhite chahi nayane nayane
I wish to hold you in my eyes in dreams eternally
Naa jeo naa ….
                        Please don’t leave
I could not relish the lyrics of the Bengali song as much as I could Shailendra’s! Of course, there is a reason: as I was just then getting a grip over the language, could not fathom the beauty of the lyrics, perhaps. But as the days rolled on and as my understanding of the language improved, I enjoyed listening to it during the Sarswati Puja days, as it was again played around the Puja mandaps.

Yet my heart was somehow with the Hindi song. Back in Bapatla … squatting on the steps of the pavilion or in the distantly located sand-pit abetting the basketball court, listening to it in the evenings along with my roommate, Roy—who often used to enhance my appreciation of the song with his explanation of the Hindi lyrics—was a sheer delight.

Awesome lyrics, with lots of harmony … the song is an absolutely romantic melody, quiet, calm and serene …and automatically comes to mind whenever it rains, particularly in the beginning of the season… 

The song has a beautiful lead—the sounds of the rain hitting the flowing water on the road, sounds of dripping water from the leaves and the eaves, sounds of toads and frogs in the night, claps of thundering—something so natural that we encounter in a village setting when it rains, and then comes that sweet voice of Lataji softly cooing … “O sajnaa” followed by the mesmerising strokes of Sitar duly accompanied by tabala beats …

Then comes that free-flowing voice of Lataji like an unbridled brook, loaded with the fragrance of a freshly bloomed flower… aired through the lips of that pretty looking village lass, Sadhana, who had just returned from the nest of her lover under a drizzle and perhaps relishing its sweetness, recalls her loved one thus:
O sajnaa barkha bahaar aayii
Oh, my beloved, the rain-filled season has arrived
ras kii puhaar laayii, ankhiyon me pyaar laayii
It has brought sprinkling droplets of nectar, brought love to these eyes

Then the interlude of violin phrases immediately followed by Sitar— a fine piece of Sitar strokes by Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan that underscore the beauty of Lata’s surging voice. This is followed by the tenderly romantic lyrics of Shailendra from that demure village girl standing under the eaves watching the rain… 
                        tum ko pukaare mere man kaa papiihara 
                        cuckoo bird in my heart calls out to you 
                        mithii mithii aganii men jale moraa jiiyaraa
                        as my heart burns in a sweet fire

The next interlude is again a different one from the previous one, and attracts attention, for it is Sitar, followed by a beautiful flute bit that enhances the overall effect…
The next antara is the outstanding piece of the song, for it is sung differently from the previous antara—a unique feature of Salilda’s composition—it suddenly falls from high notes to low notes, singing of which Lata has only shown her brilliance…
                       aisii rimjhim men O sajan pyaase mere nayan 
                       in this light shower of rain, O my beloved, my eyes long for you
                       tere hii khvaab men kho gaye
                       they were lost in a dream of you 

Listening to Lata's delicate runs and bridges in the lines, aisii rimjhim men O sajan pyaase pyaase mere nayan / tere hii khvaab men kho gaye, one gets transported to a distant world all drenched in Rasa.

Then followed by the interlude, Lata’s voice rises to a crescendo as she airs the next antara, “saanvalli salonii…”  
                         saanvalli salonii ghataa jab chhaayii 
                         when the beautiful dark clouds spread throughout the sky 
                         ankhiyonmen rainaa gayii, nindiyaa na aayii
                         the night passed in my eyes but could not fall asleep.

Here one must notice how in that high note, Lataji utters the word, ghataa’: it’s simply amazing—creates an undefinable effect on the listener.  
With a sitar, a tabla, a jaltarang, a flute and a few violins—with that minimum orchestration, composing the tune in raag, “Asud Kalavati”, while some other consider it as based on ‘Khamaj’,  a romantic raga—and  of course, coupled with Lataji’s vocal virtuosity,  Salilda created a mesmerising effect on the listener.

Lataji, delineating the purity and perfection, innocence and intensity, dignity and divinity of love tastefully through her fine expressiveness and erudition, made this song from the film, Parakh (1960) stand out as a rare piece.

Whilst on this, it is much desirable to talk a little about Bimal Roy’s picturisation of the song too. The luminous Sadhana, having just returned from her lover under a drizzle perhaps, still relishing his teasing that was so pretty and romantic, pining for him from behind the scene—the scene of rain in the night that is lighted by the lamps from inside the huts—thus, ‘O sajnaa’  and as the mukhada advances she makes her presence on the screen with her wet hair spread loose on shoulders, perhaps to dry out; watching the rain from inside the hut as she sings, ‘ankhiyon me pyaar laayii… we see a wave of blush pass through her face with eyes downcast for a second; then pushes her palm out into curtaining down of rains, a natural act of an innocent lass, as though to capture the riches that nature bestows on everyone freely: the water/the love of life; later while singing ‘mithii mithii aganii men jale moraa jiiyaraa’ we witness a kind of anguish flashing on her face for a second; then sitting with knees pulled closed to her bosom with arms around and the face resting on them, a typical posture of a lovesick lass,  she sings with a serene smile the words, ‘aisii rimjhim men O sajan … / tere hii khvaab men kho gaye’  and then as Lataji’s voice rises to a higher octave  while singing the words, ‘saanvalli salonii ghataa…’,she also gets up along with the rising voice… Wow! What matching expressions!

For me, listening to this song any day is as dear a delight as it is to reminisce over the life lived in Bapatla College and/or in Lake Hall, Kalyani. 


Acknowledgements: Thanks to for the video....


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