Monday, November 28, 2011

Qatra-qatra milti hai (Ijaazat)

Dear readers, let me warn you on the outset, that I expect this to be a long post. But I hope you'll bear with my raves and rants for the sake of this beautiful song.

This is my favorite composition by Pancham, coming from an all-time favorite album Ijaazat (1987). The movie has just four songs, 'Chhoti si kahaani se', 'Qatra-qatra', 'Mera kuchh saamaan' and Khaali haath shaam aayi hai' - all sung by Asha Bhosle, making her the sole singer for the entire album. This particular song makes extraordinary use of Asha's dual vocals - one on a slightly lower note than the other - and the outcome is just spectacular. Pancham has given so many great songs, but if he had composed nothing but this song, I'd still consider him a genius.

The stage is set thus
Mohinder (Naseeruddin Shah) loves Maya (Anuradha Patel), but is forced to marry Sudha (Rekha) because of his grandfather's wish; and also because Maya, the free spirited woman that she is, has disappeared  for a few months without so much as a word to Mohinder. 

Sudha, though aware of Mohinder's love for Maya, is too much in love with him to let Maya's presence in his heart affect her. She just wishes to live and enjoy each moment as it comes, even if it is not hers alone. This is her song.

Lyrics, and translation
Like a kid translating a poem with 'shabdaarth' (word-by-word translation) and 'bhaavaarth' (interpretation); I'll give the literal translation first, followed by my interpretation of certain parts.

Qatra-qatra milti hai, qatra-qatra jeene do
Zindagi hai (zingadi hai), bahne do (bahne do)
Pyaasi hoon main, pyaasi rahne do
(Rahne do, na)

[[Translation: It's given to me a moment (drop) at a time, let me live it like that
Such is life (such is life), just let it flow (let it flow)
If it leaves me thirsty, let that be so
(Just let it be)

Interpretation: 'Qatra' means drop. Here ,since Gulzar is referring to time, so it means a drop of time or a moment. Sudha knows that Mohinder is not hers completely, but she's grateful for every moment she gets to spend with him, even if it leaves her thirsty (asking for more); because those moment are what's keeping her alive.]]

Kal bhi to kuchh aisa hi hua tha
Neend mein thi, tumne jab chhua tha
Girte-girte baahon mein bachi main
Sapne pe paaon pad gaya tha
Sapnon mein, bahne do
Pyaasi hoon main, pyaasi rahne do

[[Translation: Do you remember what happened yesterday? I was deep in sleep when you touched me.
It made me start, and I almost fell in your arms on stumbling upon a dream.
Just let me live in this dream, and if it leaves me asking more more, let that be so!

Interpretation: Your touch makes me start even in my sleep. It's as if I stumbled upon a dream. And I want to live this dream-like life forever.]]

Tumne to aakaash bichhaaya
Mere nange pairon mein zameen hai
Paa ke bhi tumhari arzoo ho
Shayad aise zindagi haseen hai
Arzoo mein, bahne do
Pyaasi hoon main, pyaasi rahne do

[[Translation: You have given me the sky to walk on, but my bare feet are still on the ground.
Life is a lot more beautiful, when I still long for you when you're with me.
Let me live in this desire. And if it leaves me thirsty, so be it!

Interpretation: Though the time spent with you has taken me to cloud nine (given me hope of our future together), I'm still aware of the ground reality (that you love someone else). 
And I feel that it's much more beautiful to desire you than having you all for myself. So let me enjoy this yearning.]]

Halke-halke kohre ke dhuen mein
Shaayad aasmaan tak aa gayi hoon
Teri do nigaahon ke sahaare
Dekho to kahaan tak aa gayi hoon
Kohre mein, bahne do
Pyaasi hoon main, pyaasi rahne do

[[Translation: (Walking) in this soft mist of fog, looks like I've touched the sky.
Guided by your eyes, look where I've reached.
Now just let me float in this mist, and if it leaves me thirsty, so it be!

Interpretation: Being with you is as if I'm on sky (cloud nine).  I trust you (with my eyes closed) to take me to a beautiful place, even if I don't know where I'm going.]]

Though the video of original song (from the movie) is available on youtube, I'm sharing the one from the album 'Pancham : Gulzar remembers RD Burman'. Even though this version doesn't contain a video, it's worth sharing simply for listening to Gulzar's words as he remembers his dear friend Pancham. Pancham's vocals, as he hums notes from the song, sound out-worldly.

"Yaad hai baarishon ke din the woh, Pancham! Aur pahaadi ke neeche vaadee mein dhundh se jhaank kar nikalti hui rail ki patariyaan gujarti theen. Aur dhundh mein aise lag rahe the hum, jaise do paudhe paas baithe hon. Hum bahut der patariyon pe baithe us musafir ka zikr karte rahe, jisko aana tha pichhli shab, par uski aamad ka waqt talta raha. Hum bahut der patariyon pe baithe hue train ka intezar karte rahe. Train aayi, na uska waqt hua, aur tum yoon hi do kadam chalkar dhundh par paon rakhke gum ho gaye. Main akela hoon dhundh mein, Pancham! "
- Gulzar, from the album 'Pancham' by HMV
To read other posts about Ijaazat songs on my blog, click here.
(On Swati's request)


  1. Amazingggg song Kanu..and you've explained and interpreted it so beautifully!!! :)

  2. i love this song and Ijaazat is my fav album too. i have really enjoyed reading this post and to put it simply, its very well written and your interpretations are beautiful :)
    my fav line is "paake bhi tumhari aarzoo ho, shayad aise zindagi haseen hai"

    and i still don't fully understand the meaning of the line "girte girte baahon me bachi main, sapne pe paanv pad gaya tha"

    ye comment kuch lamba ho gaya :(

  3. @Anonymous:
    1. thanks for appreciating the post :)
    2. har line ka alag se matlab nikalna to words to slaughter karne jaisa hai
    3. I enjoy long comments, shows that someone has read the post. so thanks for that :)

  4. Thanks for the explanation. Beautifully explained for a wonderful song

  5. Nicely done and great blog.

    P.S: katraa should be 'qatraa'. Sorry can't help it; feel that incorrect talaffuz does a great disservice to Urdu poetry. :)

  6. @Hades:
    thanks for appreciating, and hugely appreciate you pointing out the wrong spelling of qatra. I try to write it as correctly as possible, but keep making inadvertent silly mistakes :)

  7. This is one of my favorite song dear...and I am so happy to listen it fully and really you have explained the song so beautifully.... :))

  8. @Meenal
    thanks for visiting and appreciating :)

  9. I just love it Kanu!! Thank you so much!! :) :)

  10. "Kal bhi to kuchh....Sapnon mein, bahne do"

    Translation: Yesterday also something like that happened; I was asleep when you touched me; and i was falling when your arms saved me; My feet had got caught in a dream. Let me flow in dreams...

    Throughout, she seems to be saying that she doesnt really want the real touch or the sky (bichhaya akash) or reach the skies herself. She is happier with the dreams, the yearning,and reaching the skies through his eyes..

  11. @Anonymous:
    beautifully said. I wanted to say the same through my last line - "...I feel that it's much more beautiful to desire you than having you all for myself. So let me enjoy this yearning.", but guess that didn't come out quite as well :)

  12. oh no..your those exact words inspired me to add on....thank you for all the thoughts that you put down here...
    adding further on :) - a twist for the last stanza - here goes -

    "Maybe I did reach the skies, walking upon the smoky wisps of fog, but see how far i have come helped by your eyes !!! but let me float on the fogs..."

    In one stanza she prefers the earth to the skies and in the next she prefers the skies to whatever beyond that he takes her to through his eyes!!! the sky here is the drop which she to gulzar

  13. @Anonymous:
    That's another way to see it. This is the thing with Gulzar, his words can be interpreted in so many different ways, and they still rise above all the interpretations! :)

  14. Kanupriya, i love your blog. Could you please translate "Silli hawa chhoo gayi" and "Aaj kal paon zameen par nahi padte mere" :)

    1. Thanks :) will surely do those songs in future, two of my favorites!

  15. Visiting the blog first time..great job done...the song is as beautiful as the movie itself... just one correction though... instead of "paa ke bhi tumhari aarzoo ho" it is.."kaante bhi tumhari arzoo ho shayad aisi zindagi haseen h"... meaning that her life is so blissful and happy that she has to wish even for small pains...

    1. Hello! Glad you liked the blog :)
      But I'm sure it's "pa ke bhi tumhari aarzoo ho" and not "kaante bhi...."

  16. are so correct...i found out my mistake as i was listening the song yesterday... my apologies...:-)

  17. That is simply superb Kanupriya !!
    For the Gulzar-lovers like me, this Blog is worth reading 10000 times. :)

    1. Hi Prasann,
      Thanks for your kind words! Do keep visiting the blog :)

  18. Kanupriya, I can only say, the read is soothing. The love Sudha feels seeps through your mind takes me to a mountain top where moments are like diamonds, pouring on me like rain..... :) I gotta take as many as I can.....

    My fav lines are: Halke-halke kohre ke dhuen mein/Shaayad aasmaan tak aa gayi hoon/Teri do nigaahon ke sahaare/Dekho to kahaan tak aa gayi hoon....and your interpretaion, where you said.... I trust you (with my eyes closed), mind blowing poetry....Thanks to Gulzar Sahab, and Thanks to you.

  19. Too too good.Guljaar Saab ke shabdon ka Nasha chadhata hai literally. You have explained it so nicely. But 'And I feel that it's much more beautiful to desire you than having you all for myself' is hilarious..!! Waiting for the next songs..though i visited this one too late. :)

  20. The 1st para starts with "kabhi to kuch aisa ye hua tha" & not kal bhi", as mentioned...I listened carefully & expressed.


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