Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saathiya (Title track)

So I was on the road today, when some FM channel started playing 'Do pyaar karne waale' from Jungle. And I thought, there are some songs that I could listen simply for Sonu Nigam's voice. Now add AR Rahman and Gulzar to the mix, and the song is sure to feature in my all-time favorites (think 'Satrangi Re' from Dil Se). Saathiya title track is no different. So it was a happy moment for me when it won a Filmfare Award each for its musical trio of Sonu, Rahman and Gulzar (Filmfare has often disappointed me in the past).

The lyrics of this song are hardly what you'd call linear or simple. In fact, I feel they are less like Gulzar's Bollywood work, and more like his poems - metaphors, allegories and analogies galore! But the thought is pretty simple - it's a love song from a boy to girl. A boy with a pretty vivid imagination too! Such is his love, that his entire world revolves around this girl. 

Lyrics, and translation
Translating this song literally will kill its beauty. So please ignore the literal translation, and focus on the feelings behind it.

Saathiya, saathiya, maddham-maddham teri geeli hansi
Saathiya, saathiya, sun ke humne saari pi li hansi

[[Literally: My beloved, your laughter is soft and fluid, which I drank upon hearing it.

'Geeli' (wet) is not an adjective used very often for laughter. These lines could could mean that our hero drank up the laughter like someone who has been thirsty. Or it could mean that he is drunk on (intoxicated by) this girl's laughter. Or it could mean that like a liquid seeps inside surfaces, the laughter has soaked his soul. You prefer!]]

Hansti rahe tu hansti rahe, haya ki laali khilti rahe
Zulf ke neeche gardan pe, subah-o-shaam milti rahein
Saundhi si hansi teri, khilti rahe, milti rahe

[[May you keep smiling forever, your cheeks blushing
May the mornings and evenings keep meeting at the nape of your neck, under your hair.
May your fragrant laughter keep blooming for ever.

I wish more poets would think beyond the eyes and lips of a girl! How sensuous is the description of the dark hair brushing the fair neck of the girl - how beautiful is its comparison to the meeting place of mornings and evenings! The blush of the girl's cheeks is like the redness of sky at dusk or dawn.]]

Peeli dhoop pahan kar tum, dekho baag mein mat jaana
Bhanvre tumko sab chhedenge, phoolon mein mat jaana

[[Don't go out in the garden, dressed in (yellow) sunshine
All those insects will bug you, don't go near the flowers

(PS: Bhanvra is a black insect that eats flower nectar. What's it called in English?)]]

Maddham-maddham hans de phir se
Sona-sona phir se hans de

[[Smile that soft, beautiful smile of yours yet again]]

Taaza gire patte ki tarah sabz laan* par lete hue
Saat rang hain bahaaron ke, ek ada mein lapete hue
Saavan bhaadon saare tumse

[[Like a freshly fallen leave, lying still on the green lawn.
Yet containing all the shades of spring in every glance
(It's as if) all my seasons are because of you

*Laan = lawn]]

Mausam-mausam hanste rahna
Maddham-maddham hanste rahna

[[Keep smiling that soft smile of yours in every season]]

Saathiya, saathiya ...

Kabhie neele aasmaan par, chalo ghoomne chalein hum
Koi abr mil gaya to, zameen pe baras lein hum

[[Some time, let's go on a stroll through this blue sky
And rain down on the earth, when we come across a cloud

(At times, I wish it was just you, me and the sky and the rain - we would be one with each-other, and one with the nature)]]

Teri baali hil gayi hai
Kabhie shab chamak uthi hai, kabhie shaam khil gayi hai

[[A flicker in your earring
Makes my nights glitter, makes my evenings bloom]]

Tere baalon ki panaah mein, ye siyaah raat guzre
Teri kaali-kaali aankhein, koi ujli baat utre

[[I wish I could spend these dark nights in the shade of your hair
And see your dark eyes sparkle when a bright idea flits through your mind]]

Teri ik hansee ke badle, meri yeh zameen le le
Mera aasmaan le le

[[I could sacrifice my earth and sky in exchange for even one of your smile]]

Saathiya, saathiya ...

Barf giri ho vaadi mein, oon mein lipti simti hui...
Barf giri ho vaadi mein, aur hansi teri goonje
Oon mein lipti simti hui, baat kare dhuaan nikle
Garm-garm ujla dhuaan, narm-narm ujla dhuaan

[[Some time, when the valley is snow-clad; shivering despite being clad in woolen clothes...

Some time, when the valley is snow-clad, I wish it was echoing with your laughter
And I can see you clad in woolen clothes, smoke coming out of your mouth as you speak
A warm, bright, soft smoke]]

My three cents
  1. The line 'Teri ik hansi ke badle, meri yeh zameen le le, mera aasmaan le le' is by far my favorite line of the song. So simple, yet all-giving. He's ready to give everything up just to see his beloved smile once. That's how deeply a girl wants to be loved. Plus, this line is sung with such intensity by Sonu Nigam, it's as if he really means it. Wow, I get goosebumps every time I listen to it!
  2. My favorite part - Gulzar's use of colors throughout the song - haya ki laali khilti rahe (red), peeli dhoop pehen ke tum (yellow), taaza gire patte ki tarah (green), kabhie neele aasmaan par (blue), yeh siyaah raat guzre (black), barf giri ho vaadi mein (white), saat rang hain bahaaron ke.
  3. The song is picturised (and performed) well. Even Manish Malhotra's costumes for Rani are in tandem with the colors (see 2 above).


  1. awesome work. Loved this post... and it helps me to appreciate the song better. Agree completely with your first two cents. Another line I think I will put in the same category is one in HDDCS, "Chaahe jo maang lo, sab tumhaara hai" .. there the intensity is more Devgan's but it has a similar effect, I guess.

    In the first two lines, I somehow cannot digest either of your interpretations, though I do not have an alternative explanation... kabhi kabhi to lagta hai Gulzar ki baaten Gulzar se hi samajhni padengi.. I hope kabhi to unse milna ho.. :)

  2. thanks Divesh :)
    about the first two lines - even I'm not convinced about the interpretation. how about (crudely), like a liquid seeps through surfaces, your (fluid) laughter has drenched me - or something like that?
    I feel bad at times, slaughtering such beautiful words like this :-|

  3. I like this third explanation better than the first two. I sometimes think that at times Gulzar likes his thoughts to be abstract without them having a really precise interpretation.

    and don't feel too bad.. your slaughtering is helpful to us mortal readers :)

  4. Kanu.. This is so lovely!! My mom and I are both great fans of Gulzaar and we tend to discuss about each word, each line and sharing our own interpretations! This song has been discussed often between us and after reading this I felt now you, my mom and I are having a conversations! Keep up the great work! Next time I m back in Delhi, I am going to show my mom your blog! :)

    1. Wow, u are so lucky.
      It's not at all easy to find people who are equally interested in going into the depth of the lyrics, imageries used, by the poet/lyricist. It extremely hard to find such literary enthusiasts.
      Most people don't have the time to go into lyrics and all. Sad reality.

  5. @Divesh:
    1. Yeah, that's why I feel particularly bad when I try to grapple with the words and don't come out with anything good enough to justify the words.
    2. Don't embarrass me any further :P I'm just an overzealous fangirl. I just hope my attempts are forgivable.

    I know u and ur mom are Gulzar (saab) fans ;) thanks for the appreciation :) means a lot!

  6. nice blog. i like other songs of this movie more but after reading this i feel like listening to this song now :)
    my fav line is "zulf ke neeche gardan pe subah shaam milti rahe" and i liked the way you described it.

  7. thanks anonymous :) all the songs from this movie are good :) I love how ARR uses Adnan Sami (Udi udi udi and Baadal (Yuva) being the cases in point)
    yes, that line is very beautiful :)

  8. Bhanwara is called bumblebee in English :)

  9. you should try and listen or read to the original tamil version of this song - Pachai Nirame.. i dont know who wrote that but Gulzar has just made it more beautiful.

    Kanupriya, just stumbled on ur blog when i was searching for some lyrics.. Superb it is i say..

  10. After about 3 days of being (po)(ob)ssessed with this song that is being played on my youtube countless times just for Sonu & Gulzar, I finally land up on this blog to know meaning of some words used in the songs. Though a pretty old song this colorful song will always be an evergreen one for each of us, i believe. Your work is beyond appreciation for naive crazy fans / readers like me. Thanks a lot for taking time on this & enlightening.

    Like all, I personally like below interpretations -
    1. Zulf ke neeche gardan pe, subah-o-shaam milti rahein
    2. Saundhi si hansi teri, khilti rahe, milti rahe
    3. Peeli dhoop pahan kar tum, dekho baag mein mat jaana
    Bhanvre tumko sab chhedenge, phoolon mein mat jaana
    4. Maddham-maddham hans de phir se
    Sona-sona phir se hans de
    5. Tere baalon ki panaah mein, ye siyaah raat guzre
    Teri kaali-kaali aankhein, koi ujli baat utre
    6. Teri ik hansee ke badle, meri yeh zameen le le
    Mera aasmaan le le

    **I, literally, Am living in dreams on this song and those lines.**

    Like one pointed, the Tamil Version has more beautiful interpretation of the colors and the cinematography is outstanding when compared to Hindi. But this one rocks for Sonu & Gulzar :)

    Thanks a lot again and Good wishes for your works.


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