Monday, April 30, 2012

Is Mod Se Jaate Hain (Aandhi)

Here is one song that always stumped me when I was younger. I wasn't able to make a head or tale of it. It was after I read the script of the movie (I haven't watched it yet) that the song really started to make sense. A bit delayed, but here it is on my blog :)

About the movie:
Though the movie (Aandhi, 1975) gained much notoriety (and a ban) for bearing a similarity to the life of a certain Ms Gandhi; in my opinion the whole political background was incidental to the movie which is essentially a story about love, ego and personality clashes. But mostly about love. 

The movie traces the love story (and marriage) of an ambitious daughter of a politician (Aarti) and a hotel-manager-by-profession but poet-at-heart guy JK. Aarti's political ambitions prove to be a bit too much for JK and his ego; and they decide to go their separate ways. The movie (constantly switching between flashes from past and present) revolves around what happens when a chance encounter brings them back.

The stage is set thus:
The song occurs at two very important junctures in the movie. First is a mod (turn) in their lives - JK and Aarti have just gotten married and are all starry-eyed about their future. [Spoiler alert!] The second time the song occurs at the climax of the movie; when they finally decide to go their own ways and marks the second mod of their journey.

With this background, let's move ahead to the translation part :)

Lyrics, and English translation:

Is mod se jaate hain
Kuchh sust kadam raste
Kuchh tez kadam raahein

[[From this turn walk by, 
Some lazy paths, 
And a few fast paced lanes.

This is the beginning of a new phase in the relationship of JK and Aarti. Life could take the turn towards the unhurried life that JK dreams of; or could end up in the expressway of Aarti's ambitions. 
Even when de-referenced from the movie, this line sets the tone for the highly abstract yet deeply meaningful lyrics coming ahead.]]

Patthar ki haveli ko
Sheeshe ke gharaundon mein
Tinkon ke nasheman tak
Is mod se jaate hain

[[Towards a mansion made of stones,
In a house of glass
Or a nest of mere twigs
Can we go from this turn

The song further talks about how this turn could lead them towards an everlasting relationship (patthar ki haveli), a brittle one (sheeshe ke gharonde), or one which even the slightest of wind (of trouble) could wreck (tinkon ke nasheman).]]

Aandhi ki tarah ud kar ek raah guzarti hai
Sharmaati hui koi qadamon se utarti hai
In reshmi raahon mein, ik raah to wo hogi
Tum tak jo pahuchti hai, is mod se jaati hai

[[A road, like a raging storm, passes by
And one takes the steps demurely 
Of these silken roads, I look out for the one
That'll take me to you, when I take this turn

The song further speaks of the various tones this relationship could take - volatile like a gale, or a timid one. "But whatever form it takes, of the many enticing options I want to choose the one that'll lead me to you."]]

Ik door se aati hai, paas aa ke palatti hai
Ik raah akeli si, rukti hai na chalti hai
Ye soch ke baithi hoon, ik raah to wo hogi
Tum tak jo pahunchti hai, is mod se jaati hai

[[One road comes from far away and then suddenly takes a U-turn
And there's this lonely road, which neither stops not goes anywhere.
I sit here thinking, there must be a road out there
That'll take me to you, when I take this turn

You're quite sure of the direction of your life, and then it suddenly takes a U-turn. And at times you spend too much time down a road that won't lead you anywhere. 
"But I will sit here and wait for these roads to pass, till the one comes along that'll take me to my lover, my destination.]]

My Two Three cents:
1. This song was written as a nazm, and adapted in the movie. The nazm is not specific to marriage and  its consequences though. Neither is it a love ballad. It simply talks about how one turn could make you end up at a completely different place. Some lines from the nazm:

सहरा की तरफ़ जाकर, इक राह बगूलों में खो जाती है चकराकर
रुक-रुकके झिझकती-सी, इक मौत की ठंडी-सी वादी में उतरती है
इक राह उधडती-सी छिलती हुई काँटों से, जंगल से गुज़रती है -
इक दौड़ के जाती है और कूदके गिरती है, अनजानी ख़लाओं में 

Thanks to @stwta for giving the youtube video of the nazm by Bhupinder Singh.

2. In the movie Aarti tells JK "तुम्हारे पास ये कविता न होती तो तुम बहुत ऑर्डिनरी आदमी होते". I read somewhere that this was something that actually Rakhi told Gulzar. In fact, to me JK's character feels quite similar to Gulzar. His sense of humor and poetic sensibilities are trademark Gulzar. But then, he created the character!

3. Here, Gulzar talks about Sanjeev Kumar and the making of Aandhi.


  1. beautifully written by Gulzar and very beautifully translated by you :-) enjoyed reading it.

    1. 8, 2013 at 2:17 AM

      thanku for the you, for years ive been trying to make sense of these interesting compilation of words, teasing the brain, to understand, what the heart has already accepted and loved to the fullest... a box full of words, full of mystery, waiting to be that the mystery has opened, the words are still, if not more, beautiful...thanks again.

    2. Jun26, 2013
      last 35 years I was trying and was not getting the real meaning of this song. Today, accidently I got to this site and was thrilled and overjoyed to know the deep meaning of this intelligent song. Wonderful, that you took us to the 2 modes and then explained in simple English the meaning of this song. Aap bahot ache achhe teacher ho. Many Many Many ...thanks to you and god bless you... pradeep

    3. You really interpreted the mood of song and meaning too. N definitely I ll say, their are very few who take pains to make out what Gulzarsaab really wants to say thru his songs. So keep this up for all of less mortal Gulzaar fans.

    4. Thanks a lot bro. I was also struggling to find the hidden meaning behind these beautiful lyrics and what you said makes perfect sense!!! Thanks again :)

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Have you seen the new Adidas (fans') ad. I liked the ad a lot because of its originality, marketing strategy but above all it placed the fans above their ideals (Sachin bowing before the crowd).

    Why I am talking about this ad here. Because I think some people (atleast true in my case) started liking Gulzar more due to your blog.

    1. Hi Bhavesh,
      No I haven't seen this ad. Dekhna padega! :)
      And thanks for the later part of the comment, though it's embarrassing to be said such a thing to :P but thanks for liking my blog :)

  3. Nice interpretations in all. I was searching the meaning of 'numaayan' and googled it and then found your blog. I am also one of the many million fans of Gulzar, but I must say you have done some great work.
    Anyways I got the meaning in your blog. thanks.

    1. Thanks a lot Soumitra :) glad u like my blog and found it useful :)

  4. Aandhi is a movie only Gulzar could have made. It has so many layers it could put an onion to shame. His treatment of ambition and love is as relevant today as it was so many years ago. And the songs, oh the songs... This one is one of my favorites. There were a few lines whose meaning was not totally clear to me. But thanks to you I finally "get" the whole song now. :)

    1. That's true. The movie is very relevant and the songs enchanting, even today.

  5. Very nice post, many thanks for this...

  6. "is mod se jaate hain" this song had me intrigued for nearly a decade now and no explanation for the meaning actually made sense to me. apparently gulzar himself was queried for the meaning and he replied "it means what you want it means to be.....".

    you have done a commendable job of setting the tone, giving the reference of the movie and the source of inspiration which explains the meaning in totality. hats off and keep it up.

  7. I have listen this song many times...but never tried to understand d meaning...after reading this explanation from now i become a fan of Gulzar sir.. today's songs r meaningless... u r great sir...

    1. Thanx for the blog. Song's meaning is clearer to me now !

  8. Hello, I'm a Gulzar fan as well. I'm not a good writer(in any language)so please excuse me if you find any grammatical error. I liked Gulzar saab's lyrics even before I knew his name, strange though. The reason why I love his work is its magical(even when they are sad ones). For me his works are my words for emotions and events, I always find it difficult to form one lime and explain myself clearly. I like most of his works and I think I understand his works as well but I won't be able to explain it like you do here in this blog. And reading few of your works is like confirming my understanding. Hope I didn't write the same sentence twice :). Thanks for this blog. God bless you.

    1. Thank you!
      Gulzar saab's words are truly magical.

  9. I have loved this song for eons having written in a complex tone I could never understand the subtlety underlying even though I always that it means entirely something else than to what a layman ear would surmise..Well I can express my gratitude to you for unraveling the true meaning like a connoisseur of prose.atlast now I know

  10. I was only looking for the lyrics of 'Is mod se jaate hain', when I came across your wonderful blog, explaining the meaning of this otherwise abstract-sounding song.
    Now it is all so clear to me, I can even explain the song to my parents! Thank you!

  11. This reminds me of my Girlfriend, with whom i have spend so much of time and i am still waiting for her. that may be one day she will be back and we will be together. but due to unavoidable situations in our life, we could not be together and had to part ways.

    at the same time if that turn would not have happen, our lives would not have been the way it is now..... Indeed Gulzar sahab has written eternal words, which will stand against time....

  12. Hi! Really nice work! We share two common things - MP(Indore) as home state and Delhi as current state. Anyways could you also do "Tum aa gaye ho" from Andhi. It seems all the songs of this movie have much deeper meanings than normal people can realize/understand


  13. Greetings from across the border. Beautiful interpretation. I happened to cross Dina (Gulzar Sahab's birth place) and somehow this song came to my mind.

    A request: Can you post words of Nazam of Bhupinder Sing in Roman English please?

    1. Thanks for your kind words :)
      Do you want words for this nazm or some other?

  14. Thank for sharing your deep thoughts. Looks like I am not the only one..... Last 25 years of my life, i spent trying to understand this song, never got anywhere, may be now it has started to make some sense. Gulzar sahib is a gift from Pakistan to India... hope our two countries can reset all the past and be bhai again....

  15. I had been wondering about the meaning of this song for a while.
    Thanks for writing this up. Very helpful.

  16. Here is my attempt to render this poem in Bengali:

  17. Thank you very much. Excellent interpretation!

  18. Boy! I am flabbergasted. What thought by Gulzar Sahab and equally brilliant work by you. Kudos to both of you

  19. What a lovely are equally gifted in felicitiously translating. I am a kishoreDA fan and after hearing this song for 25 times continously i wanted the meaning and am glad i stumbled your blog. My appreciation. Especially since i am in tamilnadu with ltd knowledge of hindi n urdu. Thank you. It brings i know why RD Burman, KishoreDa and Gulzar are genius's.....namaste...cant thank enough

  20. A small correction if u will is not "Ik door se aati hai, paas aa ke palatti hai"
    It is palattatti hai.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. So many thanks for writing this piece,I am overwhelmed :)
    I just saw the movie and was intrigued with this song , as I couldn't understand it totally, now that you have explained it I am so happy :)
    Thanks again !!!


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