Monday, June 1, 2015

Mera Yaar Mila De (Saathiya)

As Gulzar often says, if a lyricist is devious and smart enough, he would build multiple layers into his songs. As you scratch the surface, another layer will reveal itself. And this way he would sneakily say the thing he wanted to say, along with the thing the director wanted him to say.

The song begins with an anguished cry - a cry of someone lost, someone in despair.

On the screen we see Adi (Vivek Oberoi) frantically looking for Suhani (Rani Mukherjee) - in the background the track begins - "Banjar hai sab banjar hai, hum dhoondhne jab firdaus chale / Teri khoj talaash mein dekh piya, hum kitne kaale kos chale". On the face of it, this song is a lover's search for his beloved.  And the deft picturisation by Shaad Ali makes us believe it is, indeed, about a lover's quest.

But if we strip the song off its picturisation, the words are all about the quest for God. Gulzar's desposition for the Sufi way often manifests itself in his songs and poetry. This one is no different. To him, God resides not in idols or stones ("kankad, patthar, but") - but in a loving and devoted heart. It's not by looking for firdaus (Eden/heaven) or looking at the stars ("maine tote-tote taare chune") that you can find Him. When your love for God becomes an obsession, and transcends even that; when you destroy your identity in that quest; is when you can truly find Him / be one with Him.


Lyrics and translation:
Banjar hai sab banjar hai hum dhoondhne jab firdaus chale
Teri khoj-talaash mein dekh piya, hum kitne kaale kos chale
Banjar hai sab banjar hai

[[Seeking heaven, all I see is this wasteland
How many joyless miles must I travel looking for you?
It's just wilderness all around ...]]

Mainda yaar mila de saaiyaan, ik vaar mila de saaiyaan

[[God, please unite me with my beloved. All I want is to see him but once.]]

Maine pota-pota falak chhaana, maine tote-tote taare chune

[[I have shattered the stars to pieces and searched through every inch of sky with my own fingertips]]
(Thanks Anurag Bhardwaj for correcting the Punjabi bits for me :) )

Taaron ki chamak ye subaho talak, lagti hi nahin pal bhar ko palak

[[The incessant starlight till the morning, doesn't let me sleep even for a second.
(even the gentle starlight is agonizing for someone in love)]]

Maine pota-pota falak chhaana, maine tote-tote taare chune
Sirf ek teri aahat ke liye kankad, patthar, but saare sune
Hun mende te ruswaaiyaan

[[I have shattered the stars to pieces and searched through every inch of sky with my own fingertip
Seeking the sound of your footsteps, I've borne the silence of pebbles, stones and idols alike.
And yet I find only disgrace and ridicule]]

[Mainda yaar mila de saaiyaan, ik vaar mila de saaiyaan]

Aa dekh meri peshaani ko taqdeer ke harfe likkhe hain

[[Come, and see the words of fate written on my forehead ]]

Pairon ke nishaan jab dekhe jahaan sau baar jhukaaya sar ko wahaan

[[Wherever I see even the hint of your footsteps, I bow my head a hundred times]]

Aa dekh meri peshaani ko taqdeer ke harfe likkhe hain
Main kitni baar pukaarun tujhe, tere naam ke safhe likkhe hain

[[Do you not see the words of fate written on my forehead?
How many times must I call out to you? Pages have been written only of your name.]]

Tera saaya kahin to bolega, main sunta raha parchhaiyaan 

[[In the hope of hearing your voice, I've spent my life listening to shadows]]

My two  three cents:
  1. To Shaad Ali's credit, he absolutely nails the picturisation. "How many joyless miles must I travel looking for you?" - the way Adi travels through cities/village by whatever means - buses, trucks, tractors. And the way religious symbols keep popping up in the visuals - a saadhu showing him the way, a photo of Mother Mary in the hospital, an abandoned church in the back - it all ties up really well.
  2. The line 'Tera saaya kahin to bolega main sunta raha parchhaiyaan' reminds me of 'Main hawa pe dhoondhoon uske nishaan' from Chhaiya-Chhaiya - Listening to something intangible, in the hope of finding some sign of his loved one/God.
  3. Of course, both Chhaiya-chhaiya and this song are Sufi in nature - so the underlying theme is very similar - though the songs themselves are as happy and as despairing as can be. But one thing that I found very interesting is the line "Jinke sar ho ishq ki chhaon, paaon ke neeche jannat hogi" (for those in love, heaven is easily achievable) in Chhaiya-chhaiya. In turn, in this song, "Banjar hai sab banjar hai hum dhoondhne jab firdaus chale" (seeking heaven, all he finds are wastelands). So, it's not by looking for heaven that you find it, it's by being one with your loved one. And then the heaven is at your feet.

10 comments:

  1. I love all your posts and look forward to them. I was introduced to Gulzar saab's songs in my teenage years and have been hooked ever since!! Great to see their interpretation here :):)

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  4. Hi Ms. Kanupriya,
    I'm a doctor and I worship gulzar from my teens. Your blog is very interesting and I love your interpretations. Someday, if time allows, I'd love to interpret a song with you, even on Skype. If you have time, can you please listen to this song 'shauk hai' from 'guru' and interpret it here. If not, I can do it with you next month.
    Thank you for writing this blog. It's great to see so much reverence for Gulzar sahab.
    Keep up the good work. God bless :)

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  5. Happy to have stumbled into your blog pages. Could you please drop in at : http://kanupriyaa.blogspot.in/
    - Ardra Vamshi

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  6. This made me cry. Gulzar's lyrics are so terribly beautiful. Thank you for creating this blog.

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  7. Hello,
    What does
    "pota-pota" and "tote-tote" mean?

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