Chalo Ek Bar Phir Se अजनबी बन जाये हम दोनो!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE5q9kst-Zc&w=521&h=391

This song is the best song rendered by Mahendra Kapoor, who was known as Mohammad Rafi clone, till then. (I had met him when I was in 9th or 10th grade, he used to play badminton in our club in Mumbai. (silk shorts and all!) The song is from 1963 movie Gumrah directed by legendary B R Chopra.

Sahir Ludhianvi was a poet who came to Bombay, to earn his bread in Bollywood. I don’t know what compromises he might have been required to make for movies, but I feel that in some of the songs the poet in him, comes out predominantly. A unique trait of Sahir was that he was very forthright in what he wanted to say, sometimes to the point of bluntness. The way he used the Urdu words was unbelievable. Many a time it so happens that for the Urdu words used by him, other languages don’t have the right words, with required lyricism, to explain his real feelings. Sahir Ludhianvi, who was indeed one of the most gifted poets, ever, to have written for Hindi cinema. Known for his cynicism and disillusionment with society, Sahir Ludhianvi wrote lyrics that reflect a great deal of emotional complexity and maturity. In contrast to his contemporaries, Ludhianvi chose to remain unhindered by the constraints set by the Bollywood love songs; many of his songs are refreshing to hear for their expression of biting political satire, heartfelt grief, or outspoken anger.

In this song, the two lovers are caught in the social situation which prevents them from fulfilling their romantic desires and living life together. It is supposedly his real-life situation where he and poet Amrita Pritam could not stay together though they loved each other. This song is an outpouring of their accidental meeting at a party with her new husband, in Bombay. He was never an idealist; hence the first two lines show his pragmatic approach to the situation.

Chalo Ek Baar Phir se, ajnabii ban jaayen ham donon 

Come let us become strangers again!

na main tumse koii ummiid rakhuun dilnavaazii kii 

I shall no longer maintain hopes of compassion from you

The last four lines are those of a protagonist. He feels that it is counterproductive to pour energy into a relationship that is doomed. His words indicate that sometimes it is good to put an early end to a love story which cannot end in happy circumstances, ever!

taalluq bojh ban jaaye to usko todnaa achhaa 

Should a relationship become a burden, then it is best to stop it.

voh afsaana jise anjaam tak laanaa na ho mumkin 

For that tale which cannot culminate in a conclusion,

use ek khuubsuurat mod de kar chhoDna achhaa

it is best to give it a beautiful turn and leave it be.

I am sure that it is a tough call to bring into practice what Sahir has preached. What Sahir has achieved is one of the best songs he has ever written! The lovers during their love phase and later when that love is broken, are highly emotional. It is entirely possible that sanity may be lost in their actions. But Sahir has suggested a very mature way of handling the situation. Let us be strangers again!

The middle stanza of the song is a practical way the poet is suggesting how the love needs to taper off.

na main tumse koii ummiid rakhuun dilnavaazii kii 

I shall no longer maintain hopes of compassion from you 

The poet is indicating to his love that he no longer would be compassionate in the relationship nor does he expect his beloved to do so.

na tum merii taraf dekho ghalat andaaz nazaron se 

Nor shall you gaze at me with your deceptive glances. 

na mere dil ki dhaDkan laDkhaDaaye merii baaton men 

My heart shall no longer tremble when I speak,  

Poet suggests to his lover that the misleading and furtive glances will not make his heart to flutter. Nor would his words will reflect feelings of the heart.

na zaahir ho tumhaari kashm-kash ka raaz nazaron se 

Nor shall your glances reveal the secret of your torment. 

Over a period, my love, your glances will not display the pain in your eyes!

Friends I am amazed at the way the artists express themselves. Painters’ expressions are seen in the paintings, and the singer will express through the depth of his voice. These days even cricketers say that they want to go and express themselves. By this, they all mean that they want to show their feelings. But in Sahir’s case,  it is simply amazing that he can find apt expressions and perfectly fitting words. The word Ajanabii hits the bull’s eye. From lovers to the other extreme, strangers! Somebody may have said, ”Let me walk away” or “let us forget each other”! But the word Ajnabii hits as if a dagger is plunged inside your heart! How can lovers become strangers in a broken relationship? But that is Sahir for you. Was this song the result of Sahir’s personal experience? Was it the wound to his heart that brought out the word Ajanabii from the depth of his heart?

The last line in the poem (ok it’s a song) is also equally impressive.

use ek khuubsuurat mod de kar chhodna achhaa

it is best to give it a beautiful turn and leave it be. 

Sahir says now that our relationship is getting over, why not give the situation a beautiful turn, as if he is driving a car and he wants to take an unexpected turn on the road which will never bring him back to his lover. Is it as simple as making a U-turn? khuubsuurat mod to me is a metaphor where he wants to walk out but expresses it as only Sahir can!

Sahir Ludhianvi is the pen name of Abdul Hayee (8 March 1921 – 25 October 1980) who is popularly known as Sahir, was an Indian poet and film lyricist who wrote in the Hindi and Urdu languages. His work influenced Indian cinema, in particular, Bollywood films. Sahir won Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for Taj Mahal (1963). He earned a second Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for his work on Kabhie Kabhie (1976). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971. But lest you forget, his best work was in 1957 Gurudutt film,  Pyaasa!

 

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