Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
    Volume 9 Issue 5 | January 29, 2010|

  Cover Story
  Writing the Wrong
  Human Rights
  Star Diary
  Write to Mita
  Post Script

   SWM Home


The Magic in
Old Music

Syed Badrul Ahsan

Shahnaz Rahmatullah

There is always magic in old music. Those of us who went to school in the Sixties have, in all these years that we have passed from youth to middle age, somehow remained convinced that the songs we heard Ferdousi Rahman sing in the old days, that her peers gave voice to, are music that remains on a perch higher than anything that we have had before us since then. Think of “jaar chhaya porhechhe / monero aina te” and you will know. Sheer romance underpins the song, in much the same way that absolute pain struggles with the need for love in “ke amar ondho moner bondho duar / fello khule tumi jaante cheyo na”. Ferdousi's voyage into the world of Urdu music, which music was touched by the inimitable splendour arising in Robin Ghosh, remains an equally poignant reminder of the good old times for us. “Ye arzoo jawan jawan” and “wo mere saamne tasveer bane baithe hain” are symbols of the grandeur we once associated with music in our part of the world. You spot that grandeur again in Farida Yasmeen's “saiyan bedardi mora dard na jaane re”.

Which brings us to Bashir Ahmed. In the Sixties (and the Sixties will always be a period of renaissance for people of my generation), he made us swoon with numbers like “tomar kajol kesh chhorhalo bole / ei raat emon modhur”. There were other songs from him, of course. No one who has heard “pinjor khule diyechhi” will ever forget the haunting melody that came with it. And there is all the treasury of his Urdu songs in movies such as Talaash and Darshan. In Talaash, as in the unforgettable Rajdhanir Booke, you wade through the Robin Ghosh effect. “Kuch apni kahiye / kuch meri suniye” is a symbol of youthful romance not to be touched by the ravages of time. When Rahman sings and turns behind a blazing Shabnam, it is the soul in you he gives expression to. A similarity of feeling is what you go through when Talat Mehmood sings “tomare legechhe ato je bhalo / chand bujhi ta jaane”.

As you struggle to find a way out of the chaos which defines much of music these days, you know too that there is hope which springs in some of the young men and women you spot on those ubiquitous song competitions on television these days. India's Shreya Ghoshal takes you right back to the Fifties when she sings the old Lata number, ye zindagi usi ki hai / jo kisi ka ho gaya. The audience listens and gazes in wonder when the very young Abhaas chooses the most difficult of songs to sing before it. And, yes, back in the old days, it was difficult, soul-piercing songs that came from the men and women who sing no more or who do not sing much any more. Khondokar Faruk Ahmed's songs were emblematic of high romance in the era when our parents were young. Remember his duet with Shahnaz Rahmatullah? “Aha jhiri jhiri hawa / ar ektu ektu chhoan / keno bhalo laage / bolbo jodi shorom ranga / mukh ti tule ektu khani / hasho to mor aage” has something of the pristine about it. It is one song that lovers may have been singing for centuries, as much as they may have been singing another Faruk number . . . “aami nijer mone nijei jeno / gopone dhora porhechhi”.


Speaking of Shahnaz Rahmatullah, the coruscating melody of “phooler kaane bhromor eshe / chupi chupi bole jaaye” remains unbeatable. Our mothers' generation was seduced by this song; and our lovers have been bowled over by it. Then too there is “aami je kebol bole choli tumi to kichhu bolona” with Mahmudunnabi, a song symbolic of pure bliss. And Mahmuddunnabi? Whatever poetry he touched, he turned into elegance. In “ei shopno ghera din raakhbo dhore / shajabo bashor bodhu tomari tore” he makes you wish that youth lingered, that it did not have to pass into sunken cheeks and receding hairlines. How many times have Bangali men sung the ageless Kishore number, “prithibi bodle gachhe ja dekhi notun laage”? And how often did your soul break into a waltz with Hemonto's “shurer akashe tumi je go shuktara”?

Abdul Jabbar's “ekti moner ashish tumi / kachhe jokhon ele” (and this was in the early Seventies) sends pleasing tremors through the heart. Similar tremors were felt in his earlier song, “ogo lajuk lota shudhu ei logone / mon chaaye nirobe tomare / keno baare baare”. When Prasun and Anuradha recreate the old Hemant-Lata magic of “jaag dard-e-ishq jaag / dil ko beqarar kar / chherh ke ansoo-on ka raag”, it is the fleeting beauty of time that courses through your sensibilities. You could say the same as you play Mehdi Hasan's hamari sanson mein aaj tak wo henna ki khushboo mehek rahi hai / labon pe naghme machal rahen hain nazar se masti chhalak rahi hai.

Ah, memories assail us, through the old alleys of the heart and the wild forests of the soul. You think you hear a voice in the distant clouds. You hear Rafi sing “yaad na jaaye beete dino ki / jaa ke na aaye jo din / dil kyun bulaye unhen . . .”


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2010