Remembering Sahir Ludhianvi on his birth centenary: When he wrote as a concerned mother

Among the many shares by fans and connoisseurs of Hindi Cinema commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of Sahir Ludhianvi, this is a small drop in the ocean remembering one of the most difficult situational songs of Hindi films, penned by the legendary poet in his impeccable style beyond comparison.

The cult song is a lesser talked about gem from the thoughtful, off-beat classic Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), directed by Moni Bhattacharjee that was based on the life of a revolutionary dacoit and his surrender. Produced by Sunil Dutt, who also played the lead role in the film along with Waheeda Rehman, it had an outstanding soundtrack together conceived by an exceptional team of Jaidev and Sahir, including tracks like Raat Bhi Hai Kuchh Bheegi Bheegi, Ab Koi Gulshan Na Ujade, and more.

However, the particular gem quoted as one of the most difficult situational songs in Hindi cinema is sung by the dacoit’s wife in the film as a thoughtful mother, predicting the probable future of their child, who will never be accepted by society as a fellow human, being the son of a known and wanted criminal.

Coming at the most crucial stage of the film, it focuses on the mother worried about the kid, who yet doesn’t know about the family he has born in and how that is going to affect his entire life adversely in the coming years. Thinking about his tough time ahead, she says:

“Tere Bachpan Ko Jawaani Ki Dua Deti Hun,

Aur Dua Deke Pareshan Si Ho Jaati Hun”

Such is the power in the prophetic lines penned by Sahir, that the child’s father, a known dacoit, has to decide on surrender with a heavy heart going through a major transformation. Flawlessly sung by Lata Mangeshkar, the song and its meaningful lyrics get a beautiful execution on screen with various props of paintings, religious symbols, their shadows, and more incorporated in a worth applauding set designed when there were no computer graphics available for the art-designers.

Beginning with a thought-provoking couplet, the lyrics progress focusing on the mother caringly expressing her thoughts with tears in the eyes for her son. The toddler grows into a 6-7-year-old kid living in those rough conditions along with his ‘wanted’ parents. But the pensive look on Dutt’s face and the silent members of the gang depict an entirely different story of their inner dilemma. Giving words to the complex situation as a mother witnessing it all, Sahir writes:

“Bediyan Leke Lapakta Hua Kanoon Ka Haath,

Tere Maa Baap Se Jab Tujh Ko Mili Yeh Saugaat,

Kaun Laayega Tere Vaaste Khushiyon Ki Baraat,

Mere Bachey Tere Anjaam Se Ji Darta Hai,

Teri Dushman Hi Na Saabit Ho Jawani Teri,

Kaanp Jaati Hai Jise Soch Ke Mamta Meri,

Usi Anjaam Ko Pahunchey Na Kahaani Teri,

Tere Bachpan Ko Jawani Ki Dua Deti Hoon,

Aur Dua Deke Pareshan Si Ho Jati Hoon”

In short, every line of the soulfully written song makes you feel for the characters emoting on the screen, well aware of the tragedy to happen any time, any moment in their uncertain life ahead. And, I seriously believe this is one of the best examples of a situational song written for a film having the depth of poetry and literature by a legendary poet giving birth to an immortal gem. No doubt only Sahir could write these lines, feeling the exact situation of the script as a concerned mother.

(The writer is a critic-columnist, an explorer of cinema and author of ‘Did You Know’ series on Hindi films also active at bobbytalkscinema.com)

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