Film: Khushboo (1975)
Producer: Prasan Kapoor
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Bollywood has many examples of great songs marred by off-tangent, and hence poor, picturization. But “Do nainon mein aansoo bhare hain”seems to be a one-of-a-kind exception. For, Gulzar, the director of the movie Khushboo, decided to re-record the song because it was not apt for the scene of the movie and its picturization!
As a result, the same song with the same tune was remade with minuscule orchestra. There is vibraphone, subtle use of chords and flute in the toned-down version … yes, if you listen properly you may find some similarity in the way the flute sobs in this song and in “Rula ke gaya sapna mera”from Jewel Thief.
So, now, we have two songs! One in the movie with miniscule orchestra and the other released for the audio album.
I used to feel that Rafi’s “Maine poocha chaand se” (Abdullah, RD again) was a unique song for its use of minimum orchestra. But the video version of “Do nainon mein aansoo bhare hain” forced me to think otherwise (and it also reminds of me of Kumar Gandharva’s powerful noam-toam in raag Malkauns lasting almost 15 minutes that changed my listening life!).
The fragrence of RD’s genius is evident in the Khushboo song. Not just for using shades of raags Bageshri and Shivranjani, but also for his unparallelled understanding. What inspired him to choose Lata Mangeshkar for this song when Asha Bhosle had already excelled in “Ghar jaayegi”and “Bechara dil kya kare” in the same movie is not well-documented. But Lata fans will be highly grateful for that!
It seems safe to assume that the lyrics of the songs were written first. And RD’s composition lift them with its heartfelt pathos. The taal is Kerwa (eight beats) and the laya is not that slow as you may believe if you are not counting beats while listening to the song.
The icing on the cake is provided when the word “nindiya” is repeated. It works on two counts: the repetition leads to aas and gives a feel of rudan. Secondly, without the extra repetition, the taal would have got maintained but the laya would have been somewhat compromised. So, after three aavartans of the eight-beat cycle, one additional aavartan is kept for repeating the word “nindiya.” Only three aavartans would not have attained the sync like the four aavartans have attained, simply because our rhythmic vibrations and physiology matches better with even numbers than the odd ones. And repeating the sign-line without using the additional “nindiya” would have left an odd vacuum that we experience in homely recitals.
Extraordinary music directors are gifted with bridging such gaps with elan. (One simple example is Shankar Jaikishan’s “Ichakdana bichakdana”in Shree 420. The music directors have given Lata a simple, yet delectable, taan and joined the end of its antara to the start of mukhda and dhrupad). RD does the same here with the word nindiya. He could have perhaps used the phrase “samaaye” too. But it would have been, lyrically, half-truth (“kaise samaaye” is a meaningful expression, not just “samaaye”). Phonetically, too, the use of just nindiya suits better because the Rishabh (note “Re”) and Gandhar (note “Ga”) sound better on nindiya; not on samaaye or kaise samaaye. And nindiya, and its problems, take the gamut of expression forward.
Gulzar is true to his style of taking poetic license. “Nindiya kaise samaye” (because of aansoo!) is a thought of sheer depth. But then, he always creates that by alternating between wordplay and conveying worldly-wise thoughts.
Lata has got plenty of scope to show her virtuosity in “Do nainon mein aansoo bhare hain.” She conveys it with filigree, murkis and aas of higher pedigree. Listen to how her aakaars infuse life in words like saaye, paraaye, samaaye, beetaye, jaaa…yee. And in the recorded version, her taan variations on the middle nindiya and later more polished extension in the same place in the climax are missed in the picturized version. But then, for the video, those taans were perhaps not required as Hema Malini’s expressions are doing the work of creating drama.
The use of sitar, taar-shehnai, vibraphone and balanced tabla is astonishingly beautiful in the recorded version. And the lyrics demand that a full signline is recited at every juncture in the song. For, just “Do nainon mein aansoo bhare hain” or just “nindiya kaise samaaye” won’t do justice to the meaning and situation.
If team work is a cornerstone of fabulous music, this song demonstrates that in “note”worthy fashion.
R D Burman did his work with superb tune; the musicians did not go overboard with their orchestra but made it good enough to raise its level; Lata Mangeshkar was at her classy self; and finally Gulzar put his foot down and convinced his team that this song needed reworking. So, Lata agreed to re-record. And then Gulzar’s camera work, sensitivity, realistic setting of a village home and Hema Malini’s face and expressions fill the screen with emptiness. Her yellow, long-sleeve blouse and depth of moist eyes make for a deep effect.
Of course, the ethos is met with optimism at the end of song. The flickering of the diya leads to darkness. But at the same time, the sun is rising and its rays are visible from the window.
Thanks for such refined visual hints that the song and its situation has managed to melt our hearts. It touches our inner ‘musilical’ chord in a delicate, yet emphatic, manner.