Film : Musafir (1984)
Singer: Kishore Kumar, Pancham
Director: Jabbar Patel
A journey started with the “parichay” of two legends Pancham and Gulzar. One dark night, sometimes in the early 1970s, got the duo together in Pancham’s car and set them off on a musical journey. And that night gave birth to the brilliant “Musafir hoon yaaron” (Parichay). Well most of the Gulzar−Pancham fans know about the story of that night and the dents on the car bonnet. The journey that started that night continued for more than two decades and the inimitable duo created many, many milestones in the journey together.
The milestone I am standing tonight at, while writing this piece, is a gem of a song “Thak gaya hoon, mujhe sone do” from the film Musafir (1984), a lesser-known Pancham album. It remains one of the lesser-discussed works of Pancham, as the film could not see the proper light of day in theaters. Musafir was directed by Dr Jabbar Patel (Noted work: Jait re Jait and Subah) and featured Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha, Pankaj Kapoor and Moon Moon Sen in the main cast.
“Main thak gaya hoon” is a very comprehensive song as far as picturization is concerned and was a significant challenge for Pancham as it comes at a crucial juncture in the script. The complex storyline of Musafir was majorly based on Vijay Tendulkar’s play Panchhi Aise Aate Hain (Marathi original: Ashi Pakhare Yeti), where the protagonist, a stranger, a wanderer reaches an unknown village (running away from his past) and finds a family to stay with. We find that the members of the family lack confidence in life, especially the heroine. The protagonist helps them change their attitude toward life and enlightens them about the meaning of life, while also getting involved in a lyrical relationship with the heroine.
In Musafir, the protagonist was played by Naseeruddin Shah (a murderer, man on the run in the film), while the heroine Rekha played a village girl from south India. The song comes at a very important place as it actually divides the film into two parts and provides a smooth transition from one story to the other. Naseer is running away (after killing his unfaithful wife Moon Moon Sen). He wants to run away from his past and reach an unknown place where he can start life afresh. The song kicks off Naseer’s journey to an unknown destination.
Just after the murder, as Naseer gets into a taxi, the driver asks, “Kya sahab, kahan le chaloon?” Naseer replies, “Jahan tum le chalo.” The song starts at night, Naseer traveling in a train, and in the background Kishore’s voice starts along with the train’s rhythmic movement − “Ho bahut raat huee… thak gaya hoon mujh sone do… ho bahut raat huee, chaand se keh do utar jaaye bhut baat huee.”
The interlude after the mukhda carries on in the daytime and Naseer is shown traveling in a truck. During the antara he gets down and walks through the deserted landscapes in the heat of the day − “Dhoop se keh do utar jaaye bahut baat huee….”
The next antara begins at some place in Kerala. Sunset time. Naseer is shown traveling in a boat… that’s where Pancham does his maajhi act, “Moloya chalo dheere dheere,” which actually was a retake of Dada Burman’s old maajhi act in one of Dada’s Bengali songs. Pancham builds a brilliant folksy riverside ambiance with the Baul’s ektara-like guitar strings in loop and a beautiful piece on the flute along with his rustic rendition.
Gulzar now appears with “Waqt se keh do gujar jaaye… bahut baat huee.” Slowly the sunset turns to night with “Main thak gaya hoon,” and the song ends in the morning where Naseer is shown sleeping on the seashore of a village in Kerala. From this point until the end of the film, the story continues in this village only. What follows next is a beautiful showcase of Pancham’s background score featuring musical nuggets in background music with south Indian instruments creating a totally different ambiance than his usual works.
Coming back to the song, the singing, lyrics, composition and picturization − every aspect of the song is just perfect. Kishore Kumar’s rendition is magical and the fragrance of the melancholic mood of the song is superbly carried in the aura of his voice.
On an important side note, apart from the film version, another studio recording version of the song is available in the fans’ circle that I was fortunate to hear courtesy the Panchammagic team a few years ago. The studio version is an extended version with three antaras and gives a better idea of Pancham’s music creation process as it features a different arrangement from the film version. The studio version kicks off with some beautiful guitar riffs. The extended version has an additional antara, which features a superb use of the accordion vibrating and fading out into infinity.
“Zindagi ke sabhi raaste sard hain
ajnabi raat ke ajnabi dard hain
yaad se keh do guzar jaaye, bahut baat huee”
Another interesting aspect of the studio recording is a goof-up by Kishore Kumar while singing “Aashiyane ke liye chaar tinake” instead of “Yaad aata nahin.” A sudden realization, a brief pause…flow-one-two-three-four… and we are back on track. Gives a lovely picture of how music was composed in his music room.
The song travels from Train to Truck to Boat, from Railway track to Road to River to Sea… from night to a morning to a full day to a sunset in the evening. Surely one of the best travel songs of our times, unique and unparalleled in its creation.
“Dhoondhte they jise woh zara si zameen,
aasmaan ke tale kho gayee hi kahin”
The film might have been lost somewhere under the sky, yet the song and music live on. Hats off to the team of Gulzar and Pancham for giving us this piece of musical brilliance. Remember another great travel song by the same team “Raah pe rahte hain” (Namkeen)? In the journey together, Panchamda bid adieu singing “Khush raho ahale watan, ham to safar karte hain.” Today Gulzar saab is left alone merely with the words − “Main ab is dhundh me akela khada hoon Pancham….”
“Ho~ bahut raat huee
thak gaya hoon, mujhe sone do
ho~ bahut raat huee
chaand se keh do utar jaaye
bahut baat huee
thak gaya hoon…bahut raat huee
Aashiyaan ke liye chaar tinake bhi they
aasre raat ke aur din ke bhi they
dhoondhte they jise, woh zara si zameen
aasmaan ke tale kho gayee hai kahin
dhoop se keh do utar jaaye, bahut baat huee
main thak gaya hoon…bahut raat huee
Zindagi ke sabhi raaste sard hain
ajnabi raat ke ajnabi dard hain
yaad se keh do guzar jaaye, bahut baat huee
main thak gaya hoon…bahut raat huee
[Pancham sings: O Moloya, chalo dheere dheere]
Yaad aata nahin, ab koi naam se
sab gharon ke diye bujh gaye shaam se
waqt se keh do guzar jaaye, bahut baat huee
main thak gaya hoon, mujhe sone do, bahut raat huee”
[Fades out in Pancham’s voice “O Moloya chalo dheere dheere”]