-->

BANNER

26 April 2013

My Favourites: Songs of Cynicism

I've never been a hopeless romantic, though I often looked at lovestories with a feeling that bordered on the wistful. Are there really the roses-and-candlelight kind of lovestories? Or the rainbows-and-unicorns-and-pixie-dust kind? Perhaps there are, and perhaps there the other kind that is no less real for not having any of those. I do know that I enjoy romances though I'm not too sure that I like the overly sweet ones. I also know that experiences have made me much more cynical today than I was before. Perhaps the truth, as always, lies somewhere in between. (Hmm, does that make me a cynical romantic, or a romantic cynic?

Talking with a friend about Hindi film music in general, and Sahir Ludhianvi in particular, it was pretty obvious that cynicism should come up in the conversation. After all, good old Sahir was the person who, in the middle of a perfectly good song of heartbreak, decided to put in a cynical verse which makes you want to smack him (I think I was in a pretty bad mood that day).  

So then, the discussion veered to a post of cynical songs in old hindi films. When I first made the list I realised that the first four songs I listed from that genre were penned by Sahir. Of course! He was the face of cynicism during that period. (The man, I swear, filled his pen with vitriol.) So I set about to finding songs that I liked that were not penned by the maverick poet-lyricist. 

My criteria was simple: the lyrics had to be cynical, not merely philosophical; they had to be from films I had seen; and they had to predate the 70s. Interestingly, my shortlist had no songs from the 40s at all. Am I to deduce that cynicism steeped into the society only post-independence? 

Anyway, I ended up with my final list and managed to keep Sahir's contributions to the original four, and found five other cynics to keep him company. (Shailendra appears twice.) So, here are my final contributions in no particular order (except for the first and the last, which are my particular favourites)...

Phir Subah Hogi (1958) 
Music: Khayyam
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
In a film that also boasted the slyly humorous (but definitely cynical) Aasman pe hai khuda, this song was Sahir's take on Iqbal's Tarana-e-Milli and Tarana-e-Hind.  Sahir definitely had a very cynical view of the realties of everyday life, and of Nehruvian socialism. In 1904, in his Tarana-e-Hindi (Saare jahaan se achcha) in the same rhyme and metre, Iqbal had written: 
Mazhab nahin sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna, 
Hindi hai hum watan hai hindostan hamara
His sojourn in Europe would turn him into an Islamic visionary, and six years later, in 1910, Iqbal would write his Tarana-e-Milli
Chino-Arab hamara, Hindostan hamara, 
Muslim hai hum watan hai sara jahan hamara,
Sahir would turn this into:  
Chino-arab hamara, hindostan hamara, 
Rahne ko ghar nahin hai, sara jahaan hamara 

Taking off from Saare jahan se achcha, where the lines are:
 Ae aab-e-rud-e-Ganga, voh din yaad hai tujhko  
Utra tere kinaare jab kaarwaan hamaara 
Sahir penned: 
Kholi bhi cheen gayi hai, benchein bhi cheen gayi hai, 
Sadkon pe ghoomta hain ab karwaan hamara
While Iqbal's -
Parbat woh sab se uncha humsaaya aasmaan ka, 
Woh santari hamara, woh pasban hamara 
became Sahir's:  
Jebein hain apni khaali, kyon deta varna gaali 
Vo santari hamara, vo pasban hamara  
This song was an anthem of the disillusioned, educated, unemployed youth who, in their idealism, still believed that their country would provide for them. Controversial as the lyrics were, there was talk of the song being banned at one time.

Mere Apne (1971) 
Music: Salil Choudhary
Lyrics: Gulzar
An equally stirring criticism of the state of the country from a disillusioned youth on the cusp of their manhood, Gulzar's Mere Apne (his debut directorial venture, and a remake of Tapan Sinha's Bengali film Apanjan) took on the dilemmas of educated youth who couldn't find employment and therefore resorted to violence and crime, and juxtaposed it with the plight of the elderly who were brought to the cities to provide unpaid labour to their affluent children. While Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha seethe in rage as rival student leaders, Meena Kumari is the old woman who realises she is a but a maid to her own nephew, and prefers to make her home with a child beggar who takes her into his own dilapidated home. Gulzar penned the humorous and acerbic lyrics which directly took on the establishment.
Aur kya kahoon, choti moti chori
Rishwat khori Deti hai apna guzaara yahaan-
Aap ki dua se baaki theek thaak hai

Kaagaz ke Phool (1959)
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Soon after Pyaasa, SD Burman had a falling out with Sahir Ludhianvi, and they would never work together again. In stepped Kaifi Azmi into Sahir's shoes as a lyricist for Guru Dutt's magnum opus and penned some fantastic songs including the philosophical treatise on love and loss (Waqt ne kiya).  A semi-autobiographical story of a successful director who falls on bad times and is forsaken by the very industry that had deified him, Dekhi zamane ki yaari is a bitter and cynical look at the fickleness of fame and relationships in a world that values only what it can get. 
Arre dekhi zamaane ke yaari
Bichde sabhi baari baari

4. Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko Sadhna (1958) 
Music: N Dutta
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Sahir's pen dripped with contempt -  whether it was taking on the establishment, or the pillars of society, or a patriarchal society which dictated how women should behave, Sahir spared no one. When it was for a like-minded director like BR Chopra who made socially-conscious films that mirrored society, he had free rein to voice that contempt. On the face of it, Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko is a plaint of a fallen woman;  it is a martyr's lament. If you look deeper, you will find him lambasting society's hypocrisy and its double-standards, its very different rules for men and women, and highlighting how men exploit women's weaknesses. The very men who visit prostitutes are the ones who are the most vocal in decrying the 'shame of society'. It is sad that even today, 55 years after these stinging verses were penned, not much has changed. Women are still raped, and killed, and sold, and abused, and in many parts of the country, so much chattel to be disposed off as the men in their lives deem fit.
Tulti hai kahin deenaron mein
Bikti hai bazaaron mein
Nangi nachwayi jaati hai
Aiyaashon ke darbaron mein
Ye woh be-izzat cheez hai jo
Bant jaati hai izzatdaaron mein
Sahir doesn't pull his punches as he leaves you with the horrifying image of an unfortunate mother, bedded against her will by her own son.
Ye woh badkismet maa hain jo
beton ki sej pe leti hai 

5. Dil ka haal suno dilwala
Shri 420 (1955)
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra
Singer:  Manna Dey
In a movie that dealt with the battle between integrity and chicanery, personal principles are often sacrificed at the altar of life. Why else would Raju, who comes to the city of dreams with a gold medal for honesty in his pocket, be so quick to resort to deceit? Raju has an answer though - the world is such that honesty does not stand a chance. In this dog-eat-dog world, being poor is a crime.    
Bin dekhe pehchaan ke ek din
Baandh ke le gaya policewala
 


Shailendra's lyrics poke humorously at the doublestandards of society; a man is picked up and taken away to jail because he looks like a criminal; an offender is released because he is the police inspector's brother-in-law.
Boodhe daroga ne chashme se dekha
Aage se dekha peeche se dekha
Upar se dekha neeche se dekha
Bole ye kya kar baithe ghotaala
Hai ye kya kar baithe ghotaala
Ye to hai thaanedaar kaa saala
 


Parakh (1960)
Music: Salil Choudhary
Lyrics: Shailendra
Singer: Manna Dey
Parakh took a very satirical look at society and its so-called pillars. The film dealt with the change in the villagers, especially the landlord, the doctor, the priest, and the moneylender, who suddenly become do-gooders because they want to win the Rs5,00,000 that an anonymous benefactor has awarded to the man who works hardest for the benefit of the villagers. Suddenly, the villagers are treated for free, their long-pending interest on loans is forgiven, the priest welcomes one and all into the temple. They may be simple, but they are certainly not na├»ve enough to fall for the obvious ploys to gain their support. Through his sharply satirical verses, Shailendra lampoons the men who would do good only to benefit themselves. 
Kya hawa chali re baba rut badli
Shor hai gali gali
Sau sau choohe khaaike billi 
Haj ko chali...   
 
Upkaar (1967) 
Music: Kalyanji Anandji
Lyrics: Indeewar
Singer: Manna Dey
This song wasn't originally written for Upkaar, but the composer duo eventually used it very appropriately in Manoj Kumar's film. Having scrimped and saved to educate his younger brother and send him abroad for further education, Bharat (Manoj Kumar) and his family are torn apart when, upon his return, egged on by his uncle, Puran (Prem Chopra) asks for his share of the property. The song, sung by the village wise man Malangchacha (Pran, in his first 'good' role) bemoans the trust shown by Bharat (he had warned Bharat of his no-good brother earlier).
Kasme vaade pyaar wafa sab
Baatein hai, baaton ka kya
Koi kisi ka nahin, ye jhoothe
Naate hai, naaton ka kya 

Encouraged by then-Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (who had appreciated the well-made Shaheed) to make a film on the Jai Kisan Jai Jawan slogan, Upkaar was Manoj Kumar's first offical directorial venture. Overly didatic and emphasising the 'Western=bad, Indian=good' trope that became the foundation of his films from then on, Upkar was made bearable by Pran's Malangchacha, Madan Puri's turn as Charan Das, the main villain, and Kalyanji-Anandji's melodious score.

Music: Roshan
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
If you want cynicism, wrapped up in a philosophy of life, then Sansar se bhaage phirte ho is the perfect offering. It should come as no surprise that it is penned by Sahir. A lovely courtesan is in love with the young and dashing commander-in-chief of the army, and he returns her affections. Only, there is a tiny bothersome detail - he is affianced to the princess of  the land, and her father, his king and overlord will not have his daughter's heart broken. So he sends his Rajguru to show the courtesan the error of her ways. Only, the courtesan is not overly impressed. Na kabhi ishwar ne Chitralekha ko yaad kiya na Chitralekha ne ishwar ko. What follows is a powerful debate on right and wrong. And a scathing denunciation of the hollowness of spirituality.
Ye paap hai kya ye punya hai kya
Reeton par dharm ki moharein hain
Har yug mein badalte dharmon ko
Kaise aadarsh banaaoge


Nastik (1954) 
Music: C Ramchandra
Lyrics: Pradeep 
Singer: Pradeep 
In the aftermath of the Partition, the country saw much violence. Nastik, set during that fraught period, held a mirror to that horrifying period in our history and  strongly condemned the hypocrisy of organised religion. It was a rather bold statement for those times. One can understand how easy it was to lose one's faith in God, when one looked around and saw the carnage that people were capable of. This song, at the beginning of the film, still resonates today. One cannot help but feel that things have not changed much in the intervening decades. 
Chhal aur kapat ke haathon apna
Bech raha imaan
Kitna badal gaya insaan
Dekh tere sansar ki haalat 
Kya ho gaye Bhagwan
Kitna badal gaya insaan

Of course, Sahir had to go and parody this song - same tune - with Dekh teri Bhagwan ki haalat kya ho gaya insaan, kitna badal gaya Bhagwan in Railway Platform. In reaction to Pradeep's lyrics, he wrote:
Inhi ki puja prabhu ko pyaari
Jinke ghar Lakshmi ki sawaari
Jinka dhandha chor bazaari
Humko de bhookh aur bekaari
Inko de vardaan, kitna badal gaya bhagwan...
I must say the parody is even more cynical than the disillusionment of the original. But what else do you expect from Sahir?
 
Pyaasa (1957)
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singer: Mohammed Rafi 
This is, even today, probably the anthem of disillusionment. Even more powerful than Dekhi duniya ki yaari because here, he has not only seen fair-weather friends, they have exploited his work for their gains. Sahir does not hesitate to call a spade a spade - a world that is ruled by the lust for all things material, that values wealth above personal relationships, where friendship, brotherhood, love mean nothing (the accompanying shot is fantastic) - lending a face to Sahir's voice is Vijay, the disillusioned poet. 
Ye duniya jahaan aadmi kuchh nahin hai
Vafaa kuchh nahin, dosti kuchh nahin hai
Jahaan pyaar ki qadr hi kuchh nahin hai
Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai 


But the poet is not satisfied with just raising his voice against the world; he calls for its destruction.
Jalaa do ise  phoonk daalo ye duniya
Jalaa do jalaa do
Jalaa do ise  phoonk daalo ye duniya
Mere saamne se hataa lo ye duniya
Tumhaari hai tum hi sambhaalo ye duniya

Ye duniyaa agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai   
What use does he, or Vijay, have of a world like this? 

It is said that we, who listen to Hindi songs, especially old Hindi songs, turn to them to express our moods better than we can, ourselves. So. What songs do you turn to when you are affected by cynicism?

48 comments:

  1. Songs no 7,8 & 10 are favorites of mine. Song no 7 sung by manna dey is particularly heart-wrenching.Manoj Kumar had also such songs filmed upon him which were cynical and depicted the double standards of that time.
    "Na Izzat Ki Chinta " from Beimaan- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ficQnx6ZTE

    and "Sabse Bada Nadaan" from Pehchan- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDhmWbraGpA
    are some of them.........................

    ReplyDelete
  2. And it was very funny because his films were full of hypocrisy and double standards anyway. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. shyam chirravoori26 April 2013 at 23:08

    A well written piece, but for some cynicism against Sahir's cynical world view. As mentioned elsewhere by Sahir himself what else can be done?

    "ham gham zadaa hainlaayen kahaan se khushi ke geet
    kahaan se khushi ke geet
    denge wohi jo paayenge
    iss zindagi se ham
    denge wohi jo paayenge
    iss zindagi se ham"

    I do not intend to find out something every time. Please check for what you meant in this line"Soon after Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, SD Burman had a falling out with Sahir Ludhianvi, and they would never work together again" Is it 'Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam' ?
    Shyam

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shyam, you remind me that I'm becoming very, very careless - these mistakes are happening too often. :( It was after Pyaasa that SD refused to work with Sahir. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I have no issues about Sahir's cynicism. :) Just that it seemed to become a post of cynical songs written by Sahir... [grin]

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would not classify the Chitralekha and Shri 420 songs as cynical. The first one debunks spirituality, but asserts the reality of the physical world and its pleasures. The second one is a fun song - more satirical than cynical.

    You are right about Sahir. Only he could debunk Taj Mahal the way he did in 'Meri mehboob kahin aur mila kar mujhse' in Ghazal. Interestingly the same year saw Shakil Badayuni pen an ode to the Taj in Leader - 'Ek shahanshah ne banwa ke hasin taj Mahal sari duniya ko muhabbat ki nishani di hai'. I wonder if Sahir deliberately parodied him in the line 'Ek shahanshah ne daulata ka sahara le kar ham garibon ki muhabbat ka udaya hai mazak!'


    Disqus is a pain in the neck. My first attempt at posting a comment vanished into thin air. Let's see if this one works, otherwise I would turn into a cynic!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think Chitralekha was herself cynical - life had certainly no illusions. Which is why I chose that. About Dil ka haal suno dilwala, I'm actually conflicted - you are right about it being satirical. But I felt it was also cynical in that he too had no illusions about what it takes to get ahead in life.



    About Taj Mahal - yes, I remember reading that it was a deliberate parody. He didn't think much of eulogising the emperor. And he seems to have parodied many such lyrics. I think it just got him cross. :)



    I also agree with you about Disqus - the only reason I use it is because Blogger doesn't allow threaded replies. :(



    Laughing at your turning into a cynic because of Disqus. [grin]

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am not sure whether Aaj Ki Raat Badi
    Shaukh Badi Natkhat Hai - Nai Umr Ki Nai
    Fasal – Roshan – Rafi, Asha - http://youtu.be/ybUd3sJTQRs, particularly
    the version where the protagonist lists the things-to-do before enjoying the
    beauty of the ‘Badi Shaukh Badi Natkhat’ night, would qualify for the kind of cynicism
    that the article focuses on. The lyrics does not have that vitriolic punch as
    much as pathetic cynicism.

    In my own view this song is far more
    cynical than Swapn Jhare Phool Se - http://youtu.be/hQbj5izjy5Y

    One more of a Sahir song comes to my memory
    – Mahefil Se Uth Jaane Waaalo, Tum Logo Pe Kya Ilzam – Dooj Ka Chand – Roshan -
    http://youtu.be/xZ0Bc7zfkIo

    And, BTW Sahir also has penned a rejoinder
    to Who Subah Kabhi To Aayegi by way of Who Subah Hamin Se Hi Aayegi.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is cynically lilting though he blights my city..


    Milta yahan sab kuch , ik milta nahin dil

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlAOZrst6fQ

    ReplyDelete
  9. And continuing with Guru Dutt and Majrooh this one ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1BsXULRl-U

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hmmm. Was Cheen-o-Arab hamaara on your mind when you suggested it was a song for the 50s on my blog, Anu? ;-)

    Great list, and a fascinating post. As soon as I saw the title, I thought Dekhi zamaane ki yaari and Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai - and sure enough, there they were. My other particular favourites from your list include Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko (that song always gives me gooseflesh, particularly that last line) and Kasme vaade pyaar wafa sab.
    Another song which I find rather cynical is Aasmaan pe hai khuda aur zameen pe hum:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb-dXP2h4zw

    ReplyDelete
  11. Aaj ki raat badi shaukh was a very dream-like song - I don't think it was cynical at all. It was more the red-roses-and-candlelight that I was talking about. :)

    How could I have forgotten Karvaan guzar gaya?! Thank you so much for posting that.

    As for Sahir, I could have made a list his ten cynical songs - perhaps I should try to make a list of ten non-cynical songs instead! :)
    He seems to have parodied quite a few songs, his own and others. The man was amazing. Even though I cannot match his cynicism, I am awed by his talent.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I missed that one! Yes, it is pretty cynical about Bombay, damn him! [grin] But what a song!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The chap is cynical but the woman seems to be bent on making him change his mind. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hmmm. Was Cheen-o-Arab hamaara on your mind when you suggested it was a song for the 50s on my blog, Anu? ;-)

    Was this post on my mind? Not really, no; this post was already written by that time. I actually meant this to be a double-post - one on cynical songs, and one list of songs on personal philosophy. I usually have three or four lists written up at any given time. And a few others with just the songs listed under the theme. (That's what I do when I am bored - make lists.)

    I thought of including Aasman pe hai khuda - I agree with you about it being really cynical in tone - but I already had Cheen-o-Arab hamara and didn't want to use two songs from the same film.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "That's what I do when I am bored - make lists."


    Come to my arms!! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love your choices! Especially the Shree 420 one. I would have also chosen Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par from Pyaasa, but then there would have been two from Pyaasa, and Yeh Duniyaa is probably better :) . Most of the songs in Pyaasa are deeply cynical...which is, of course, the whole point of the movie. And Kasme Vaade is so bitter, yet so haunting.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like most these songs, Yet to see 'Upkar' (the hero of the film keeps me away),but the song and PRAN is awesome!
    It has to be seen whether my choices are cynical enough,
    from 'Teesri Kasam'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtNuEheYST0

    from 'Naya Zamana'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PrBHeXfIVk

    from 'Naya Raasta'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usW6Hwze3Yg

    from 'Sambandh'
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGkVHAJak3w

    ReplyDelete
  18. I do the same even though I don't have a blog to post them on. How bad is that? LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  19. contd.from 'Bhoot Bungla'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3fxFNIl-3E

    from 'Majboor'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ArgZa-UsAM

    from 'Begaana'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SRIbXUS10U

    from 'Bemisaal'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x896fItBVuk

    from 'Naajayaz'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrgvpYJzXRg

    other songs , title song of Amanush and 'Kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahan nahi milta.;

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm trying again. Maybe my comment was too long. I'll break it up this time.

    Interesting topic. The main thing about it is, you have to know your lyrics well - which you do :-) . You've explained so well the various parodies and llyrics. Enjoyed reading it, Anu.

    Each and every song has that punch of cynicism that brings the subject home. Interestingly both Raj Kapoor and Manoj Kumar have quite a few films showing this cynicism. And Two Meena films :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. It seems that therenumerous songs based on cynicism and sarcasm in hindi cinema.Here is a one from Dharmendra from Izzat "Kya Miliye Aise Logon Se"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfrJ81hd3BM

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well, two solutions for that, pacifist. a) Start your own blog.
    b) Mi blog es su blog as the Spanish would say! [grin]

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you, AvG. Yes, I didn't want two songs from the same film, otherwise I would have used Aasman pe hai khuda from Phir Subah Hogi too.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Chris, Upkar was rather decent as films go; Mr Bharat hadn't reached the stage of being a pompous old ass. And Pran was awesome. It's worth a watch, in my opinion, though I'm not too sure I would be able to watch it again.

    Sajanva bairee ho gayi hamar is not cynical, is it? It is heartbreaking, actually. But what a lovely song!

    I liked both Chal akela and Maine pee sharab. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wouldn't put the Begaana song as cynical - he seemed to be whining about being ditched. [grin] Or the Najaayaz one either. But the rest are fine - different forms of cynicism, but cynical nevertheless. AB had a lot of those, didn't he?


    Loved both the title song of Amanush and the ghazal.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you, pacifist. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, RK, for all his optimistic lookout, had a deeply held cynical view which always showed up in all his films. Manoj Kumar, meh. His cynicism was usually pegged on the Indian=good, Western=bad trope which made me want to go off and kill myself. :(

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yes, Dharampaaji was good at the cynicism, wasn't he? I remember him gritting his teeth and looking morosely at various people in quite a few films. [grin] Thanks for adding to the list.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is a theme after my heart. Some of these songs often strike an answering chord in the listener's hearts, after all don't we all get cynical at some time or the other.

    I have 3 songs to contribute. The first one is from Mamta, ""rehte the kabhi jinke dil mein"" there is this line from this song""dawa tha jise humdardika khud aake na poocha haal kabhi""

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMiLndLz9hY

    The second one is from Anupama. It is ""ya dil ki suno"". I do not know whether it counts as cynical but if you listen to Azmi's lyrics I think it does.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poXBa76JNKk

    Finally there is Sahir's ""jaane woh kaise log the""

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmWZHQAKMEk

    Finally there is Sahir's "" jaane woh kaise log the""

    ReplyDelete
  29. A good idea for a post! I would never have thought of it!
    As you have said, given such a topic, one could fill a post with Sahir songs!
    I always thought I knew many but I can't think of any right now, which ahve not already been pointed out by other readers.
    The songs are all good!
    Thanks for the intersting post, dear Anu!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Absolutely. I have a .docx file named lists. Right now, it has about ten different lists, just the theme and some suggested songs written up under each. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I tried posting my other half of the comment yesterday with a song, but it wouldn't upload (?)

    >Indian=good, Western=bad trope
    I saw this as a reaction to what Indians were portrayed as once, and also a resistence to the move towards - 'West is best'.

    Today the films/media/ads have diametrically moved towards this end.
    There are blondes all over the place in the background of songs, among many other things, which is (for me) much more annoying.

    Fashion magazines/online magazines or sites tell you how to dress up, and what hair style to make, which is perfectly alright in itself - *but* the pictures are of blondes/lighter hair women.



    Extremes are always bad. If I dislike the other, I'm more critical of the latter.
    The good old middle path seems to have been forgotten.


    I'll try again to post the song.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ha! Come to my arms! I have a .docx file named 'Notes for Blog' where I have the same thing! :) (Psst, I wonder if pacifist will take me up on my offer!)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh, I'm sure it was nationalism at the bottom of those pop-patriotic films that caused this, but oh, once you got hit on the head a thousand times in the same film with that message, you began to develop a headache. I hate it when they paint something with such broad brush strokes. Like a 'westernised' heroine (read educated/city-bred) who becomes 'Bharatiya nari' when she accepts the village hero's dictates on what a good woman should be like (or even Madhubala's character in Mr and Mrs 55 who sees the light when the village bhabhi shows her the qualities of a good woman - urk!) - perhaps because I was city-bred and educated, and was considered westernised because I spoke fluent English? So much so that when I went to Kerala, I was ragged in college because they assumed I didn't know Malayalam? [grin] My dirty lens here. Moreover, his films were so regressive where women were concerned. I don't like the ubiquitous blondes in ads/songs either. I hate when

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anu,
    An interesting theme. Sahir's songs you have selected represent the genre. When I read Subodh's comments I wondered how could he read my mind. I have also struggled posting comments on your blog, which I have mentioned earlier. I juggle between browsers, laptops to get it right. Then Shree 420 song - I had exactly the same view. Raj Kapoor is too much of a romantic - his so-called social films also are essentially musical romances. In any case he is not remembered by Jagte Raho and Boot Polish.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Raj Kapoor is too much of a romantic - his so-called social films also are essentially musical romances.


    'So- called?' *Eyebrows receding into hairline* - RK's earlier films, with the exception of Barsaat were never romances. The relationship between the hero and the heroine is never front and centre in his films, and is always incidental to the plot. There is as much attention paid to the protagonist's relationships with others around him as there is to the romance. Awara was not about the relationship between Raj and Rita; it was about Raj and his relationship with his absent father, and his 'foster' father, and it made a strong case for nurture over nature. Shree 420 was not about Raj and Vidya - it was about Raj finding his way through the maze of life. Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hain was not about Raju and Kammo - it was about the reahbilitation of dacoits. (Raj and Kammo do not even have a romantic duet picturised on them.) Aag was about a man's love for the arts and the quest for his childhood love. Not romantic, but idealistic.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I've now written the comment four times :-( and know the words by heart :-)
    It's a song from Welcome to Sajjanpur 'aadmi azaad hai'.

    The lyric writer writes glowing lyrics about aazaadi, but the opposite is playing on the screen. I thought it is cynical not satitical. Though satiricism is the result of cynicism, I think. OK
    at the end of the song the unexpected winner does go to show that
    azaadi is really there to choose who you want. But there are other
    things relating to the cynicism in the song - regarding violence etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoqT-mMvp0c

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm sorry. Disqus is in the process of 'improving' things which basically means they are trying to fix something that isn't broken - and we all know how that works.

    Yes, the song you listed is satirical, but I honestly think that most satire is born out of cynicism, so I welcome this link! :) I really did like Welcome to Sajjanpur.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I recollect Duniya O Duniya, Tera Jawab Nahin - Naya Zamana - S D Burman - http://youtu.be/BAZBdQsUJo8

    ReplyDelete
  39. And yet one more

    Mere Dushman Tu Meri Dosti Ko Tarse - Aaye Din Bahar Ke - http://youtu.be/toLWzQmXwFg

    The song is so much full of the negative feelings and strong words, that one wonders how can someone even of singing such a song in a party! And the those attending the party are shameless enough to be a party to so much strong emotions between two persons, even if inadvertently trapped in such a situation.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Good choice, Ashokji. :) Naya Zamana had some nice songs.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I hated this song, and I hated Dharmendra in this song! It is so dashed self-righteous that if I were Asha Parekh, I think I would have kicked Dharmendra to the curb for humiliating me like this.

    You are right! I wonder how anyone can summon up the chutzpah to sing such a song in public. There are other instances too - of the chap singing bitterly (or heart-brokenly) at the girl's engagement. My father used to say that if it were in real life, some male from the girl's side - father, uncles, brothers, cousins - would ensure the chap never sang again.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anu,

    I like most of you posts

    I has to comment on this one, because? its on cynicism I enjoy this subject and Sahir, too, for his cynicism and romanticism, All songs and comments are interesting

    On the subject of cynicism you cannot ignore Ghalib, he was the pioneer of cynicism (i may be wrong but with my very little knowledge of Urdu poetry that's my assumption)

    I would like to add one ghazal and one couplet of this pioneer,

    The couplet
    na tha kuchch to KHuda tha, kuchch na hota to KHuda hota
    duboya mujhko hone ne, na hota maiN to kya hota ?

    Tha ghazal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lccSFr2-ZYY

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you, Ashraf! I like Ghalib, so I'm glad you posted one of his ghazals. I don't know if Ghalib was the pioneer of cynicism in ghazals, but his ghazals are beautiful! You brought back memories of watching Mirza Ghalib on DD when I was a kid. :) Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Cynicism is borne out of illusionary dreams and unfulfilled expectations. There is always a besotted desire to achieve something but is also hamstrung with fear of failure due to reasons which could be unforeseen or beyond one’s control. With this line of thought, two of Lata Mangeshkar’s songs really stand out in the steak of songs on cynicism. Tera Mera Pyar Amar Phie Kyon Mujhko Lagta Dar from Asli Naqli.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c2pg7lyXSA

    Second song is from Safar- Ham The Jinke Sahare Woh Huye Na Hamare. How close the female protagonist was to achieve what she desired yet how far it proved to be just as the male protagonist was detected with cancer and he refused to marry her as he did not want her to live a lonely life after he had passed away.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T6BflXhcvM

    ReplyDelete
  45. Cynicism is born out of disillusionment, yes, but I disagree that Tera mera pyar amar is cynical. It is fearful, yes, but there is the strong belief (borne out by the rest of the story track) that their love is real.

    Would you say that Hum the jinke sahare is cynical? I'm not so sure.

    ReplyDelete

Back to TOP