There are often times when there is nothing you can say that hasn't been said before, perhaps even better than you could ever say it. And it is a fact that there always seems to be some Hindi film song that describes your mood in verse. Old hindi songs were always a passion, and like many other interests of mine, this was also introduced to me by my father. It is thanks to him, and an old radio that I first listened to the wonderful songs of his generation. It is a tribute to the quality of the lyricists, the music directors and the singers of those times that these songs still endure and remain popular amidst the cacophony and double entendre that passes off as most music these days.
This is not to say that there aren't good songs, or good musicians today. Yet, whenever I need solace, I find myself turning to the songs I heard in my childhood, and finding a meaning in them that I never did before.
The course of Googling for Urdu poets and poetry brought me to a wonderful and exhaustive site on Sahir Ludhianvi , which is a joy to browse through, organised as it is, separately, by his film songs, his poetry, his ghazals etc.,
And it is interesting indeed that I find two songs whose lyrics resonate with my mood, and I listen to them on YouTube. I hadn't visited the Sahir website for months, but I felt I needed a soupcon of Sahir's cynicism, to drag me out of the slump I was falling into. It is funny how paradoxical Sahir was - the man who could turn out a romantic phrase at will, who could write about the incredible joys of loving, and the devastating grief of separation, was the same man who wrote the incredibly cynical parody of Iqbal's सारा जहाँ हमारा. In fact, a dose of that or even a little of हाल चाल ठीक ठाक है would have done wonders.
Browsing through the site, I find that the two songs I had been listening to, all the while weeping fit to end a drought were both Sahir's compositions. I gave up. In any case, I took it to mean that it was okay to wallow some more. After all, if you cannot appreciate sad songs when you are personally kaput, when can you?
The first song is from a movie called Didi, picturised on the late Sunil Dutt and Shubha Khote, and sung by Sudha Malhotra and Mukesh.
The second is from an old Waheeda Rehman starrer called Shagoon (I wonder whether the spelling of the title was also influenced by the story). Sung by Suman Kalyanpur and composed by Khayyam, the lyrics are evocative and show Sahir's mastery over both word and mood.