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Gulzar's quirkiest songs

Last updated on: January 21, 2010 13:07 IST

Gulzar's quirkiest songs

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Sukanya Verma in Mumbai

'Ek parinda tha sharminda, tha woh nanga. Bhai, isse toh ande ke andar tha woh changa.'

'Raat kat jaayegee toh kaise din bitaayenge? Bajre ke kheton mein kauve udayenge.'

'Ghar jayegi, tar jayegi, doliyaan chadh jayegi, mehendi lagayegi re, kajal sajayegi re. Dulhania mar jayegi.'

'Saare ke saare gaama ko lekar gaate chale. Paa paa nahi hai dhaani si didi, didi ke sangh chale saare.'

There's nothing linear or recurring about Gulzar's imagination. It defies the contrived and charts its own course while recording a notable wonderment of his observations with inspiring wit, exceptional wisdom and ingeniously employed eccentricity.

Perhaps it is this very unhinged yet free-flowing quality of the poet's wild collection of metaphors, personifications and onomatopoeias that place him in a class of his own leaving us with very little to do except gasp in awe and amazement.

Ranging from philosophical musings and attractive alliterations to folksy flirtations and idyllic elements, Gulzar is a master juggler. His latest credit, Ishqiya celebrates this wacky facet of his writing with enough aplomb to call for a list of this kind.

And so here it is: a look at 10 of his quirkiest songs in no particular order. It's not a comprehensive list considering the man's vast data of mercurial inventions but merely a whiff of his exceptional allure.

Also, feel free to post in your picks.


Image: Scenes clockwise from Ijaazat, Aks, Omkara, Bunty Aur Babli, Satya and Hu Tu Tu

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Ibn-e-batuta

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Film: Ishqiya
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Agle mod par maut khadi hai
Arre marne ki bhi, hai, kya jaldi hai?
Horn bajake aa bagiyaan mein
Ho, ho, durghatna se der bhali hai
.

One can never guess what may come out of Gulzar's unending treasure trove. With Ibn-e-batuta, he makes light of a legendary Moroccan explorer's wandering ways concocting a whimsical rhyme of fluttering sounds to match the carefree attitude of Ishqiya's maverick on-the-road protagonists. It's a rapturous mix of sense and nonsense making it an instant success.

Catch the music review here.


Image: A scene from Ishqiya

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Yaara seeli seeli, Lekin...

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Film: Lekin
Music: Hridaynath Mangeshkar

Tooti hui choodiyon se jodoon yeh kalaai main
Pichhli gali mein jaane kya chhod aayi main
Beeti hui galiyon se, beeti hui galiyon se
Phir se guzarna yaara...

Be it Rudaali's Dil hoom hoom kare or Lekin's bewitching classic, Yaara seeli seeli, Gulzar's created some of the most impressionistic poetry to Dimple Kapadia's luminous enigma on screen.

In the concerned number, he highlights the restless yearnings of a gorgeous, roving spirit with palpable affection. There's nothing obviously spooky about it like say, a Kahin deep jale (Bees Saal Baad) or Naina barse (Woh Kaun Thi) but there are abundant riddling elements at the same to send a shiver down the spine.


Image: A scene from Lekin

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Mera kuch saaman

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Film: Ijaazat
Music: R D Burman

Ek sau solah chaand ki raatein, ek tumhare kandhe ka til
Geeli mehendi ki khushboo, jhooth muth ke shikwe kuch
Jhooth muth ke vaade sab yaad karaa do
Sab bhijwa do, mera woh saamaan lauta do

Breaking up is hard. Moving on is harder.

In one of his most sublime take on the intricacies of man-woman relationships, Gulzar uses his songs like conversations -- sometimes to convey melancholy, at times to trace nostalgia.

But in Mera kuch saaman, he dwells deep into the mind of a child woman, Maya (played by Anuradha Patel) where she's reluctant to let go but graceful enough to not say.

Instead, she sulks through some emotionally-written letters in Gulzar's voice prompting us and Rekha to exclaim, 'How sweet.'


Image: A scene from Ijaazat

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Dhan te nan

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Film: Kaminey
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Aaja aaja dil nichode, raat ki matki tode,
Koi goodluck nikaale, aaj gullak to phode...

Gulzar's ability to go sinister is not new even if surprisingly underutilised. He did it to wicked results Satya's tapori-flavoured gangster bonding in Goli maar bheje mein.

And he does it with style and spirit in Vishal's bootylicious club-stopper, Dhan te nan, an unapologetic ode to greed and gambling. No fortcuts for excellence, right?

Catch the music review here.


Image: A scene from Kaminey

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Kajra re

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Film: Bunty Aur Babli
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Aankhein bhi kamal karti hain
Personal se sawal karti hain
Palko ko uthati bhi nahi hain
Parde ka khayal karti hain

Aishwarya Rai's thumkas wouldn't be half as effective nor would Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music find a terrific muse to roll out this show stealer of a song if it wasn't for Gulzar's amorous overtures and earthy jugalbandi in the super seductive, Kajra re.

Catch the music review here.


Image: A scene from Bunty Aur Babli

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Beedi

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Film: Omkara
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Naa ghilaaf, naa lihaaf
Thandi hawa bhi khilaaf, sasuri
Itni sardi hai kisi ka lihaaf lei lay
Jaa padosi ke chulhe se aag lei lay

Creating item numbers isn't something filmmaker and composer Vishal is particularly fond of. Guess he should thank he has Gulzar to draw a discerning line between mischief and crass.

Despite the obvious sexual undercurrents of Beedi, the skilful lyricist coats the explicit with enough romp and play for even the moral police to nitpick.

Catch the music review here.


Image: A scene from Omkara

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Aye udi udi

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Film: Saathiya
Music: A R Rahman

Lad lad ke jeene ko yeh lamhe tode hain?
Mar mar ke seene mein yeh sheeshe jode hain
Tum kehdo to sab laadein, bas itna socha toh
Ambar pe pehli hi sitaare thode hain

A newly-married couple explores the first rush of intimacy and closeness via A R Rahman's zingy beats and Gulzar's vibrant, capricious verse through Adnan Sami's zippy rendition of the same.

Just goes to prove even at 73, Bollywood's beloved bard is ageless when it comes to all things young and romance.

Catch the music review here.


Image: A scene from Saathiya

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Badalon ko kaat kaat ke, Satya

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Film: Satya
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Saara din chandni si chhaayi rehti hai
Aur gulabi dhoop baukhlai rehti hai
Jaamuno ki naram daal pe naakhoon se naam khodna
Yeh mujhe kya ho gaya...

Darkness bears no identity without light. And so Ram Gopal Varma's grim proceedings pauses once in a while to focus on the softer shades of its titular character, Satya.

Besotted by a simple girl-next-door, he delights yet questions the unplanned nature of the ensuing events.

The poetry of his interactions with the lady is brought to life through Gulzar's smitten, enchanting, drawling imagery. Flawless, charming and oh-so-stunning. 


Image: A scene from Satya

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Chai chappa ke chai

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Film: Hu Tu Tu
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj

Likhte rahen hain roz hi tumhe magar
Khwahishen khat kabhi bheje hi nahi
Ainak lagakar kabhi padhna woh chittiyan
Aankhon ke paani mein rakhna who chittiyan
Tairti nazar aayengi woh chittiyan.
Ote khaati, aati hui lehron pe, jaati hui ladki.

Fans of Gulzar have always admired his conversationalist brand of song-writing.

In movies directed by him, songs are seldom fillers but a melodious platform to exchange eloquent or amusing thoughts between emotionally-attached individuals.

And in this lovely beach number from Hu Tu Tu, this is exactly what brews between Tabu and Suniel Shetty.


Image: A scene from Hu Tu Tu

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Yeh Raat

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Film: Aks
Music: Anu Malik

Na ugli hi jaaye na nigli hi jaaye
Yeh kaali zehreeli raat
Pal pal balkhaati, pal pal uljhaati
Palke jhapakti yeh raat
Sanate ki sej pe soye
Saap si sarakti raat

Gulzar spews venom, quite literally, to escalate the sensual aggression in the manic metaphors relating the said, ominous night to the slithering of snake and the acerbic texture of acid.

To think it's mostly a striptease performed by Raveena Tandon. 

Catch the music review here.


Image: A scene from Aks

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