Song Sketch

Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Ajnabi – Gumraah – Strangers Once Again

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At some point in life we all begin as strangers. From there on some become our best friends, some become our enemies while some acquire special place in the heart and become lovers. Some strangers strike instant connection with us and become friends while some friends become our strangers instantly as well. It is like a vicious cycle from being strangers to becoming friends to becoming more than friends and back to being strangers again. And those are the strangers with all your secrets. It makes you vulnerable to the point from where you can’t return. There’s nothing as dreadful as the person you love becoming a stranger. Making life a paradox, from being strangers to becoming strangers again. Hope, compassion, secret glances, fervent beating of hearts all goes away, just like that. But the situation in life becomes such that you start feeling it is better to be strangers than being lovers. And as Sahir puts it –
Taaruf rog ho jaaye to usko bhoolna behtar
Taalluk bojh ban jaaye to usko todna acchha,
Wo afsana jise anjam tak lana na ho mumkin
Usse ek khoobsurat mod dekar chhodna acchha..
Chalo ek baar fir se ajnabi ban jaayein hum dono…

Practical isn’t it? Yes, Sahir was epitome of practicality even when it came to a vulnerable state of love. He simplified the emotional state in a matured way and while doing so he almost sounded cynical.
Gumrah (1963), a typical love triangle story in Hindi cinema by B R Chopra, which was remade as Bewafa (2005). A story which might seem outdated and yet not. Because when it comes to the moral conduct of the social norms it is always imposed on a woman. It was imposed then, it is imposed now. Meena (Mala Sinha) is in love with Rajendra (Sunil Dutt). Her elder sister Kamla (Nirupa Roy) is married to Ashok (Ashok Kumar). In a freak mishap, Kamla dies falling off from a cliff. Meena is compelled to marry Ashok for the sake of his small children. And one fine day Meena and Rajendra come face to face after her marriage to Ashok. Rest of the film is all about Meena’s emotional crisis. The tug of war she faces to choose Ashok or Rajendra. Though she secretly meets Rajendra after her marriage on his persistence. The love between them hasn’t subsided. But both know that they cannot re-establish the bond. How wonderfully Sahir pens this feeling –
Wo afsana jise anjam tak lana na ho mumkin
Usse ek khoobsurat mod dekar chhodna acchha..

When you cannot take a relationship further, instead of alleging each other, it is best to just leave it in that place as a beautiful dream or the most cherishing moment. Yes the thoughts are heavy. Rajendra and Meena are embraced by nostalgia. A situation where they want to go back to their times. But meeting again as lovers in realism is not possible, so let us just meet as strangers. Mahendra Kapoor croons the lines with utter softness.
Na main tumse koi umeed rakhun dilnawazi ki
Na tum meri taraf dekho galat andaz nazron se
Na mere dil ki dhadkan ladkhadaye meri baton mein
Na zaahir ho tumhari kashmakash ka raaz nazron se
Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayein hum dono….

Music composer Ravi takes all the care to handle the delicate situation with utmost care. He uses only the piano (violin and percussion is just an accompaniment) and Mahendra Kapoor’s voice to convey Sahir’s thoughts. Mahendra Kapoor who initially was known as a Rafi clone, made his own identity through this song. The Chopras, Ravi, Sahir and Mahendra Kapoor made an enviable team.
Tumhein bhi koi uljhan rokti hai peshkadmi se
Mujhe bhi log kehte hain, ki yeh jalve paraaye hain
Mere hamraah bhi rusvaaiyaan hain mere maazi ki
Tumhaare saath bhi guzri hui raaton ke saaye hain
Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayein hum dono…

The hesitation, the disguise, the disgrace, become our companions now. The shadows of the past will always dwell. But it is a past thing now. Let us put all this at the back and begin afresh as strangers.
The intensity of Sahir resurfaces every time with the line Chalo ek baar phir se….. Saying let us give it a thought, start afresh, can we? Yes, that line is a question mark for the entire situation. Can we, should we? Will this work? Suggestive helplessness of an ill-fated love. The askance of reignition. Bidding goodbye to this cherished relationship. Hiding the real emotions for one another and accepting the confinements. How beautifully Ravi has moulded each word in a relaxed melody. The song though had one more stanza which wasn’t included in the movie (info courtesy – Ruhan Kapoor – Mahendra Kapoor’s son)
Kabhi raste mein mil jao toh katrakar guzar jana
Humein iss tarah takna ki jaise pehchana nahi tumne
Humara zikr jab aaye toh yun anjaan ban jana
Ki jaise naam sunke bhi humein jana nahi tumne
Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayein hum dono…

The song which conveys deep thoughts on love that is lost, the desire which is unfulfilled, the pain inflicted and the confusion and uncertainity it brings around with the situation. Love is indeed a strange emotion, most cherished by people. Begins as strangers and sometimes ends up as being strangers.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan


  1. Bharat Deshmukh

    March 5, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    ‘Being strangers to becoming friends and being strangers again’….If you can write like that than you have 5 stars.

    • Deepa

      March 5, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      Thank you

  2. Pingback: Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music, March 2019 – The world is too small? or Is it?

  3. Pratik Majumdar

    June 6, 2024 at 9:52 am

    Beautifully expressed. As a life philosophy, the movie and the nuances of the song. Loved reading it

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