Chaudhvin Ka Chaand Ho – An Uninhibited Praise of Peerless Beauty
If you are a poet, you would describe the beauty vividly and aesthetically. If you are a lover, you would praise the beauty intensely and tirelessly. If you are a lover from the mine of shayars – Lucknow, it would be the frosting on the cake! At least a tad bit of shayari would be inherent to you, and your intense and poetic description of beauty will be taken several notches up by the soothing coats of Lucknowi tehzeeb (etiquette). The title track of Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) is a superb example of the result of such a terrific combination.
Aslam (Guru Dutt), who is recently married to his love Jameela (Waheeda Rehman), is on cloud 9 and is indefatigably praising her beauty. As he is doing this in their personal space and personal moments, the song starts with soft humming in Mohammed Rafi’s voice. What a brilliant idea by the composer Ravi, instead of using an instrumental prelude! Aslam then starts describing Jameela’s beauty in Shakeel Badayuni’s words –
Chaudhvin ka chaand ho, ya aaftaab ho?
Jo bhi ho tum, Khuda ki kasam, laajawaab ho!
What should I compare your beauty with – a lustrous and soothing full moon or a pleasantly bright sun extending the warmth of love? Whosoever you are, the full moon or the sun, I swear by the Almighty, you are nonesuch!
After a brief interlude comprising mandolin, he advances on his mission of praise –
Zulfen hain, jaise kaandhon pe baadal jhuke huye,
Annkhen hain, jaise may ke pyaale bhare huye,
Masti hai jis mein pyaar ki, tum wo sharaab ho…
Your dense and long hair lingering on your shoulders look like the clouds lollygagging on the top of a mountain. Your eyes are like pegs of spirits. You are like a liquor intoxicating with love.
The next interlude including runs of violins besides a brief piece of mandolin indicates the increasing intensity of his feelings. Aslam then says –
Chehra hai, jaise jheel mein hansta huwa kanwal,
Ya zindagi ke saaz pe chedi huyi ghazal,
Jaan-e-bhahaar tum kisi shayar ka khwab ho…
Your face reminds me of a beautiful lotus in full bloom. Or it seems like a ghazal played on the orchestration of life. You are the essence of spring; you are a dream of a shayar!
Then comes another interlude similar to the first one, after which Aslam continues –
Hothon pe khelti hain tabassum ki bijliyaan,
Sajde tumhari raah mein karti hai kehkashaan,
Duniya-e-husn-o-ishq ka tum hi shabaab ho…
Your smile is as killer yet attractive as a flash of lightening. The galaxy prostrates itself on the way that you walk. You are the youth of the world of beauty and love.
Ravi has composed the song in a soft, soothing, and melodious tune appropriate to the delicate moments between the lovers. Though his compositions are generally melodious, this one sounds a little different from his usual predictable style. Optimal and suitable orchestration uplifts the composition. Certainly, one of his best!
There could not be a better choice than Shakeel Badayuni for writing a romantic song laden with Urdu and decency of the Lucknowi tehzeeb. His prolific poetry magnificently describes Jameela’s unparalleled beauty. It is quite intriguing why a simile or metaphor of “Chaudhvin Ka Chaand” (the moon of the fourteenth day) and not “Poonam ka chaand” (full moon) is usually used. One reason which seems plausible is that Chaudhvin is the full moon night as per the lunar calendar followed by Muslims, as its new month starts on the second day of the bright fortnight. Another explanation that sounds as poetic as the metaphor is that the moon on the fourteenth night of the bright fortnight of the Indian lunar calendar is almost as bright as the full moon and is still expected to grow. Unlike this, the full moon, albeit a slightly brighter and more beautiful, starts waning from the next day. Hence “Chaudhvin” and not “Poonam”!
Mohammed Rafi is the best choice for any type of song, more so for a romantic song like this. Needless to say, he has done complete justice to the composition through his velvety and mellisonant rendition. One can talk endlessly about his singing.
Guru Dutt was a steeped actor and a director par excellence. The film was his own production. Though it was directed Mohammed Sadiq, the traces of Guru Dutt’s unique style of direction can be seen in this song.
The poetry in the lyrics does not seem to be an exaggeration at all, considering Waheeda Rehman’s out of the world beauty and sharp features. It would have perhaps been easy for Shakeel Badayuni to pen this song, as he had a live example of incomparable beauty in front of him. Waheeda Rehman is known as not only a beautiful but also one of the finest actors of Hindi cinema. Although Guru Dutt lip synchs the song, Waheeda Rehman fantastically compliments him through her subtle, yet suitable expressions; and we get a glimpse of her acting skills even in this song.
The composition is a wonderful expression of an uninhibited and morsel-by-morsel admiration of peerless beauty.