Song Sketch

Crime De Cupid – Jurm-e-Ulfat Pe Humein – Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal – the symbol of love. An enduring love of Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The structure stands in its magnificent glory even after centuries and a cultural treasure to cherish for centuries to come. Considered one of the wonders of the world, it has become an iconic symbol for India. Rabindranath Tagore described it as – A teardrop on the cheek of time. Withstanding test of time, this architectural marvel represents abundance, beauty, eternity and love. The love of a man for his wife. It is the witness of a love story which continued even after the death. Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal had been married for 19 years when, in 1631, the queen died giving birth to their 14th child. To glorify Mumtaz Mahal the emperor he built the most beautiful tomb the world had ever seen. The tomb which now the symbol of love is a variant of her name. Their love story which started unfolding since they were teenagers became immortal with The Taj.
Prince Khurram (who later became Shah Jahan) played by Pradeep Kumar, son of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir (Rehman), first laid his eyes on Arjumand Banu (Beena Rai), at Meena Bazar. It was love at first sight. Arjumand Banu was an example of beauty, grace and compassion so much so that the poets were inspired to laud about it. She attracted attention of highly ranked men and the nobles of the kingdom. Born as Arjumand Banu, she was given the title of Mumtaz Mahal by Shah Jahan, meaning the prestigious one or the jewel of the palace!! She was the power behind the Emperor. She was humble, unpretentious, straightforward and honest. Mumtaz Mahal, the chief consort of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan or the Empress of the Mughal Empire. But Queen Noor Jehan (Veena) is against this relationship since she wants her daughter Laadli Banu (Jabeen Jaleel) to get married to the prince. Though Arjumand is her niece, she tries to complicate things between Prince Khurram and Arjumand by becoming the barrier in their relationship. Queen Noor Jehan keeps on finding reasons to bring Khurram and Laadli Banu together. One such occasion is Laadli Banu’s birthday. The palace is full of festivities. The queen has organised a mushaira for the occasion. All the pretty ladies of the town, except Arjumand, are invited to recite their poems in front of the prince and the Emperor. Needless to say all the ladies, noblewomen come for the mushaira in order to woo the prince. Ladies wooing a man, that too a prince, in the 17th century sounds interesting already. Laadli Banu is all set to mesmerise the prince with her romantic couplets. But before that ladies take turn in reciting their couplets. As the tradition, a burning candle is placed in front of the person who is reciting. And it is one of the noblewoman (actress Sujata) who says –
Apne chehre se parda jo utha dete hain
Rang gulzar ke phoolon ka udaa dete hain
Maikade unki nigahon mein basey rehte hain
Wo jise dekhte hi mastana bana dete hain

The candle is now shifted in front of Gulbadan (Minoo Mumtaz) and her couplets point out towards Shehzada Saifuddin Qazi (Jeevan) instead of Shehzada Khurram.
Bewafai ke wafaon ka sila dete hain
Kaise bedard hain kya lete hain kya dete hain
Aise baithe hain ki jaise humein dekha hi nahi
Yahi andaz toh deewana banaa dete hain

Now comes the turn of Laadli Banu who is bewitched by the prince and says –
Laal o gauhar se haseeno ko sazaa dete hain
Kadradaan yun hi mohabbat ka sila dete hain
Ishq kya hai ye Shahenshah se poochhe koi
Husn ko takht e hukumat pe bitha dete hain

Just as these lines end, some beautiful couplets are heard from a distant magical voice –
Aap daulat ke tarazu mein dilon ko tolein
Hum mohabbat se mohabbat ka sila dete hain

Yes, it is the uninvited Arjumand Banu who is there to claim her love for Shehzada Khurram. The prince is elated at the sight of her while the Emperor is quite pleased with her rendition. He asks her to continue –
Arjumand, tumne ek sher ko padhke humare aatish-e-shauq ko badhka diya hai, hum poori ghazal sunana chahte hain!!

And she begins –

A divine aalap by Lata Mangeshkar in the beginning is the gist of what Roshan has in stock for the listeners. The sarangi smoothly beckons us to hear the ghazal further.

Jurm-e-ulfat pe humein log sazaa dete hain
Kaise nadaan hain sholon ko hawa dete hain

I might get punished for the crime I’ve committed in love. Here she is hinting her misdemeanour towards NoorJehan’s precept of not meeting or saying about the prince or attending the mushaira where she is not invited. But she further declares that she would not be easily coerced into the situation. Instead she says if they are punishing me, they are in turn fanning the flames and encouraging the fire to spread. A rebel!!

Humse deewane kahin tarq-e-wafa karte hain
Jaan jaaye ki rahe baat nibha dete hain

People as crazy as me do not put an end to a relationship, but we remain faithful and fulfil the promises whether we stay alive or die.

Aap daulat ke tarazu mein dilon ko tolein
Hum mohabbat se mohabbat ka sila dete hain

You might weigh the feelings of my heart on the scales of money but I requite love with love.

Takht kya cheez hai aur laal-o-javahar kya hain
Ishq waale toh khudaai bhi luta dete hain

A throne/kingdom or rubies and jewels is trivial matter, for those in love, we lavishly regale divinity too.

Humnein dil de bhi diya ehd-e-wafa le bhi liya
Aap ab shauq se de lein jo sazaa dete hain

We both have given our hearts to each other and promised faithfulness, you can punish us according to your heart’s desire. Whatever you wish for.

The confrontation of Arjumand with Mallka-e-Alam Noor Jehan is accentuated by Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics. Sahir combines poise, grace and vulnerability at the same time. His lyrics are potent.
One of the most brilliant music director of his times, Roshan. He blended and mixed folk music and classical music with ease. This perspective of Roshan made him stand out from his contemporaries. In his music, one can hear the melody and cadence merge like milk with sugar. It resulted in the sweetness which the audience savour till date. Almost all his compositions have the distinctive use of sarangi, like in this song, making them immortal. Instruments had a very important role to play in all his creations. His association with the instruments gave enriching results. A musical extravaganza. His infectious melody and Lata Mangeshkar’s flawless rendition provides lilting flavour to the songs. Sublime and rich. Soft and elegant. Yet building a crescendo. Every time you listen to his songs and you can see that aura around the songs. The caressing music for this particular song brings out the emotions of the song so beautifully.
Arjumand proclaiming her love for Shehzada Khurram. The cupid has already committed the crime. Her words cutting like a sword. There’s mockery, commitment, dismissal of the consequences. Empathetic and defiant. Keeping her dignity intact, she braves the Empire with a complete belief and power of love within her.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

1 Comment

  1. Vijay Kumar Jai

    December 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Excellent write-up. No one can beat Sahir in his rebellious songs. He injects his own devil may care attitude in the song.

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