Khushboo (1975) an unusual love story. Set in a rustic background, has been handled sensitively by Gulzar. It aptly justifies the emotions of a proud woman and her approach towards the relationship. A self assertive woman, rural woman of substance. Based on a Bengali novel Panditmashai by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Khushboo is an aroma of a rich, raw soil which gives the feeling of freshness. A Petrichor – meaning the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.
Kusum (Hema Malini) and Brindavan (Jeetendra) are betrothed in their childhood. But due to family feuds they get drifted apart. However, even after growing up, Kusum still considers Brindavan as her husband and refuses to marry anyone else. Brindavan unaware of her feelings gets married to Lakhi (Sharmila Tagore) under different circumstances. While Lakhi succumbs to illness, they have a son Charan (Master Raju) who becomes very friendly with Kusum, developing into a beautiful bond of mother and child. In midst of all this the village is gripped by epidemic. Brindavan, a doctor, visits all the houses and nearby villages treating and tending the patients. Thinking about this criss cross of life Brindavan’s thoughts burst into a song where he is retrospecting. As the song begins in a boat drifting along the blue expanse, the boat is hit by waves and we are hit by a play of metaphors by Gulzar and a haunting music by Pancham.
O maajhi re
Nadiya ki dhara hai
O maajhi re
Beginning with a typical Bengal style percussion beats by Pancham, the slightly pop-up sound with every beat is made by thumb on the glass bottles filled with water. What amazing creativity this is!!! Mind blowing!! It is this very sound that gives the song an eternal haunting effect.
Maajhi is the self or the soul, so the song is about self contemplating. A song which has dialogues with your own self, your soul. River is the flow of life, the abundant life, the energy which flows through us, kinara is the security, love, support which we cling on. The very essence of words indicate to your subconscious mind. The communication between your mind and soul. The mind forever seeks answers, support, hope or even promises. But the soul says that your actual support is the flow of life itself.
Jeetendra’s character Brindavan looks like an alter ego of Gulzar himself. The pencil thin moustaches, broad-black framed glasses, the black strapped wrist watch, his style of taking a shawl across the shoulders etc. It is said that Gulzar had cut off Jeetendra’s hero style hair on the sets!!! The character is totally opposite from his popular image as jumping jack.
The first interlude has a set of violins going at a high pitch, representing the torment the mind is facing.
Saahilon pe behne waale
Kabhi suna toh hoga kahin
Kaagazon ki kashtiyon kaa
Kahin kinara hota nahi
O maajhi re, maajhi re
Koi kinara jo kinare se miley wo
Apna kinara hai
For those who are close to the shores, or are on the shores, must have heard the the paper boats do not have a shore. Any shore which meets a shore is my shore. Some supports in the life aren’t real, they are fake like the paper boats. They get washed away with the water itself. The real support is the one which will stay with you throughout. It is the one which will edge you away from the difficulties. That support will be mine.
Kishore Kumar’s voice almost makes you cry. His voice is soothing, soulful all at the same time!! His voice definitely knows how to handle a soul. With tenderness!!
We come to the second interlude and instead of violins we have flutes waiting for us. Again set of different flutes played one by one, while the rhythm pattern remains the same including the pop up sound.
Paaniyon mein beh rahe hain
Kai kinare toote hue
Ho, raaston mein mil gaye hain
Sabhi sahare chhoote hue
O maajhi re, maajhi re
Koi sahara majhdhaare mein miley wo
Apna sahara hai
So many shores have dissolved in the water, eroded. And you will meet all the supports which were lost earlier. Any support which you find in the midstream is mine. People will come and go and again meet you in future but the one who come to support you during your difficult times or testing times will be the real ones.
A straight to the heart piercing song from this fabulous combination of Pancham-Kishore-Gulzar. Yet another philosophy through music. Yet another lesson taught. It echoes in your heart like the glass bottle popup sound forming a rhythm pattern in the flow of life!!