Song Sketch

Is This Your Heart Beating Or Mine – Zihale Miskin – Ghulami

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The sun-scorched sand, the gypsies are seen relaxing and taking a pause in their journey, a sad heroine suffering from the pangs of separation from her beloved, accompanied by a macho hero. All these settings scream of an apt song setting in the film and voila- we have a song!
Looking at this song situation in the movie Ghulami, one realizes that this is a very general circumstances which needed a song and any song would have been equally accepted. But when geniuses like Gulzar and Laxmikant – Pyarelal come together one can hardly expect ordinary.
These stalwarts have not worked together very often but whenever they have, magic was created. In this particular song Laxmikant ji had composed a tune based on “kehmukranian” of Amir Khusrau, where the first line would run in Persian and the next in Avadhi. It went like this –

Zihale miski mukun taghaful, varaye naina banaye battiyan
Ki qalbe hijran nadaram ae jaan, na le ho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan

Enjoy this original ghazal in the voices of Sudha Malhotra and Mukesh.

The directer of the movie, J. P. Dutta, liked the tune but was not very sure of the Persian lines. On the other hand Laxmikant was very keen on the opening phrase to be kept as it was. In walked the wizard of words – Gulzar and managed both –

Zihale miskin mukun baranjish
Bahale hijran bechara dil hai

Must you look at my wretched heart
with so much anguish, have pity –
this heart of mine is still raw from the wounds of separation

Sunayi deti hai jiski dhadkan
Tumhara dil ya humara dil hai

but tell me, this pounding that I hear
is this your heart beating or mine?

The song is picturised on Mithun Chakrabarty and Anita Raj who play the second lead pair in the film. It also features Huma Khan as the gypsy singing and dancing to the tuneful music. It begins with the harmonious Mandolin sound which instantly takes us in the gypsy caravan and we feel as if we too are sitting atop that bus along with the travellers and waiting for the singer to entertain us.

In the first stanza the mixed emotions of the lady are so beautifully explained that it makes us think can words come so close to the feelings? And our heart secretly accepts yes, when it comes to Gulzar the answer is yes. Zara zara si khili tabeeyat, zara si ghamgeen ho gayi hai. My heart soars a little in happiness and suddenly sinks a little in the shadow of your embrace.

In the interludes the music director duo depart from the gypsy music and give a regular “Bollywood music” making it easy on the ears of people from all walks of life, but it amalgamates so easily with the theme already set that we do not experience a jerk while the transition is made.

In the second stanza the lyrics reveal the innermost feelings of the heroine which are scared to come to the lips and even show on her face, scared – that no one should read her mind, no one should hurt her again. But the hero, knowing all her woes, assures her that he understands what she is going through and can relate to her sadness. Kabhi kabhi shaam aise dhalti hai jaise ghoonghat utar raha hai, tumhare seene se uthhta dhuunwa hamare dil se guzar raha hai – There are times when the evening reveals the night like a veil coming off and the breath that rises from your heart finds its way into me through my heart, making them one.

Lastly, the heroine surrenders to her heart and confesses her feelings saying that though she is shy and her eyes lower the moment they meet his but the tear drop from her lashes has rolled and found a home – in him. Ye sharm hai, ya haya hai, kya hai, nazar uthate hi jhuk gayi hai; tumhari palkon se gir ke shabnam hamari aankhon mein ruk gayi hai. Here, the song ends with the typical Mithun signature “Koi shaq!” adding a different dimension to the song leaving the audiences smiling.

Then the Mandolin returns again taking us in the sand dunes intertwining with Lata ji’s voice and we literally drive into the sunset along with the hero- heroine who have found solace in each other, away from the scorch of the sun into the calm, cool night.

Anectodes – Courtesy 100 Lyrics by Gulzar

1 Comment

  1. Rahul Khurana

    December 14, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    I had completely forgotten about this song. Thanks for reminding. Loved the article.

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