Song Sketch

Love Story Via The Kohl Lined Eyes – Kajraare – Bunty Aur Babli

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What is an item song/number? To this question, Wikipedia answers – An item number or an item song, in Indian cinema, is a musical performance that is often shown as a part of the movie but most of the times without any importance to the plot of the movie. The term is commonly used in connection to describe a catchy, upbeat, sequence for a song in a movie. Item numbers had been featured in Bollywood from as early as the 30s. An item song mostly has a guest appearance by a known or also by an upcoming artist of Hindi Cinema.

Bunty Aur Babli (2005) is one of the many Hindi films having an item number. The film starred Abhishek Bachchan & Rani Mukherjee (Bunty & Babli) in the lead with Amitabh Bachchan in a supporting role as ACP Dashrath Singh. Bunty & Babli start to con people, looting rich people dressed as local guides, religious priests, health inspectors, business partners, etc. Their flamboyant antics make them famous in newspapers nationwide. ACP Dashrath Singh relentlessly pursues them, catching up with their cons and pranks, getting closer each day. Playing games with each other like Tom & Jerry (read Amitabh & Abhishek). They finally get to know each other over a drink at a roadside bar. With a few pegs of the cheap whiskey down his throat, Amitabh is bursting with his love story which happened in Delhi. Followed by this item song featuring Aishwarya Rai. Listeners will hence find references to Delhi in this song.

What happens when Gulzar writes an item song? It becomes a poetry (a sub-par poetry). Its a roadside song with a different flavour. In Gulzar’s own words, “It is similar to that you’d find on the backs of trucks and lorries”. The song begins with Alisha Chinoy crooning for Aishwarya Rai – Aisi nazar se dekha us zaalim ne chowk par, Humne kaleja rakh diya, chaaku ki nok par
The conspicuous, suggestive stare of your eyes has taken my heart away like being robbed at a knife point.
A part qawwali part western number with some semi classical shades in it, listen to the catchy dhin dhin dha dhin tanak dhin, after that lewd type of comment saying Bawaal ho gaya, raita faiil gaya!!

Mera chain-vain sab ujda, zaalim nazar hata le, Barbaad ho rahe hain ji, tere apne shahar waale
Losing calm and composure in love, the effect of eyes is a trance like state. She’s asking him to come before she wakes up from this relaxed state – Meri angdaayi na toote tu aaja.
This is the love story told by the kohl lined eyes, the dark/black eyes (though Aishwarya is light eyed).
Surame se likhe tere waade,
aankhon ki zabaani aate hain
– Your eyes say the story of your love, they betray you even if you don’t say it.
Mere roomaalon pe lab tere,
baandh ke nishaani jaate hain
– My handkerchief too has betrayed the promise by showing the mark you left on it.
Teri baaton mein kimaam ki khushbu hai,
Tera aana bhi garmiyon ki loo hai
– you bring in the effect of hot summer winds and your words have the fragrance of Qiwaam (a paste put in the preparation of paan with tobacco, saffron, cardamom, it gives a strong aroma)

Gulzar can at times tease you with his lyrics like he does in this song by adding an English word out of nowhere.
Aankhein bhi kamaal karti hain, personal se sawaal karti hain,
Palkon ko uthaati bhi nahin , parde ka khyaal karti hain
– At times eyes do the needful job. They cross the limits by asking personal questions and stay within the parda (limit) of eyelids at the same time.
Mera gham to kisi se bhi chhupta nahin,
Dard hota hai dard jab chubhta nahin
– I have become so used to the pain that I don’t feel the sting anymore. It is not hidden from anyone.
Now comes the best part of the song, those special lines which form the soul of the song –
Tujhse milna puraani Dilli mein,
Chhod aaye nishaani Diili mein,
Ballimaran se Daribe talak,
Teri-meri kahaani Dilli mein

The love story of Amitabh that was in Delhi (the old fascinating Delhi). There are traces of that story in those old areas (read Chandni Chowk). The story which was famous all over Delhi, be it Ghalib’s haveli in Ballimaran or the jewellery market in Dariba Kalan, the love story was sprinkled all over these places. So very beautiful, so very Gulzar!!!

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have reinvented themselves with this song. The resonating beats of the tabla, the experimentation with semi classical tunes, the use of violin instead of harmonium all add to the charm of this song. The strings in the first interlude give it a foot tapping effect.

The song is a perfect example of Amitabh’s massive screen presence. Even with the charming, svelte Aishwarya Rai on screen, accompanied by Abhishek Bachchan, your eyes follow the senior Bachchan. Look at his gyrating moves, his expressions, his mannerisms. He mesmerises you. And he’s at his tapori best, to say the least. (Hear him say at the end of the song – haay haay haay kya chaal hai teri madam, I’m your only Adam)

With its ecstasy remaining intact till the song finishes (nearly 8 minutes) and high on entertainment quotient, the song surely the Shahenshah of the item songs!!

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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