Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
To me, Aandhi (1975) is all about the roads they choose to travel by. Here, they includes not only Aarti (Suchitra Sen) and JK (Sanjeev Kumar) but also Gulzar and Pancham. A lot has been written and discussed about its storyline and characterisation resembling much to the greatest lady in Indian politics but to me what Aandhi says in so serene yet subtle way is – “Kitaabon pe dhool jamne se kahaani kahaan badalti hai.!” (penned by Gulzar only).
They meet at a mod – at a point. They cherish walking hand in hand. Roads diverge. They select their own roads to travel. They depart. Yet again at a mod, they meet. Again they cherish past and present moments of togetherness. Again, roads diverge. And again..
Besides Guide and Abhiman, Aandhi says the story of a couple wherein lady/wife is having greater potential than her spouse. But Aandhi stands much different because it’s a Gulzar movie after all. Unlike others, Gulzar here features a man who is neither envious nor possessive. Just that he is so simple and grounded. He loves to explore little pleasures of life offered by so simple and sust kadam raste (like him) which always end to his own nasheman – nest. On the contrary, Aarti is quite a confident and flamboyant lady who loves to fly on faster roads which leads to foremost destinations. One fine day they meet on a mod and the saga starts. This song brings out the complete journey of this couple.
Song is conceived in 1975 – before my birth and still whenever I listen to it, it feels as fresh as the first touch of a cool morning breeze blowing inside through an open window and giving a pleasant shiver to your whole being or the first hot sip of your morning coffee warming and stimulating your senses. It starts with so sweet sounds of swarmandal and vibraphone, then sway in the violins and finally flows in a honey-dipped voice as fresh as morning dew to blow you far away.. Even if you are not watching the song, this aalap makes you feel as if the golden rays of sun are rising from the mountains and dazzling through lushly green woods.
Is mod se jaate hai.. Lataji starts singing one of the best poetries penned by Gulzar and one of the greatest tunes composed by Pancham. Her ascending to the ‘mod’ is so mesmerizing that it takes over you completely right from there! Rhythm starts with tabla and after repeating the first line Lataji ends it to a higher note to invite so soft and soulful voice of KK moulded perfectly for JK’s character. And how aptly lyrics too defines their mindsets!
Is mode se jaate hai..
Kuchh sust kadam raste..
Kuchh tez kadam raahen.. Sings Aarti. How the path ahead is full of possibilities!
Paththar ki haveli ko..
sheeshe ke gharondon mein..
tinkon ke nasheman tak..
is mod se jaate hai.. Adds JK.
Wherever you wonder, ultimate destination is the place where you get love and warmth. This reminds one more Gulzar poem. panaah mil jaaye rooh ko jiska haath chhu kar, usi hatheli pe ghar banaa lo.. Ki ghar wohi hai, aur panaah bhi..
She exactly does so!
First interlude is sweeter than sweet! Again swarmadal gives the clue to that playful notes of flute. Sarod and sitar sing here an equally beautiful duet just as Lata-Kishor. Again flute pours in with so warming lower notes but violins pick it up to match up with the tale renditioned in first stanza.
Aandhi ki tarah ud kar.. Ek raah guzarti hai..
Sharmati hui koi.. Kadamon se utarti hai..
In reshmi raahon main.. Ek raah to woh hogi..
Tum tak jo pahunchati hai..Is mod se jaate hai
And how it goes with the storyline! An ambitious Oxford alumni, filthy rich girl having a famous family background falls in love with quite a simple, humble and down to earth hotel manager who is quite good at cracking very funny jokes and writing very beautiful poems. She gets married with him against her father’s will who has brought her up to conquer higher goals of life like joining politics and being a great leader like Indira Gandhi rather than being house wife of a middle class man and breeding his children.
Together they spend some so loveliest days/years of their lives but soon after being mother of their daughter – Mannu, she starts feeling that she can’t live like this. She is not made for being at home merely. And finally her ambition takes her out of home and makes her choose quite a less traveled path where she departs not only from her husband but also leaves her 3 years old little daughter far behind.
But their roads cross again. When they meet and see each other, their love for each other springs out again which was forcibly buried alive by both of them. Story goes further displaying some cheap political twists and turns taking place and some of the greatest screenplays written by Gulzar where he has squeezed the finest of the acting abilities of wonderfully versatile Haribhai and immensely impressive Suchitra Sen.
Second stanza says it all in an amazing way!
Ek door se aati hai..
Paas aa ke palata-ti hai
After that oh so long nine years, they come closer again. She enters one more time in his lonely life as if to fill the void both have been bearing deep inside their hearts throughout. But.. Again.. “Paas aa ke palata-ti hai..” She has to take turn one more time.. She has to move ahead.. And he stays there only – alone –
Ek raah akeli si.. Rukti hai na chalti hai
How finally she wishes that..
Yeh soch ke baithi hun.. Ek raah to woh hogi..
Tum tak jo pahonchati hai.. Is mod se jaate hai
Songs flow in one more time at the end of this movie. The scene so deeply moves you. It’s not always like you choose the road. Sometimes the road itself chooses you to conquer some destinations and that’s we call destiny. Their hands meet and depart.. But just as their servant – Brinda once says Woh rishta hi kya jo haath chhutne se toot jaaye..
How meaningfully this time Pancham places those words in Lataji’s voice who sings on behalf of Aarti..
Patthar ki haveli ko..
Sheeshe ke gharondon mein..
Tinkon ke nasheman tak..
Is mod se jaate hai..
Aandhi is one of my top favorite Pancham-Gulzar soundtrack. And to me, this one is the song of love and hope. Melody starts flowing through your veins while listening it. I would never be able to express how much I love this song.
Actually Gulazar sahab had written an urdu nazm with same opening lines which is part of his collection of urdu poetries named ‘Pukhraaj’. Some of nazms from the same collection has been composed and sung by our legendary singer Bhupindersingh ji for one of his albums ‘Woh jo shayar tha’ having all Gulzar creations in it. Sharing here that urdu nazm also.
Is mod se jaate hain
Kuchh sust kadam raste
kuchh tez kadam raahen.
Is mod se jaate hain..
Sahara ki taraf jaakar, ek raah bagolon mein
kho jaati hai chakara kar, ik raah udhadati si..
chhilati hui kaanto se, jangal se gujarati hai..
ek daud ke jaati hai, aur kood ke girati hai
Anajaan khalaaon mein, is mod se jaate hain..
Us mod pe baitha hun.
Jis mod se jaati hai, har ek taraf raahen..
ek roz toh yun hoga..
Is mod pe aa kar tum, ruk jaaogi kahe dogi..
Woh kaun sa rasta hai, jis raah pe jana hai..
Woh kaun sa rasta hai………
Both Hindi and urdu nazms meet at a point.
Yeh soch ke baithi hun ek raah to woh hogi
Tum tak jo pahonchati hai..is mod se jaate hai..
Us mod pe baitha hun..
Is mod pe aa kar tum ruk jaaogi kahe dogi..
Woh kaun sa rasta hai.. Jis raah pe jana hai..
Woh kaun sa rasta hai..
Yeah, those who love, hope and wait..