Song Sketch

Seeking the Mirage of Desire – Ae Dil-e-Nadaan – Razia Sultan

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How often do we talk to our heart? How often do we get the reply? For as Gulzar says Dil to baccha hai ji…. The poets have often termed the heart as nasamajh, anjaan, anaari…etc. Jan Nisar Akhtar calls it ignorant/naive – nadaan and still expects an answer!! Hear for the pauses in the song. It is as if waiting for an answer. The lyrics of the song give you dual feeling at the same time. Emptiness of a heart and also the joy of longing for someone. The song can be termed as a double duet, one between Khayyam’s music and Jan Nisan Akhtar’s lyrics and the other between Lata’s voice and the instruments. All this in a single song. A fantasy.

“Razia Sultan” is about the first and last female ruler of Delhi who belonged to the Slave Dynasty. The dynasty had Turkish ancestors. It is based on the speculations about the love story between the Queen (Hema Malini) and the slave (Dharmendra). She’s in a turmoil asking her heart to take the lead on this subject. She herself is the witness to this turmoil. Coming face to face with a shadow in the desert while wandering for the answer. Seeking the mirage of desire, a quest.
The song begins with a reverberating sound of santoor, followed by tabla as if the heart is beating in that rhythm and then Lata’s voice and a pause….(as if asking should I follow the mirage? Should I go further?) For the deserts have unending distances, full of emptiness. That’s where the sadness comes in. The ripple in her voice accompanied by santoor sends a flow of currents through your body. Mark her humming along with the santoor!! The expression in her voice when she says….Ek saaya sa rubaru kya hai….. makes you feel the presence of a shadow, haunting in the sandy desert night.

The despair, the agony, the melancholy and the pessimism in the lyrics….kya qayamat hai, kya musibat hai, keh nahi sakte, kiska armaan hai……Lata’s voice hitting the highest chord while desperation overcomes and emptiness conquers. All this happening with the background score keeps its steady pace, depicting the unendingness and the boredom in life.

The feebleness of the heart increases with the flow of the song towards the end. The scuffle seems never ending and the heart continues to follow the untrodden path unwillingly. The poignancy in Lata’s voice is as if there to stay forever. Sonorous and full of desperation. The unending struggle multiplies when she sings……yeh zameen chup hai, aasmaan chup hai…… with those long eternal pauses. These prolonged pauses give you the haunting feel of the desert with its end unseen.

The music is certainly one of the best from Khayyam. His genius is very much seen by the detailing and the less amount of instruments he has used. Lacing the tabla and the santoor together to create a piercing song! Last but not the least, Jan Nisar Akhtar’s lyrics are flawless. The insistence of true emotions well depicted in the way he ends the song.


Ae dil-e-nadaan aisi rahon mein kitne kante hain
Arzuon ne har kisi dil ko dard bante hain
Kitne ghaayal hain, kitne bismil hain
Iss khudaai mein ek tu kya hai…………
saying the chase for the mirage will pursue till you lose yourself completely!!

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

1 Comment

  1. Riitu

    June 30, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Superbly described Eepa, the heaetfelt emotions conveyed by the song and the chords it hits with the audience are aptly captured by you.
    My fav song…kudos to artistic description.Well done.Best.

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