The wizard of words – Gulzar, so obviously believes that eyes not only have their own language but also have their own soul and singnificance. They don’t care to carry all those instructions which your ‘wiser’ brain keeps giving. So, ultimately it is up to you that what language you would rely on. The one being spoken by mouth or the one being released by eyes. Or even different at different times.!! As sometimes it’s feel like Jhoothe naina bole saachi batiyaan and sometimes, naino ki mat suniyo..naina thag lenge!! As Gulzar says, also eyes can behave like anything – as a pair or as individuals. It generally happens like “do naino mein aansoo bhare hai”. But it can also happen like ek aankh roye kabhi dooji aakkh roye!! Eyes can hold anything or everything according to their own wish. Be it Maheke hue se raaz or as Masoom depicts, thoda sa baadal, thoda sa paani, aur ek kahani.
Masoom is all about thoda sa baadal and thoda sa paani. Something held and something revealed or released. Be it DK’s (Naseeruddin Shah) past or their future. Be it Indu’s (Shabana Azmi) love or grief. Or be it masoom Rahul’s (Jugal Hansraj) sobs or silence. Just like Pancham and Gulzar, Shekhar Kapur – in his directorial debut – has done so incredible job that no other can do. He never needed any Bandit Queen or Elizabeth to prove his magnificence after making ‘Masoom’. Also, all the characters- right from little Mini to Saeed Jafri have contributed greatly with their exquisite performances to make this movie an ultimate classic. And in my opinion, no other in the world could understand Gulzar’s poetry better than Pancham. Otherwise tell me, how, how could we get such an eternal classic?? Even if at one moment you stop listening it, its pathos stay with you unfailingly wherever you go and whatever you do as your inner most core absorbs all those unsheded tears dripping from the lyrics and music and makes your heart feel heavy.
If you would notice, the song starts with some fainted sounds of grasshoppers besides Aarti Mukherjee’s intense voice. No rain is to show but how brilliantly it portrays a rainy night! The season in Malhotras’ house is the gloomy monsoon nowadays. Aarti Mukherjee’s voice is piercing straight in first five words as if she is crying her heart out on behalf of Shabana. Right from there, guitar enters and stays till the end to keep the cords of your senses vibrated with each of its codes. This is after all a Lori sung by a hurt and pained mother for her innocent daughters. May be for this reason, Pancham has avoided using percussion much. It actually lets lyrics and strings flourish at their best. Guitar here builds rhythm so beautifully that you never miss them either. Everything is so soft and low including those violins swaying behind Aarti Mukherjee’s voice.
In first interlude, flute sounds both calming and then haunting. At the same time, Shekhar Kapur has made that poor boy open the door and see a mother showering all her love on her daughters. It startles you till deep to see that little boy staring it silently who has lost her mother and who is seeking like anything for a motherly warmth. His eyes so cravingly tries to search her extremely loving mother in this quite unfriendly ‘auntie’ too! (Meri maa bhi aisi phoolonwaali saari pahenti thi.) Pancham’s vibraphone sound comes as if like an intuition which makes DK to turn where this boy is standing alone. It is followed by 12 string guitar then violins and again 3 guitar strums. And with first stanza tabla enters for the first time in the song. But they stay only in first two lines of each of stanzas. When lyrics gets back to kahaani, it floats on strings only.
Chhoti si do jheelon mein wo
Behti rehti hai
Koi sune ya na sune
Kehti rehti hai
Kuch likh ke aur kuch zubaani
These words not only depict the situation of Shabana who is bearing a pulsatile pang silently right since she comes to know about her husband’s betrayal but also those lake-some green watery eyes of this boy which speak more than his words. They have a lot to say to whomsoever reads them. And those eyes which can read them seem damn helpless here.. For a moment, Naseeruddin Shah’s numbed expressions shakes your concepts of right and wrong, flaw and fault, mistake (though shattering) and betrayal. Dark clouds of a deadening guilt in his eyes seem to hold all the water inside themselves.
Guitar and flute have never created such a gloomy effect which they bring in second interlude. Who else could compose them like this!? Again, violins enter with dusky notes and then create rippling effect as if to take you inside that boy’s mindscape where his fondest and saddest memories are flashing.
Thodi si hai jaani hui
Thodi si nayi
Jahan ruke aansoo
Wahin poori ho gayi
Hai toh nayi phir bhi hai purani
Visuals and words bring images of that loveliest time this boy has spent with his mother. Also by showing the same temple, woods and their boating, director gives the hints of the period which this boy’s parents had spent together. All those cherishable moments mother relives with his son and now the son rewinds it all alone in his welling eyes. “Jahan ruke aansoo wahin poori go gai.”. But tears are still falling down from all four eyes here!! And perhaps by this, Gulzar wants to say, picture abhi baaki hai..
Third interlude starts with soaring taar shehnai and flows with guitar and violins. The visuals are hugely disturbing to leave your heart torn apart completely. Those flames burns you too just as that little boy standing aghast, wordless. His silent tears choke your throat with a lump. He is not screaming, not crying and that makes you cry.
Ek khatm ho toh doosri
Yaad aa jaati hai
Honthon pe fir bhooli hui
Baat aa jaati hai
Do nainon ki hai ye kahani
And this reveals Shabana’s sinking condition. Pain seems neverending and devastating. In Gulzar poetry, night is synonym of darkness and hopelessness. (Subah n aayi kain baar neend se jaage..thi ek raat ki yeh zindagi guzaar chale). She is unable to forget and also ignore her husband’s flaw which personifies itself in that little boy who is utterly lovable and awfully innocent to her too!!
Aarti Mukherjee’s voice, Gulzar’s words, Shekhar Kapur’s camera, each character’s performance and above all, Pancham’s stupefying composition numb your senses every time. The song never easily leaves you.