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Kahaan Ja Raha Hai Tu Aye Jaanewaale

October 15, 2022 | By

Kahaan ja raha hai tu aye jaanewaale is the cry of a mentor, a protector, a friend. It has the power to touch even a ravaged soul and turn her back towards light and life. Shirish Waghmode revisits this powerful song from Seema.


She has made up her mind to cut off all bonds

Movie: Seema (1955)
Lyrics: Shailendra
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
Singer: Rafi

The deep, resonant sounds of the organ fill the air as the song begins. It is an ominous sound, a pointer to the dramatic scene that is about to unfold. The camera pans to the cowering figure of Nutan, lips curled with determination and a face that spells finality. She has decided to leave the ashram, which she had entered with hope. But today, she has made up her mind to cut off all bonds, every relation, with the place and find her own nest in the wide world outside. She turns to take one last look at her abode, and the voice of Balraj Sahni, cutting through the darkness, falls on her ears

कहाँ जा रहा है तू ऐ जानेवाले,
अंधेरा है मन का दिया तो जला ले

Where are you headed, ‘O traveller’.

Her feet stumble as the cry reaches her but only momentarily. Her body stiffens and she turns to move out of earshot, but the words chase her, make her to stiffen. The caution, the warning is palpable –

ये जीवन सफर एक अंधा सफर है
बहकना है मुमकिन भटकने का डर है
संभलता नहीं दिल किसीके संभाले

It’s a blind journey you are undertaking, he says. There are umpteen risks of going astray. Remember, no one can make the heart speak to you. You alone have to listen to it.

Now she is troubled and her face reflects the anxiety that is slowly growing, seeping in like moisture through the cracks in a building. But once again she turns, her arms akimbo, nostrils flared. She moves on but her feet slow her down. She casts a backward glance – her face troubled, her knuckles wrapped around each other – as the words pursue her!

जो ठोकर न खाए नहीं जीत उसकी
जो गिर के संभल जाए है जीत उसकी |

You have made mistakes but aren’t they the stepping stones to success? Defeat is final when you refuse to get up after the fall. And then the poet comes up with a sparkling gem –

निशां मंज़िलों के ये पैरों के छालें

Your bruised and battered feet are the true pointers to your goalward march.
Simply awesome!

She once again turns – tearing herself away, forcing her feet onward, her arms stiffened and then the wail of Rafi’s alaap freezes her – she stands still as the reality in his words halt her march, once again!

कभी ये भी सोचा के मंज़िल कहाँ है
बड़े से जहां में तेरा घर कहाँ है
जो बाँधे थे बंधन क्यों तोड़ डाले

And now her resolve gives way. The fear of the unknown grips her, the dark void of uncertainty rises before her. She turns back realising that what she rebelled against were not restraints but the safety harness put in place by her mentor, who cared for her and worried for her safety.

The rage that blinded her disappears. Her vision clears, her ears can now hear clearly and her eyes can see where her true abode lies. She turns around and rushes back to (her saviour) where she belongs!

That black and white photography lends a granular starkness is a well-known fact. It is underlined beautifully in the picturization of this song! The foreboding interplay of light and shade is almost a reflection of Nutan’s mindset, her flitting thoughts! The clever use of spaces between darkness and light in the ashram compound mirror the conflict that goes on between hope and despair. The hope that is the voice of her mentor Balraj Sahni! He enunciates every word as if he is living the agony of the shepherd.

Nutan emotes only as she can – the confusion and distress of the lost sheep. She goes through shades of doubt and distress, rage and resolve, anger and agony, and the climax where realization dawns!

Balraj Sahni and Nutan make a masterly combination. Nutan, as usual, is most eloquent when she is silent. And this song is indeed a masterclass in every aspect, the lyrics, the singing, the emotions and the music!

More to read

The Two Worlds of Jalte Hain Jiske Liye

Main Dekhoon To Sahi Duniya Tumhe Kaise Sataati Hai

Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behla Na Sakegi

Umad Ghumad Kar Aayi Re Ghata – Euphoric Celebration of Rains

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Shirish Waghmode is a member of the family that ran the music store, Maharashtra Watch & Gramophone Co, Dadar(W), Mumbai for a record 91 years! From 78 RPM to EPs and then to LPs and then from cassettes to CDs & DVDs, they have been witness to every milestone that technology wrought. Shirish is passionate about Marathi, Hindi and English music in equal measure and has been a public speaking coach and a compere (two shows of Jagjit Singh being the crowning glory). He enjoys writing about music.
All Posts of Shirish Waghmode

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6 thoughts on “Kahaan Ja Raha Hai Tu Aye Jaanewaale

  • Joy Christie

    The prelude organ we hear is played by the late Bahdhur Nanji Sir. A very renowned Parsi musician.
    After 1953 as Sebastian Sir joined full time with SJ the violins and cellos section got a total new colour.

    In the sign line behind Rafi’s voice we hear just row of violins playing the song. The song has a limited amount of strings used. In the interludes the double base is used much prominently
    A super application of Jhap tal 10 matra. Jhaptal itself makes the composition full lively. SJ has extensively used Jhap Taal in their works.

    The Vision of SJ & SD

    Knowing the importance of the lyrics and keeping the lyrics, Rafi ji’s voice and the composition there are not many rows of violins and they just play the composition itself.

    Shirish Bhai’s write ups are always giving us a lot of insights. The full description of the onscreen presentation Shirish bhai has described in full details.

    An article not to miss. Superb write up

  • Anil mamchanda

    Shirish Sir,your passion for presentation gives the song a whole new perspective, hearing it for the 3 rd straight time and finding something new every time, please continue to enlighten us with your knowledge and passion through words straight from your heart

  • Kersi N. Mistry

    Getting to know you better with each succeeding article penned by you that I read. However, great as this sequence is Nutan’s interpretation of it remains a bit too open, for want of a better term, so that the viewer already knows what’s coming, what her face is going to register next. But this was only the first of many such roles. The rebel was beginning to storm the citadel. No more the cowed Indian woman enslaved by penury and tradition, like her counterparts of years gone by. She would break free. In time she would do Sujata and Bandini with the more controlled Bimal Roy who lent poetry to her charisma.

    The lyric, however, is another matter. One of those creations that is inseparable from the character and her anguish. Powerful beyond compare, it is an etching upon the soul of the listener. Shailendraji’s elusive metaphor निशाँ मंज़िलोंके ये पैरों के छाले…has not stopped gnawing at my heart, ever since I understood its metaphysical import. It does have a certain ambiguity, though. It is also a rebuke for the sudden craze for foreign lands that beset the Third World (I hate this damning cliche but it has its uses!) in the fifties as travel to the West became more spontaneous and casual. It is a gentle rebuke to prevent the outward flux, very much like Shakeel’s more brutal plea ओ जानेवालो जाओ न घर अपना छोड़ के…would do a few years later, though in a different sense. But then, our filmi poets held interpretations of their works open to their open-mouthed, awe-stricken admirers!
    Thank you, I’m doffing my cap.

  • Shirish Waghmode

    Joy Bhai ,I describe the Bridal couple ,you describe all the Baraatis in their full glory and add a sheen and glitter,by highlighting their contribution You enrich my article ,Sir

    1. Kersi N. Mistry

      Thank you for responding Shirish.
      Your detailed critiques of the great music of our films is beyond words, some of the best insight I have read in a very long time.
      These songs and music are our links to our past and as long as we remember them we shall stay attached to where we came from!
      Kersi 🎶

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