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.
Movie: Seema (1955)
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.
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!
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