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The Two Worlds of Jalte Hain Jiske Liye

August 15, 2022 | By

When Adheer offers his first song of love to Sujata, little does he know that while he is dreaming of a world with her where love is as fragile as delicate glass, Sujata’s world is imploding.

Shirish Waghmode looks at the two worlds on either side of Jalte hain jiske liye.


Sunil Dutt and Nutan in Sujata (Pic courtesy: Twitter)

The song had been germinating in Adheer (Sunil Dutt’s) mind for a long time. Sometime back, when they were sitting by the lakeside, the tranquil waters lapping their feet, he had started humming. And Sujata (Nutan) had asked mischievously, ‘Are you only humming because there is no song to sing?’ And he had laughingly promised, ‘Right now, only the tune hovers around me, but the moment I find the words, that very moment I shall sing them to you.’

Today is the day, now is the moment. He has found the words – they’ve come in a torrent – the words that are a mirror to his emotions. And now he has to tell her. But she is not beside him. He rushes into the house, picks up the phone and pours his heart out – unabashedly, unhesitatingly and for the first time in the history of Indian Cinema – telephonically!

जलते हैं जिस के लिए,
तेरी आँखों के दीये,
ढूंढ लाया हूँ वो ही,
गीत मैं तेरे लिए

In every beautiful story there is a tipping moment. When on a blank page the first drop of ink appears, when on the canvas of one’s mind someone’s vague appearance, a fleeting glimpse is first registered. So here he describes the moment – how it first appeared and how now, the time is ripe for him to present its impact to her.

दर्द बनके जो मेरे दिल में रहा, ढल ना सका,
जादू बनके तेरी आँखों में रुका, चल ना सका,
आज लाया हूँ वो ही, गीत मैं तेरे लिए

It stayed in my heart as an ache I nurtured, it would not abate. Magically it reflected in your eyes, staying there, not moving away.
Today I present you the same, this song for you!

Sujata has been listening so far — rapt in attention — eyes closed, thinking. Her initial rejoicing has given way to cautious acceptance. And just as she is about to embrace this euphoric seminal moment, reality and its harsh repercussions hits her. Her tears break free. She moves the phone away. But Adheer doesn’t know. He is so enraptured, his face is an eye-catching tapestry of emotions!

He sings on — he is like a bird who has found wings to fly — he has a beatific smile on his face, like a boy who has found a box of cookies! He sings as if he has found the road to bliss. Sujata stands at the edge and stares down at an abyss!

दिल में रख लेना इसे हाथों से ये, छूटे ना कहीं
गीत नाज़ुक है मेरा शीशे से भी, टूटे न कहीं

Hold this song close to your heart. It is so fragile it may slip and shatter like glass if you hold it in your hands. Savor it gently as I hum this song for you.

Sunil Dutt

Both are looking at their future. He is lost in the wonderland of a rosy tomorrow. She’s experiencing the scalding, searing pain of a tomorrow, which is rooted in harsh reality – a realization that her reality is far away from his. He walks the rainbow; she walks the quicksand of public censure. He sees a bridge to happiness, she sees the impregnable wall of social stigma. Unaware of her thoughts, he sings on –

जब तलक ना ये तेरे रस के भरे,
होठों से मिले,
यूँही आवारा फिरेगा ये तेरी,
ज़ुल्फ़ों के तले,
गाये जाऊंगा यही,
गीत मैं तेरे लिए,
जलते हैं जिस के लिए…

There are only two people in the camera frame throughout the song. Talking of frames, ace director Bimal Roy creates a very beautiful frame wherein Nutan is sitting in the dark, listening, and a huge shaft of sunlight lights up the doorway. Quite like the love which is at the doorstep of her life – promising of a sunlit existence, a slice of paradise.

Nutan in Sujata

But the enduring memory of this song is the gentle vulnerability of Talat who sings it with an irresistible charm; the coaxing, hesitant lyrics of Majrooh; and the decidedly outstanding emotional display of Nutan’s acting prowess. With every word she hears, she is hurting, cracking up, imploding, her every nerve, sinew and fibre reeling under the impact of the proposal and you see and feel her helplessness, as she realises the impossibility of it. She speaks in silence. It’s a bravura performance!

This song is a plain, simple ode by a man who has found the woman he loves. Nothing else matters. She is, to him, the one who can shape, mould and fulfil his life! As Laurell K. Hamilton wrote: “Only love of a good woman will make a man question every choice, every action. Only love makes a warrior hesitate for fear that his lady will find him cruel. Only love makes a man both the best he will ever be, and the weakest. Sometimes all in the same moment.”

Some great songs get diminished by their inadequate picturisation. Jalte hain jiske liye in Sujata (1959) is a beautifully crafted song sung by a velvet-voiced maestro Talat Mahmood, tuned by the prince turned singer-composer SD Burman and written by Majrooh (which means ‘injured’). With his sensitive touch, the great director Bimal Roy puts the mark of immortality on it.

More to read

Umad Ghumad Kar Aayi Re Ghata – Euphoric Celebration of Rains

Jaane Kya Dhoondti Rehti Hai: Of a World Where Love Is Incinerated

Main Dekhoon To Sahi Duniya Tumhe Kaise Sataati Hai

When Cinema Matched Music Beat by Beat: Nadiya Kinare in Abhimaan


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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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