Umad ghumad kar aayi re ghata is a euphoric celebration of the arrival of rains. Shirish Waghmode deconstructs this beautiful song written by Pt Bharat Vyas.
Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957)
Lyrics: Pt. Bharat Vyas
Music: Vasant Desai
Singers: Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar
Cast: V Shantaram, Sandhya and others
Director: V Shantaram
Among the many magical, wondrous aspects of our Motherland is a natural heaven-sent ritual – the onset of the monsoons. Of course, the rains fall all over the planet earth. But I doubt if any place celebrates it like a festival, the way we rejoice in the arrival of the rains.
Monsoon in India is the resonance of the brooks flowing again, the resurrection of the parched, dry lands and the rejuvenation of the people. This Midas Touch of nature is captured in various exhilarating forms – be it dance, poetry or music.
The joy spills over, and the happiness is contagious. This gift of life is acknowledged by the uninhibited common folk, who express their joy by greeting the rain gods.
ho umad-ghumad kar aayi re ghata
kare-kare badra ki chhayi-chhayi re ghata
If you have soaked in this clarion call to “Rains ahoy!” you may have also noticed that the rhythm of the first line is overshadowed by the poetic imagery of the second, and now the following lines lend it a different dimension altogether.
jab sanan pavan ko laga re teer
badal ko chir nikla re neer, nikla re neer
jhar-jhar jhar-jhar abb dhar jhare
o dharti jal se maang bhare
And the words start pouring in tandem with the raindrops. There is this divine orchestra playing – the words are soothing as raindrops, the music is in sync with nature. Lata’s voice lights up every nuance of the lyrics. Manna Dey thunders intermittently against the backdrop of pouring incessant rains! Feel the magic!
The prelude over, the poet gets down to the lyrical business of encapsulating the euphoria generated by the arrival of Barkha Dulhaniya. I have rarely seen such a beautiful, intoxicating description of Barkha Rani as the one penned by Bharat Vyas. Every word comes wearing anklets around the feet, soaked with admiration and offering gratitude to match the pouring rain. The raindrops are in rush to reach the earth that the commotion creates a celestial music of its own. But the words hold their own, dancing to the frenetic rhythm of the downpour.
nanhi-nanhi bundaniyo ki khanan-khanan khan khanjari
bajaati aayi, bajaati aayi dekho bhai barkha dulhaniya
It is only a son of the soil who can pen these odes! One whose life has begun anew with every monsoon. Just see the music in the words as he writes in different alliterative sounds, the walk of Barkha Rani. In the first stanza, the arrival is described as khanan-khanan khan khanjari bajaati aayi. In the second it is jhanan-jhanan jhan jhaanjari bajaati aayi. In the third, it is sanan-sanan san bansuri, bajaati aayi, followed by chamak-chamak cham ankhdi, chamkati aayi. In the fourth stanza it is ghanan-ghanan bhandaar re lutaati aayi. And the last catwalk, lehar lehar aanand ki leharati aayi.
Phew! I am drenched just admiring this magnificent supplication that must have emptied the clouds and satiated the thirst of Mother Earth. But do read the poem in its entirety. Bask in its glow, let it envelop your mind and it will guard you with its sublime imagery against the mediocrity that assaults you at every step today!
It starts with nanhi-nanhi bundaniyo and then the words start gyrating to dainty steps of the Barkha Dulhaniya as she moves around –
ho savan ka sandesa lekar nikli apne ghar se
jo koyi iske pyar ko tarse wohi naveli barse
and she signs off with
dhan ye sawan dhan ye barkha
dhan-dhan hamari dharati
sabke jivan ke ye adhure sapne pure karti
It is the most gleeful, playful and grateful poem of praise to the monsoon. To make it better, there is the outpouring of honey in the form of Lata’s voice, the periodic drumbeat of Manna Dey’s call that keeps in sync with every clap of thunder and rustic simplicity of Vasant Desai’s music.
The combination of Manna Dey and Lata for this song is perfect. Manna Dey’s voice has that rustic feel which is beside itself with joy, bursting forth in excitement as the bearer of good tidings that the rains have finally arrived! A message that is divine music to the ears of the rural folk. A message that the wheels of life have started spinning again!
And Lata is the voice of Petrichor (the pleasant fragrance that exudes from Mother Earth after the first rains). Her voice is soaked with relief, gratitude and thanksgiving. She knows this is the gift most-awaited, the gift of life! And that is when her voice becomes one with the elements!
Vasant Desai creates a tune that accepts gladly that he need not do anything out of the way to adorn the celestial poetry of Pt. Bharat Vyas and the heavenly tones of Lata and Manna Dey! Simplicity, he knows can sometimes be the best ornament. He stays in the shadows, an admiring and encouraging presence letting his music take the song to its breathtaking fruition.
Next time it rains, I would be disappointed if I see you simply reading this. At least for once, step out and drench yourself in the pouring rain! As John Keats wrote, ‘The Poetry of Earth is never dead’.
About Do Aankhen Barah Haath
V Shantaram’s classic film is the story of a golden-hearted jailor (played by Shantaram himself) who risks his life and career in his bid to convert six hardened convicts and steer them towards a future which is free from crime and the shackles of the past. Sandhya played a toy-seller whose songs bring music and innocence back into the lives of the convicts.
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