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Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behla Na Sakegi

April 10, 2022 | By

Shirish Waghmode analyses the romance and beauty of the famous ghazal Tasveer teri dil mera behla na sakegi, written by Faiyyaz Hashmi, composed by Kamal Dasgupta and sung by Talat Mahmood in 1944. Shirish also pens an ode to Talat, the silken voiced singer.

Talat Mahmood from HMV Calcutta’s Puja-Release Booklet, 1958 (Pic courtesy: Sounak Gupta)

Every vintage music lover remembers those moments. Moments that first opened his eyes (and ears) to the heavenly treasure trove of music. And those moments when he could sense the greatness of music being composed around him, feel the immortality of the song, and the comforting thought that we are a microcosmic part of history in the making. It’s a feeling that someday, we can tell other, ‘You know the first time I heard this song was…………!’

Let me tell you about one such moment – when a velvet cloud called ghazal enveloped me – took me in its embrace and left me drenched – for life! The ghazal –

तसवीर तेरी दिल मेरा बहला न सकेगी !

Around 1944 when Talat Mahmood was singing under the name of Tapan Kumar at the All India Radio, Calcutta, music director Kamal Dasgupta who was the AIR resident music director, came across this poetic gem, written by Faiyyaz Hashmi and offered it to Tapan Kumar to sing. The song became a huge hit and catapulted everyone connected to it to the zenith of popularity! Tapan Kumar was noticed. He was invited to Bombay and he carved a niche in the hearts of the people across India. Kamal Dasgupta and Faiyyaz Hashmi were not as fortunate but no one can forget the magic woven by these three – the aura of which remains undiminished 70 years on.

Kamal Dasgupta, who trained Talat Mahmood in HMV, Calcutta (Pic courtesy: Sounak Gupta)

तसवीर तेरी दिल मेरा बहला न सकेगी
ये तेरी तरह मुझसे तो शरमा न सकेगी

The first few lines of this gem, set the tone for the sweet liturgy of complaints to follow. The poet relishes the photograph on his mantelpiece but craves for more than just that. Reasons? Here they come –

मैं बात करूँगा तो ये, खामोश रहेगी
सीने से लगा लूँगा तो ये, कुछ न कहेगी !
आराम वो क्या देगी जो तड़पा न सकेगी !

The sight of her smiling visage sets him thinking of what could have been. Even if I speak to you about how my heart throbs at your sight, even if I hold you close so that you can hear them – you neither speak nor respond – your voice cannot strum the strings of my heart. How can you soothe my feelings without arousing the flames of longing?

ये आँखें हैं ठहरी हुई, चंचल वो निगाहें
ये हाथ हैं सहमे हुए, और मस्त वो बाहें |
परछाई तो इंसान के काम आ न सकेगी |

The comparison leaves him deflated. He sees the photograph – the eyes are still, whereas her eyes are full of mischief; the arms in the photo are as if frozen whereas her arms are lively and carefree. He rues that a shadow is of no use; the image is just an illusion. It cannot take her place.

इन होंठों को फ़ैय्याज़, मैं कुछ दे न सकूँगा,
इस ज़ुल्फ़ को मैं हाथ में भी, ले न सकूँगा |
उलझी हुई रातों को ये सुलझा न सकेगी |
तसवीर तेरी …

What can I give these inanimate lips that will bring them to life? How can I run my fingers through her lustrous hair? No, this offers no relief from the restless nights that I spent thinking about her. This is only adding to the pain – adding to the distance that separates us. Your image is not the balm, my mind yearns for – Nothing not even your own image can replace you.

तसवीर तेरी… is a standalone ghazal in the sense that it doesn’t have the benefit of picturiaztion. Not for it, the adornment of excellent locations, lush vistas and a lovelorn hero singing it. The words and the voice have to traverse the distance to the listener’s heart on their own. Quite like a mountaineer without a Sherpa guide or ample supply of oxygen. But this is one doughty, intrepid climber who reaches the summit armed with the beautiful lyrics and that silken voice. At least two generations must have hummed this, each before their own beloved’s image – and it promises to be on the lips at least two more! This tasveer is inimitable, incomparable and immortal.

An ode to Talat in my own words!

एक तलत ही तो है ।

पतझड़ में सावन की फुहारों का
एहसास देनेवाली आवाज़
के मालिक,
एक तलत ही तो है।

एक तलत ही तो है ।

टूटे दिल की फरियाद निहायत अदब और शराफत से
पेश करने वाली
आवाज के मालिक,
एक तलत ही तो है ।

जो अकेलेपन का दर्द
खुद ही मलहम लगाकर
खुशी में तबदील कर दे,
ऐसी आवाज के मालिक,
एक तलत ही तो है ।

एक व्याकुल जियरा
एक चूर चूर जिगर,
कलेजे की चीरनेवाले,
अल्फाज़ों को सुरों में ढालकर

हाकीम का काम करनेवाली
आवाज़ के मालिक
एक तलत ही तो है।

माशूक़ को ना देख पाने का गम,
उसकी तस्वीर को बयान करने वाली
दीवानगी! परछाई तो इंसान के
काम आ न सकेगी,
यह सच्चाई ज़ाहिर करने वाली आवाज के मालिक,
एक तलत ही तो है।

प्यार, मोहब्बत, इश्क, लगन, जैसे नगीनों को,
और बेरुखी, बेदिली, बेरहमी और बेदर्दी जैसे ज़ख्मों को,
अपनी बेमिसाल गायकी में ढाल कर
हमारी रूह पर कब्ज़ा करनेवाली आवाज़ के मालिक,
एक तलत ही तो

हाँ, हाँ, एक तलत ही है।

More to read

Jetha Ramdhanu Othe Heshe: The Smiling Rainbow of Talat Mahmood (Tapan Kumar’s) Bengali Songs

Hain Sabse Madhur Woh Geet: Melodies of Talat Mahmood

Ai Mohabbat Tere Anjaam Pe: A Ballad of Failed Love

Mehdi Hassan: Touching the Finer Chords of Emotion in Music

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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