Hum bewafa hargiz na they – Chants of piercing poignance.

Movie – Shalimar.
Singer – Kishore Kumar.
Composer – R. D. Burman.
Lyricist – Anand Bakshi.

Hum bewafa hargiz na they…
How much difficult it would be not to shed even a single tear when you feel like crying your heart out.! How dreadful it would be not to say a word when you need to shout out loud.! How devastating it would be to stay silent even if you are being gravely misunderstood and watching your world falling apart helplessly…
Any ‘007’ too has a heart, he feels, he too loves, he too weeps as he is a human.. yeah, and it’s not like that revelation we got only after Casino Royal! Men on mission are not machines as something is throbbing inside them too.. Just like Agent 3694 – Kumar on mission “Shalimar”.

Shalimar was one of the most expensive movies ever made of its time by our Gujarati filmmaker Krishna Shah who was working in Hollywood far earlier than Shekhar kapur started. Movie was shot both in English and Hindi and released both in India and US together in 1978. In spite of having quite an interesting plot and awesome starcast like Rex Harrison, Sylvia Miles, John Saxon from Hollywood and Dharmendra, Shammi kapur, Zeenat Aman, O P Ralhan from bollywood, both the versions got shattered so badly on box office. And Still! How Shalimar has been throbbing throughout the years in hearts of Indian mass. Reason? Of course, its mind blowing soundtrack. Songs composed by R D Burman were/are actually breaths of this movie. Picking a personal favourite which comes from a personal favourite voice – Kishore Kumar and so beautifully penned by Anand Bakshi.

Sir John( Rex Harrison), a millionaire dying from cancer invites top thieves of world on a private island to steal his precious most asset, a ruby – Shalimar worth Rs. 135 crores which is kept safe in a bullettproof case surrounded by minefield and hundreds of armed guards. An uninvited, anonymous thief Kumar( Dharmendra) reaches there somehow and joins this deadning game. He gets stumped when he finds his lost love Sheila ( Zeenat Aman) working there as Sir John’s personal assistant. Both the hearts endure vortexes of pinning past memories.
Dharmendra here startles you.. In my opinion, this is the height of interpretation of the character by him particularly for this song! He reminds you once again that he is the same actor who did Anupama and Satyakam!

Song starts with quite a short prelude. Chorus. Those so weird but unforgettable chants – jhinga la la hum jhinga la la hum jhinga la la hum hurr hurr.. Some percussions. Sober strums on guitar. Little sound of flames coming from hundreds of burning fire lights. And breezes in the most sonorous voice..
NONE in the world can replace this soulful voice here which takes over the song completely till the end. Each of words is coming straight from heart with sea-full of emotions.
“Hum bewafa hargiz na they..”
The pain peals more with the word – HARGIZ. You feel a silent sob when KK sings “par hum wafaaaa..”
and an exhausting helplessness in “kar na sake..”
Second line is even more grievous..
“Hum ko milie.. uski sazaa…
hum jo khataa… kar na sake.”

That hum by chorus lifts the sadness in the air. But soon gushes back those weird chants which has hardly anything to do with the mood of the song! And how convincingly it flows throughout the song without affecting the emotions depicted in lyrics!! Who else could even think so??! Lord Pancham creates here an unprecedented, unexplored, mystic world of melody wherein all such contradictions blooming on same span making it ethereal and eternal.

For the first interlude, besides chorus, R.D.Burman has used some wonderful percussions synced with thumping tribal chants. Calm notes of synthesiser wind it all up. A single strum on guitar and 3 words all alone in Kishore’s voice.. “kitnee akeli thi woh..” feel of stark loneliness piercing straight. Can you imagine any other way to make it more poignant?

“kitnee akeli thi woh.. raahen hum jin par..
Ab tak akele chalte rahe..”

No. His pained eyes are not welling but gazing far back somewhere reluctantly.. Dharmendra has done a stupifying job by doing nothing! That lonesome lamp burning just besides him reveals his condition – a fancy glass outside covering a scorching fire inside..

Tujh se bichhad ke bhi.. o bekhabar..
tere hi ghum mein.. jalte rahe..

Guitar, bongo and subtle sound of violins make it more and more numbing. None except those mourn-like hums respond when his groans,
“Tune kiya jo shiqva..
hum woh gilaa kar na sake..”.

In second interlude too, chorus and percussions sing the same mismatched saga. Some wierd notes from synth matching tribal figures on screen, striking sticks on dhols, a beautiful bass flute flowing with rising sound of violins. Nothing comes to help Kishore Kumar and lyrics except those violins soaring like an unresting pang. Perhaps it depicts his situation more effectively. He is standing there all alone where just none is able to understand his words(pain). No one cares. None who shares.

Bakshi babu’s pen flows on…

“Tumne jo dekha-suna sach tha magar..
Kitna tha sach ye Kis ko pataa..
Jane tumhe maine koi dhokha diya..
Jane tumhe koi dhokha hua.. “

Nothing to explain. Nothing to complain. Nothing to blame.. just saying,
“is pyaar mein.. sach-jhooth ka..
tum faisala.. kar na sake..”
You could have done. You didn’t.

Song completes with the same weird chants and same sound of flames coming from burning fire lights. And still, here no sound is coming from all those fire lights burning inside him and no water even from his own eyes to blow them out..
But he has R.D.Burman, Anand Bakshi and Kishore Kumar and finally that fire gets its way out and all his pain floats along with this mourning melody.

2 thoughts on “Hum bewafa hargiz na they – Chants of piercing poignance.

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