A musical ride: A journey from Amir Khurso to A. R. Rahman

I usually don’t prefer plugging my earphones in while I am riding a bike.  But as I was coming back from a Sunday-evening ride, and as I was in a not-so-sad mood, I plugged them in, adjusted the volume, and set the player on random shuffle.  It took me about 25 minutes to come back home; what my player played in those 25 minutes was a beautiful musical ride!  It was a wide range of music and poetry from the 13th century Amir Khurso, to the beautiful poetry by Gulzar in the 1960s and early 1970s, to the ultra-modern melody of A. R. Rahman.  I had no choice to select what my player is playing, just out of what I had in it, it was a beautifully random mixture of a broad musical spectrum.

I had five songs in those 25 minutes.  The first one was Naa Jiya laage naa.. from movie Anand.  It’s a beautiful song penned by Gulzar, sung by Lata Mangeshkar.  I had got this song in my cell as one of the bunch of Gulzar songs I had downloaded.  It is based on some classical Raaga (and I understand nothing of Indian classical music).  Wonderful song, silent, melodious, treat to listen.  As always, great lyrics by Gulzar: Jeena bhule the kahaan yaad nahii, thuj ko payaa hai jahaa saans phir aayi wahi (Don’t know where had I forgotten my life; I got my breath back where I found you); and blame me for poor translation.

Second song brought me directly back to 2011.  Te Amo from Dum Maro Dum, reprise solo male version sung by Mohit Chauhan.  Again, wonderful job by Pritam, beautiful use of Mohit Chauhan’s voice.  And Jaideep Sahni is as good as usual in his lyrics.  This slow, melodious song, takes me back to my heart with deep feelings of love.  Te Amo…

Amir Khusrow surrounded by young men. Miniatur...

Amir Khusro (Image via Wikipedia)

The next one, this song always make me move with from very first beat.  Zihal e miskin makun taghaful was an experimental poem by a 13th century Indian scholar Amir Khurso.  Amir Khusro is one of the most important figure in the cultural history of medieval India.  He is widely known as a pioneer of Urdu language and Urdu poetry as such.  Zihal e miskin is a bilingual poem, first line inPersian the second one in Hindavi/Urdu and such goes on.  With an air of Sufi mysticism, this poem revolves around love — may be love with the Almighty or with a beloved one.  Zihal e miskin is particularly famous in the subcontinent and is composed and sung multiple by a wide variety of singers from Mukesh to Abida Parveen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and so on.  I have the Abida Parveen version.  Her powerful voice and the mighty percussion of dholak won’t let you without moving.

The fourth song, title song of Tamil film Alaiypauthey (2001), composed by A. R. Rahman (ARR) in Carnatic Classical music.  I don’t know the language.  I don’t know what lyrics Varaimuthu has written for this song (otherwise, he is excellent.  See Enge enathu kavithai).  This is kind of a devotional song (I don’t know, Sirish had told me; he’s native Tamil).  But this song is really treat to listen.  Just you need good earphones, and this can be one of the best songs to make you feel serene.  And the steady buzz of tambora in the background is awesome.  A must listen if you love light melody!

The fifth and the last one was again an A. R. Rahman composition.  Boondon se baate (talking to raindrops) from Takshak.  Frankly, I had never listened this song in my cell, though I had it for long. Still, without doubt, wonderful composition as usual by ARR, and beautiful lyrics by Mehboob.  Sung my some unknown-to-me female singer, this song is no less beautiful from the above four.

Such was a marvelous musical ride, stretching over the period of around 800 years, from Sufi Qawwali to Indian classical to Carnatic classical to modern guitar beats; Persian, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil; exploring a wide spectrum of the subcontinental music.  Two out of five Gulzar songs, two out of five ARR compositions, two out of five devotional songs (if we count zihal e miskin as devotional; and still I am a proud atheist; really no one loves the God as an atheist does).

So thus was my playlist for this Sunday evening.  I can’t imagine of a more bizarrely varied playlist than this one.  I know I am a bit odd in my musical taste (not less than my literary taste), but still if you love anyone of these songs, please let me know.  I bet we can have a good friendship with each other.  If you haven’t listened anyone of them (and probability of this to happen is too much on a higher side), please get then, and I again bet you won’t be disappointed.

Looking ahead for your thoughts 🙂

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16 Responses to “A musical ride: A journey from Amir Khurso to A. R. Rahman”

  1. Suja Says:

    What an interesting playlist, I am sure it made the ride very pleasant! I am well familiar with the song from Anand, the song from Alaipayuthe (I am Tamil) as well as the Zeehaal e miskeen which I love! The other songs are not familiar but I am afraid the music of the past and classical music catch my attention far more than the music of today!

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Well, the playlist really made the ride a pleasure, and made me so joyous that I could not stop myself from writing this post.

      I wished I could find someone who love at least one of the songs (not really the fifth one), and I found who love three!! Nice to see you here 🙂

  2. mayur hulsar Says:

    I love the 1st one, but dont have it. And i knew the 3rd one, but never thought it is so old. ‘Zihal e miskin makun taghaful’ i liked it always, but thought its some movie song isn’t it???

    Anyways now i want both the songs in my phone, so I m off to get them. thANKS, Ganesh!

    nice post.

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Mayur, Na Jiya Lage na is really wonderful. The Zihal e Miskin you are refering to is a song by Gulzar from movie Ghulami (1980s). It’s Gulzar style to take one line of a famous Urdu poem and create a whole song further (Recall, dil dhundhata hai fursat ke raat din, first line by Ghalib). I would suggest you the Abida Parveen version of original Amir Khusro song. It’s really powerful performance.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      • mayur hulsar Says:

        ganesha,. i got the song… and i m kinda asking everyone from my circle to jabardasti have it in their cellphone. lol.. take care and thanks!

      • mayur hulsar Says:

        I would suggest you the Abida Parveen version of original Amir Khusro song. It’s really powerful performance….

        I tried to search this version that u recomded, but didnt get. Can u send me the link, I want to hear it…

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Mayur, I am really happy that you liked the song so much that you are asking everyone to listen it. When I got it for the first time, I too was asking everyone to listen it “kind of zabardasti” 😉 I made my father to listen it and he really liked it, but got a “thanda” response from elsewhere!!

    • mayur hulsar Says:

      haa haa, dont thank me.. for me its always the zabardasti kaa mamala… I m always on a highly elated state… take care.

  3. Amardeep Sidhu Says:

    Great !

    Could you please tell me Abida has sung it in which album ? I couldn’t find it anywhere.


  4. zafar Imam Says:

    Wow, I felt like I was travelling with you on your musical ride through centuries.
    You really are a proud atheist, keep it up 🙂

    • Ganesh Dhamodkar Says:

      Thanks Zafar! And thanks for reading the post throughout (the reference to atheist you made is in the concluding part of the post). I expect the same continuous appreciation from you 🙂

  5. Arjun Sharma Says:

    Hey great post. i would really appreciate it if you would visit my blog too. thanks 🙂


  6. isoodlee Says:

    Boondon se baate is a beautiful composition by ARR.
    Also i like his Swades sung by him, feels very patriotic.

    Well written

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