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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Are You Ready for the Storm Called Gulaal ?

- by Prabuddha

And we thought, of late, only Prasun Joshi could write lyrics with unconventional imagery. Not any more. Just go grab a CD of Gulaal and you will realize what I mean. In the last decade I haven’t listened to more powerful lyrics or such a radical, out of the world imagery. Those who came in late, Gulaal is a movie on politics and democracy set in Rajasthan directed by Anurag Kashyap releasing on 13th March.
The lyrics have been penned by Piyush Mishra, the same man who won Filmfare for Best Dialogues for The Legend of Bhagat Singh. He has penned 8 songs and hold your breath, composed them. And what if I tell you that he has lent his wonderful voice to some of them... Yes, versatility doesn’t get any better. Poetry in some songs gets your hair stand on ends. Piyush has written something that would easily put him in the category of greats just for this one film, even if he goes on to write nothing as great after this (hope not). By now you must be thinking what I am up to. Has he hired me to do his PR? No, he hasn’t. Its just that sometimes you come across works which have that other world feel about them- unconventional, revolutionary, innovative, ground-breaking. Take a look at the following from the song, Shahar:

सुनसान गली के नुक्कड़ पर जो कोई कुत्ता चीख़ चीख़ कर रोता है
जब लैम्प पोस्ट की गंदली पीली घुप्प रोशनी में कुछ कुछ सा होता है
जब कोई साया ख़ुद को थोड़ा बचा बचा कर गुम सायों में खोता है
जब पुल के खंभों को गाड़ी का गरम उजाला धीमे धीमे धोता है

तब शहर हमारा सोता है….तब शहर हमारा सोता है
इधर चीख़ती है इक हव्वा ख़ैराती उस अस्पताल में बिफ़री सी
हाथ में उसके अगले ही पल गरम मांस का नरम लोथड़ा होता है

जब शहर हमारा सोता है
तो मालूम तुमको हां क्या क्या क्या होता है
Now you know what I meant. Its not false praise. He deserves all the accolades for this. Another song- Duniya is a tribute to Sahir Ludhianvi and other greats. It gets its inspiration from Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai from Pyaasa. The song is original in lyrics and music. Piyush renders the song in his own inimitable way. It’s a pleasure to hear Duniya will be an insult to the song… Its much more than that. An experience that compels you to revisit it many a time.
ग़ालिब के मोमिन के ख़ाबों की दुनिया
मजाज़ों के उन इंक़िलाबों की दुनिया
फ़ैज़, फ़िराक़ ओ साहिर ओ मख़ूदम
मीर की ज़ौक़ की दाग़ों की दुनिया
ये दुनिया अगर मिल भी जाए तो क्या है

Piyush knows well how to describe siski of a seductress. And how exactly does he do this in the composition- Beeda laced in Rekha Bhardwaj’s vocals- a voice that seduces you to the core.. See for yourself.
संकट ऐसा सिलवट से कोई हाल भांप ले जी
करवट ऐसी दूरी से कोई हाथ ताप ले जी
निकले सिसकी जैसे बोतल का कार्क जो उड़ा हो
धड़कन जैसे चंबल में घोड़ा भाग जो खड़ा हो
अंगिया भी लगे है जैसे सौ सौ मन का भार
मन बोले चकमक, हाय चकमक, चकमक......

One song that catches you unaware and makes your expressions taut is—Aarambh, a song which has all the attributes of becoming a sort of anthem:
आरंभ है प्रचंड, बोले मस्तकों के झुंड
आज जंग की घड़ी कि तुम गुहार दो
आन बान शान या कि जान का हो दान
आज इक धनुण के बाण पे उतार दो

मौत अंत है नहीं तो
मौत से भी क्यूं डरें
ये जाके आसमान में दहाड़ दो
जिस कवि की कल्पना में ज़िंदगी हो प्रेम गीत
उस कवि को आज तुम नकार दो....

I don’t know which genre do we put a song like Ranaji in, its full of political allusions. Go thru this track with a broad smile on your face:
राणाजी हमरे गुस्से में आए
ऐसो बलखाए
अगिया बरसाए
घबराए म्हारो चैन
जैसे दूर देस के टावर में घुस जाए रे एरोप्लेन

सजनी को डीयर बोले
ठर्रे को बीयर बोले
मांगे है इंगलिस बोली
मांगे है इंगलिस चोली
जैसे बिसलेरी की बोतल पीके बन गए इंगलिस मैन
...जैसे हरेक बात पे डेमोक्रेसी में लगने लग गए बैन
...जैसे सरे आम इराक़ में जाके जम गए अंकल सैम

There are three other songs as magnificently done as the above. The best thing about Piyush and his lyrics is that he doesn’t carry any baggage. He is a free spirited soul who writes what he believes is correct. That’s why sometimes the imagery doesn’t fit in your general conscience the first time you hear it but once comprehended, you bow for the master writer. As for the music, Piyush’s minimalist music in veer-ras songs not only complements the vocals but actually enhances the whole impact multifold. He has given a unique flavor to the album using Rajasthani folk wherever necessary, just what the doctor (in this case, AK) prescribed.

But one thing I fear dreadfully is that the album might die in the hands of a niche audience. The purpose of this post is to let you all know that there are gems waiting to be picked, waiting for your patronage, waiting to immerse you in an unheard of lyricism and imagery. Poetry never sounded this pure and beautiful. The last time it got any of my hair stand was when I was in school…. Hats off to Piyush and Anurag Kashyap for giving us sounds which I don’t know come from where but not from the typical Bollywood for sure.
(Prabuddha is a tv journalist by profession and a cinema lover by default)

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