Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Raj Shekhar reads 'Man Re Tu Kahe Na Dheer Dhare'
For his birth centennial, we're presenting Sahir Ludhianvi's words in the voice of contemporary lyricists. Here, Raj Shekhar discusses how this song from the 1964 film Chitralekha is the best example how often the most profound feelings can be expressed in the fewest of words.
मन रे तू काहे ना धीर धरे
Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare
वो निर्मोही मोह ना जाने, जिनका मोह करे
Woh nirmohi moh na jaane, jinka moh kare
इस जीवन की चढ़ती ढलती
Is jeewan ki chadhti dhalti
धूप को किसने बांधा
Dhoop ko kisne baandha
रंग पे किसने पहरे डाले
Rang pe kisne pahre daale
रुप को किसने बांधा
Roop ko kisne baandha
काहे ये जतन करे
Kahe ye jatan kare
उतना ही उपकार समझ कोई
Utna hi upkar samajh koi
जितना साथ निभा दे
Jitna saath nibha de
जनम मरण का मेल है सपना
Janam maran ka mel hai sapna
ये सपना बिसरा दे
Ye sapna bisra de
कोई न संग मरे
Koi na sang mare
“What is the secret behind Sahir Ludhianvi’s everlasting appeal?” Surinder Deol asks in an essay for Firstpost, examining the poet-lyricist’s life and legacy in the year of his 100th birth anniversary.
Mehfil-e-Sahir is Firstpost's ode to Ludhianvi, a collection of video tributes by seven leading Hindi film lyricists — from Varun Grover to Kausar Munir, Irshad Kamil, Shellee, Raj Shekhar, Mayur Puri and Hussain Haidry.
Each of these lyricists has picked the verses that speak most to them, explaining why Sahir's words resonate even three decades after his death.
Sahir Ludhianvi was born on 8 March 1921, in Ludhiana. His poetry and film lyrics from the 1940s onwards made him wildly popular, and earned him titles such as "the people’s poet” and “bard of the underdog”.
“Today we are witnessing new threats to democracy and secularism... In this context, Sahir's voice is essential,” Deol notes in his Firstpost essay. “The values he championed are here to stay for the better part of this century.”
Raj Shekhar reads: 'Man Re Tu Kahe Na Dheer Dhare (Chitralekha, 1964)
Unlike the common perception that Sahir Ludhianvi's poems and lyrics use rather difficult Urdu vocabulary, this song from the 1964 film Chitralekha is the best example how often the most profound feelings can be expressed in the fewest of words. And, Ludhianvi wrote this song in pure Hindi. Gulzar, in one of his memoir pieces on Ludhianvi, had said: "The spirituality is distinct in the lines: 'Rang pe kisne pehre dale... man re tu kahe na dheer dhare.' Even Hindi writers are not able to write so beautifully."
"Look at that line when he says 'koi na sang mare'... In those very four words, Sahir has been able to express the biggest philosophical truth — that we come in the world alone and we die alone," opines Raj Shekhar. "Imagine the amount of anxiety we have these days dealing with relationships; we tend to complicate everything when the real truth is so simple."
"For all of us writers, poets, listeners, I believe we have so much to unearth in Sahir and his words; they have multiple layers," Raj Shekhar adds.
Editorial support, text and coordination by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya | Video edited by Akshay Jadhav | Art by Satwik Gade
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