Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Varun Grover reads 'Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Lagalo'

For his birth centennial, we're presenting Sahir Ludhianvi's words in the voice of contemporary lyricists. Here, Varun Grover discusses why this song from Guru Dutt's Pyaasa is a testimony to Sahir's songwriting acumen.

FP Staff January 01, 2021 10:57:25 IST
Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Varun Grover reads 'Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Lagalo'

सखी री बिरहा के दुखड़े सह सह कर जब राधे बेसुध हो ली
Sakhi ri birha ke dukhde sah sah kar jab raadhe besudh ho li

तो इक दिन अपने मनमोहन से जा कर यूँ बोली
To ik din apne manmohan se jaa kar yoon boli

आज सजन मोहे अंग लगालो, जनम सफ़ल हो जाये
Aaj sajan mohe ang laga lo, janam safal ho jaaye

हृदय की पीड़ा देह की अग्नि, सब शीतल हो जाये
Hriday ki peeda deh ki agni, sab sheetal ho jaaye

*

करूं लाख जतन मोरे मन की तपन, मोरे तन की जलन नहीं जाये
Karoon laakh jatan morey man ki tapan, morey tan ki jalan nahi jaaye

कैसी लागी ये लगन कैसी जागी ये अगन, जिया धीर धरन नहीं पाये
Kaisi laagi ye lagan kaisi jaagi ye agan, jiya dheer dharan nahi paaye

प्रेम सुधा... मोरे साँवरिया, प्रेम सुधा इतनी बरसा दो जग जल थल हो जाये
Prem sudha... morey saanwariya, prem sudha itni barsa do jag jal thal ho jaaye

आज सजन...
Aaj sajan...

*

मोहे अपना बनालो मोरी बाँह पकड़, मैं हूँ जनम जनम की दासी
Mohe apna banalo mori baah pakad, main hoon janam janam ki daasi

मेरी प्यास बुझा दो मनहर गिरिधर, प्यास बुझा दो, मैं हूँ अन्तर्घट तक प्यासी
Mori pyaas bujha do manahar giridhar, pyaas bujha do, main hoon antarghat tak pyaasi

प्रेम सुधा... मोरे साँवरिया, प्रेम सुधा इतनी बरसा दो जग जल थल हो जाये
Prem sudha... morey saanwariya, prem sudha itni barsa do jag jal thal ho jaaye

आज सजन...
Aaj sajan...

***

“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.”

View the complete Mehfil-e-Sahir series here.

***

Varun Grover reads: 'Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Lagalo' (Pyaasa, 1957)

This song from Guru Dutt's Pyaasa is a testimony to Ludhianvi's songwriting acumen, where he could summarise the entire essence of a film in a song. With Sachin Dev Burman's music and Geeta Dutt's mellifluous voice, Ludhianvi penned a love song which is deeply rooted in the Vaishnava traditions. Pictured as a kirtan sung by a group of wandering Baul minstrels, the song depicts the yearning and love of the prostitute Gulabo (played by Waheeda Rehman) for the poet Vijay (Guru Dutt).

"Desire, surrender, love — all of this is in just one song, and that too in a bhakti song," points out Grover while talking about this gem from Ludianvi's repertoire. "These are two outcast people — the poet and the prostitute — and the lyrics go: 'मेरी प्यास बुझा दो मनहर गिरिधर, मैं हूँ अन्तर्घट तक प्यासी | Mori pyaas bujha do manahar giridhar, main hu antarghat tak pyaasi'," says Grover, talking about how this foreshadows the film's ending where both these characters leave this world of hypocrisy and start a new life together.

"Sahir saab has so masterfully used the narrative of the film to lend these lines to the characters on-screen."

Editorial support, text and coordination by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya | Video edited by Akshay Jadhav | Art by Satwik Gade

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