Poetic World of ख़्वाब in Bollywood Songs

Sudhirendar Sharma

Need I say that in the celluloid world ख़्वाब features predominantly for not only building the fictional narrative but to move the story forward too. That ख़्वाब (dream) is a subconscious reality and दिवास्वप्न (daydreaming) a conscious manifestation is enough to move on, else we will be oscillating in the psychoanalytical world of ‘dreams’ defined by Freud and Jung. My intention instead is to enter the poetic world of ख़्वाब, and attempt to draw some interesting meanings from it.

At the outset let me be clear that I have not included numerous (recent) songs which feature ख़्वाब as a passing reference and hence am banking on a much shorter list of classy songs with deeper meanings. The focus here is to peel multiple poetic reflections around ख़्वाब, both abstract and reflective.

Shailendra-Salil Choudhary’s composition from 1953 movie ‘Jagte Raho’ conveys a convoluted message, perhaps to justify the lived realities as a dream ज़िंदगी ख़्वाब है, ख़्वाब में झूठ क्या, और भला सच है क्या. Does it reflect helplessness? Perhaps so, as a quick response सब सच है ends the mukhda. This Mukesh sung Raj Kapoor enacted song is timeless for its meaning, and so is the film.

If life is indeed only a ‘dream’, should we ‘love’ it? Qamar Jalalabadi’s metaphoric response मैं तो एक ख्वाब हूँ, इस ख़्वाब से तू प्यार न कर is an assertion that leads to a deeper meaning verse प्यार हो जाए तो, फिर प्यार का इज़हार न कर. To me it sounds like what we know as ‘detachment’ ie., go with the flow without being part of it. It has subtle message for addressing interpersonal relationships. But you can’t have enough of this Kalyanji-Anandji composition from ‘Himalaya Ki God Me’ (1965) as it equates life with flowing wind but with a word of caution अपने हाथों में हवाओं को गिरफ़्तार न कर.

For poets, ख्वाब is as much an ‘abstract’ as a ‘reality’ to convey many layered meanings and reflections. Gulzar lets loose his imagination to define it’s perceived physicality as he writes काँच के ख्वाब हैं आँखों में चुभ जायेंगे, पलकों में लेना इन्हें आँखों में रुक जायेंगे (Film: Ghar, 1978). It is open to interpretation but it does point towards momentary existence of ख़्वाब tied to human vulnerability. Majrooh-S.D. Burman had suitably captured this inevitability in ‘Jewel Thief’ – रुला के गया सपना मेरा, बैठी हूँ कब हो सवेरा. Less said, ख़्वाब is a coin with hope and despair marking the head and tail on it. Life is all but a flip of this coin. Isn’t it?

Ironically, despite all this and much more ‘dreams’ are but a part of being human. Neither can one live without dreams nor does one stop dreaming, in the hope of its possible realization – अपने प्यार के सपने सच हुए (Film: Barsat Ki Ek Raat, 1981). Lovers live in the makeshift world of dreams मेरी नींदों में तुम, मेरे ख़्वाबों में तुम (Film ‘Naya Andaz’, 1956) without letting go their innate desire as तेरे मेरे सपने अब एक रंग हैं, हो जहाँ भी ले जाएं राहें, हम संग हैं. Rafi Saab gave a sublime touch to this Shailendra-S.D. Burman classic from ‘Guide’ (1965).

Any discussion on ख़्वाब would be incomplete without Majrooh-SD Burman composition from ‘Teen Devian’ (1965) that evokes romance through ख़्वाब, and leaves the listener hoping for meeting the beloved at the next turning मिल ही जाती हो तुम मुझको हर मोड़ पे, चल देती हो कितने अफ़साने छोड़ के……

Sudhirendar Sharma is a environmental journalist and a development professional. His interest in music is related to his childhood that lay immersed in musical memories.


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