UttarMegh and Dekh Kabira Roya

The Meghadutam has been a source of inspiration of many an artist. While PurvaMegh describes the scenic beauty that the cloud messenger would pass by on his way to Alaka nagari, as narrated by a certain Yaksha who is separated from his wife on account of negligence of duty and hence cursed by Kubera to be exiled for a year, UttarMegh is full of virah-bhava

The great painter Nana Joshi has created nine visualisations of the verses of UttarMegh. He has brought to life Kalidasa’s brilliant lyrical portrayal of a lady separated from her beloved, and her feelings through his creations.

That UttarMegh was a possible inspiration for the great lyricist Rajinder Krishan when he penned the lyrics for Dekh Kabira Roya or even Amiya Chakraborty, the director of the movie, is what this post sets out to explore.

We start the journey with Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye

Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye

Meri veena tum bin roye

Saawariya tum jahan base ho,

Main woh gaon na jaanoon

Bitegee kab viraha ki

Ye paapan shaam naa jaanoon

Haay madhur milan kab hoye

Tujh bin mere geet adhoore, Hothon pe sharamaaye

Saaz uthhaoon, taar naa baaje, Tadap tadap rah jaaye

Meri peed na Jaane koi

The 26th verse of UttarMegh is as follows-

उत्सङ्गे वा मलिनवनसे सोम्य निक्षिप्य वीणां मग्दोत्राङ्कं विरचितपदं गेयमुग्दातुकामा ।

तन्त्रीमार्द्रां नयनसलिलै: सारयित्वा कथंचिद्भूयो भूय: स्वयमपि कृतां मूर्छनां विस्मरन्ती ॥२६॥

Or having placed a veena on a dirty cloth on her lap, friend(addressing the cloud), wanting to sing a song whose words are contrived to contain my name, plucking the strings, wet with tears, again and again she forgets the melody, even though she composed it herself.

The inspiration for the lyrics is evident. The virah-bhava is well retained in the lyrics. But it is when we turn our attention to the details that the inspiration for Krishan becomes increasingly clearer.

Saawariya tum jahan base ho, Main woh gaon na jaanoon

In UttarMegh,the Yaksha’s wife is unaware of the whereabouts of her husband when this verse occurs. The cloud messenger lets her know subsequently that her beloved is safe and misses her as much as she does.

Bitegee kab viraha ki Ye paapan shaam naa jaanoon Haay madhur milan kab hoye

Kalidasa observes in the next few verses that during the day, when she has distractions, separation does not torment her, but when the evening approaches, she is full of sadness heightened by the pain of separation, and her mind filled with memories of the acts of union she enjoyed with her husband. Hence, “Haay madhur milan kab hoye” .

Tujh bin mere geet adhoore, Hothho pe sharmaaye Saaz uthhaoon, taar naa baaje, Tadap tadap rah jaaye Meri peed na jaane koi

The final antara is more or less a translation of the quoted Sanskrit verse above. Every word, every feeling corresponds to Kalidasa’s writing.

Madan Mohan brilliant use of raga Ahir Bhairav, coupled with the pain in Lata’s voice produces such great effect.

Ashqon se teri hamne

Ashqon se teri

ashkon se teri humnne tasveer banaai hai
ro ro ke mohabbat ki taqdeer banaa

aankhon me liyaa paani palkon se sanvaaraa hai
aur khun-e-jigar dekar har naqsh ubhaaraa hai
milne ki sanam tujhse tadbeer banaai hai

tadapaaegi jab dil ko saavan ki haseen raatein
tanhaai me kar lenge tasveer se do baatein
divaane ne khud apni zanjeer banaai hai

The 26th verse of UttarMegh is as follows-

आलोके ते निपतति पुरा सा बलिव्याकुला वा मत्सादृश्यं विरहतनु वा भावगम्यं लिखन्ती ।

पृच्छन्ती वा मधुरवचनां शारिकां पञ्जरस्थां कच्चित् भर्तु: स्मरसि रसिके त्वं हि तस्य प्रियेति ||

She will come at once into your sight, either engaged in pouring oblations, or drawing from memory my portrait, but grown thin on account of separation, or asking the sweet-voiced sarika bird in its cage,”I hope you remember the master, O elegant one, for you are his favourite’;

Here, the Yaksha’s wife draws a portrait of her beloved husband as she misses him so much.In “Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye” had Krishan retaining the shloka almost as-is, while this song has him lending his interpretation of the sequence. This song is more adapted to the requirements of cinema. He uses a lot of Urdu words here.

milne ki sanam tujhse tadbeer banaai hai

[the portrait is used as the medium of meeting her husband]

tadapaaegi jab dil ko saavan ki haseen raatein
tanhaai me kar lenge tasveer se do baatein

Very carefully chosen words to express the loneliness, pain of separation and the emotions. The picturization of the song, where the heroine draws a sketch of her beloved, longing for his presence is quite in keeping with the expressions of the shloka and the song.

It is also interesting to note that the two songs are back to back in the movie.

Bairan Ho Gayi Rain

bairan ho gayi rain

aawan keh gaye ajhun na aaye
piya bin kaari rain daraaye
baat takat haare nain re

The lyrics for this song do not correspond to a specific shloka of Kalidasa in the work, but it captures the overall spirit of UttarMegh, We have the recurring theme of sorrow of separation, the dark night.

The picturization of the song is quite curious, as the sequence is that of Anup Kumar singing a classical song to irritate his neighbours who want to throw him out. The lyrics seems unforced by the requirements of the scene and more a sequel to the other songs discussed above.

Madan Mohan has aptly used Jaijaiwanti, a late night raga for this song.

I had a wonderful time researching for this article, and enjoyed authoring this article. I hope it is of like to  the reader too.

13 Comments

  1. January 21, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    The article is not only very interesting, but also raises the bar for blogging. I am not sure whether the lyricist/MD or the film director really took inspiration from Meghdootam, but the songs you have selected bear uncanny resemblance in theme to the verses you have mentioned. Congratulations.
    AK

    • January 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks SOY for your kind words. I forgot to mention that the inspiration to write an article on Meghadootam came from your comment on my earlier post on Kalidasa and Vasant Ritu.

  2. Anu Warrier said,

    January 21, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Like SoY, I’m not very sure that the songs were inspired from Meghadootam. Yes, the lyrics bear a resemblance to the essence of the verses you have quoted, but again, while I liked your assertions, I would be surprised if the inspiration was Meghadootam after all. But I found your article interesting, and it was fun conjecturing where the source material is from. Thanks.

    • January 21, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Thats the point Anu-fun! Its all about interpretation and extrapolation. We dont have Rajinder Krishan to confirm the same, it could be either way.

  3. dustedoff said,

    January 22, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Unlike AK and Anu, I won’t comment on whether or not the lyrics were inspired from Meghdootam, since I don’t think I know enough to be able to say either way – but I enjoyed this article. Thank you for it, Karthik!

    P.S. Remember you’d written to me, suggesting I read Mudrarakshas? I did. Wished I had been able to read a better translation, because I did find the play intriguing. Would love to see a Hindi-language theatre production of it sometime.

    • January 22, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thanks Madhu! Anu dismissed it as crap.🙂.
      You read Mudrarakhas? Glad you liked it. Top class intriguing play. Vishakadatta was born to a king, hence had intricate knowledge of politics,espionage. There is a Sanskrit production of the movie, the trailer of which is on YT.

      • Anu Warrier said,

        January 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm

        Hai-la! What a not-nice thing to say, Karthik?😦 I certainly did not say anything of the sort. I said ‘your article is interesting’. Hmph!

      • January 22, 2015 at 1:16 pm

        Just pulling your leg Anu!!🙂

  4. Mohan Chandra Joshi said,

    January 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this brilliantly written and illustrated article about the film songs taking inspiration from ‘Meghadootam’ by Kalidas. These film songs are among the evergreen film songs category, composed byShri Madan Mohan, one of the legendary composers of Indian Film Music.

    Thanks, Yours sincerely,, Mohan Chandra Joshi.

    P.S. There appears a small typographic error. Instead of the word ‘शारिकां” the word ‘सारिकां’ would probably be correct . Please check up.

  5. thandapani said,

    January 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    It is sad that such classical writing are not available in proper translation. I also want to read Heer by Waris. Cannot find it.

    • January 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Thandapani , welcome to my blog! Excellent English translation of Meghadootam is freely available on the net. I am not sure about Heer though.

  6. February 22, 2015 at 9:01 am

    […] UttarMegh and Dekh Kabira Roya is also the inspired by the Meghadutam, which has been a source of inspiration of many an artist.  ‘While PurvaMegh describes the scenic beauty that the cloud messenger would pass by on his way to Alaka nagari, as narrated by a certain Yaksha who is separated from his wife on account of negligence of duty and hence cursed by Kubera to be exiled for a year, UttarMegh is full of virah-bhava. ..The great painter Nana Joshi has created nine visualisations of the verses of UttarMegh…. That UttarMegh was a possible inspiration for the great lyricist Rajinder Krishan when he penned the lyrics for Dekh Kabira Roya – Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye  and  Ashqon se teri hamne [It is also interesting to note that the two songs are back to back in the movie] as well as Bairan Ho Gyai Raina –  or even Amiya Chakraborty, the director of the movie, is what this post sets out to explore. […]


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