Main Shayar Badnaam

Main Shaayar Badnaam – Namak Haram

“Poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings…” William Wordsworth When feelings become ink, they engrave soul-stirring emotions on paper. That paper, then, is more of a sculpture than scripture!

Alam is one such artiste…who makes kites that soar high in the sky and who writes poetry that goes deep within the heart! In his final moments, he awaits his ‘bandhu’ Chandar to sing one of his poems. Chandar promises to do so once Alam gets well. Alam says, ‘Dekho dost, main bhi kasam de dunga dosti ki!’ And the prelude of the song takes over…strokes, harp, violins, cello…and finally Kishore da’s voice! ‘Main shaayar badnaam, main chala…mehfil se nakaam, main chala…’

‘Je na dekhe ravi te dekhe kavi!’ goes a saying in Marathi. It means that a poet can reach farther than the Sun! And when a legend called Anand Bakshi decides to unearth the true human in you with his words, all you can do is just surrender to his determination!

Mere ghar se tumko kuch samaan milega, deewane shaayar ka ek deewan milega, aur ek cheez milegi…toota khaali jaam’.

Alam’s house is full of colorful kites and spindles but the color of life has faded away. Death changes the perspective of life completely! ‘Jeene ki aarzoo mein marey ja rahein hain log, marne ki aarzoo main jiye ja raha hoon main’, says Alam once. He is a heavy drinker who is intoxicated by sorrow! He is so much into alcohol that he treats a glass as a separate entity, one that is empty and broken too. Among the several kites in his house, there’s one small kite spinning near the roof, just like life desperate to leave his body and leap to the skies of peace.

 ‘Sholon pe chalna tha, kaanton pe sona tha, aur abhi jee bhar ke, kismat pe rona tha, jaane aise kitne baaki chhod ke kaam…’

Pain is addictive. Once you get the hang of it you can’t leave it and then it doesn’t leave you! Pain is one of the basic necessities of life and it is a great teacher too. The lessons it teaches last for a lifetime and you emerge wiser. Alam’s addiction is phenomenal. Where one wishes for the pleasures and comforts of life, he desires to walk on fire, sleep on a bed of thorns and cry his heart out over his misfortune; all these and many more shall remain unfulfilled because he must leave.

‘Rasta rok rahi hai, thodi jaan hai baaki, jaane toote dil ke kya armaan hain baaki, jaane bhi de aye dil, sabko mera salaam.’

Man proposes God disposes of. We always seek to achieve something without considering whether it is really worth the effort and sacrifice. The joy of achieving such things is often short-lived and the sorrow of failing to do so is meaningless. Alam wonders what more is in store, what is it that his broken heart now desires when it’s time to shift journeys. And that’s when he realizes that these final moments are not to desire for more but to say goodbye, to people who cared for him, loved him, and are now crying for him.

It’s love that lingers in memories after all. That is why he tells his ‘bandhu’ to distribute all the kites among children after he’s gone. Life is too precious to be wasted caressing egos. All that matters is what you do in the time before the moment when death identifies you as that creature that shouldn’t live anymore.

That small filler on the flute in each stanza is so huge in stature! The vibraphone strikes a chord of realization with the listeners. When the magical troika of Basu, Manohari, and Maruti works on an R D Burman song, wonders are aplenty! And when the maestro composes, he lives the lyrics and the emotions from the bottom of his heart and creates a soulful collection of feelings that we call a song!

The music of this film has an interesting anecdote besides an everlasting melody. The producer of this film shared a great rapport with Shankar-Jaikishen who did not charge any fees from him. When Jaikishen passed away, Shankar recommended R D Burman for the job. When Panchamda was asked to quote his fees, he simply said that he had been offered this film because he can create equally good music. So, if the music has to be as good as theirs then the principles would also be akin. He did not charge any fees either!

These stalwarts created memorable songs because they all knew that memories are priceless. And it is this sentiment that has made their creations timeless. Bakshi Sahab, Panchamda, and Kishore-da have not merely left this world; they have left us an enriched world of soul-stirring songs!

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Comments (2)

  • Pops Haridass Reply

    Totally mesmerized by this commentary. Succinct and encompassing. TY.

    25 April 2022 at 11:38 am
  • Anirudh Reply

    Wow …

    26 July 2022 at 12:34 am

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