“Love” as Described by the Indian Lyricists: “Ishq Binna Kya Jeena Yaaro!”

My life is full of fantasies. I believe every cinema-lover has his own “Atlantis” hidden in the depths of his mind & soul. Love stories are my passion and I strongly give credence to this wonderful creation of God called “Love”- universally expressed “simply”; in fewest words possible, at times. After having read numerous fables and literary masterpieces on this subject, the lines which I chose to express this feeling as mine are by “Gulzar” penned down for “Khamoshi” [1959]:


“Humne dekhi hai unn ankhon ki mehekti khushboo

Haath se chhoo ke isse rishton ka ilzaam na do

Sirff ehsaas hai ye rooh se mehsoos karro

Pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na do”

shree-420 rishi kapoor pyaar

Love was described by the biggest lyricists of our nation in their own style of composition. Shailendra penned down the dismay of 2 lovers who face each other in acceptance of having surrendered to one another [SHREE 420] (1955), as

“Raatein dusson dishaon se, kahengi apni kahaniyaan

Geet hamaare pyar ke, dohraeingi jawanaiyaan

Mein na rahoongi, tum na rahoge

Phir bhi raheingi nishaniyaan……pyar hua ikraar hua hai, pyar se phir kyon darrta hai dil

Kehta hai dil rastaa mushkil, maaloom nahin hai kahan manzil…”

These words are unforgettable for those who understand their essence. After nearly 60 years the scene is immortal where Nargis sings these lines and raises her finger towards Randhir, Rishi & Ritu Kapoor walking down the road in raincoats; where Raj Kapoor beams in his innocent smile holding an umbrella over her……… it doesn’t take a minute for the nostalgia to convert into optimism.


Shakeel Badayuni converted the folk song of U.P “prem kiya, kya chori karri hai” into a ghazal where Anarkali defies the orders of Akbar and announces to the world [Mughle Azam] [1960]:

“ishq mein jeena ishq mei marrna, aur humein abb karrna kya

Jabb pyar kiya toh darrna kya

Pyar kiya koi chori nahin ki

Chhup chhup aahein bharna kya…..”

It was shot in the “Sheesh Mahal” of Akbar’s court [a heavy set was built with numerous Belgian mirrors crafted by workers from Firozabad] where Anarkali [Madhubala] is brought in front of the court to humiliate Salim’s Love for her. She rises in front of the emperor and declares, what Meerabai similarly did for her Kisna in our folklore, “Chhup na sakega ishq hamara, chaaron taraf hai unka nazaara….. parda nahin jab koi khuda se bandon se parda karrna kya” and we witness the spectacle;  Salim’s proud image in the mirrors above her own head swinging with the pride of love. These impeccable lines have provided courage to many and there must not be a single person bestowed with love who hasn’t sung these words to himself “Pyar kiya toh darrna kya…”?


The black & white era was replaced by the colored one; Bobby [1973] brought in the teenager love in limelight with Rishi Kapoor singing “Main shaayar toh nahin, maggar ae haseen, jabbse dekha- meinne tujhko mujhko- shayari…. Agayi”[Shailendra]; simple yet apt lines for a boy who crosses the lines from boyhood towards manhood while looking at the girl who brought this change. Amitabh Bhachchan recited “Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein, khayal aata hai…ki jaisse tujhko bannaya gaya hai mere liye….tu abb se pehle sitaron mein bass rahi thhi kahin, tujhe zameen pe uttara gaya hai mere liye” – which make a mature man climb up the staircase to heavens of love with his beloved hand in hand. Sahir Ludhianvi brilliantly composed this modern day “Ode” to love & it remains a pioneer when it comes to an admirer expressing his ardour for his dearest. It’s probably one of the rarest Composition which my father could recite 40 years back & I can sing the same with similar passion today. For these lines aren’t merely for the one reciting them; they hold equal significance for the woman who is listening to this fable with her eyes closed. Ranjeeta professed a girl’s feelings with “Akhiyon ke jharokhon se, meinne dekha jo saware,baddi door nazar aae…baddi door nazar aae. Bandd karrke jharokon ko, zara baithhi jo sochne, mann mein tumhi muskaae, mann mein tumhi muskaae” [Ravindra Jain]. Innocent & naïve notes dipped in subtleties of love. “16 barras ki baali ummr ko salaam, ae pyar teri pehli nazar ko salaam” are the lines by my favorite lyricist ANAND BAKSHI [Ek duuje ke liye[ [1981] which speak a lot with a deep message in them.

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Lyrics like “Harr kissiko nahin millta yahan pyar zindagi mein, khushnaseeb hain who jinnko hai milli yeh bahaar zindagi mein” – Jaanbaaz[1986] [Indeevar] ; “Tere binna zindagi se shikwa toh nahin…..tere binna zindagi bhi lekin, zindagi toh nahin….”Aandhi [1975] [Gulzar]; and the ones by Jaaved Akhtar [Namastey London] [2007] “Main jahan rahoon, main kahin bhi hoon, teri yaad saath hai…..” have been attempted to portray the dilemma of the broken-hearted; the sorrowful ones who remain in grief, yet choose to stand for the search of true love.

“Mera kuchch saaman tumhaare pass padda hai, saawan ke kuchch bheege bheege din rakhhe hain

Aur mere ik khatt mein lippti raat paddi hai

Woh raat bujha do, mera woh saaman lautta do”

Penned by Gulzar for Ijaazat [1987]- is the most sensitive piece of writing which depicts a possessive wife’s love for her husband, who would rather give him up than share him. It’s a rage till date among women- after all is there a single one who would subscribe to sharing her man?


In an integrated contrast we have a young, buoyant Anil Kapoor singing “Ek ladki ko dekha toh aissa lagga, jaisse khilta gulab, jaisse shayar ka khwab jaisse ujjli kiran jaisse vann mei hirran……….” [Jaaved Akhtar] [1942- A love story] . A joyful symphony for men who have discovered their dream lover…. An innocent cheering of a sort.

“Tu meri zindagi hai, tu meri harr khushi hai, tu hi pyar tu hi chahat tu hi Aashiqui hai….” & “Bahut pyar karrte hain tumko sanam, kasam chaahe lelo khuda ki kasam..” by Sameer [Aashiqui & Saajan] were simple declarations; easily adaptable till ShahRukh, Madhuri, Karisma & Akshay announced that “Hansaata hai yehi, yehi rullata hai…. Dil toh paagal hai, Dil deewana hai” [Anand Bakshi]. Hearts slightly ached though when Aamir sang in Rangeela [1995] “Pyaar ye jaane kaissa hai, kya kahein yeh kuchch aissa hai, kabhi dard ye deta hai kabhi cheinn ye detta hai kabhi ghamm deta hai kabhi khushi detta hai…” [Mehboob].


Another milestone was reached when Jaideep Sani epitomised the feeling one carries for his/her beloved placing him/her next only to God. “Tujhmei Rabb dikhta hai, yaara main kya karoon….Sajjde sarr jhukkta hai, yaara main kya karoon” [RNBDJ] [2008]. The Maestro “Richard Clayderman” chose to strike the notes of his piano for “Uff Kya Jadoo Mohabbat Hai” [2004] “Khud ke alaawa ikk gaer pe, hum ko yakeen kyon aane lagga……..apne sheher se usska nagar, ittna humein kyon bhaane lagga” [Mehboob] & recently our nation received the ultimate Anthem which said “Tera mera rishta hai kaissa ikk pall door gawaara nahin…kyonki tum hi ho… Zindagi bass tum hi ho……cheinn bhi mera dard bhi meri AASHIQUI bass tum hi ho” [Mithoon].


Pyar/Ishq/Mohabbat : The emotion captured so naturally; gracefully & tastefully caged in ink by our country’s renowned Lyricists who have presented our very own plight in their chosen words. “Anand Bakshi” has remained my personal favorite lyricist. His words were Indian, his rhymes were Earthy. He simply said Ishq binna kya jeena yaaro, ishq binna kya marrna yaaro… gudd se meethha ishq ishq, immli se khatta ishq ishq…. Dhaaga ye kachha ishq ishq, vaada ye pacca ishqand concluded by gifting these eternal lines to the Lovers Jo tera haal hai who mera haal hai…iss haal se haaal milla…taal se taal milla”. How best does a lover convey his state to the only one that matters?


Our nation has paid tribute to Sufism as well. Here are the lines which have been embedded in my soul ever since I realised the connotation of true love over the years. Written by Irshad Kamil for Cocktail [2012].

Je main teinnu Bahar Dhoondhan te mere andar kaun samaya

Je main teinnu andar dhoondhan te bahar kisse di maya

Andar tu hain bahar tu hain

Wekhaan harr thhan tera saya

Main vi tu hain te tu wi tu hain

Ratta farakk nazar naa aya”

Finally you may ask what lessons do I learn while staying in my Atlantis? Which is the biggest of them all?

“Sachcha Ishq taan o rabb hi hai jo mere andar wasda hai……..Jhalla ki labbda phirre???”

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