I would like to share some interesting facts about this film Farangi 1964. While the title rolls down one can read lyricists as Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Sahir Ludhiyanvi. I became very much interested which one out of the 8 songs in the film was penned by him but it turned out none was included in the film. May be censored because Sahir was an Indian. 4 songs were penned by Tanvir Naqvi, 2 by Qateel Shifai and 2 by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The most interesting thing was adding Faiz's poetry into a film because his was a very different approach at writing poetry than for films. Probably Riaz Shahid, a famous story writer was impressed like many of the laureates who considered Faiz's poetry as top notch in terms of the concept and use of exquisite words. The music director for all eight songs is addressed as Rasheed Attray, a very experienced musician but this song, actually a ghazal, in my opinion had more to do with Mehdi Hassan.
Coming to the poetry of Faiz Sahab. His was some hard to digest material. Some of his poetry seem like an abstract art. Not every Urdu speaking person could understand what he wrote but one thing remained absolutely clear that his writing was top class, interesting and glamorous. Something that needed one to grow up to full maturity to understand. This trait I feel Faiz acquired from Mirza Ghalib who a couple of centuries ago penned poetry that could be extremely simple in one line and extremely complicated in the other. I think this was the way poets would introduce the concept simply for the masses in one line and convey their superiority with language in the other.
I have been familiar with this ghazal since Farangi was released and was trying to understand it whenever I got the opportunity to listen it from Maestro Mehdi Hassan, who sang it on several occasions but the one he sang for film is what I liked the most. He sang it like how Talat Mehmood would have, with all his prowess with modulations and vibratos. Why I sang it so late now was all because of the way Giridharan Ji made me understand this poetry with his English translation that he posted when he covered it about two years ago on Muziboo. It fascinated me so much as to how someone who does not speak Urdu can understand from approximate meanings of the words and concept and come out with such an exemplary translation. The composition is in Raag Jhinjhoti. Hope you enjoy this presentation.
Attaching his translation with his permission here:
Let the blooms fill with colour, let the first zephyr of spring flow
Do come over, so the garden can resume its daily blooms!
Gloom reigns in the cage -my body; do say something to the breeze, oh my friends!
Somewhere, for God’s sake, there must be discussion about the Beloved today!
I have endured whatever I endured, but on the night of separation
My tears left your future course adorned!
No station en route caught my fancy, Oh Faiz!
After quitting the Beloved’s lane, I walked on straight to the death’s gallows.
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