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Song: Bass ek chup si lagi hai

Movie: Sannata (1966)

Singer, Composer: Hemant Kumar

If there is one song that envelops me in a melancholic atmosphere, it’s this gem from one of Gulzar’s earliest forays as a lyricist. This song puts me in a mood which is undescribable. I especially savor it the most at dusk all by myself watching the last of the light slowly fade away to reveal the mysterious black of the night. Quite often, we find ourselves in a pensive mood, where we just want to be left alone, left in peace, in silence, not because we are sad or depressed, but just because. Gulzar weaves his words on this premise and how beautifully fragile his poetry is, just like that silence we seek which can be broken by the slightest of a whisper. There isn’t a word which is out of place, which jars in it’s placement or its being.

The song has two versions – one sung by Hemant Kumar and the other by Lata. The words are same, but there are differences in the arrangement. Hemant’s version has minimal use of instruments, I could hear a tabla and a harmonium, while in Lata’s there are many instruments – guitars, violins, sitars, etc. I am not going to choose which one’s better than the other, or which one I personally prefer. I have found myself liking one over the other on different occasions.

Hemant Kumar’s version:

Lata’s version:


Bas ek chup si lagi hai
Nahi udas nahi
Kahi pe saans ruki hai
Nahi udas nahi
Bas ek chup si lagi hai..

Koi anokhi nahi
Aisi zindagi lekin
Khub na ho
Mili jo khub mili hai
Nahi udas nahi
Bas ek chup si lagi hai

Sahar bhi ye raat bhi
Dopehar bhi mili lekin
Hami ne sham chuni hai
Nahi udaas nahi
Bas ek chup si lagi hai

Wo dastan jo hamne kahi bhi
Hamne likhi
Aaj wo khud se suni hai
Nahi udaas nahi
Bas ek chup si lagi hai….


While I absolutely love the entire song, my favorite triveni is right in the middle of the song:

seher bhi yeh raat bhi,  dopeher bhi mili lekin, humee ne shaam chuni hai!

Recently, I found myself on an isolated beach in the Galapagos islands. The equatorial sun had just set and the sky was on fire, the waves of the Pacific were gently kissing my feet, the balmy ocean breeze my face, it was all quite blissful. It was one of those times when you feel that you don’t wish to be any place else. I stood there in a trance for I don’t know how long. A friend I made on that trip quietly took some pictures of mine without my attention. The pictures and the line above quite brilliantly capture my mood in that time and place. Just goes to prove there is a Gulzar line somewhere that perfectly describes every mood of life (I speak for myself, of course!).