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Movie: Hip Hip Hurray

Year: 1984

Music: Vanraj Bhatia

Singer: Yesudas

A forgotten song from a forgotten film of the 80s. Hip Hip Hurray was Prakash Jha’s directorial debut, and as far as I remember, it is probably the first Hindi film of the sports genre. I remember this movie making an impact on me when I first watched it on Doordarshan in the 80s, but a recent revisit to the film, showed that it does not stand the test of time and feels jaded.

This song which comes on very early in the movie, sets the tone for the lead character of the movie, Sandeep, played by an equally forgotten actor of the 80s, Raj Kiran.

The music is by Vanraj Bhatia, who was primarily known for his tunes for art house films, TV shows, and ad jingles. If you listen to the first two lines of the song, you can imagine it being used for a TV ad for either Bournvita or running shoes or anything that gets you going in the morning.

The song is in first person, where the person is having a conversation with his life as if it were a separate physical entity. Gulzar has used this figure of speech personification in another song on life from Sadma – “Aye zindagi gale laga le“.

For someone who is listening to this song for the first time, the first line – Ek subah ek modpar, maine kaha use rok kar (one morning by the bend of a road, I stopped her and said to her) – does not indicate, who is it that the singer is addressing. You may think, it’s probably his lover, but then in the second line we get the reveal that he is talking about his life – haath badha aye zindagi, aankh milakar baat kar (give me your hand my life, look into my eyes and talk to me). I find this construct of using a pronoun before the proper noun very alluring, very mysterious.

Past the mukhada of the song, there is a lot of realistic hopefulness in the poetry. In the first stanza, he says –

roz tere jeene ke liye, ek subah mujhe mil jaati hai  – I get a morning in order to live you everyday (my life),

murjhaati hai shaam agar toh, raat koi khil jaati hai – if sometimes I get a sad evening, then its followed by a fragrant night

main roz subah tak aata hoon, aur roz shuru karta hoon safar – I come to you every morning, and I start this journey again

There is such fragile beauty and hopefulness in these lines – of renewal, of everyday being a new journey, of every setback being just a mile marker in a long string of journeys!

With this realistic optimism the second stanza dives into the nature of his intimate relationship with his life.

tere hazaron cheheron mein, ek chehra mujhse milta hai – in your thousands of faces, there is one face that likens to mine

aankhon ka rang bhi eksa hai, aawaaz ka ang bhi milta hai – the color of the eyes is the same and the body of the voice is also the same

sach poocho toh hum do judwaa hai, tu shaam meri main teri seher – if you ask me we are each others twins; if you are my evening, I am your morning

This is where he is accepting his life as his twin, as his companion, as two people who are witnessing each other’s ebbs and flows, ups and downs, being there for each other when things get difficult – he is the morning (hope/renewal) to her evening (despair/sadness) or vice-versa!

This song very neatly summarizes my state of mind. In the recent past, I found myself in a familiar melancholic mood, caused by a deep angst and quest of knowing the purpose of me and my life (cliched, you may say, but it’s something I live with every waking moment). I usually know how to deal with this state of my being, but this time around the spell lasted for a long time. It had become difficult to be around people, and I am assuming people found me quite difficult to be with. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to spend a week away from everything and everyone in isolation in the midst of a primary jungle. It was just what me and life needed. Us twins were able to talk to each other while walking for hours on the forest floor from day break (subah) to dusk (shaam) and even at night (raat). Making my way through the dense forest by hacking away vines and thorny bushes with a machete through vegetation so dense, you couldn’t tell whether it was evening or afternoon. Metaphorically, this helped me navigate through the webs inside of me. I am not saying, I found my purpose and the purpose of my twin, but it helped me reconcile with her, to be with her, to be a witness to each other’s existence. However inconsequential and pointless we may seem to each other, it was good to acknowledge each other’s presence, and for now that’s enough.

एक सुबह एक मोड़ पर, मैंने कहा उसे रोक कर

हाथ बढ़ा ए ज़िन्दगी, आँख मिला कर बात कर
रोज़ तेरे जीने के लिए, एक सुबह मुझे मिल जाती है 
मुरझाती है कोई शाम अगर तो, रात कोई खिल जाती है 
मैं रोज़ सुबह तक आता हूँ, और रोज़ शुरू करता हूँ सफर
हाथ बढ़ा ए ज़िन्दगी, आँख मिला कर बात कर
तेरे हज़ारों चेहरों में, एक चेहरा मुझसे मिलता है 
आँखों का रंग भी एक सा है, आवाज़ का अंग भी मिलता है 
सच पूछो तो हम दो जुड़वा है, तू शाम मेरी मैं तेरी सेहर 
हाथ बढ़ा ए ज़िन्दगी, आँख मिला कर बात कर...