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Song: Din jaa rahe hain

Film: Doosri Seeta (1974)

Composer: Rahul Dev Burman

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

It’s not new news that Lata was capable of expressing every possible human emotion in her singing. This song from a forgotten film of 1974, is just another exhibit of the colossal vocal prowess of this woman. Gulzar’s poetry here is loaded with despair, of a complete hopeless existence:

Din jaa rahe hain ke raaton ke saaye, Apani saleebein aap hi uthaye..
(my) days are passing like the shadows of nights, each one of us has to bear our own crosses (burdens)..

For words filled with such despair, RD’s haunting tune has all the bearings of doom and gloom. The song has minimal instruments when Lata is singing (a mild strumming of the guitar can be heard in the background). Her singing and the tune have a quality of a woman wailing from the darkness of the depths of an empty well. During the interludes, RD uses the guitar and the flute quite wonderfully to further accentuate this effect. Note in the interlude right after the second antara. Notice how the guitar strumming follows the sharp but tapering sound of the flute. What we have here is the composer, the poet and the singer completely in-sync with the mood of the musical piece they are creating together.

Doosri Seeta was the directorial debut of one of RD’s lifelong friends, Gogi Anand. The only salable star of the film, was it’s heroine – Jaya Bhaduri (before she became Bachchan). Jaya had given a string of successful hits in the early 70s. Aside from her, there wasn’t much going for this film and it is quite evident that RD, who was a very successful hit-making composer by then, did this film purely for his friend. This film also is only the second outing of the now legendary combination of : sangeetkar hai Rahul Dev Burman aur bol hai Gulzar ke. In 1972, RD had composed music for Gulzar’s directorial venture – Parichay – which was their first of many collaborations (coincidentally, also starring Jaya Bhaduri).  Parichay was a successful film,  musically as well as at the box office. In 1975, RD and Gulzar teamed up once again for two other successful films – Aandhi and Khushboo (both directed by Gulzar). Doosri Seeta, lies in the middle of these more famous collaborations and was largely forgotten until, after RD’s untimely death in 1994. The songs from this film found a new life after RD’s fans started combing through his forgotten music. I have heard this and other such forgotten gems on FM radio stations in India, and they still hold the power to grab my rapt attention at the very first note.

दिन जा रहे हैं के रातों के साये
अपनी सलीबें आप ही उठाये

जब कोई डूबा रातों का तारा
कोई सवेरा वापस ना आया
वापस जो आये वीरान साये
दिन जा रहे हैं…

जीना तो कोई मुश्किल नहीं था
मगर डूबने को साहिल नहीं था
साहिल पे कोई अब तो बुलाये
दिन जा रहे हैं…

साँसों की डोरी टूटे ना टूटे
ज़रा ज़िन्दगी से दामन तो छूटे
कोई ज़िन्दगी के हाथ ना आये
दिन जा रहे हैं…