This song is special because it is the first song ever penned by Gulzar for Hindi movies.:-) Gulzar who went on to give stunning gems, songs of such fresh imagery and depth that they came to be remembered for his inimitable style. There are many movies that are still remembered solely for his songs-Mausam, Aandhi, Ijaazat, Kinara, Anand to name a few. This particular song borrows from the very Indian mythical story of Krishna and Radha, who were the eternal lovers. He uses the typical dialect of central India, the Hindi speaking belt. This pure Hindi was used a lot in Thumris, a semi-classical form.
The myth goes that Radha who was fair would seek refuge of a misty night and dress up in a deep blue saree to go meet Krishna, who was dusky and alluring. But invariably her fair skin would give her away. In this song she innocently wants a darker hue like her beloved so she can go meet him. S D Burman uses his characteristic cricket sound in this song that would always endow his songs a rustic charm and the sounds and smell of a dense, dark forest. It is amazing how he has used this sound to express moods from slow seduction to wrecklessness, though this one conveys innocence at its best. Nutan is totally deglamourised yet so simply enchanting. Her acting was her strong point. I have played this song before in Lata classics but do once again to point out how S D, who was born on 1 October 1906, in Comilla, British India, now in Bangladesh, to Rajkumari Nirmala Devi, princess of Manipur and Nabadwipchandra Dev Burman, the second son of 'Ishanachandra Dev Burman', Raja of Tripura based most of his songs on the folks songs of northeast India especially of Tripura, Manipur and Bangladesh. One reason I love these songs is that they so beautifully capture the cultural traditions of such a vast and diverse region.
Here's a translation of this mystic song by Gulzar. Pardon a few poetic liberties. He set high standards in his first song:
Take this fair form of mine.
Give me that dusky hue divine,
So that I can blend with this night’s mystery.
For all I want is my beloved’s company.
My honour tugs at my feet.
While desire pulls at my arms,
To venture out and go meet
Him and be captive to his charms.
I really don’t know which way to go.
Wish someone could tell me and take me in tow.
And oh! You wretched moon.
Why did you have to remove the silken shrouds?
You have revealed my colour as I swoon,
While you smile, gaping bright through the clouds.
Hope you too go through tough times
For making a plaything of these climes.
I have lost something but gained a lot.
I have got something but now I am in a spot.
Where are you taking me, my heart
After shaking my world apart?
I wish I could blend with this night’s mystery
For all I want is my beloved’s company.....