Finally got my hands on Jagjit & Gulzar's latest release "Koi Baat Chale". It was a long wait after Marasim, but after just listening to it once, I can tell you it was definitely worth the wait. The best ghazal album of the year for me, without a doubt. I am no seasoned reviewer of ghazal albums or any other kinds of music for that matter, but I couldn't help writing a few words on this album. It starts with Gulzar reciting the following lines, and you immediately know you are up for some treat.
आदमी बुलबुला है पानी का
और पानी की बहती सतह पर
टूटता भी है डूबता भी है
ना समदर निगल सका इसको
ना तवारीख तोड पाई है
वक्त की मौज पर सदा बहता
आदमी बुलबुला है पानी का
It gets better when the first ghazal, जिंदगी क्या है, starts with the following lines:
जिंदगी क्या है जानने के लिये
जिंदा रहना बहुत जरुरी है
आज तक कोई भी रहा तो नही
Did you notice something different? Yeap, instead of the usual two-lined structure (couplets?) in ghazals, a number of ghazals in this album have three-lined structure like above (I don't know if they can be called triplets, but they are called "triveni" in Hindi). And its amazing how quickly you get used to these three-lined ghazals when you listen to this album. In fact the first three lines completely took me in. I just couldn't help but rewind and listen again and again to just these three lines for a while, especially the third line. And surprisingly, you don't feel the third line is out of place or anything (even when you are so much used to listening to hundreds of classic two-lined ghazals that is!). In fact, the third line suddenly sounds so much IN PLACE and important that you couldn't imagine it not being there. I think Jagit's music composition has a lot to do for this three-lined structure to sound so much IN PLACE as well. I could just feel the weight, with a strange melancholic feeling, every time I heard this third line. After listening to the first ghazal, there is no way you wouldn't want to continue with remaining of the ghazals. I started listening, thinking I would do some writing up on the side, which I obviously couldn't do. Instead I started typing up the lyrics (yea, writing up... but not the type I was planning to do!) while I listened to the ghazals! And now I'm writing a blog post on the whole album!?!
The second ghazal like first one starts with Gulzar reciting a few lines.
याद है एक दिन मेरे मेज पे बैठे बैठे
सिगरेट की डिबिया पर तुमने
छोटे से एक पौधे का एक
स्कैच बनाया था
आकर देखो, उस पर फूल आया है
Again, what can you say other than the usual वाह वाह. And Gulzar reciting these lines himself certainly makes listening to his writings extra special. The second ghazal is titled आप अगर इन दिनो यहाँ होते, and is equally great to listen to.
If you have listened to Marasim, Gulzar and Jagit's previous joint venture, you'll certainly recognise the third ghazal. In Marasim, Gulzar recites a few lines, which go like सहमा सहमा डरा सा रहता है, जाने क्यूँ जी भरा सा रहता है, and this is the third ghazal in this album with title सहमा सहमा.
The fourth and fifth ghazals, फुलों की तरह, and नजर उठाओ जरा तुम respectively are a bit light-hearted/romantic-sounding numbers, which definitely provide some diversity among the ghazals in this album. After listening to a few melancholic ghazals, they definitely make for a nice change. They are both very pleasant listening numbers, which take you to a different world, before bringing back down to earth with the sixth ghazal - क्या बताएँ के जाँ गई कैसे. Another number with a bit melancholic feel, but when you are treated with such a fantastic writing and singing, you just want to keep listening really. I especially like these lines from the sixth ghazal:
आँख तो भर आई थी पानी से
तेरी तस्वीर जल गई कैसे
क्या बताएँ के जाँ गई कैसे
The seventh ghazal, है लौ ज़िंदगी, I think continues the theme of life (ज़िंदगी). Like the previous ghazal, I think of it as another number with a melancholic feel, and needless to say excellent to listen as well. Although ghazals are probably the genre that I listen to most, sometimes I have hard time following ghazals, especially when they are written with a lot of difficult-to-understand urdu words. But I am amazed at how simple words Gulzar uses in his writing, yet possessing so much weight (and so many meanings!). Just listen to/read this:
है लौ ज़िंदगी, ज़िंदगी नूर है
मगर इस पे जलने का दस्तूर है
Finally, the last ghazal of the album - तेरी सूरत जो भरी रहती है. Again another ghazal with a three-lined structure, and with a bit melancholic feel as well. The second "triplet" goes like this:
एक से घर हैं सभी एक से हैं बाशिन्दे
अजनबी शहर मैं कुछ अजनबी लगता ही नहीं
एक से दर्द हैं सब एक से ही रिश्ते हैं
When I listened to this ghazal for the first time, it felt like I was listening to someone's entire life story, and when I started typing up the lyrics I could clearly see why I felt that way. I am having hard time finding words to describe/narrate this ghazal, so I'm just gonna conclude this post with the last two three-liners from this ghazal.
वो मेरे साथ ही था दूर तक मग़र एक दिन
मुड के जो देखा तो वो और मेरे पास न था
जेब फ़ट जाये तो कुछ सिक्के भी खो जाते हैं
चौधंवे चाँद को फ़िर आग लगी है देखो
फ़िर बहुत देर तलक आज उजाला होगा
राख हो जायेगा जब फ़िर से अमावस होगी
And finally, if you are buying/going to buy a ghazal album this year and you haven't bought this one, then your ghazal library will surely feel like its lacking something! This is a must!!!
PS. I heard here that Jagjit Singh has collaborated with Alok Shree for a Nepali ghazal album. I am hoping it'll be released when I am in Nepal in December...Fingers crossed!