Faiz, Mehdi Hassan and Lollywood: GulouN meiN rang bharay

Posted on November 12, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Music, Poetry, TV, Movies & Theatre, Urdu
30 Comments
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Adil Najam

Readers of this blog know the reverence in which I hold Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The video tribute that I had done based on his hum daikhain gay was not only the very first post on this blog but serves at the ATP Credo – a symbol of our hopes, our aspirations and also our reality. Readers also know of how fond I am of Khansaheb Mehdi Hasan Khan, particularly his ghazals, and of my fascination with old Pakistani movie songs (here and here). This post is a way to pay homage to all three.

Mehdi Hasan, of course, was an icon of Pakistani film music – rivaled, possibly, only by Madam Noor Jahan. But what many people forget is that Faiz Sahib, too, was closely associated with the Pakistan film industry when it was at its zenith. Indeed, some of his most memorable works first became famous as film songs.

Nothing is as symbolic of this combination of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mehdi Hassan and Pakistani movie music as the ghazal gulouN mein rang bharay, baad-i-nou bahar chalay. It is widely considered to be amongst the most popular as well as the very best of Faiz Sahib’s ghazals. Indeed, as many would consider it to also be amongst the best of Mehdi Hasan’s ghazals.

There is a story that I have never been able to confirm (maybe Zaheer Kidvai can shed light on this) that suggests that Faiz Sahib liked Mehdi Hassan Sahibs rendition of the ghazal so much that he used to say that the ghazal no longer belonged to him (Faiz) but now belonged to Mehdi Hassan. Anwar Maqsood has joked that this may have been Faiz Sahib’s way of disowning the song rather than praising it. I prefer the original interpretation.

For me at least, this is one of the most beautiful of ghazal’s, most beautifully sung.

What is interesting is that this was a movie song (for the film Farangi). Yes, this is what Lollywood movie songs used to sound like once. Can you imagine today a song with such depth of meaning, such elegance of poetic craft, and sung with such musical mastery being a movie song!

Here is a video of the movie song. The video quality is not very good; nor, I must admit, is the picturization or the acting by Allauddin. It is, nonetheless, a rare and amazing treat. Enjoy!

For those who may be interested, here are the lyrics:

Guloun main rung bharaye, baad-e-naubahaar chalaye
Chalaye bhi aao kay gulshan ka karobaar chalaye

Qafas udas hai yaaro saba say kuch tou kaho
Kahain tou bah-re-khuda aaj zikr e yaar chalaye

Kabhi tou subah tere kunj-e-lub say ho aaghaaz
Kabhi tou shab sar e kaakul se mushk baar chalaye

kabhii to sub’h tere kunj-e-lab se ho aaGhaaz
kabhii to shab sar-e-kaakul se mushk-baar chalaye

Jo hum pay guzri so guzri mager shub-e-hijraun
Humaraye ashk teri aaqibat sanvaar chalaye

Maqaam faiz koii raah main jancha hi nahi
Jo kuh-e-yaar say niklay tou suu-e-daar chalaye

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30 responses to “Faiz, Mehdi Hassan and Lollywood: GulouN meiN rang bharay

  1. Nadeem says:

    Mehdi Sahib and Faiz Sahib both name we can proud of them and no one replace for them

  2. seema says:

    I have difficulty understanding the last paragraph. Can somoene help??

  3. Sikander says:

    This took me by surprise. Did not know it was a movie song. By the way, what happened to ghazal singing in Pakistan. Seems like it is all dead now.

  4. Anon says:

    ahmed faraz. who also wrote some good poetry, but was i think mostly a romantic poet, and not in faiz’s league.

    faiz is awesome. not just in the themes he addresses (social justice etc), but also in the amazingly vivid imagery he uses. i can think of few other urdu poets whose verses are so evocative.

    and finally, addressing those themes using the traditional metaphors of urdu love poetry, and keeping that ambiguity of meaning / interpreration just adds to its beauty…

  5. Farzana says:

    Does anyone know who wrote ‘ranjish he sahi’
    It is my favorite Mehdi Hasan ghazal. I don’t think it is Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

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