Gulzar and his dhuan

Gulzar is one of the best lyricist of our times. From ‘Mora Gora Ang Lay Le‘ to ‘Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji‘, Gulzar has covered an amazing range of emotions with such poignancy. A single post can not do justice to his body of work so what I want to highlight is his metaphor for ‘Dhuan’. Poetry of any genre or era carries some common metaphors like Parwaanaa (Moth) in Shayari. Despite his single-minded yearning for Shamaa (Candle) it is his fate to die when united with her.

Poets have used metaphor of Smoke to signify symptoms of a burning fire within. For longing or unrequited love or. Like Meer said:

Dekh to dil ke jaan se uthataa hai
Ye Dhuaan sa kahaan se uthataa hai

Or have a look at following lines where Kaifi Azmi’s uses smoke literally to evoke other emotions:

Main dhoondta hoon jise wo jahaan nahi milta
nayi zameen nayaa asmaan nahi miltaa

Vo mera gaanv hai vo mere gaanv ke choolhe
ki jin mein shole to shole dhuaan naheen miltaa

But Gulzar has used Dhuaan totally differently in few of his works. He wants to express the feeling when you want to cry but no tears come out of your eyes. You might well up but no tears roll down your cheek. As if smoke has stung your eyes, literally. The shift is from a burning sensation within or real burning to the physical act of experiencing the affects of it; yourself. Case in point, his evergreen song of loneliness and urbanization from movie Gharonda:

Ek akela is shehar mein shaam ko aur dopahar mein
Aab-o-daanaa dhoondta hai, ashiyana dhoondta hai
[aab = water, daana = seed (literally) aab-o-daana = subsistence]

Din khali khali bartan hai aur raat hai jaise andha kuan
In sooni andheri aankhon se aansoon ki jagah aata hai Dhuaan
Jeene ki vajah to koi nahi marne ka bahaanaa dhoondta hai

Can any one forget Maraasim, his collaboration with Jagjit Singh. Each ghazal from it is golden and so evocative. He used the word has radeef (the last rhyming word) in one of the ghazals.

Aankhon mein jal raha hai kyun bujhta nahi dhuaan
Uthta to hai ghata sa barasta nahi dhuaan

Or for that matter his sensual lyrics from Dil Se:

Jiya jale jaan jale
Nainon tale dhuaan chale dhuaan chale

No wonder his prize winning collection of Urdu short stories was titled Dhuaan!

6 Responses to “Gulzar and his dhuan”

  1. 2010/05/02 at 9:26 am

    ye short stories ki book kahaan milegi??

  2. 2010/05/02 at 9:55 am

    badhi dheere jali raina, dhuan dhuan naina!
    Raaton se haule haule, kholi hai kinare
    Akhiyon ne taga taga, bhor utaari
    Khari akhiyon se, dhuan jaaye na
    Badi dheere jali raina
    Dhuan dhuan naina

    I will always be prejudiced talking about him. Cant stop getting killed by his words.

    • 2010/05/04 at 12:25 am

      Few days ago when I had thought about writing the post I remembered this song but somehow it slipped while writing! Thanks DK for reminding.

  3. 2010/05/30 at 2:24 pm

    If only I had a buck for each time I came here… Great writing!

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