Oh these faithless relationships!
An accepting, despondent tone
There's poetry on this tape. And it takes a wistful look at relationships.
Jagjit Singh and Gulzar are old friends. Jagjit Singh composed the music for Gulzar's serial on Mirza Ghalib, and that was when they struck a warm friendship. They say it took them six years to create Marasim.
A ghazal is Urdu poetry set to music. Unlike poetic forms which build up a case over some stanzas and then present the resolution, the ghazal works with couplets complete in themselves. Perhaps the self-contained couplet also prompts its music. In Marasim, there are no progressions, no sweeping movements, no peaks. Its music flows steady from beginning to end.
The first song is about the transience of relationships.
Shehd jeene ka mila karta hai thoda thoda
Gunshots on the border
The lavish sitar phrases combine with a plaintive violin and a lively guitar, and make this one of the more memorable tunes:
Here is friendship gone sour with Woh kath ke purze uda raha tha. The worst moment of betrayal comes, devastatingly, when
The tune itself is far from melancholic or pained and seems to take this betrayal in its stride. Sham se aakh me nami si hai runs along predictable lines; it describes the strangle-hold of the other's memories and the lover can live only in this paradox:
Dafan kardo hame ki saans mile
Bury me so that I may breathe!
The loneliness in Zindagi yoon hui basar tanha resounds in every line:
My own shadow scares me
The backing harmonium makes the ghazal sound different from mainstream film music. Ek parvaaz dikhai di hai talks of the pain and loneliness a friendship has left behind. A striking but brief solo violin gives it a good introduction. The violin accompanies the words throughout. Jagjit Singh tries to capture the subtleties of the poem with intricate phrases.
In whose eyes were spent ages
Din kuch aise guzarata hai koi records the passage of time, painful, lonely, silent, regret-filled, in the absence of someone:
I looked in the mirror and was consoled
The tune is restrained, as is every one of Jagjit Singh's tunes. But the repose is only a mask, the lyrics throw up all the anguish. This strain on the song where the tune seems peaceful and the lyrics, pained, creates an interesting tautness.
Most of the poems deal with the anguish of separation and loneliness with varying intensity. The background score is well arranged, soothing and flowing along the melody, but does not try anything new. The usual sitar, violins, flute, tabla and the guitar play along, much like they have in earlier ghazal tapes. That's a pity. Gulzar's poetry definitely deserves a more thinking orchestra.
This is Sony's first ghazal album. Neatly packaged, it comes with the lyrics (in Hindi) on the inlay card.