The songs of ‘surrender’ are those where there is both inordinate faith and praise for the beloved – sometimes bordering on self-deprecation and subjugation. I have tried to make a playlist of these songs and believe me, they are all musical gems. However, I do have some reservations about some lyrics and the concomitant picturisation. My focus is on yesteryear gems and not the more recent songs. And in any case, I am not sure there are songs of this genre in recent years as there has been a change in societal outlook and the emphasis is more on gender equality. I am sure you would fathom what I say as you read on.
The film Sati Savitri, whose poster I have used above, almost sums up the sentiment that I wish to express through this post. Anyone familiar with Indian ethos and culture would at once relate to the story of Savitri and Satyavaan which finds mention in the Vana Parva of Mahabharata. Savitri is the intelligent, devoted and pious wife of Satyavaan who outwits Yama – the God of Death – and brings her husband back to life. It is Savitri who is the shining example of complete surrender. Thus, it is not surprising to find songs with lyrics, that convey unconditional surrender, that I refer to below, in a movie like Sati Savitri.
The two songs of the movie are – Jeevan Dor tumhi sang baandhi and Tum Gagan ke Chandrama Ho (Sati Savitri, 1964), the lyricist is Bharat Vyas, and the music has been composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. The first is a solo by Lata Mangeshkar whereas the second is a duet by Manna De and Lata.
Aisa mujhe varadaan mila hain Kaisa mujhe varadan mila hain Tum kya mile bhagavaan mila hain Ab to jeevan bhar sang rahega is mehandi ka rang rahega tere charan ki main dasi re dasi jeevan dor tumhi sang bandhi
I am sure you would have noticed the fact that Savitri in this song says ‘tere charan ki main dasi’ (meaning I am always at your feet) – something that is not quite out of place in a movie based on the pious, devoted Savitiri. In fact, this song based on Raag Yaman is extremely melodious and can be rated as one of the best compositions of the musician duo Laxmikant Pyarelal.
The other song of Sati Savitri is a duet where the lyricist Bharat Vyas somewhat places Savitiri and Satyavaan on an equal footing though Savitiri still says ‘tum gagan ke chandrama ho, main dhara ki dhool hun (meaning you are the shining moon of the sky and I am just dust on the earth) – once again epitomizing self-deprecation. Satyavaan tries to counter her with a more lofty comparison – tum sudha main pyaas hun (meaning you are the sweet nectar that bestows immortality, [probably literally, going by the story(!!)] and I am thirst). This play on words by Bharat Vyas is subtle but impressive. I also love the slight quiver in Manna De’s voice when he sings the word pyaas the second time. Many websites wrongly mention the lyrics as ‘pralay ke devta‘ (god of destruction!) in line 3 below which makes no sense in this context; it’s actually pranay ke devta (or god of love).
Tum gagan ke chandrama ho Main dhara ki dhool hun Tum pranay ke devta ho Main samarpit phool hun Tum ho pooja main pujari Tum sudha main pyaas hun
The other songs of ‘surrender’ that find a place in my playlist are below:-
1) Na Jaao Saiyyan (Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam, 1962), Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, Music by Hemant Kumar, playback singer Geeta Dutt. This song is from a movie depicting feudal Bengal in pre-independent India. Again, the portrayal of Meena Kumari as Choti Bahu of the Zamindar family is in keeping with the prevalent social milieu. But in an unexpected departure from the norm, choti bahu becomes an alcoholic in the hope that her wayward husband will stay with her. It is against this background that this song finds a place in the movie. The tragedy queen, Meena Kumari, essays her role perfectly and the playback singer Geeta Dutt renders this composition with great aplomb. Ironically, both Geeta Dutt and Meena Kumari succumbed to alcoholism in their real lives. Though the entire song is one of surrender, the lines that highlight this all the more are :-
mai tumhree dasi, janam ki pyaasi tum hi ho mera singaar preetam tumhaare raste ki dhool le kar mai maang apani sadaa bharungee, sada bharungee
2) Phir Na Kijye Meri Gustakh Nigahi Ka Gila – (Phir Subah Hogi, 1958) Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Music by Khayyam, playback singers Asha Bhonsle and Mukesh. This melody is a masterpiece for the music, rendition and the lyrics. It is a playful duet but somewhere down the line it becomes one of surrender so much so that the heroine falls at her beloved’s feet in sync with the lyrics. Well, we must remember that this movie dates back to 1958 and perhaps this was the norm then, as the society was more male dominated then, than it is now and hence such lyrics and portrayal.
ek yunhi si nazar dil ko jo chhu leti hain kitne armaan jagati hain tumhe kya maaloom ruh bechain hai kadmon se lipatne ke liye tumko har saans bulati hain tumhe kya maaloom dekhiye aap ne phir pyar se dekha mujhko aap ke dil ne kai baar pukara mujhko
3) Baagon me khilte hain phool (Suhaag Sindoor, 1961) Lyricist Rajinder Krishan, Music by Chitragupt, playback singers Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar. Another beautiful duet where love for each other is professed but surrender comes in with the lines mentioned below. Fortunately, there is no actual falling at the feet of the hero by the heroine but the intent to do so is expressed through her eyes.
baagon me khilte hain phool kasam teri aankhon ki kha ke aayi samajh mein jo bhool gire tere kadmon mein aake
4) Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein Pyaar Mera (Mamta, 1966) Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music by Roshan, playback singers Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. This is a slow and mellifluous song based on Raag Yaman with the sentiment akin to tum gagan ke chandrama of Sati Savitri. Its a song of surrender no doubt but is also about the man acknowledging wrongs committed by him. This indeed makes this song special. Here are some of the lines of this song.
ye sach hai jeena tha paap tum bin ye paap maine kiya hain ab tak magar hai man mein chhavi tumhaari ki jaise mandir mein lau diye ki Chhupaa lo yun dil mein pyaar mera ki jaise mandir mein lau diye ki
5) Haath Aaya Hain Jabse Tera Haath Mein (Dil aur Mohabbat, 1969) Lyricist Shevan Rizvi, Music by O P Nayyar, playback singers Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhonsle. A great duet shot on the sea shore accompanied by the breezy music of O P Nayyar perfectly sets the tone for this song of commitment. But then there is some hero worship with the heroine going down on her knees doing full justice to the lyrics she lip syncs.
dil ke jazbaat ko main na thukraunga balki tasvire jazbaat ban jaaunga hak mohabbat kaa hota hain kaise ada waqt aaya to main yeh bhi dikhlaunga pyar ke devta ke kadam choom kar zindagi nazr kar dungi saugat mein ab na ghabrao manzil ki doori se tum tum akele nahin main bhi hu saath mein
6) Sharm aati hain magar aaj ye (Padosan, 1968) Lyricist Rajinder Krishan, Music by R.D.Burman, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. The lovely tune and Lata’s sweet voice work wonders. But the lyrics, which reek of subservience, somewhat disappoint me. I felt instead of saying aapke kadmon hi mein rehna hoga, it could have been pehlu hi mein rehna hoga, pehlu meaning ‘side’.
sharm aati hai magar aaj ye kehna hoga ab hame aap ke kadmon hi me rehna hoga
7) Aapki Inayaten Aapke Karam (Vandana, 1975) Lyricist Anjaan, Music by R.D.Burman, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. Sung on screen by Sadhana for Parikshit Sahni – a rather unique pairing – this is a lesser heard but beautiful solo expressing gratitude with a tinge of self-deprecation, equating the beloved to god.
ek bujhe shama ki tarha tha jo dil mera devta ki aarti ka ban gaya diya aapki inayaten aapke karam aap hi bataye kaise bhulenge hum
8) Humne to dil ko aapke kadmon pe rakh diya (Mere Sanam, 1965) Lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music by O P Nayyar, playback singers Asha Bhonsle and Md.Rafi. No post can be complete without a melody in Rafi’s divine voice. And there could have been no better way than this to end this post. This song from Mere Sanam, with its melodious violin piece, unfortunately was not included in the movie and thus one does not know how and if it was shot. But for a change we see the man talking of placing his heart at the feet of his beloved. This song speaks of love, trust and complete surrender with both sounding somewhat insouciant.
hamne to dil ko apake kadmon pe rakh diya is dil ka kya karenge ye ab aap sochiye ham aap ki wafaa ki kasam kha rahe hain aaj kaise wafaa karege ye ab aap sochiye
Having listed all my favorite songs of ‘surrender’ albeit with an occasional pinch of salt, let me sign off by saying that neither the man nor the woman needs to genuflect. An ideal relationship is one where there is equality and mutual respect. The best place for true love is the heart and not the feet!!