Gems of Hindi film music: Zara Si Aahat Hoti Hai | Anand Desai


Anand Desai

Great evergreen songs just envelop you, gently clasp your happily willing soul and take it for a magical musical wafting… most people surrender themselves to the music, and just remember the effect. But I imagine that after a song he particularly likes, my dear friend Anand Desai sits back, adjusts his spectacles, grabs pen and paper and  lets the music play again, re-listening to it several times, pausing after at a point he’s loved, scribbling a note, capturing a  TCR, thinks of the instrumentation, the lyrics, the way a song has been shot, and even retrieves interesting trivia from his colossal memory. The man’s a true music lover, and one who loves to share what he loves in each song.

So here he is again. With another lovely, evergreen nazm, written by the great Kaifi Azmi, sung by the inimitable, Goddess Saraswati incarnate, Lata Mangeshkar, and composed by the brilliant Madan Mohan. It’s a breathtaking piece of music. Under Anand Desai’s loving lens. Enjoy! – Pavan R Chawla)

Zara Si Aahat Hoti Hai

Zara si aahat hoti hai toh dil sochta hai…. kahin yeh woh toh nahin

  • This is a Madan Mohan, Kaifi Azmi and Lata Mangeshkar song.
  • On Screen Priya Rajvansh  … named Angmo in the film Haqeeqat.
  • Raag Kalyan and Taal Keherwa (16 matras)

First, enjoy this beautiful confluence of composition, lyrics, and that heavenly voice:

The song was filmed on Priya Rajvansh, and this was her first film.

Zara Si Aahat: Instrumentation & arrangement

Madan Mohanji’s classic softness in his arrangements comes to the fore in this one. The 24 –second intro on escalating Violins and a Vibraphone back-up with a Violin Pizzicato and Cello finally ending it… and then Lata ji  picks up Zara Si Aahat almost as an ad lib…  and see her stretches on sooochh..taa and hai…..aai. The Violins and the Keherwa  coupled with the sonorous Vibraphone take over.

Madan Mohanji’s use of the Violin Obbligatos  after each kahin yeh woh toh nahi…. is worth re-listening to many times over.

Then a new guitar strum flavor  after Chhup ke seene mein koi jaise sazaa deta hai… and the maracas  shakes and rumbles…. the Vioilns don’t give up their dominance and again come back in the obbligatos… don’t miss the slight change in the rhythm pattern from 1.52  at hai usiki yeh yeh sadaa  and ending at 2.00 with a single brush of the Toca chimes.

The use of the Vibraphone at every entry of the interludes is quite unique in the arrangement.

Sadanandji’s cinematography captures the moon rise  in its soft glory….. and his camera has done complete justice to Priya’s beauty in the black and white filming format … and Madan Mohanji has ended the song with the cross line being sung by Lata ji  in three variations.

Zara Si Aahat: Kaifi Azmi’s lyrics 

Chhup ke seene me koi jaise saada deta hai…

shaam se pehle diya dil ka  jalaa deta hai

hai usiki yeh saada hai uski yeh aadaa

kahin yeh woh toh nahi….

Kaifiji has painted a very romantic picture of the heroine’s thoughts of her beloved… see the use of the word saada  to denote the hameshaa wali  adaa… and the kaafiyyas

And Kaifiji further adds to the heroine’s amour…

Shakl phirti hai nighaon mein wohi pyaari si,

meri nas nas mein machalne lagi  chingari si,

choo gayee jism mera kiske daaman ki hawaa…

one can actually feel the breeze of love… and Madan Mohanji, not to be outdone, introduces short wave Violin bridges after the end of the full lines shakl phirti hai… and meri nas nas mein…

Now scroll back up and enjoy the beautiful song once again.

(I’m sure you loved Anand’s close look at the beautiful song. Incidentally, Haqeeqat was Priya Rajvansh’s first film. And the Kaifi Azmi-Madan Mohan combination has worked for — correct me if I am wrong — 12 films. These are:

Madan Mohan-Kaifi Azmi partnership which – correct me if I am wrong – happened across 12 films. These:  

Haqeeqat (1964)

Dak Ghar (1966)

Naunihal (1967)

Ghar Ka Chirag (1967)

Maharaja (1970)

Heer Ranjha (1970)

Parwana (1971)

Bawarchi (1972)

Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973)

Hanste Zakhm (1973)

Asliyat (1974)

Inspector Eagle (1979)

Do share your comments, and add any other trivia. Thanks – Pavan R Chawla)

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