Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Ab kahaan jaayen ham

Posted on: April 7, 2011


This article is written by Raja, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor of articles to this blog.

There are some songs that are close to my heart because of some association I have with them from my schooldays. Whenever I listen to them even today, memories of those days get triggered.

One such song is “Ab kahaan jaayen hum” from Ujala (1959). The first time I heard this song was in 1977. It was during a live concert.

Now this was no ordinary concert for me. I must emphasise that the place where I grew up (in Eastern India) was, if not God-forsaken, certainly Bollywood-forsaken. As it is, concerts were not as common in those days as they are nowadays. Nor was my place anywhere on anybody’s radar for hosting a concert. At best, we would have local wannabes putting up a musical evening for us.

And this concert was Shankar-Jaikishen night. Yes, the real Shankar, not a wannabe. Jaikishen had of course passed away by then but Shankar had retained the S-J label. I think Shankar may have been going through difficult times in the industry. Not only had Jaikishen’s death severely affected the S-J brand, but this brand of music had lost its place in the public mind by the 70s. RD Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal and Kalyanji Anandji were the ruling names of the era and S-J had become “yesterday’s music directors”.

Whatever it is, I think Shankar began touring on concerts as an alternative means of income and keeping himself professionally active. That he chose to come to my humble Bollywood-forsaken town is something I will always remember fondly.

The main singers at the concert were Talat Mahmood, Manna Dey, Sharada, Usha Timothy and Nitin Mukesh. There was a Rafi clone for Rafi songs and Nitin sang Mukesh songs (Mukesh had passed away by then).

One of the biggest disappointments for me was that the Rafi clone (I don’t remember his name now – Chetan?) was not allowed to sing many songs by the public. The poor guy had barely sung 3-4 songs (including the evergreen “badan pe sitaarey”) when the public booed him so badly that Shankar could not get another song out of him. I found that extremely rude – and though Chetan was no Rafi (not by a long shot), I thought this was really not on. Besides, what’s an S-J night without Rafi saab songs? What a loss for all of us!

Anyway, we still had Talat, Manna Dey and Mukesh in son Nitin’s voice for the male voices.

It was a lovely evening. Till then, the only Talat songs for S-J that I knew were “aye mere dil kahin aur chal” (Daag) and “andhe jahaan ke andhe raaste”(Patita). Talat did sing these songs but he also sang another beautiful song that has remained with me ever since as one of my favourite songs “hai sab se madhur wo geet”.

Manna Dey, after some initial problems with the musicians (he came across as a perfectionist!), settled down nicely and treated us to his many lovely songs for S-J, including classics like “ye raat bheegi bheegi”, “aa ja sanam”, “pyar hua ikraar hua” and other popular songs.

But it is not these songs that I remember from that evening. The Manna Dey songs that I remember are the ones I heard for the first time – “jhoomta mausam mast maheena”, “tu pyar ka saagar hai” and “ab kahaan jaayen hum”.

Of these, the last two have stayed with me since and are among my favourites. I have heard them a zillion times – and never tire of hearing them.

I felt like listening to “ab kahan jaayen hum” today and wanted to check out the lyrics on Atul’s blog. And surprise, surprise – I couldn’t find it there.

I am pretty sure I must have given Atul a farmaish for this song ages ago. And if I didn’t, it is my oversight. A song like this is an absolute gem and easily belongs here on Atul’s blog.

I fell in love with this song the very first time I heard it at that concert. At that time I had no clue which movie it was from. Later on, when I once heard it on radio, I learnt that it was from Ujala. Much later, only after youtube came along and I searched for this song, I learnt that it was picturised on Shammi Kapoor.

That came as quite a surprise. I tended to associate Rafi saab, not Manna Dey, with Shammi. Anyway, that did nothing to dampen my love for the song. If anything, it only enhanced it manifold.
Possibly, the Rafi-Shammi association had not been cast in stone by then, for Shammi had not just Manna Dey but also Mukesh as playback for him in this film.

Coming to the movie itself, it was quite a depressing film, certainly by Shammi Kapoor standards. One of those movies where you think “surely it cannot get any worse for him” – and it does. Everything that can go wrong for Shammi, goes wrong – this song comes deep into the movie when he’s lost faith in everybody (you can hardly blame him). Interestingly, the negative role in the film is played by Raj Kumar.

The song itself has always appealed to me. It has something special about it – much like “tu pyaar ka saagar hai”, which is also an appeal to a higher force up there.

I’m sure many of you have heard this song – but I’m equally sure you wouldn’t mind hearing it again. And if you haven’t, do listen to it. It will stay in your mind for a long time, it is just that type of song.

I’ve tried to provide a translation too. It’s not great but at least it is something!

Audio

Video

Song-Ab kahaan jaayen ham (Ujaalaa) (1959) Singer-Manna Dey, Lyrics-Hasrat Jaipuri,MD-Shankar Jaikishan

Lyrics

Ab kahaan jaayen hum
Ye bataa aye zameen
Is jahaan mein to koi hamaara nahin
Is jahaan mein to koi hamaara nahin

Apne saaye se bhi log darne lagey
Ab kisiko kisi par bharosa nahin
Ab kisiko kisi par bharosa nahin
Ab kahaan jaayen hum
hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm
aa aa aa aa aa

Hum ghar ghar jaate hain ye dil dikhlaate hain
Par ye duniyaawaale hum ko thukraate hain
Hum ghar ghar jaate hain ye dil dikhlaate hain
Par ye duniyaawaale hum ko thukraate hain
Raaste mit gaye manzilein kho gayeen
Ab kisi ko kisi par bharosa nahin
Ab kahaan jaayen hum
aaa aaa aaa

Nafrat hai nigaahon mein vehshat hai nigaahon mein
Ye kaisa zeher phaila duniya ki hawaaon mein
Nafrat hai nigaahon mein vehshat hai nigaahon mein
Ye kaisa zeher phaila duniya ki hawaaon mein
Pyaar ki bastiyaan khaaq honey lageen
Ab kisi ko kisi par bharosa nahin
Ab kahaan jaayen hum
hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm
aaa aa aa
aa aa aa

Har saans hai mushqil ki
Har jaan hai ek moti
Baazaar mein par inki ginati hi nahin hoti
Har saans hai mushqil ki
Har jaan hai ek moti
Baazaar mein par inki ginati hi nahin hoti
Zindagi ki yahaan koi keemat nahin
Ab kisi ko kisi par bharosa nahin
Ab kisi ko kisi par bharosa nahin

Ab kahaan jaayen hum
Ye bataa aye zameen
Is jahaan mein to koi hamaara nahin
Ab kahaan jaayen hum

————————————————–
Translation: (Provided by Raja)

Where can we go now?
Just tell me, O Earth
In this big, wide world, there’s nobody for us
In this big, wide world, there’s nobody for us

People are even afraid of their own shadows
Nobody trusts anybody anymore
Nobody trusts anybody anymore
Where can we go now?

We go from home to home, we show them our hearts
But the people of this world keep on rejecting us
We go from home to home, we show them our hearts
But the people of this world keep on rejecting us
Our path is now beaten, we’ve lost sight of our goals
Nobody trusts anybody anymore
Where can we go now?

There is hatred in people’s eyes, there’s terror in their looks
What sort of poisonous atmosphere do we have at the moment?
There is hatred in people’s eyes, there’s terror in their looks
What sort of poisonous atmosphere do we have at the moment?
Those nests of love have turned to dust
Nobody trusts anybody anymore
Where can we go now?

Every breath is one of difficulty
Every life is a precious one
But out in the market, none of these count
Every breath is one of difficulty
Every life is a precious one
But out in the market, none of these count
There’s no value for life out here
Nobody trusts anybody anymore
Nobody trusts anybody anymore

Where can we go now?
Just tell me, O Earth
In this big, wide world, there’s nobody for us
Where can we go now?

2 Responses to "Ab kahaan jaayen ham"

A small bit of Trivia related to this song. One can spot Asrani ( Comedian in later years) as an extra in White Banian in the group of boys singing the chorus.

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This song, to some extent, reflects the effects of corona virus lockdown.

Hum ghar ghar jaate hain ye dil dikhlaate hain
Par ye duniyaawaale hum ko thukraate hain
Raaste mit gaye manzilein kho gayeen
Ab kisi ko kisi par bharosa nahin

Har saans hai mushqil ki
Har jaan hai ek moti
Baazaar mein par inki ginati hi nahin hoti
Zindagi ki yahaan koi keemat nahin
Ab kisi ko kisi par bharosa nahin

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