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

Phir mujhe deeda e tar yaad aayaa

Posted on: September 14, 2011

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

Pankaj Mullick fondly remembers his time and interactions with Saigal Saab. In the year 1931, Pankaj Mullick was associated with India Broadcasting Company, as a vocalist and a music trainer. This company ran the Calcutta Radio Station, (prior to the advent of All India Radio). One evening, Pankaj Da found a young gentleman in the waiting room for visitors. When asked about why he was there, the young man introduced himself as Kundan Lal Saigal, from Jalandhar, and said that he aspired to sing for the Calcutta Radio Station. Impressed with the winsome manner and a voice that enchanted, even as he spoke, Pankaj Da took him to meet NN Majumdar, the director of programs. An audition was arranged immediately. Pankaj Da writes, “. . . For its charming melody and rhythm, distinct pronunciation and neat articulation, embellished with an exceedingly sweet and melodious nasal tone, the audition emerged as something really superb. Mr. Majumdar arranged to broadcast Saigal’s song from the Calcutta Station that very night, and asked the young man to join straight away as a regular artist of the company”.

The New Theatres (NT) production house came into being in 1931. Pankaj Da was associated with NT right from its inception, as one of the two main music directors. After completing production of two Bengali films, BN Sircar, the managing director of NT, was contemplating a bi-lingual production (Bengali and Hindi), as the first all India release for the company. He needed an artist to play the singing hero in the Hindi version of ‘Mohabbat Ke Aansoo’. Pankaj Da and PC Barua, both music directors at NT were already familiar with Saigal Saab. They arranged for BN Sircar to meet with ‘Kundan’ at a family function arranged at a friend’s house. Soon after, Saigal was cast in ‘Mohabbat Ke Aansoo’ as the hero. The debut film was successful beyond expectations and inevitably, Saigal Saab came to be cast as a hero in most of NT’s Hindi films, and also some Bengali films, that followed.

This ghazal is one the best known ghazals of Ghalib. The rendition by Talat Mehmood under the baton of Ghulam Mohammed in Sohrab Modi’s ‘Mirza Ghalib’ (1954), is no less enchanting. But of course, Saigal Saab is Saigal Saab. This performance is simply an out of the world experience.

The ghazal tells the tale of separation of lovers. It tells about the calamities that befall the lover, when the beloved leaves to go away; the loneliness and desolation that sets in the life once the beloved is gone, and the desperate fanaticism that is evident in the circumstances of the lover. The original ghazal has 10 verses, as opposed to the four that are performed in this version. A piece of powerful and emphatic poetry, one of the best by Ghalib.

phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad aayaa
dil, jigar, tishnaa-e-faryaad aayaa

I remember yet once again, my eyes had cried when you had left. Yet once again the remembrance stirrs the insatiable yearning in my heart and my being. Yet once again my heart and my being cry out in pain, seeking succor.

phir = once again
mujhe = to me
deed = eye
tar = moist, wet
deeda-e-tar = eyes wet with tears
yaad = memory, remembrance
aayaa = came
dil = heart
jigar = literally means liver; in poetic context, refers to inner self
tishnaa = thirst, yearning; insatiable thirst
faryaad = cry for help, complaint

dum liyaa thhaa na qayaamat ne hanoz
phir tera waqt-e-safar yaad aayaa

The turmoil in my heart had hardly settled down, and before the next breath, I remembered yet once again, the moment when you left to go.

A very deeply crafted verse. Qayaamat is literally, the end of time, the end of creation, when this entire creation (qaayenaat) will cease to be. As per Quranic teachings, all souls will be resurrected on that day. The word itself, representing an event of such magnitude, has over centuries been used by poets and writers to represent calamitous circumstances that result in violent destruction and turbulence, although that is not the original intent of the meaning and usage.

The word ‘safar’ is the name of the second month of the Islamic calendar, the first one being the month of Muharram. The word ‘muharram’ literally means forbidden. In the month of ‘Muharram’, all unlawful activities are forbidden, especially warfare and shedding of blood. The original literal meaning of word ‘safar’ is empty. During this month, the homes became empty of the menfolk. The ban on warfare during the previous month of ‘Muharram’ is lifted, and the menfolk leave home and proceed to the battlefields. Once again, over centuries, the word has become associate more with the “act of proceeding (to someplace)”, picking up connotations of travel.

The use of these two words in this verse is really very profoundly linked with the poet’s state of the heart. The separation has caused a calamity, a tumultuous disaster in his heart. And just as he is getting over this turbulence, yet again the memories of the moment of her departure come back to him. ‘Safar’ here represents proceeding away from the heart, and leaving an empty heart behind.

dum= breath, life, moment
liyaa = taken
thhaa = was
na = not
qayaamat = resurrection, the last day, day of reckoning; also disaster, turmoil, commotion
ne = (preposition)
hanoz = till now, yet; in context – just yet, just now
phir = once again
tera = yours
waqt = time, moment, episode
safar = travel, to go, to leave; ‘safar’ also is the name of the 2nd month of the Islamic Hijri calendar
waqt-e-safar = the episode of starting to travel, the moment of (your) leaving
yaad = memory, remembrance
aayaa = came

koi veeraani si veeraani hai
dasht ko dekh ke ghar yaad aayaa

Since you have gone, the loneliness in the heart is as extremely lonely as loneliness itself. The desert that I exist in now, tells me again very forcefully, of the comfortable times spent with you.

The play on words in the first line is superb. “Koi Veeraani Si Veeraani”. There is no words that the poet is able to conjure up to describe or present as a similie to the feeling of desolation and loneliness he is now experiencing. The desolation is as desolate as desolation itself. That is an extreme representation, that cannot be described in any other words.

The second line says that the desolation now reminds of the good times spent in her company. Another interpretation is that seeing the state of desolation now, the mind remembers with regret the earlier times, before this desolation; and the poet says he should not have taken this path in life; i.e. should not have involved himself in amorous pursuits, the end result of which is loneliness only.

koi = any; in context – a comparison to extreme
veeraani = desolation, emptiness, meaningless-ness
si = such as
hai = is
dasht = desert, forest; far from habitation
ko = (preposition)
dekh = to see
ke = (presposition)
ghar = home, residence, abode of comfort
yaad = memory, remembrance
aayaa = came

mein ne majnu pe ladakpan mein ‘asad’
sang utthaayaa thhaa ke sar yaad aayaa

I remember, when I was younger, and immature, I was part of the people who had subjected Majnu to beating with stones. Today I find myself in the circumstances same as Majnu, and remembrance makes me think of me being subjected to the same treatment.

The poet says, at one time, he used to ridicule people who would be crazy in love. Today, he finds himself in the same fanatical state.

mein = I, me
ne = (Preposition)
majnu = Qais; the protagonist of the famous love story of Laila-Majnu
pe = on, to
ladakpan = childhood; in context – immaturity
mein = in
‘asad’ = literally means a lion; poet’s signature, takhallus
sang = stone
uthhaayaa = picked up
thhaa = was, did
ke = (preposition)
sar = literally means the head;
yaad = memory, remembrance
aayaa = came

Song-Phir mujhe deeda e tar yaad aayaa (Saigal NFS) (1940) Singer-K L Saigal,Lyrics-Ghalib


phir mujhe deeda-e
phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad aayaa
phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad aayaa
dil, jigar, tishnaa-e-fariyaad aayaa
dil, jigar, tishnaa-e-faryaad aayaa
phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad

dum liyaa thhaa na
dum liyaa thhaa na qayaamat ne hanoz
dum liyaa thhaa na qayaamat ne hanoz
phir tera waqt-e
phir tera waqt-e-safar yaad aayaa
phir tera waqt-e-safar yaad aayaa
phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad aayaa, ho
phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad

koi veeraani si
koi veeraani si veeraani hai
dasht ko dekh ke ghar yaad aayaa
dasht ko dekh ke ghar yaad aayaa
haan phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad aayaa
haan phir mujhe deeda-e
main ne majnu pe
main ne majnu pe ladakpan mein ‘asad’
main ne majnu pe ladakpan mein ‘asad’
sang uthhaayaa thhaa
sang uthhaayaa thhaa ke sar yaad aayaa
sang uthhaayaa thhaa ke sar yaad aayaa
phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad

3 Responses to "Phir mujhe deeda e tar yaad aayaa"

Sudhir ji,
As usual,a brilliant article indeed,highly enjoyable.
The real connoisseur of Ghalib can go on and on and on……
The same gazal sung by Talat in Mirza Ghalib(1954) is also very very soothing .With the velvety voice of talat,its mazaa kuch aur hi hai !
I find that halfway thru the two renditions have used differnt lines from the original long gazal.wish somebody had sung the entire gazal !


Arun ji,

Thanks for your kind words.
And I do agree with you re Talat Saab’s rendition of the same ghazal in ‘Mirza Ghalib’, no less endearing.

Most of these ghazals are fairly long in their original form. Music directors and film makers generally would balk at putting a complete ghazal that would last for 8 to 10 minutes. Also, I would think that in the earlier decades, when the standard format for release of film music was 78 rpm records, then the limitation was primarly due the physical duration of audio that could be accommodated on one side of such a record, which is a little more than 3 minutes. Hence the composers would try to fit in the songs within 3 minutes and few seconds. Alternative was to got the entire second side, making the song a little over 6 minutes. There are very rare examples of 6 minute songs, which would occupy both sides of the record. I would think that the producer would also be concerned about the attention span of the audience, if the song is too long.



Awesome writeups, Sudhir ! Although to me all the other renditions I’ve heard can’t compared – it’s like comparing assorted smooth cocktails with a straight single-malt whiskey. Most everyone will enjoy the former, only a few will appreciate the latter. Or like Gobi and Karela, all will enjoy Gobi but few will appreciate the sensations of the Karela.


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