That eyes are expressive, we know. Filled-with-love eyes, questioning-raised-eyebrows, happy-crinkling-eyes, flirting-eyes, cold-blue-eyes, smiling-eyes, ominously-staring-eyes; the manifestations of eyes’ expressions are many. Nowhere in the annals of global literature have the eyes been used as well as in Hindi film songs. Ever since cinema moved to the “talkie” phase from the “movie” phase, eyes have been employed to describe a myriad emotions. Each music director, lyricist and singer has sometime or the other in his or her career extolled the virtues of the eyes. They have created a sensitivity for the human eye which no eye-doctor has ever done. These eye afficionados have moved away from the physical realm of cornea, retina and the humours in-between (aqueous and vitreous for those not aware) to take the fascination of mankind to an altogether different level. Read on to know more on this.
To start with, reams of songs to describe the beauty of the eyes:
“Aankhon mein kaajal hai” from the late 70’s movie “Doosra Aadmi” has the young- and the then hot couple- dancing around the trees in the park they find themselves into. In matching costumes of white. Rishi K and Neetu S. They look good together and dance well together despite the staccato dance moves of Rishi and the heavy kaajal-laden eyes of Neetu’s. Rishi even swears that her bindiya is a mirror which reflects his love for her. “Teri bindiya darpan hai, darpan mein mera dil hai…”
Dev Anand knew a thing or two about describing the pulchritude of his beloved, like he did in this song from the early 60’s film “Jab Pyaar Kisisey Hota hai”. He was romancing Asha Parekh. Says Dev A as he romances Asha P as they conveniently glide down a valley: “Yeh aankehin uff yumma, yeh soorat uff yumma”. What a description of female beauty! Yummaa!! Asha Parekh takes this to philosophical heights when she enlarges her lover’s “uff-yummaish-ness” to the salubrious hilly climate and her rising heartbeats: “Yeh mausam uff yumma, yeh dhadkan uff yumma, kaisey dil ko rokein, koi thamey, uff yumma!” And then she does a Manoj Kumar-esque deflection of her neck complete with her forefingers covering her “uff-yumma” visage as Dev A. tumbles in a style strongly reminiscent of Dev Anand!
I wonder how Rakhee was enraptured with Shatrughan Sinha crooning to her “Doob, doob, jaata hoon” in this song from the 1973 movie, “Blackmail”. She should have dialled 100 and asked for immediate help when this yellow-shirted, black waist-coated, blue-denim jeaned apparition looking like the one and only Shotgun Sinha stared into her eyes singing “sharrrrrrrrbati”. But maybe she need not, as dear Shotgun goes about describing her eyes as “sharbati aankhein”. The sweet syrupy eyes as deep as lakes. I shall agree to this one, Rakhee’s eyes were something! The sherbat thing was used even prior to this in the movie, “ Do Raastey“ where Rajesh Khanna sings to his girlfriend “Yeh reshmi zulfein, yeh sharbatee aankhein”. Sweet eyes which give life to others: “Inhein dekhkar jee rahein hain sabhi”. Not only that, these vital symbols of beauty also make others to quaff, “inhein dekhkar pee rahein hain sabhee” (the elixir of life, I suppose). A close look at the screen close-up at this point in time reveals what causes people to quaff more and more. But I shall leave this out from this post. Check-out youtube if you are keen!
To conclude this section, the rocking “Kajraarey, kajraarey” from “Bunty aur Babli”. That song which has been played by the DJs ever since to bring back to life any tired party. The song comes on and then, instantaneously, it is “all legs-on-deck”- sorry- all legs on dance floor. Surely it says something about the Indian male’s attraction to kohl-lined dark eyes!
Your eyes o’ pretty one:
Dev Anand strikes again in this old Kishore favourite: “Oh nigahein mastana”, as he sings to Nutan in “Paying Guest”. He beseeches her attention: “Koi dekhey nasheeli aankh mal-mal key, dil kaisey na ho deewana”. If the burning candle beckons, what can the insect do? (“shama karey hai isharey jal-jal key, toh kya karey parwana”).
In another song it is the beholder’s nazar which takes in the beauty of the beloved. “Terey chehrey sey nazar nahin hatati, nazaarey ham kya dekhein”. I think this beholder has a point. He has to take his eyes of the beholden one to behold what is being proferred by the Yash Chopra-ish environs from Switzerland, Kashmir, Chilean Andes, wherever; from the, you guessed it right, this Yash Chopra movie, “Kabhi Kabhie”. By the way, the young couple, Rishi and Neetu Singh tumble all around the verdant slopes but they keep staring at each other in the eyes. The other parts of the body are free to do whatever else they deem fit!
If eyes are pretty by themselves, they also indicate vulnerability. And fear. Like this song from 1964 movie “Kohra” starring the beauteous Waheeda and the non-hero Biswajeet. She of the lovely eyes and lovelier tresses and he in the corporate white-shirt, tie and dark trousers and with a voice of Hemant Kumar. Which indeed is Hemant Kumar’s! The hero wants to quaff the intoxication off the goblet like eyes of his beloved as he wants to live… “Zara peeney do, zaraa jeeney do..” Those eyes which make him forget the “tomorrow”… “kal ki kisko phiqar”… as he wipes away her tears. Only when I watched the song I realized what the hero wanted. A quasi-vampire trick of quaffing the tears; all the time I thought he wanted to drink wine off her eyes!
Sample this one from “Arth”, Raj Kiran singing about Shabana’ eyes, “Jhuki, Jhuki si nazar..” in the wonderful voice of Jagjit Singh. Mahesh Bhatt’s intense biopic has Shabana lowering her gaze as the camera carresses her eyes gently. And those eyes – and some wonderful acting- won her quite a few best actress awards.
“Ankhiyan bhool gayein hai sona, jab sey kiya hai jadoo tona”. In this this Geeta Dutt number from “Goonj Uthi Shenai” the heroine narrates the loss of sleep of after her beloved has cast his spell on them. How bad it must be, a small jadoo-tona and you are fixed for good!
The romantic meeting of eyes is nothing less than a conflict of romantic proportions, Hindi poets have called this meeting a ladai. Nainon ka ladna! And there are bound to be violent repercussions to a conflict; fireworks going up, the heart feeling the pangs. Like Dilip Kumar announces to the villagers his love for Vaijayanti Mala in “Ganga Jamuna”: “Nain lad jaihein”. In his quaint Bhojpuri he says, “Manawa mein kasak hoibey kari” etc etc.
The Sufi mystic Amir Khusro’s immortal qawalli from the 16th century has been sung by virtually all the singers worth their salts. Some in movies, some outside it. But the enduring charm of the song remains. And the song has “Chhap tilak sab chheeni rey, mosey, naina milai ke” is one of the top favourites. In this song Amir Khusro describes his devotion and love for Hazrat Nizamuddin saying he (Khusro) has lost all his worldly symbols after his eyes met the eyes of his guru the great H. Nizamuddin. So much so that Khusro beseeches the crow (kaaga), hell -bent on feasting on his flesh, to spare his two eyes as the eyes hold the vision of his master, the great Hazrat H. I love this one- not only for the references to the eyes- but also to this classic line: “Prem bati ka madwa pilaikey, matwari kar deeni rey, mosey naina milaikey”; “You have served me the intoxicating extracts of the herb of love and I now go insane…”
This title song from the film “Aankhon, aankhon mein” presents to the listener an interesting divergence of interests of the man and the woman. (Mars and Venus theory; another clinching proof). They are both in a barn-like place and the woman, Rakhee, is dressed only in a man’s shirt, a few sizes too long for her. One can guess it has rained, the girl has got all wet, and she has to change in dry clothing. And the hero, Rakesh Roshan, offers her his shirt. Hormones may have been raging, but all what the hero wants to do is to engage in an eye-to-eye chat. The heroine is perhaps a little sleepy and she wants to sleep- in his arms. I do not know what happened at the end of the song, the possibilities are endless…!
The exchange of glances between members of the opposite sex is enough to engender life-enhancing properties as Dev Anand tells Shakila in CID: “Aankhon hi aankhon mein isharaa ho gaya, baithey- baithey jeeny ka sahara ho gaya.” Afterall, as the title song of this Amitabh-Jaya starrer goes: “Pyaar ko chahiye bas ek nazar”. Hence the plea by Biswajeet to Waheeda in this 1960’s classic Hemant Kumar song from “Bees Saal Baad”: “Zara nazaron sey keh do ji, nishaana chook na jayein”. Stay on target, you eyes!
This marvelous melancholic song from Mukesh song from Anil Dhawan’s “Annadata” (1972): “Nayana hamaarey, saanjh sakaarey”. Eyes see dreams, but is it possible that they would ever realize them all?” goes this soulful number.
Eyes can beat the best of Indian monsoons if provoked by sundry circumstances (Mehbooba’s, “Merey naina saawan-bhadon”), though the mind still remain unquenched (“…phir bhi mera man pyaasa..”). In the mind-numbing film from the early 70’s, “Geet”, this one from the equally mind-numbing non-actors, Rajendra Kumar and Mala Sinha. “Terey naina kion bhar aaye..” I do not remember much of the movie except that among the multiple twists and turns in the movie, Rajendra Kumar has a bad accident which shows up as a neatly pasted Band Aid on his forehead and a forgotten memory. It is music which had united the couple and I guess that is what would have united them in the end and cleared all the plotted cobwebs. Never mind the movie, it did have some great songs. And tearful eyes have a practical problem, they cannot accomodate sleep: “Do nainon mein aansoon bharey hain, nindiya kasey samaye…? Very well expressed in Gulzar’s words in the movie “Khushboo”.
The good guys among you all must be wondering if the eyes have nothing else to do but to stoke romantic fervours among impressionable members of the opposite sex. No way, sirs. Did you know that the eyes could symbolize patriotic zeal as well? Read on…
“Us mulk ki sarhad ko koi chhoo nahin sakta, jis mulk ki sarhad ki nigehban hain aankhein”, that is the clarion call from the war movie, “Aankhein”. How can someone invade the borders of a nation which has a very vigilant set of eyes at her borders? Very true!
It is said that Lata Mangeshkar sang this song at a function just after India’s defeat to China in the messy 1962 war. This defeat had devastated the aging Nehru. The mix of his age, the defeat and the voice of Lata moved him to tears. This song has been the staple of all radio and TV programs ever since, on National holidays like 15th August, 2nd October and 26th January. If you have not guessed it so far, the song is none other than “Ai merey watan key logon..”. To be true- Nehru I am not- but this song has never failed to move me, whenever I listen to it. Lata Mangeshkar is wrong when she says, “zara aankh mein bhar lo paani”.
One does not need to infuse paani, tears happen.