How the legacy and magic of 'Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar' live on in 'Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani'

This love anthem from the film Hum Dono is regarded as one of the finest songs ever composed in Bollywood

By Sadiq Saleem

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Published: Fri 4 Aug 2023, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Fri 4 Aug 2023, 4:48 PM

One has to laud Karan Johar for reigniting the spark of retro music, time and again through his films. While most of my generation (born in the 80’s) got introduced to classic Bollywood songs through the famous medley in Sooraj Barjatya’s Maine Pyar Kiya, Gen Z must owe Karan for introducing them to iconic songs like Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh in Bombay Talkies or Lag Ja Gale and Aaj Jane Ki Zid Na Karo and An Evening in Paris in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil or most recently Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.

But this, as they say is just the tip of the iceberg. Bollywood archives are filled with endless songs that have long been the companion of audio junkies. There’s a love song out there for every occasion; whether you are an avid singer, lost in love or heart-broken, there is nothing that a classic Bollywood number cannot fix. And above all, there is this love anthem from the film Hum Dono, ‘Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar’ which is regarded as one of the finest songs ever composed in Bollywood.

Infact, the ace music-composer Shankar Mahadevan, in his interview with Rajdeep Sardesai in 2022 stated that the song is the best composed song till date. In his words "There is this one song that I listened to that made me feel, how can someone compose a song like this. It is probably the best written song ever. It is the best composed romantic song ever. The current monarch of romance, Shah Rukh Khan, at one occasion, chose this as the most romantic song in the Hindi cinema. Now could there be a bigger endorsement than this!"

When the song is composed by Jaidev, sung by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle and written by Sahir Ludhianvi, it is bound to tug at the heartstrings. Pictured on Dev Anand and Sadhana, the song is one of the most innocent embodiments of courtship. The pair is shown to be prancing around the tree in a quiet forest. The girl fears losing face when the boy requests her to stay back. The song graduates from desiring to demanding and eventually into desperation. With lines like ‘Abhi abhi to aayi ho, Bahaar ban ke chhai ho’ Sahir Ludhianvi sets the tone that ‘his beloved has just arrived, hence she shouldn’t think of leaving as his heart isn’t full yet’. Then he goes one step further and invites her to stay until the sun sets. The song moves from playful and flirty to serious probing in a gentle back and forth. The female voice enters the song which at the onset claims that it is evening already so don’t forbid or obstruct the path anymore. The line goes ‘Sitare jhilmila uthe, chiraag jagmaga uthe, bus ab na mujh ko rokna’.

There is this undeniable and insatiable hunger in Rafi’s luminous vocal that makes this push and pull exciting. Check his controlled slurring in the lines ‘Nashe ke ghoont pee toh loon’ he infuses immeasurable yearning into the song. The fact of the matter is that Rafi himself never drank alcohol, but he intoxicated the nation with his voice.

The matter gets serious, and Sahir now takes the motivational route. He tries one last time in the third stanza. ‘Adhoori aas chodke, Adhoori pyaas chor ke, jo roz yun hi jao gi… Jawaan dilon ki chaah mein kahi maqam ayengay jo hum ko azmaengay’. It means, if she keeps living in fear then how will she live up to this love. 'There are many challenges that lie ahead in the path of love, that will try us’. Note that nowhere in the song he is forcing himself on the girl. There is an underlying request to ‘not think otherwise, as it is just his love and not a complaint’. The line goes ‘Bura na maano baat ka, yeh pyar hai gila nahi’. But the girl stays adamant until the end and leaves by saying that ‘your heart will never be full’.

It has been more than sixty years since this song became the torch bearer of the splendid feeling called love. May be because of the great poetry and composition or just because they knew romance back in the day, didn’t they?

The phrase one has heard ad nauseam is that while we continue to make quantum leaps ahead technically, the aura, the magic and the grace of the golden era is missing in today’s generation. Or for that matter, today we do not have composers of the calibre of SD Burman, Jaidev or Madan Mohan. But then, in consolation we have filmmakers like Karan Johar who have kept these treasures accessible and alive through his films – many a ready fix for music junkies. On turning 50, Karan had publicly promised that he will direct more movies in this decade and we hope that he continues to reserve a special place for yesteryears music in his future projects too.

Afterall, our love for music is eternal.

‘Jo khatam ho kisi jaga, yeh aisa silsila nahi..’

Sadiq Saleem is a Dubai based entertainment writer. You can reach to him on Instagram: @sadiqidas.

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