There were days when one didn’t know which way to turn – there was Shailendra, Majrooh, Shakeel Badayuni, Hasrat Jaipuri, Sahir, Gulshan Bawra, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Rajinder Krishan, Anand Bakshi – legendary poets writing for the masters of music – Salil Chowdhury, SJ, Naushad, SD Burman, RD Burman et al. From that age, today we have only Gulzar and Javed Akhtar holding the fort.

Personally, I prefer Gulzar’s metaphors “zariwale neele aasman” to Javed Akhtar’s verbosity “albele albele tan, lachchkile lachchkile tan”.

One person who seems to be proving to be a strong contender is Prasoon Joshi. His usage of the metaphor is quite impressive.  I am have been listening to the soundtrack of Delhi-6, especially Hey Kaala Bandar. I present my observations of the lyrics (the melody part, not the English rap lyrics).

Here’s one snip

Ghoonghat Ki Gehrai Mein
Tan Failaye Kaun Hai
Jab Safed LibaaS mein
Kaala Sa Sach Moll Hai

Another snip from the song

Kasme To Moongfali Hai
Jab Jee Chhahe Hum Khaate
Upar Se Na Na Na Karte
Par Thaali Aage Sarkate

“Moongfali” – peanuts, eh? In the Mumbai local trains and bus stops, the peanut fellow comes in small 1 rupee / 2 rupees rolled packets. They are sold as “timepass”. So in effect what Prasoon is saying that we make promises as timepass, whenever we want – it’s just another trivial part of our lives.

“Thaali Aage Sarkate” – holding up the plate while saying no. A typical trait in everyone – saying no, I have eaten and yet not resisting when more helpings are given.

Going down to the end of the song

Saare Reeti Rivaaz Hatakar
Dekho Apne Ghar Ke Andar
Shaayad Kahin Kissiko Kone Mein
Ghoom Raha Hai Kaala Bandar

It is my conjecture that “Kaala Bandar” refers to the monkey man scare in Delhi. I would like to be corrected. Assuming this conjecture, the above snip has some insightful words – “Saare Reeti Rivaaz Hatakar” meaning jettisoning rules and customs; by extension throwing away one’s dogma; and even more, opening up one’s eyes.

He is saying, you open up your eyes and you will see the monkey inside you – all the hoaxes, the fears, the inhibitions, the dread.

Nice stuff. And then Prasoon Joshi closes the piece with these two lines

Jaane Kaunse Rang Mein Range
Hamaam Mein Hum Saare Nange


3 thoughts on “Prasoon Joshi – Hey Kaala Bandar

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