Friday, January 28, 2011

Ghazal # 1 – Patta Patta Boota Boota – Mir Taqi Mir (1723-1810)

Patta Patta Boota Boota is a famous ghazal, made most famous by the singing voice of Mehdi Hassan. I trawled the web in search of a good English translation but alas, success was not mine, to be. Anyway for the time being, here’s what some of those verses mean, bit by bit, in Hindi/English.

Update on 12-Mar-11. Am inserting below an English translation of some of the verses. Courtesy: 'Masterpieces of Urdu Ghazals' by K C Kanda

पत्ता-पत्ता बूटा-बूटा हाल हमारा जाने है
जाने न जाने गुल ही न जाने बाघ तो सारा जाने है

pattaa-pattaa buuTaa-buuTaa haal hamaaraa jaane hai
jaane na jaane gul hii na jaane, baaG to saaraa jaane hai

Each and every leaf and plant my plight doth know

The rose alone does not know what all the garden knows

पत्ता, Patta: Leaf
बूटा, Buutaa: Undershrub
गुल, Gul: Rose
बाघ, Baagh: Garden


चारागरी बीमारी-इ-दिल की रस्म-इ-शहर-इ-हुस्न नहीं
वरना दिलभर-इ-नादाँ भी इस दर्द का चारा जाने है

Nursing the ailing heat is alien to the Beauty’s creed,

Else, even my witless love knows the remedy for this ache

chaaraagarii biimaarii-e-dil kii rasm-e-shehar-e-husn nahii.n
varnaa dilbhar-e-naadaa.N bhii is dard kaa chaaraa jaane hai
चारागरी, Chaaraagarri: Healing Of Wounds and Pain, treatment
biimaarii-e-dil: Love
रस्म, Rasm: Custom, Established Usage, Law, Marking, Model, Rule, Tradition, Writing
शहर-इ-हुस्न, Shehar-e-Husn: Beautiful city/surroundings
rasm-e-shehar-e-husn: custom of the city of beauties
dilbhar-e-naadaa.N: naïve beloved
चारा, Chaaraa: Aid, Cure, Help, Means, Redress, Resource, Remedy

mehar-o-vafaa-o-lutf-o-inaayat ek se vaaqif in me.n nahii.n
aur to sab kuchh tanz-o-kinaayaa ramz-o-ishaaraa jaane hai

Love, largesse, care, compassion, never has she known such things,

Taunting, gesturing, coquettish ogling – all else she knows.

मेहर, Mehar: Kindness, Mercy
वफा, Vafaa: Fulfilling A Promise, Fulfillment, Fidelity, Faithful, Sincerity, Sufficiency
लुत्फ़, Lutf: Benignity, Enjoyment, Favor, Grace, Joy, Kindness, Pleasure, Taste, Wit
इनायत, Inaayat: Blessing, Favour, Kindness, Acceptance Of Love, Reciprocation Of Love
mehar-o-vafaa-o-lutf-o-inaayat: mercy, trust, joys, favours
वाकिफ, Vaaqif: Acquainted, Aware, Knowing, Learned, Familiar, To Kow, To Get Familiar With
तंज़, Tanz: Jest, Irony, Laugh, Quirk, Sarcasm Satire, Wisecrack, Witticism
किनाया, Kinaaya: Allusion; metaphor, trope, figure, metonymy; a nickname; an ironical expression; innuendo; sarcasm, taunt, jeer, banter; a wink, nod, hint, sign
तंज़-ओ-किनाया, Tanz-o-Kinaayaa: Taunting, teasing
रम्ज़, Ramz: Allegory, Secret, Mysterious
इशारा, Ishaaraa: Allusion, Gesture, Mention, Sign, Symbol, Quote, Wink, Wrinkle
रम्ज़-ओ-इशारा, Ramz-o-ishaara: Hinting at

क्या क्या फ़ितने सर पर उसके लाता है माशूक अपना
जिस बेदिल बेताब-ओ-तवां को इश्क का मारा जाने है

kyaa kyaa fitane sar par usake laataa hai maashuuq apnaa
jis bedil betaab-o-tavaa.N ko ishq kaa maaraa jaane hai

फितना, Fitanaa: Sedition, Mischief, Mutiny, Quarrel, Revolt, Temptation, Wickedness, ordeals, trials
माशूक, Maashuuq: Beloved, Sweatheart
Bedil: heartless
बेताब, Betaab: Anxious, Restless, Powerless, Impatient
तवां, TavaaN: Thy, thine

The above courtesy of and where you can find additional verses too.

And here it is firstly in the mellifluous voice of Mehdi Hassan, the ghazal king of modern times. Almost everybody who is anybody I guess speaks with reverence of him as the grand old man of ghazal singing.
This rendition has a slow pace and an old-worldly charm to it. A lulling, unhurrying quality. A wise voice?!

And this one too

Followed by Ghulam Ali’s take on it. Perhaps with a little more meanderings (taans) in the Ghulam Ali style, a bit more instrumentation maybe but again with clear pronunciations (as with Mehdi Sahab) and very tuneful too. And oh, yes, ignore the accompanying visuals to the voice

And this one from the Gulzar serial on ‘Mirza Ghalib’, set to tune by Jagjit Singh but sung by Vinod Sehgal. The voice, without doubt several notches below that of MH and GA. But then, it's a fakir on the streets who is singing it.

And so here comes the rendition from Jagjit Singh himself, who was born ……. to sing ghazals. The accompanying music a bit more pronounced and with an identity of it's own, seamlessly weaving it's way around the vocals. The voice may not be as classically pure as that of MH or GA but holds it's own anyway.

And lastly Hariharan, with his pyrotechnics. A smart-alecky version. Is it a ‘I am going to beat the others at their game’ version? Does it miss the soul of the song in all it's gyrations. Or am I being harsh? Does it take it's attention away from the verse to the voice. Seems to me to be so. A cat on a hot tin roof version, sorry, couldn’t resist. The Marathi crowd seemed to like it, (they are unlikely to have understood it's meaning at all). The maestro, Hridaynath Mangeshkar too seemed to lap it up. So who am I to complain? Here, you judge……….

And finally a version by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi which uses the first verse only and then takes off with it's own identify and separate lyrics and poet. But yes, it's nice. And there is the Lata factor to add to it's USP ….. And I have my own take on whether Lata and Rafi really gel well in this song. The pitches are quite different and take some getting used to.

P.S. Is it ‘kanaaya’ or ‘kinaaya’. The jury seems to be split



Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for your translation. I like the various versions in pretty much the order you have them. Mehdi Hassan the best. Hariharan the least.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I was comparing various renditions of this ghazal, and came across your blog. You are on the spot, I don't like Hariharan's version.

kumar said...

In my opinion Vinod Sehgal's is the best version.

Anonymous said...

i liked the rafi sahabs one....n even ghulam ali was good...ghulam ali sung it very clearly..

HemRaj Singh said...

Nice post, indeed. And to my ears the version sung by Vinod Sehgal is the best of all despite the fact that Mehdi Hasan and Ghulam Ali are far talented singers. Perhaps, it has a lot do with the composition. This particular composition is soft and soulful.

I would also love to know your take on Rafi-Lata version that you withheld for some reason.


Anonymous said...

Hi thanks for taking the time for translating this beautiful composition, and posting various classical interpretations of it. I preferred Ghulam Ali's version as it portrayed its delicacy the best, though Mehdi Hasan was close but I guess its personal taste and mood.

The others were, I guess, an exercise in death by commercialism. Hariharan and Lata/ Rafi would win by populist vote. I find it hard to judge as a classical ghazal singer, but you have a point about his voice.

I gather sufi poetry was more about relationship of love, its sentiment and layers of lateral meaning than vocal reproduction as end product; classical composition and their singers lend it a dimension that is lost by vocalist commercialism. Pankaj Udhas is an example that comes to mind, thankfully it has escaped him.

Cassius Khan said...

Undoubtedly all of the musicians performed their versions of this ghazal amicably, however to my ear the one that is technically exhilarating and emotionally sensitive is the version rendered by our beloved and late Ustad Mehdi Hassan. The tone of his deep husky voice, the quivers and indelible taans, the emotional pathos of his delivery and the peculiar ragas that the composition is interwoven in all delight the senses. This is my absolutely favourite Ghazal rendered by the late Ustad. May he RIP, there will never be another one like him.

Anonymous said...

I am not an ardent fan of ghazals. The few I have really liked were either sung by Ghulam Ali or Hariharan. While I think Ghulam Ali's rendition is soothing, the most energizing one has to be Hariharan. I will still agree to your view that he shadows the meaning of the song with his singing but what a firecracker he made of the song!

Anonymous said...