I have always thought setting a ghazal to music a challenging job. To do it well, that is. There are disparate pieces of poetry in one meter and rhyme, sometimes staying in one mood or vein, sometimes not. To bring the poetry forward, to pay due attention to the sher while balancing the ghazal and still be melodious enough to captivate.... There is a ghazal of Mir’s for instance that has not been done justice to in all the recorded versions I’ve heard.
Patta patta boota boota haal hamara jaane hai
Jaane na jaane gul hi na jaane baag to saara jaane hai
Shweta sang this once in a tune of her own, which to my mind was a better, more evocative composition than any of the others.
But I was talking of Hasrat Mohani and Mehdi Hassan. Those acquainted with the Master will know: his career is filled, filled with wondrous offerings. Raspy honey. There are two compositions of Mohani, however, that are extraordinary renditions even by those high standards. Roshan jamaal and Kaise chupaun. Nearly the same raga – not exactly but close – and I love them both.
Kaise chupaun raaz-e-gham… Mehdi Hassan invests this ghazal with such pathos, such meaning. You begin to read between the lines, finding more than there is. The two lines of each sher begin to seem like broad outlines of an intriguing picture and you’re left to colour the fine details in, with whatever lines, hues you please.
Kaise chupaun raaz-e-gham deeda-e-tar ko kya karunI’m sorry I couldn’t find this online to link for you, but if you should find a tape or CD with this ghazal on it, take it.
Dil ki tapish ko kya karun soz-e-jigar ko kya karun
Shorish-e-aashiqi kahaan aur meri saadgi kahaan
Husn ko tere kya kahun apni nazar ko kya karun
Gham ka na dil mein ho guzar vasl ki shab ho yun basar
Sab ye qubool hai magar khauf-e-sehar ko kya karun
Haal mera tha jab batar tab na hui tumhen khabar
Baad mere hua asar ab main asar ko kya karun