Some of Gulzar’s finest work is in Basu Bhattacharya’s 1971 movie Anubhav, the story of Meeta, a young, lonely wife who decides to take charge and reinvigorate her fading marriage.
Where there is love, there is rain, and both come together in the song “Meri Jaan, Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho, Meri Jaan”, bringing fresh hope and renewed longing. There is newfound solitude here, for two people who had strayed apart and are rediscovering each other.
The high point in the film, however, for me, is in Mera Dil Jo Mera Hota, which is a song of anticipation but also Meeta’s joyous celebration of her own self, body and mind. She’s turned a corner, and this is her moment.
And she contemplates it and revels in it, in splendid solitude.
“If this heart were only mine,
I would catch it with my eyelashes,
It would sit on my lips,
I would find divinity in my hands.”
“I would wring out the essence of the sun,
And smear it on like sandalwood,
Like kundan, this golden-hued body will glow,
This radiant face will put a mirror to shame.”
Kanu Roy’s orchestration is sparse, the keys and strings almost teasing the poetry along or following it obediently, never overwhelming it. Geeta Dutt’s voice is alternately jaunty and resolute, as befits the song.
The story doesn’t end there. There will be more storms to weather and a past to reckon with, and to confound it further, having to explain to an otherwise intelligent partner that a woman’s heart and experiences might be more complex than he may have imagined.
But for now, it is this moment, in all its exulting, sensual glory, that matters.
Read the other articles in the Art of Solitude series here.