Yeh ishq nahi aasaan, bas itna samajh lee jiye
Ek aag ka darya hai, Aur doob ke jaana hai
Love, it ain’t easy; one needs to understand, it is an ocean of fire and you can only drown in it to cross it
– Daagh Dehlvi
It was a balmy September evening and the topic of discussion at our monthly gathering at Prithvi Theatre was ‘Ishq and Urdu’. Why are these two so closely linked? What makes Urdu poetry so romantic and lyrical? How has Ishq been depicted by different Urdu poets? Our panel for this enlightening discussion included Salim Arif saab, Lubna Salim and Suhail Akhtar Warsi.
To set the tone we began with the song clip ‘Satrangi re’ written by Gulzar saab for the movie Dil Se, which elaborates the seven stages of ishq from Uns (Urdu lafz for infatuation) to Junoon (Urdu lafz for obsession). Salim saab explained how different eras of Urdu poetry have captured the different phases beautifully.
We then heard different poems on ishq written by different Urdu poets. Lubna read Firaaq Gorakhpuri’s poem ‘Raat bhar husn pe aaye bhi gaye bhi sau rang’ and Mir Taqi Mir’s ‘kya kahoon tumse main ke kya hai ishq’. We played the clip of ‘Ishq ki dastaan hai pyaare, apni apni zabaan hai pyaare’, written by Jigar Moradabadi and sung in Jagjit Singh’s mellifluous voice.
Salim saab then spoke about the depiction of Ishq in Indian cinema and we saw the clip of the song ‘Chaudhvin ka chand’ to demonstrate ishq in cinema. We then saw the song ‘Kun faya Kun’ from Rockstar to bring out the connection between Ishq and Sufi music and poetry.
Suhail then read a few couplets on Ishq and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem ‘Do Ishq’ and Allama Iqbal’s poem ‘Ishq aur Maut’ about a conversation between the Angel of Death and Angel of Ishq. This was read by Suhail in Urdu and Priya in English, to give everyone a flavor of Iqbal’s take on ishq.
We ended the evening with the ultimate song on ishq in Indian cinema, the qawalli ‘Yeh ishq ishq hai ishq ishq’ from Barsaat Ki Raat.
Satrangi Re (Dil Se) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfvGrChLEn0
Chaudhvin ka Chand (Chaudhvin ka Chand) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZUR92B-UzE
Kun Faya Kun (Rockstar) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T94PHkuydcw
Ishq ki dastaan hai pyaare (Jagjit Singh) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iHTOq3Wxm0
Yeh ishq ishq hai (Barsaat ki Raat) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymvP0yNOpnA