Tu Chanda Main Chaandani

by Dr. Dhirendra Tripathi

Tu Chanda Main Chaandani
Reshma Aur Shera
Year: 1971
Music: Jaidev,
Lyrics: Balkavi Bairagi

I have been hearing  this song from pre television, audio only, days. Why am I so much in love with it? Is it the minimalist but exotic use of the Santoor, the Sarangi and flute that conjures a vivid picture in the mind? Is it Jaidev's ever changing tune of each stanza, nay, each line of every stanza, where amazingly at no point does one feel any incongruity or discordance? Is it the beautifully crafted lyrics? And then one realizes that only the genius of Lata Mangeshkar’s voice could have strung all these pearls; woven them into a beautiful necklace and carried this extremely complex composition to its glory!

If you have travelled across Rajasthan, you would easily identify with the emotional layers of this song! (I happened to do that, a couple of decades back, via Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner (and coincidentally my better half is from Rajasthan!), hence love this song even more!

The strains of the Sarangi and Khamaicha reverberating under the canopy of Mehrangad fort and almost everywhere in Rajasthan weave a tale of unrequited love. Its use is synonymous with desert life and it always tugs at your heart strings! Travelling overnight from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer sitting on the train footboard, as it slowly chugs through the cold and moonlit desert landscape, halting at all small stations, thinking of this song stirs a strange pang of loneliness and desire.

The silence of the dunes, the quietude of the sunset, and the camel owners returning to their homes stirs one's imagination, like the story in the song, of  many untold stories of their harsh life.

The beautiful opening santoor sequence gives one the feel of a pretty, shy girl, tip toeing  across the desert sands with her ‘paayal’, first slowly to avoid being heard and then running across on her tryst( Isn’t it so beautifully picturized on Waheeda Rehman?)

And then Lata’s exquisite voice echoes through the desert sands, ..

Tu Chanda Main Chaandani….Chaandani….Chaandani.

.That "Chaandani" sets the tone of her mellifluous voice in a song journey you never want to end!

You wouldn’t perhaps notice ,that Lata has sung many starting couplets of each stanza sans any music (specially mesmerizing is the last one- “ O Mere Saawan Sajan O Mere Sindoor.). And that is the beauty of her voice!

Bal Kavi Bairagi’s beautiful lyrics paint a picture of the starkness of desert life ( Naa Sarawar Naa Baawadi Naa Koi Thandi Chhaaon) The symbolic portrayal of  love (Chandra Kiran – Chakor)  is so beautiful ,and so is the expression of the lovelorn (Angaare Bhi Lagne Laage Aaj Mujhe Madhu Maas).

The song has been extremely well picturized on the lovely pair of Waheeda and Sunil Dutt; in the stunning beauty of a full-moon desert night landscape; as one would have imagined listening to the song.

At over eight minutes, listening to this song gives you the feel of savouring the finest wine, sip by sip, sitting around a warm desert fire on a full moon night, waiting for the beloved....

You never want the night to end (Chaar Peher Ki Chaandani Mere Sang Bitaa); the music to wane, the ‘suroor’ to lessen......

But as in the song the dawn arrives in the colourful sky, with your mind still soaking in the beauty of the musical night....

And I, sitting on the footboard of the desert meandering train, am about to reach Jaisalmer, the glorious   large sun rising from the flat horizon of the desert, tearing through the cold morning mist, awakened from my dream....

....And covered with sand all over, I wonder, whether it was only a dream that I imagined in the song...or a reality...


About the author
Dr. Dhirendra Tripathi

Dr Dhirendra Tripathi, an alumnus of Sion Hospital (Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College,is a General and Laparoscopic surgeon,working as senior medical officer,department of Surgery,ESIS scheme,at Mulund,Mumbai.