Exploring the Timeless Charm of ‘Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar’ in ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’
Karan Johar deserves commendation for repeatedly rekindling the allure of retro music in his cinematic ventures. While individuals from my generation, born in the 1980s, first encountered classic Bollywood tunes through the iconic medley in Sooraj Barjatya’s “Maine Pyar Kiya,” the younger generation, often referred to as Gen Z, owes their introduction to timeless songs like “Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh” in “Bombay Talkies,” “Lag Ja Gale,” “Aaj Jane Ki Zid Na Karo,” and “An Evening in Paris” in “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” and most recently, “Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar” in “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.”
However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Bollywood’s archives are brimming with an extensive array of songs that have long been the companions of audiophiles. Regardless of whether you are an ardent vocalist, deeply in love, or nursing a broken heart, there is scarcely a situation that a classic Bollywood composition cannot soothe. Among this vast ocean of melodies, there stands a gem: “Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar,” featured in the film “Hum Dono,” widely regarded as one of Bollywood’s finest compositions.
In fact, the renowned music composer Shankar Mahadevan, in a 2022 interview with Rajdeep Sardesai, proclaimed this song to be the best ever composed. He expressed, “There is this one song that I listened to that made me feel, how can someone compose a song like this. It is probably the best written song ever. It is the best composed romantic song ever. The current monarch of romance, Shah Rukh Khan, at one occasion, chose this as the most romantic song in Hindi cinema. Now, could there be a bigger endorsement than this?”
When a song is composed by Jaidev, sung by legends like Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle, and penned by the gifted Sahir Ludhianvi, it is destined to strike a chord deep within. The song, picturized on Dev Anand and Sadhana, encapsulates the innocence of courtship. The couple frolics around a tree in a serene forest, with the girl grappling with the fear of tarnishing her reputation when the boy implores her to stay. The song progresses from yearning to insistence, culminating in desperation. With lines like “Abhi abhi to aayi ho, Bahaar ban ke chhai ho,” Sahir Ludhianvi sets the tone that “his beloved has just arrived, and she shouldn’t think of leaving, as his heart isn’t sated yet.” He goes further, inviting her to stay until sunset. The song’s mood shifts from playful and flirtatious to a gentle yet probing conversation. The female voice enters the song, initially claiming that it is already evening, so there is no need to block the path. The line emphasizes, “Sitare jhilmila uthe, chiraag jagmaga uthe, bus ab na mujh ko rokna.”
Rafi’s vocals exude an undeniable and insatiable yearning, making this push and pull between the characters all the more exciting. His controlled slurring in the line “Nashe ke ghoont pee toh loon” infuses immeasurable longing into the song. It’s worth noting that Rafi himself never consumed alcohol, yet he intoxicated the nation with his voice.
The song takes a more serious turn, with Sahir adopting a motivational tone in the third stanza. He implores one last time, saying, “Adhoori aas chodke, Adhoori pyaas chor ke, jo roz yun hi jao gi… Jawaan dilon ki chaah mein kahi maqam ayengay jo hum ko azmaengay” (Leaving behind incomplete hopes, abandoning unfinished desires, if you continue like this every day…there are places in young hearts where we will be tested). Nowhere in the song does he impose himself on the girl; there’s an underlying request for her to understand that it’s an expression of love, not a complaint. The line emphasizes, “Bura na maano baat ka, yeh pyar hai gila nahi” (Don’t take it as an offense, it’s love, not a complaint). However, the girl remains steadfast and departs, saying, “Your heart will never be satisfied.”
Over sixty years have passed since this song became the torchbearer of the ineffable sensation known as love. Perhaps it’s due to the profound poetry and composition, or maybe it’s because they truly understood the essence of romance in those days.
A common sentiment often expressed is that, while we continue to make significant technological advancements, the aura, magic, and grace of the golden era seem to be lacking in today’s generation. We may not have composers of the caliber of SD Burman, Jaidev, or Madan Mohan, but fortunately, we have filmmakers like Karan Johar who have kept these musical treasures accessible and alive through their films, serving as a reliable source of musical solace for enthusiasts. On his 50th birthday, Karan publicly pledged to direct more movies in the coming decade, and we hope he continues to pay homage to yesteryears’ music in his future projects.
After all, our love for music remains timeless.
“Jo khatam ho kisi jaga, yeh aisa silsila nahi…”
Sadiq Saleem is an entertainment writer based in Dubai. You can connect with him on Instagram: @sadiqidas.