Josna Rege

272. Zindagi

In 1940s, 1960s, India, Inter/Transnational, Media, Music, Stories, travel, Words & phrases on April 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

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As I return home from a month of travel and reach the last day (and letter of the alphabet) of the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, I offer the word zindagi, meaning life or existence in Hindi-Urdu. A Hindi synonym is the word jeevan. It’s fitting to end the month with a non-English word, since many different languages  are echoing in my ears. Here’s zindagi in the Arabic script: زندگی, and here, in Devanagari: ज़िन्दगी.

220px-ZindagiIt is a staple in Indian and Pakistani film songs, and has given its name to no less than five major movies over the years, including Zindagi (1940) the classic directed by P. C. Barua. It was the highest-grossing Indian film that year, with music by Pankaj Mullick and starring K. L. Saigal, who plays an unemployed university graduate. Here’s So Jaa Raajkumari, one of the most popular songs in the movie (another being Jeevan asha hai). The film poster pictured here is from Zindagi (1964), directed by Ramanand Sagar.

There are too many songs to list with zindagi in their title, but here’s Zindagi Hai Kya Sun Meri Jaan, sung by Mohammad Rafi, from the super-hit Bombay classic movie Maya (1961), directed by D.D. Kashyap, with music by Salil Choudhury, starring Mala Sinha, Dev Anand, Lalita Pawar & Amjad Khan.

So, as my travels come to an end—for now, at least—here’s to life, and all that comes with it.

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  1. Perfect word to end the challenge, taking us back to the beginning. Congratulations.

    • Thank you, Kristin–I had nothing this morning, and then it just came to me. Congratulations to you, too, both for completing the challenge and for such a rich and multilayered offering.

  2. Have a comfortable and safe journey back Josna and thanks for sharing so much of your travels with us. It’s been so good to read your posts.

  3. Nice one. Wish you a safe trip back. My favorite ZINDAGI song is this one originally sung by Lata Mangeshkar many moons ago today being popularized by a talent show winner

    cheers and happy landings

    • Thank you, Asghar, and thanks for the new take on the old song–neither of which I’d come across before. The scope and range of your musical knowledge amazes me.

  4. Such a beautiful word Zindagi is, and a wonderful way to end the challenge. Great! K.L. Saigal’s voice was unique – so jaa rajkumari so jaa. And when I see the name Ramanand Sagar, I remember that scene in Andaz Apna Apna where Ramanand Sagar is the answer to the Who wrote Ramayana question 🙂 Thanks.

    • Thank you for visiting and for your comment–yes, it’s a lovely song. I was introduced to Pakaj Muillick by my father, who loves the song, “Ye Raatein Ye Mausam Ye Hasna Hasana.” Don’t know Andaz Apna Apna—my knowledge of Hindi films is pitiful. Will check it out when I get a chance.

  5. What a gift, to have so many different languages echoing in your ears, and thank you for sharing them with us! Congratulations to your A to Z, and to think that you have done this while travelling, that’s an extra achievement! I’ll have to catch up with some of your posts still, so I’ll be back! Again, congrats, and have a safe trip back home!

    • To be honest, the fact that the languages are echoing in my ears doesn’t mean that I can understand them all–far from it! But while traveling one hears many different languages being spoken and is reminded anew that one’s own is just one among many. If you live in Europe then you are probably aware of that fact all the time, but many Americans act as if English were the one and only.
      Thank you–for your kind words and good wishes, and for visiting, “liking,” and commenting over the course of that busy month. I thought your theme was very well chosen—rich and fascinating and on a subject I know very little about yet you managed to make it interesting and accessible. All the best, J

  6. K.L. Saigal’s original So Jaa Rajkumari was cool, even down to the scratchy old phonograph sound. Found a more recent cover of it by Kusum Sharma which was nice as well. Really liked Jeevan asha hai, probably because something in the melody tapped into fond childhood memories of the many musicals my parents took me to. Thanks for that Josna, for an entire month’s-worth of your thought-provoking topics, engaging writing style and the companionship of your gentle spirit. And if you’ll have me, I’d like to keep coming back for more : )

    • Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to listen to the songs. I’m not a Hindi movie buff by any means, but Pankaj Mullick and K.L.Saigal are legends. I’d like to continue following each other’s blogs. I didn’t get to visit many of the A-to-Z blogs regularly last month, but am delighted to have discovered yours.

      • Sounds like a plan, Josna. I didn’t get out much either, but somehow happily have you and a handful of of other good writers to commune with going forward!

  7. Stopping by from a-z – I can see I’ll have to go back and check out some of your other posts, too!

  8. I haven’t seen any of those movies! Do you watch a lot of hindi movies?

    • Neither have I, Sonia! My viewing of Hindi movies has been random and sporadic. I try to see independent–“art” –films, and for the others, go on recommendations or what family and friends are watching when I visit them. For instance, we lived in India for 6 months in 193, and my cousin watched a lot of movies, so I know several films that were popular that year. I love the old film songs, so they stay with me when the movies don’t.

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