My ten favourite songs on clouds and separation
Mid-June, the rains used to arrive in Bombay when I was a kid. The black clouds would hold the promise of change. This would mean relief from the heat and dust of the preceding summer months and a burst of new life. The dreary plain near our house would promise to turn into a pond with lots of small streams arising and emptying in it. These small streams would then become alive with small and big crabs and tadpoles! Coinciding with the arrival of the black clouds, the new school year would also arrive. This would mean new textbooks! The dark messenger would also bring the hope, that I would share the class room with my friends from last year, but at the same time also the anxiety if I would again have to spend this new school year with class bully.
These dark water-bearers of sky, who brought so many emotions in my being were and are also the bearers of hope over the centuries in India for separated lovers. The earliest mention is found in Meghduta (the cloud messenger) by Kalidasa (most probably 4th century CE). It tells the story, how a yakṣha (a supernatural being), after being exiled, asks a passing cloud to take a message to his wife. In Hindi cinema though, we find mostly women singing to the clouds. They call upon them to be their messengers, to take a message to their far-off beloveds, asking them to return back.
Sawan Ke Badalon Unse Yeh Jaa Kaho – Rattan 
MD: Naushad; Lyrics: D. N. Madhok; Singers: Zohra Bai & Karan Deewan
Naushad’s break-through film! It had a wonderful array of songs. One better than the other. There is another cloud song in it as well, which is much happier: rhum jhum barase badarwa
In this song it is the man is who is pining for his beloved and not the other way round like in the songs which we will see ahead. She consoles him saying that the separation is our destiny. He is the one who asks the clouds to go away and not to tease him. One of my all-time favourites!
Jab Kaari Badariyaa Chhaayegi – Lajawab 
MD: Anil Biswas; Lyrics: Prem Dhawan; Singer: Meena Kapoor
I know next to nothing of the film. This song impressed me all the same. Here the girl asks her lover himself, for whom shall she wait when his thoughts trouble her mind in his absence. I think, she means to ask who will come and look after her, when he is not there. Lovely way of turning the tables!
Jaa Ri Jaa Ri O Kaari Badariya – Azaad 
MD: C. Ramchandra; Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
She is very explicit about asking the clouds to go away. The cool rain makes her pine for her love more than ever. Even the thunder gives her heart burn. But all through his complaining the tone remains very pleasant. It is after all just a performance on the part of the girl for her hosts, amongst whom the object of her love is sitting.
Jaa Re Badara Bairi Jaa Re – Bahana 
MD: Madan Mohan; Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Just like in chanda re jaa re jaa re, the lady here asks the cloud to bring a message from her beloved. She also asks him to describe her pangs of sorrow to him and also describe her love for him, so that he returns back soon. Describing her waiting as a lost effort, in the end she beseeches him to bring her lover along with him.
Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye Badaraa Sanvariyaa – Chhote Nawab 
MD: R. D. Burman; Lyrics: Shailendra; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
The girl here asks not the cloud but addresses her beloved directly to come back. As an incentive she offers him the pleasant weather which has arrived due to the rains. She describes her loneliness, the pitter-patter of the rain drops make her go mad. She bemoans her fate that she has to remain separated from him even in rain. Quite a sad song in an excellent debut by R. D. Burman!
Tum Bin Sajan Barase Nayan – Gaban 
MD: Shankar-Jaikishan; Lyrics: Shailendra; Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi
Her eyes, they cry, every time it rains! The heroine here is crying for her husband who is absconding. He has lost all their belongings and is on the run. She doesn’t know anything about it and is waiting for him and wondering about the reason behind his absence.
Dar Laage Garaje Badariyaa – Ram Rajya 
MD: Vasant Desai; Lyrics: Bharat Vyas; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Left alone she feels afraid of the coming storm. The blazing lightening and the thundering clouds are just the outer symptoms of her troubled mind. She compares her crying eyes with the rain. The falling rains don’t cool her fervour for her lost beloved. She doesn’t know whom to turn to, abandoned and lonely!
Ja Re Kare Badra – Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke 
MD: Laxmikant-Pyarelal; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
She is complaining about his ignorance, that he doesn’t understand her love for him. She implores the cloud to go to him and make him understand. She has already tried all her tricks but the idiot of a man is just too dumb to understand her heart. She hopes that the black cloud would have more luck than her and awake the same feelings in him, which burn in her.
Kahan Se Aaye Badaraa – Chashm-e-Baddoor 
MD: Rajkamal; Lyrics: Indu Jain; Singers: Yesudas & Haimanti Shukla
It is not really the clouds in the sky but those in her eyes, that she is speaking of. They are raining in form of tears that her kaajal is running with the tears. She goes onto describe the tears lining her eye-lids dropping one by one on the earth. Her sleep has departed with her paramour, causing the dreams to whither, the clouds, which bring the life usually seem to her full of poison.
I knew this song since the 80s, but it never did much to me. Thanks to Ava and a conversation with her made me realise the beauty of this song! Thank you Ava!
Phir Se Aiyo Badaraa Bidesi – Namkeen 
MD: R. D. Burman; Lyrics: Gulzar; Singer: Asha Bhosle
She doesn’t explicitly ask the clouds to bring back her lover, but it is understood, that when the clouds come again he will be there too, for she addresses the cloud as she would be talking to him. For this favour she is ready to embroider pearls on the wings of the clouds. She asks him to fill her wrists with bangles (to marry her), she will be waiting near the pond for him. Come to my verandah, she asks him, I will decorate it when you come back. For his safe return, she would tie an amulet around his arm and put a black mark to save him from the evil eye.
Only Gulzar can spin such a magic with his words!
Enjoy the songs in a playlist here!
Which are your favourite cloud songs?