Bollywood’s lyrics referencing flowers

Reference to flowers in Bollywood songs has always been a major attraction. Lyricists have used misused and exploited flowers.

Feb 22, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Reference to flowers in Bollywood songs has always been a major attraction. Lyricists have used misused and exploited flowers. Either to write a letter in ‘Phoolon ke rang se’ or to send it to a beloved in ‘Phool tumhe bheja hai khat mein’ or to cheer up a weeping sister in ‘Phoolon ka taron ka sabka kehna hai’, flowers are present in all forms possible.

There’s a lot written about flowers, in general, but there are certain songs that are a eulogy to some specific flowers. One such song is ‘Ketki gulab juhi champak ban phoole’ from 1956 classic ‘Basant Bahar’. Lyricist mentions the spring season and flowers blossoming, maintaining their individuality and essence.

While in ‘Nanhi kali sone chali’ (Sujata) a mother calls her young daughter a flower bud, ‘Juhi ki kali meri ladli’ (Ghar ek mandir) and compares the young one to a Jasmine.

Rose, being the epitome of beauty, has always inspired poets and also our lyricists. Whether it is Dev Anand singing to Nutan in ‘Tere ghar ke samne’ (Phool tum gulab ka, kya jawaab aap ka) or Rajendra Kumar, disguised as an old hakim, wooing Sadhna in ‘Aarzoo’ (Khilte rahen hothon ke gulaab aur zyaada), Hasrat Jaipuri matched the beauty of the screen divas to the eternal symbol of love. Lyricist Anjaan rendered similar comparisons in ‘Phool gulab ka lakhon mein hazaron mein ek chehra janab ka’ (Biwi ho to aisi). Even now the beautiful flower continues to influence the lyricists to write songs like ‘Pankhudiyan ye gulaab ki si hain’ from the latest block buster ‘Welcome’.

Our National flower Lotus hasn’t been left out as well. Some compare it to their beloved’s soft lips (Tere honth kya hain gulabi kamal hain, Aarzoo) while some relate it to her body (Kamal ke phool jaisa badan tera chikna, Do aankhen). Champa Chameli, are few other flowers used commonly either as names like in ‘Champakali dekho’ (Ziddi) or just for their lyrical quality as in ‘Ek chameli ke mandave tale’ (Cha Cha Cha).

Apart from the regular Gulab, Kamal, Juhi, Champa and Chameli there are some flowers that are very rarely used by the lyricists. This rarity, has in some way, added to the beauty of the song. One of them being Gulzaar’s ‘Gulmohar gar tumhara naam hota’ (Devtaa). The mere mention of Gulmohar makes the song more poetic. Prasoon Joshi weaves a similar magic in ‘Sasural genda phool’ (Delhi 6) comparing a young bride’s in-laws to Marigold flower, a rare use of genda phool combined with even rarer comparison.

Though beloved’s lips are not compared to rose and young daughters are not referred to as ‘nanhi kaliyan’ anymore in Bollywood songs, with ‘Sasural genda phool’ topping the charts we hope that the valley of flowers will blossom again in our lyrics and songs.

-Vishesh Likhitkar/ Sampurn Wire

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