Hindi Songs

Matchstick Lyrics

The song “Ae mere dil kahin aur chal” sung by Talat Mahmood was filmed on Dilip Kumar for the movie “Daag” which was released in 1952.  Not to be confused with the Rajesh Khanna starrer of the same name released in 1973.   Dattaram Wadkar who started off playing the Dholak (two-headed drum) for the famed music director duo of Shankar-Jaikishen and later went on to become an accomplished music director himself,  has an interesting anecdote to narrate about this song.  

He says that at a rehearsal for the song, Shankar asked Shailender, the lyricist, if the lyrics were ready.  The latter replied that he needed some more time.  Shailender decided to go to the Hanging Gardens (in Bombay) to focus on the task of completing the lyrics and asked Dattaram to accompany him.  Dattaram was rehearsing the song with the rest of the orchestra and Shankar asked Shailender why he needed Dattaram.  Shailender replied that he would need Dattaram to hum the melody for him so his lyrics would rhyme.

At Hanging Gardens, Shailender, a smoker, went through a dozen cigarettes as he wrote lyrics on sheets of paper. Each time, he was dissatisfied and crumpled the sheet of paper and discarded it.  After asking Dattaram to hum the melody  a few times he had a eureka moment.  “I’ve got it!” he exclaimed.  However, as he got ready to write the lyrics, he found that the ink in his pen had run out.  The lyrics had come in a burst of inspiration and there was no time to be lost. As Shailender looked down, he noticed the burnt stubs of the dozen odd matchsticks that he had discarded.  He grabbed a couple and started jotting down the lyrics.  And thus the song was written in charcoal and subsequently recorded in the velvety voice of Talat Mahmood. 

There are a couple of versions of the song sung by Talat for Dilip Kumar in the movie, as well as a version by Lata Mangeshkar.  Dilip Kumar won the first “Best Actor” Filmfare award for his role in this movie.  True to his other roles, this one was also in the tragic mould.

“Ae mere dil kahin aur chal
Gham ki duniya se dil bhar gaya
Dhund le ab koi ghar naya”

It’s always hard to translate the lyrics from Hindi to English. Especially when they are written by a master lyricist like Shailendra.  If I were to take a stab at translating the words they would go:

“O my heart move on,
The sorrows of this world weigh me down,
Look anew for a new home”


The featured image has Shailendra on the left (picture source business-standard.com) and Dattaram Wadkar on the right (picture source Imprints and Images of Indian Film Music FB group)