All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances…
(William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act II Scene VII)
Long before Indeevar did an almost literal translation of the Bard’s words in a song in Kasauti, Qamar Jalalabadi captured the essence of it in these lines:
सारी दुनिया एक नाटक है हम नाचन को आये
आशा और निराशा देखो क्या क्या नाच नचाये
फिर एक दिन जीवन का पर्दा चुपके से गिर जाए
These lines are taken from a song written by Qamar Jalalabadi for the film Laxmi (1957). This ‘dance’ song explores the various hues that the word ‘naach’ can take. As the song begins, it appears that people are being exhorted to dance and enjoy life – a simple and straightforward meaning of the word ‘naach’.
नाचो नाचो नाचो ऐ दुनियावालो दुनिया नाच रही
छुन छुन छुन छुन पायल बाज रही
As we move into the first stanza, Shakespeare is invoked, and ‘naach’ implies ‘playing one’s part’, only to move to the eternal ‘chakra’ of hope and hopelessness.
The poet moves on, and ‘naach’ becomes a synonym for lust – lust for money, lust for carnal pleasures and lust for power…
कोई लक्ष्मी के पीछे नाचे पैसे की छन छन पर
कोई स्त्री के पीछे नाचे मतवाले जोबन पर
कोई शक्ति पर, कोई भक्ति पर नाचत है जीवन भर
The co-existence of ‘shakti’ and ‘bhakti’ in the last line is important. It is not merely the usage of two rhyming words, but a crucial transition of the meaning of ‘naach’ from lust to devotion and spirituality, as the song segues into the next stanza.
तुलसीदास उत्तर में नाचे, गौर प्रभु पूरब में
नरसी मेहता पश्चिम नाचे, तुकाराम दक्षिण में
मध्य हिन्द में मीरा नाचे, मोहन की गलियन में
In a span of a few lines, the poet has successfully captured the multivalence of one word from worldliness to spirituality, making this song rise above a stock song and dance routine.
Avinash Vyas’s composition and Asha Bhosle’s voice further add to the charm of this song.