Posts Tagged ‘Seasons’


KalidasaKalidasa, said to be born in the 4th century AD, is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language.  Had he been alive today, he would have been a very busy man, possibly assisted by a huge team of research assistants, dishing out scripts, dialogues and lyrics for a vast majority of our dream merchants in Bollywood.

His emphasis on capturing the innate beauty of nature might not have enthused many of our present day producers and directors. However, his evocative portrayal of female beauty and the passionate depiction of the affairs of the heart would have surely had the Bollywood movie makers in enthrall.

In his ‘Ritusamhara’ (Medley of Seasons), Kalidasa describes six seasons in his inimitable style: Summer (Greeshma), Monsoon (Varsha), Autumn (Sharad/Patjhad), Pre-winter (Hemant), Winter (Shishir) and Spring (Vasanta). Each one is dealt with evocative descriptions of the elements of…

View original post 586 more words

Read Full Post »


After a long spell of a harsh summer, the monsoon ushers in a season of joy and relief. The aroma of the scorched earth touched by the first torrent of rains is intoxicating. Birds and beasts are equally delighted. The whole nature changes its texture.

This is indeed the season where Bollywood outdoes itself. Farmers rejoice. Those who are lonely go about dancing in the rain, hoping that a beloved would be discovered soon enough. Lissome heroines prance about in their fully drenched attires, performing dance steps which could put an Olympic gymnast to shame. When it gets pitch dark, lightning helps young ladies to locate their lovers.

Courtship reaches a higher level of intensity. Hormones run amok. Sounds of thunder make the heroine cling closer to the hero. Those who have lost their beloveds to the harsh workings of Fate fondly recollect their lady-love in this season. Perched on…

View original post 875 more words

Read Full Post »


With the advent of spring, the fancy of our young ones would lightly turn to thoughts of love. Mother Nature would wholly approve. In the upper reaches, snow would have just started melting. Plants and shrubs would have started springing back to life. Green shoots would have started becoming visible. Flowers would be in full bloom. Birds and bees would be going about their daily chores. Sun would be shining through, albeit a little gently. A pleasant breeze laced with the sweet fragrance of flowers would be caressing our physical frames. Streams would be flowing with their gentle murmur. God may or not be in Heaven but a clear sky would be providing a perfect backdrop for the couples who happen to be in love.

In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa mentions that during this season, women are more enchanting. Sandal paste and other substances are often used to contain the spring…

View original post 1,035 more words

Read Full Post »

With the advent of spring, the fancy of our young ones would lightly turn to thoughts of love. Mother Nature would wholly approve. In the upper reaches, snow would have just started melting. Plants and shrubs would have started springing back to life. Green shoots would have started becoming visible. Flowers would be in full bloom. Birds and bees would be going about their daily chores. Sun would be shining through, albeit a little gently. A pleasant breeze laced with the sweet fragrance of flowers would be caressing our physical frames. Streams would be flowing with their gentle murmur. God may or not be in Heaven but a clear sky would be providing a perfect backdrop for the couples who happen to be in love.

In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa mentions that during this season, women are more enchanting. Sandal paste and other substances are often used to contain the spring fever. The earth shines like a well decked bride in a red bridal costume. Those who happen to be lonely suffer the most in this pitiless season, as they happen to be missing the company of their beloved.

Bollywood celebrates the spring season with much ado and fervour. Dashing heroes, on their way to a new destination, would be soaking in the grandeur of nature. Sprightly heroines would be becoming aware of their own flawless beauty, often comparing it to different elements of nature. 

Madhumati (1958, Bimal Roy)

Shagird (1967, Samir Ganguly) 

Elsewhere, lissome heroines would be getting wooed by ardent heroes who would be praising their charms no end. Lovers would be teasing each other, running around trees and shrubs. Couples would be busy romancing in lush green valleys and gardens.

Suraj (1966, T Prakash Rao)

Buddha Mil Gaya (1971, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee (1971, Mohan Kumar)

Here are some couplets from the Sixth Canto of Ritusamhara, and some Bollywood songs which these remind us of.

“Oh, dear, vernal trees are full with flowers, waters filled with lotuses, breezes loaded with their fragrances blowing agreeably, thereby both the eventides and daytimes are pleasant with those fragrant breezes, whereby the women are with concupiscence, and thus everything is highly pleasing now. [6-2]

Mamta (1966, Asit Sen)

Aradhana  (1969 Shakti Samanta)

Abhinetri (1970, Subodh Mukherjee)

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998, Karan Johar)

“The impassioned male koel, black singing bird, gladdened on savouring the invigorative essence of just grown mango flowers is now kissing his love passionately; so also this honeybee, abiding in lotuses savouring their nectar, is passionately mating with his love to her complaisance, sequestered in the petals of lotuses. [6-14]

Jewel Thief (1967, Vijay Anand)

Ghar (1978, Manik Chatterjee)

Chashme Baddoor (1981, Sai Paranjpye)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

“Passion is surging out in male kokila -s, singing birds, as they obtained jollity in this springtime on chewing mango flowers, thus they are singing inexplicably; honeybees, when drunk with the flowery nectar of those flowers, they are also droning hums murmuringly as their drinking song; with these hums and drones the hearts of new brides are flustered in a trice, even if they are in the service of their in-laws, where certain docility and prudishness are in demand.  [6-21]

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955, V Shantaram)

Guide (1965, Vijay Anand)

Chupke Chupke (1975, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! (1994, Sooraj Barjatya)

“These days the pleasure gardens are brightened up with whitely jasmines similar to the toothy grins of sprightly brides, and hence they are heart-stealing even for saints or sages that have neutralised their materialistic indulgences long back; as such, these gardens must have stolen the hearts of youths that are already tainted with seasonal sensualities. [6-23]

Teesri Manzil (1966, Vijay Anand)

Bobby (1973, Raj Kapoor)

Mausam (1975, Gulzar)

Chitchor (1976, Basu Chatterjee)


“On seeing a flowered mango tree, the frame of mind of any itinerant is overly woebegone, for he is dissociated with his ladylove; thus he shuts his eyes unable to behold that ladylike mango tree with her hairdo overlaid with flowers; obstructs his nose, for the fragrance of this ladylike mango tree is akin to that of his ladylove; thus he goes into a state of woefulness, and even he bewails and shrieks loudly… thus pitiless is this season, vasanta , spring, for singletons. [6-26]

Saranga (1961, Dhirubhai Desai)

Mere Mehboob (1963, H S Rawail)

Mehbooba (1976, Shakti Samanta)

Filhaal (2002, Meghna Gulzar)


“Delightful is this flowery month with the racketing of lusty honeybees and kokila-s around; with flowered mango trees that fruit sweet mangos; with karniakra flowers; each of which is becoming as though an acute of arrow of Love god, that ecstasies and even cleaves the hearts of self-respectful women, who cannot explicitly explain their pangs for love, nor can suffer them, implicitly… [6-27]

Akhri Khat (1966, Chetan Anand)

Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam (1962, Abrar Alvi)

Anand (1971, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Khushboo (1975, Gulzar)


Just before the spring season ends, Holi, the delightful festival of colours, comes about and heralds the onset of summer. Kalidasa does not speak of this, but Bollywood loses no opportunity of showcasing this festival. Here are some of the ways in which it depicts the playful splash of colours.

Mother India (1957, Mehboob Khan)

Silsila (1981, Yash Chopra)

Darr (1993, Yash Chopra)

Baghban (2003, Ravi Chopra)


There is no doubt as to the evocative manner in which the poet has captured the affairs of the heart across all seasons. The manner in which he has captured the beauty of nature in all of his works, let alone in Ritusamhara, is exemplary.

Our dream merchants also follow the romantic affairs of love birds with equal alacrity. However, over the past few decades, the importance attached to nature has declined. Just as the social mores have changed, our lyricists have tried to keep pace with the commercial demands placed on them. The role of poetry has regrettably declined, leading to soulless and inane songs which have limited shelf life.

Hopefully, this is part of a cyclical phenomenon, just like all our seasons happen to be. A renaissance of sorts and a meaningful evolution is what one looks forward to.

Post Script: 

Throughout this series of posts on Kalidasa, movie buffs could be excused for lamenting the overbearing presence of old songs and a relative absence of recent songs. This has possibly come about because of the manner in which the presentation techniques of our directors and cinematographers have evolved over the years.

In the older songs, the camera used to be relatively stable and the whole song presented against the backdrop of a single season. At the most, the dresses worn by the main protagonists would keep changing from one scene/stanza to the next.

In recent times, with crisper editing and a far more dynamic camera, the hero and the heroine often get captured in different seasons and at different locations in a single song, thereby making the task of identifying a song with a single season rather challenging.

[Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao: http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_6.htm]


(Related Posts:







Read Full Post »

In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa uses the season of winter to give his readers a sneak peek into the inner chambers of houses where couples are eager to get reunited. Given his flair for romance, he does not disappoint. He touches upon the use of intoxicants and the amorous intentions of women of age. He speaks of the agony of the air trapped between intimate body parts of a couple who are in a tight embrace. He talks of the dressing behavior of women in the mornings after they have experienced intense love-making during the preceding night.

Bollywood is not far behind in giving its viewers a sneak peek into the private moments of a couple. In fact, with each passing year, the envelope only gets pushed further and bedroom scenes become bolder and steamier. But to do so, our dream merchants do not necessarily depend upon the winter season alone. For them, any season is good enough for passionate love-making. In fact, they capitalize on the winter season by capturing the scintillating outdoors on celluloid. A vast snow-covered landscape forms the perfect backdrop for a scantily clad heroine and a well-groomed hero to profess their love for each other.

Here are some of the couplets from Canto Five of Ritusamhara, followed by few songs which come to one’s mind.


“Sandal-paste cool like moonbeams, building tops pleasant with immaculate moonshine, or sleet chilled dense breezes…  presently none of them is delightful for the people. [5-3]

Aman (1967, Mohan Kumar)

Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973, Manmohan Desai)

Phir Kab Milogi (1974, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Roja (1992, Mani Ratnam)


“Taking betel leaves and their enclosing material like lime, areca-nut parings, and other fragrant material for chewing, besides handling body creams and tassels of flowers, for it is cool to wear them on, women folk with their lotus-like faces that are fragranced with delightful recreational drinks are enthusiastically entering their bedchambers that are desirably fragranced with the fumigation of aloe vera resin. [5-5]

Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964, V Shantaram)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

Parineeta (2005, Pradeep Sarkar)


“On entering bedchambers seen are the irritant husbands irritating for the arrival of their wives; but these husbands were at fault once for which they were daunted repeatedly earlier, for which they are now wavery as hesitation ciphered their hearts; on looking at such husbands who are now longing for lovemaking, the lustful women overlooking their faults are joining them, lest time and opportunity fritters away… thus this season unites couples, though they are at loggerheads… [5-6]

Suhagan (1964, K S Gopalakrishnan)

Anubhav (1971, Basu Bhattacharya)

Mausam (1975, Gulzar)

Darr (1993, Yash Chopra)


“With their discoid faces just cleansed with water looking more like golden lotuses, on which wide and medially whitish eyes whose edges touch the edges of ears, and with just cleansed hair dangling and clasping their shoulders, those women of age that are snugly in the heart of their houses in these days, appear to be many a personified prosperity, goddess Lakshmis, amidst her golden lotuses. [5-13]

An Evening in Paris (1967, Shakti Samanta)

Saudagar (1973, Sudhendu Roy)

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995, Aditya Chopra)

Fanaa (2006, Kunal Kohli)


“In this season, new sugar-candies and their modified sweetmeats will be abundant, new rice relishable, new sugar-cane juice delightful, disport of lovemaking intensified for the hauteur of Love God occasions anew, but this season alone will be the cause for scorching the hearts of those that are devoid of their loved ones; however, let this winter season be always bring propitiousness to you all.  [5-16]

Junglee (1961, Subodh Mukherjee)

Sangam (1964, Raj Kapoor)

Maachis (1996, Gulzar)

Veer-Zaara (2004, Yash Chopra)


Here is a medley of Bollywood winter songs entitled ‘Bollywood’s Winter Wonderland’ which some of you may like.

Writers and poets enjoy much greater degrees of freedom in expression when they decide to depict romantic affairs. Their vision can touch intimate spaces where even sun rays cannot aspire to reach.

Kalidasa is often referred to as the supreme poet of the senses and of aesthetic beauty, and rightly so.

Over the past few decades, Bollywood has willy-nilly evolved into a money-making arena, where style often rules over substance, where glamour invariably overrides content, where a loud orchestra often dominates inane lyrics and where raw displays of an erotic nature mostly take precedence over a depiction of refined sensuousness. The ‘success’ of a movie is now measured in terms of money and not in terms of either its content or its artistic orientation. Once in a while, one does come across some sensible and exceptional movies, but these remain mere exceptions.

One hopes that Bollywood would soon come out of this phase of its thematic and lyrical winter and enter into an exciting new spring of fresh ideas, richer content, soulful lyrics and soothing music.


(Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao:http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_5.htm)


(Related Posts:






Read Full Post »

In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa paints a highly romantic picture of the pre-winter season. Given the lower temperatures, metallic embellishments get avoided by the delicately nurtured. The fabric chosen for clothing undergoes a subtle change. The pastes and lotions to be applied to the body are different. Liquors come into play. Passions get aroused by the sheer promise of the winter season which is yet to arrive.

When it comes to capturing different shades of passion and putting across suggestions of love-making, Bollywood is never found wanting. Snow-covered mountains, gently murmuring rivulets, enchanting lakes, flying birds and lotuses in bloom form the perfect backdrop for romantic songs. Heroes can be seen aggressively pursuing lissome heroines clad in figure-enhancing dresses.

Here are some of the couplets from Canto Four of Ritusamhara and the kind of songs which could possibly do some justice to the poet’s evocative portrayal of nature and romance.

“Delightful are trees and fields with the outgrowth of new tender-leaves and crops; Lodhra trees are with their blossomy flowers, crops of rice are completely ripened, but now lotuses are on their surcease by far, for the dewdrops are falling. Hence, this is the time of pre-winter that drew nigh. [4-1]

Hamraaz (1967, B R Chopra)

Jewel Thief (1967, Vijay Anand)

Silsila (1981, Yash Chopra)

Veer-Zaara (2004, Yash Chopra)

“Unbearable is the touch of metallic circlets on wrists and bicep-lets on upper-arms of the couple of arms of vivacious women, or the touch of new silk cloths on the discoid of their waistline, or fine fabric on their robust breasts. [4-4]

Madhumati (1958, Bimal Roy)

Bees Saal Baad (1962, Biren Nag)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

“Overspread with abundant rice crops and ornamented with herds of she-deer, and delightfully reverberated by the ruddy geese, with their calls and counter-calls, the complacent corridors of confines are captivating hearts. [4-8]

Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (1969, Dulal Guha)

Aradhana (1969, Shakti Samanta)

Prem Pujari (1970, Dev Anand)

Saathiya (2002, Shaad Ali)


“Now the lakes are adorned with fully blossomed black-lotuses, and elaborated with swan-like water fowls in their excitement, and sheeted with considerably coldish waters that are depurated, thus these lakes are stealing the hearts of men, for men look up to them as the visages of women that are with black-lotus-like hairdo, with swan like eyes, and whose bodies are cold, wanting a warm hug. [4-9]

Hum Dono (1961, Amarjeet, Vijay Anand)

Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962, Raj Khosla)

 Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963, Biren Nag, Vijay Anand)

Who Kaun Thi? (1964, Raj Khosla)

Sangam (1964, Raj Kapoor)

Kabhie Kabhie (1976, Yash Chopra)


“Oh, dear, the Priyangu plants that give fragrant seeds are ripened by the snow caused coldness, and they are frequently wobbled by the snowy winds, and they now appear like the fragrant and frisky women gone into paleness and wobbliness by their dissociation from their lovers. [4-10]

Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965, Suraj Prakash)

Prem Pujari (1970, Dev Anand)

Aandhi (1975, Gulzar)

“Let this season hemanta, dew fall, pleasant with many an attribute, a stealer of the hearts of women, fields of villages abundantly overspread with rice-crop, sky overlaid with garlands of ruddy geese flights, and which always is a heart-pleasing season, endow comfort to all of you passionate people. [4-18]

Waqt (1965, Yash Chopra)

Dil To Pagal Hai (1997, Yash Chopra)

Saathiya (2002, Shaad Ali)

Veer Zara (2004, Yash Chopra)

Lakshya (2004, Farhan Akhtar)


During this season, the sky is a clear blue, the water is sparkling clean and the trees are lush green. Flowers are in full bloom and fields are about to deliver a bountiful harvest to humanity. Snow has just started reminding us that winter is not too far away.

Kalidasa captures the pre-winter season in all its glory, interspersed with some details of passionate love-making. Bollywood strives hard to catch up with the poet and, quite understandably, leaves much to the imagination of the viewers. Poets obviously enjoy certain degrees of freedom which our dream merchants lack, though they often make up for it by bringing in lewd lyrics and suggestive body gyrations in what are euphemistically referred to as ‘item numbers.’

[Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao:http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_4.htm]


(Related Posts:






Read Full Post »

The departure of the rainy season leaves us with a weather which is hot and humid. The sky is a clean blue. The sun tends to get merciless yet again but is unable to catch up with the ferocity it displays during summers. Rivers and lakes are full to the brim, but are relatively quieter.

In ‘Ritusamhara’, Kalidasa captures this season as evocatively as he does all others. All the natural features of autumn get compared to either some activity or some ornament of the delicately nurtured. Immaculate moonshine is often said to be veiled by clouds. Twinkling stars get alluded to as jewellery of the autumnal night. Affairs of the heart invariably take centre stage.

Bollywood does not refrain from showing us the beauty of this season in all its glory while the hero and the heroine profess their love for each other. But there is a difference. Whereas the attention of the poet is invariably on nature, ornamentation and courtship, Bollywood goes a step further. It uses the season of autumn to also depict hearts which are steeped in a sense of melancholy. The spectacle of dry yellow leaves getting crushed beneath the feet of separated lovers singing soulful songs is common place. The hero and the heroine suffer the pangs of loneliness, laying the blame at the door of a harsh Fate. Their faces are invariably downcast. A sense of despondency prevails.

Consider these couplets from Canto Three of this work of the poet and some of the songs which spring to one’s mind.

“Presently the rivers are journeying slowly with a strutting of prideful lovely girls, for the rising and falling fish in the rivers seem to be the delightful sets of strings at the waistlines of rivers, like the sets of girdle-strings on the waists of girls, and the ranges of white waterfowls on riverbanks seem to be the whitish pearly pendants of rivers, like the pearly pendants around the bosoms of prideful girls, more so the broad sand-dunes at edges of those rivers appear to be the roundish fundaments of those rivers like that of those girls. [3-3]

Baiju Bawra (1952, Vijay Bhatt)

Mujhe Jeene Do (1963, Moni Bhattacharjee)

Kashmir Ki Kali (1964, Shakti Samanta)

Safar (1970, Asit Sen)


“A girl burgeons as a damsel day by day, so the autumnal night is lengthening its night-time day by day, and as a damsel wears shiny jewellery on her nubility, this damsel, called the autumnal night, is wearing clusters of twinkling stars as her jewellery, as the veil of a damsel will be unveiled frequently presenting her face, these veils called clouds on the sky scape are now being unveiled to present the moon like face of this autumnal damsel, and a damsel starts to wear raiment with unblemished whiteness at her pubescence, so also, this autumnal damsel’s wraparound is the immaculate moonshine. [2-7]

Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960, Mohammed Sadiq)

Ganga Jamuna (1961, Nitin Bose)

Bandini (1963, Bimal Roy)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

“These days the moon is an eye-festival and heart-stealing with his profuse moonbeams, and he is the real gladdener for he is the sprinkler of fresh and coolant dewdrops through those moonbeams, but nowadays he alone is becoming an inflamer, for he is burning the bodies of the women, who are already felled by the arrow of Love-god, which arrow is daubed with the venom, which venom is nothing but their own lusting after their itinerant husbands, that are now separated from them. [3-9]

Jhumroo (1961, Shankar Mukherjee)

Kohinoor (1960, S U Sunny)

Maya (1961, D D Kashyap)


“The fragrance of flowers of white-flower trees is heart-stealing, and nowadays birds are not scorched by the sun, thus they are there in fine fettle, and they are calling each other reciprocally, thus those birds and their callings are heart-stealing, and the eyes of she-deer that are abiding all over there are like black-lotuses, thus with all them the woodlands and their fringes beyond ken, are ecstasizing the hearts of men. [3-14]

Anupama (1966, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Black Mail (1973, Vijay Anand)

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006, Karan Johar)

“These days the vault of heaven smiles with the vast of earth in their forms of exalted splendour. On the earth the lakes are bejewelled with emeraldine waters; similar is the sky with somewhat emeraldine hue. Such water is overspread with white-lotuses, similar is the cloudless sky overlaid with stars. These waters are overprotective to kingly swans, similarly the vault of cloudless heaven is holding out the moon, the king of the nights. [3-21]

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955, V Shantaram)

Rajkumar (1964, K Shankar)

Aandhi (1975, Gulzar)


Autumnal blues

Bollywood has a marked preference for using the autumn season as a backdrop for melancholic songs of separation and for depicting the yearning for the beloved. Even though Kalidasa refrains from painting this aspect of the season, it may be worth our while to look at some songs which fall in this category.

Dulaari (1949, A R Kardar)

Awaara (1951, Raj Kapoor)

Baiju Bawra (1952, Vijay Bhatt)

Chaudvin Ka Chaand (1960, Mohammed Sadiq)

Baaton Baaton Mein (1979, Basu Chatterjee)


When it comes to capturing the beauty of nature and describing the affairs of the heart, Kalidasa reigns supreme. His knowledge of the geography as well as the topography of India is even more commendable, given the fact that he lived in times when maps, modern navigation tools, internet and global positioning systems did not exist.

[Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao: http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_3.htm]


(Related Posts:






Read Full Post »

Older Posts »