Watch Urdunama If You Think It’s ‘Rashk-e-Kamar’
Camera: Puneet Bhatia and Mukul Bhandari
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Actors: Badsha Ray and Zijah Sherwani
Rashk-e-Qamar denotes someone who possesses the qualities of the Moon.
The song is actually a ghazal of seven ashaar (couplets) which was originally written by the Urdu poet Fana Bulandshahri and performed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1988.
The qawwali is about intense attraction, which the poet describes using the symbolism of the Moon, alcohol and his beloved’s impact on him. The beats, the rhythm and the poetry together conjure an image of a man, who can’t think of anything but how beautiful Rashk-e-qamar is: a very special person in his life who, according to him, is envied by the Moon.
“Mere Rashk-e-Qamar tune pehli nazar, jab nazar se milai maza aa gaya
Barq si gir gai kaam hi kar gai, aag aise lagai maza aa gaya...”
Barq means lightening. The poet is talking about the burning desire and passion his beloved, who is the envy of the Moon, has alight in him.
Rashk-e-Qamar could also be found in Urdu poet Daagh Dehlvi’s poetry. He wrote:
“Tevar tere ai Rashk-e-Qamar dekh rahe hain. Hum shaam se aasaar-e-sahar dekh rahe hain.”
Tevar means the expression of the eyes. Asaar means sign, and sahar is dawn, morning. Asaar-e-sehar yaani ‘sign of a dawn’.
The poet is smitten and yearning for the possibility of a union with his beloved, who is more beautiful than the Moon. How the beloved looks at and behaves towards the poet, makes him wait for a sign of dawn, in this case, a union with the beloved.
Another interpretation of the sher can be that the beloved might leave and the poet has been looking, in fear, for a sign of the dawn, which will take away the Moon-like beloved from his life.