This poignant song penned by Gulzar in his typical metaphoric style has been composed by Ilaiyaraaja, a veteran music director from the South Indian film industry. Often addressed as Isaignani (musical genius), Ilaiyaraaja is a composer, an instrumentalist, conductor, singer, and a songwriter, who has influenced a whole generation of music directors from India. He is one of the earliest musicians to come up with a stylistic symbiosis of Western and Indian musical codes to create a dynamic set of sounds. This film marks his debut in Hindi language cinema.

The song sung beautifully by Yesudas (a singing legend from South India) is really a lullaby, expressing a range of conflicting emotions in a very subtle way. Sadma (Trauma), a remake of Tamil language original, Moondram Pirai, is a story of a young man, Somu, who rescues a young woman from a house of prostitution, on realizing that her mental age is no more than that of a seven year old. Trauma from a recent accident caused her to face temporary amnesia and separates her from her family. Somu falls deeply in love with her but cannot express it in any other way but by nurturing her like his child. This complicated relationship is reflected in the words of this song, aptly using ‘dream’ as a metaphor for agonizing desires that are both forbidden and innocent. The film marked triumphant performances by its lead pair, Kamal Haasan and Sridevi making the film a cult. The concluding scene (with the same song in the background) of the film is specially remembered for its deep pathos, performed masterfully by Kamal Haasan. Do find the clip at the end of the post.

Song Credits
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singers: K. J. Yesudasas
Music: Ilaiyaraaja

Movie Credits
Directed by: Balu Mahendra
Starring:  Sridevi, Kamal Haasan, Gulshan Grover and, Silk Smitha
Produced by: Raj N. Sippy, Romu N. Sippy
Release: 8 July 1983

Original Lyrics-Surmai  Akhiyon Mein

Surmayee ankhiyon main
Nanha munna ek sapna de jaa re
Nindiya ke udate paakhi re
Ankhiyon main aaja saathi re
Raa ree raa rum o raaree rum
Raa ree raa rum o raaree rum

Sachcha koi sapna deja
Mujhko koi apana deja
Anajana sa, magar kuch pehchana sa
Halka phulka shabanami
Resham se bhi reshmi

Raat ke rath par jaane vaale
Neend ka ras barsaane vaale
Itna kar de, ki meri aankhen bhar de
Ankhon main basta rahe
Sapna ye hastaa rahe

Surmayee ankhiyon main
Nanha munna ek sapana de jaa re
Nindiya ke udate paakhi re
Ankhiyon maon aaja saathi re

Translation of Surmai  Akhiyon Mein by bollywoodtarjuma

Leave a sweet little dream,
in the eyes with kohl-seams.
O dear bird with sleep-wings,
Perch on the eyelids and sing.

Grant me a dream that’s true,
Send me a soul to hold close,
A bit unknown yet, like someone I knew,
Silken soft like morning dew,
Light as the feather that flew.

The one who rides the chariots of night,
Showering nectar of sleep, at every single sight.
Do me a favour,
please pool into my eyes.
Ensure this dream is staying,
ever innocent, always smiling.

Leave a sweet little dream,
in the eyes with kohl-seams.
O dear bird with sleep-wings,
Perch on the eyelids and sing.

Concluding scene of Sadma (1983)

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