The “Bhramar” or “Bhawara” (“Bee”) in Bollywood

Pandit-Raj Jagannath, the great Sanskrut Scholar (CE 1650- a contemporary of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal), cautioned the flower “O flower, think not that the bhramar (bee) that circles around you constantly and makes sweet sounds to you is your friend. The gentle wind that carries your fragrance in all directions without any expectations from you is your true friend”.*

The King of Pandits was of course correct. The spirit of friendship is “ask not what your friend can do for you, ask what you can do for your friend”.

But a “Rasik” is different from a friend.  When a young bud blooms in to a flower, the bee circles the flower incessantly making sweet sounds to it. The bee’s appreciation of the young flower’s “ras” or essence, is what captured romantic poets.

In Bollywood, the bhramar or bhawara in Hindi, came to symbolize a male over courting his young female love. Below are 5 hits that used this theme.

Suvarna Sundari  (1957)

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)

Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963)

Aradhana (1969)

Mission Kashmir (2000)

Editor’s Note: * For those who want the Sanskrut original –
“Ayi dal dar vinda-syanda-manam-marandam,
tav kim api lihanto manju gunjantu bhrungah;
dishi dish nirapekshas tavkinan vi-vrun-wan,
parimal-maya-manyo bandhavo gandha-vahaha”

Professor Sheldon Pollock of Columbia University writes of Pandit-Raj Jagannath
“..we know of no later poet who circumambulated the quarters of Sanskrit’s cosmopolitan space…no later poet produced literary works that achieved the wide diffusion of his Rasa-Ganga-Dhar ( literary analysis masterpiece) and of his collection of poems, Bhamini-Vilas (the (amorous) play of the beautiful woman)..”Literary Cultures in History – University of California Press.

Another great work of Jagannath is “Ganga-Lahari” about the River Ganga. In the late 1950s, Vidhyadhar Gokhale wrote a beautiful Marathi play titled “Pandit-Raj Jagannath”. In the great tradition of Marathi Natya-Sangeet (“Theater Music”), the play featured 4-5 semi-classical compositions that varied from the devotional “Jaya Gange Bhagirathi” (Salutations to the Great Ganga, the daughter of BhagiRath , the classical “Sawan Ghan Garje” and the poetically romantic “Madana-chi Manjiri” (the flower-like daughter of cupid). Jaye Gange Bhagirathi , a forever classic, was the first record I bought when my parents gave me a turntable as a gift as a child.

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