Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

9 Jan
SD

Sunil Dutt sings about the pain of heartbreak at the piano in Gumraah (1963)

In my opinion, I think one of the best parts about being a fan of old Hindi music is that it gives you a fun opportunity to brush up on your Urdu-Hindi language skills. From time to time, Mrs. 55 and I have decided that we will share some of our favorite song lyrics here and provide a glossary and translation so that everyone can follow along!

Our first song is “chalo ek baar phir se,” which is an absolute gem from the 1963 film Gumraah directed by B.R. Chopra. Arguably the best song of his career, this composition was rendered by Mahendra Kapoor, an excellent singer who ultimately carved a niche for himself in the industry after emerging from his initial fame as a Mohammed Rafi clone. The real star here, though, is Sahir Ludhianvi, who was truly one of the most gifted poets that has ever written for Hindi cinema. Known for his cynicism and disillusionment with society, Sahir Ludhianvi wrote lyrics that reflect a great deal of emotional complexity and maturity. In contrast to his contemporaries, Ludhianvi chose to remain unhindered by the constraints set by the prototypical Bollywood love song; many of his songs are refreshing to hear for their expression of biting political satire, heartfelt grief, or outspoken anger.

Sahir Ludhianvi, poet (1921-1980)

In “chalo ek baar phir se” Ludhianvi writes about a situation in which unfortunate societal circumstances prevent two lovers from fulfilling their romantic desires and building a life together. Supposedly, Ludhianvi was inspired to write this song when he encountered an ex-lover of his at a party with her new husband. The encounter must have been incredibly painful for him because these lyrics are devoid of the typical romanticizations of pyar and muhabbat that are often found in songs from this period. Instead of praising love as an ideal, the protagonist of the song suggests that he and his lover should return to becoming strangers because the emotional separation will make it easier for both of them to heal from their pain. The last stanza of the song is especially powerful: the protagonist posits that it is counter-productive to invest energy into doomed romantic relationships when they have become a burden. Ludhianvi’s words here suggest that it is sometimes in everyone’s best interests to put an early end to the love stories that simply cannot have happy conclusions. His eloquence and nuanced use of language to express the pain of unfulfilled love is sublime, and this type of  poetic talent is sorely missed in the Bollywood industry today.  For those of you who haven’t heard this song yet, it’s definitely worth a listen. If you follow along with the glossary below, I’m sure you’ll learn a couple new words that will impress ALL your Urdu-speaking friends (yes, all 2 of them).

SD

Sunil Dutt masks his internal anguish with a coy smile in Gumraah (1963)

Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Lyrics and Translation:

chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabii ban jaaye.n ham dono.n
Come, let us become strangers once again.

na mai.n tumse koii ummiid rakhuu.n dilnavaazii kii
I shall no longer maintain hopes of compassion from you
na tum merii taraf dekho ghalat andaaz nazaro.n se
Nor shall you gaze at me with your deceptive glances. 
na mere dil ki dhaDkan laDkhaDaaye merii baato.n me.n
My heart shall no longer tremble when I speak, 
na zaahir ho tumhaari kashm-kash ka raaz nazaro.n se
Nor shall your glances reveal the secret of your torment.

tumhe.n bhii koii uljhan roktii hai pesh-qadmii se
Complications prevent you from advancing further,
mujhe bhii log kahte hai.n ki yeh jalve paraaye hai.n
I too am told that I wear disguises. 
mere hamraah bhi rusvaayiaa.n hai.n mere maazii kii
The disgraces of my past are now my companions,
tumhaare saath bhii guzrii huii raato.n ke saaye hai.n
while the shadows of bygone nights are with you too.

taarruf rog ho jaaye to usko bhuulnaa bahtar
Should knowing one another become a disease, then it is best to forget it. 
taalluq
bojh ban jaaye to usko toDnaa achhaa
Should a relationship become a burden, then it is best to end it. 
voh afsaana jise anjaam tak laanaa na ho mumkin
For that tale which cannot culminate in a conclusion,
use ek khuubsuurat moD de kar chhoDna achhaa
it is best to give it a beautiful turn and leave it be.

chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabii ban jaaye.n ham dono.n
Come, let us become strangers once again. 

Glossary:

ajnabii: stranger; ummiid: hope; dilnavaazii: compassion; ghalat andaaz nazar: deceptive glance; laDkhaDaanaa: to tremble; zaahir: noticeable; kashm-kash: torment, struggle; uljhan: complication; pesh-qadmii karna: to advance; paraayaa jalva: disguise; hamraah: companion; rusvaa: disgrace; maazii: the past; taarruf: mutual acquaintance, knowledge of one another; rog: disease, afflication; taalluq: relationship; afsaanaa: tale; anjaam: conclusion; mumkin: possible; khuubsuurat: beautiful; moD; turn. 

SD

The expressions on the faces of Sunil Dutt, Mala Sinha, and Ashok Kumar  reflect the pervading tension of this situation from Gumraah (1963).

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10 Responses to “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi”

  1. fatimanajeeb January 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM #

    Commendable!
    God bless.

  2. silverambrosia June 2, 2012 at 2:58 AM #

    What a lovely song..you’re quite right, it certainly is a gem!

    • silverambrosia June 2, 2012 at 5:25 AM #

      Oh god…this song is soo beautiful… (had never heard of it prior to seeing this post today)… I’ve already heard it many times in the last few hours….this is what I do with music, or films or books I love..I go over them soooop many times that they cease to have any effect on me (or minimal effect as compared to when I first heard/saw it)…how I inadvertently ruin things I love…now I have to stop listening to this song! :(

  3. compulsive scribe December 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM #

    Reblogged this on Compulsive Scribe and commented:
    this is a commendable effort to translate old Hindustani film songs, which were compelling for the profundity of their lyrics primarily but also for their melody and rendition

  4. Shalini February 7, 2013 at 12:06 AM #

    One of my most favorite songs … both for the poetry, and the music!!

  5. shenlone December 20, 2013 at 7:06 AM #

    the lyrics are superb. Pure human feelings expressed in beautiful vocab. After things go wrong for whatever reason, you just wish you could somehow become strangers once again and undo those mistakes or misunderstandings. Beautiful.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] less prolific. While Sahir churned out gem after gem of Urdu shayari in films such as Taj Mahal and Gumraah, his output in pure Hindi is limited to a handful of films. Sahir’s first foray into the [...]

  2. Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi « Mr. & Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! - June 30, 2012

    [...] In any case, this song is a pure delight to listen to because of Sahir’s exquisite use of Urdu poetry combined with Mahendra Kapoor’s silky vocals. For a seemingly simple song, some of the Urdu here is quite advanced–do you know what the words parastish, taqalluf, and baghaavat mean? If not, find out by reading the glossary and translation that we’ve provided below! To learn more about another classic song produced by the Mahendra Kapoor-Sahir-Ravi combo, see our previous post on “chalo ek baar phir se” here. [...]

  3. Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi | Mr. & Mrs. 55 - Classic Bollywood Revisited! - February 27, 2013

    [...] film. Thematically, the song is reminiscent of Ludhianvi’s earlier tragic poems “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se” and “Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari” which both carry the heavy burden of deception. [...]

  4. Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi | Mr. & Mrs. 55 - Classic Bollywood Revisited! - November 9, 2013

    […] talent and freely demonstrated his ability with Sahir Ludhianvi lyrics from the tragic “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se” to the romantic “Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se” also from Humraaz. The evergreen hit […]

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