Tum Hi Mere Mandir Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Nutan_Khandan
Nutan embodies the essence of an archetypal pativrata wife in Khandaan (1965)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to “Tum Hi Mere Mandir” from Khandaan (1965).

In light of the ongoing #MeToo movement that has now made its way to the echelons of Bollywood elite, perhaps this song was not the most timely choice. Let me be clear: I do not support the misogynistic undertones of husband-worshipping expressed in this song. I do, however, love this song for Ravi’s delicately crafted tune that has been rendered to perfection by Lata Mangeshkar in her all-time prime.

Viewed with modern eyes, Rajendra Krishan’s words can certainly be construed as misogynstic and downright cringeworthy. However, appreciating these lyrics in the context of the story depicted in Khandaan adds a bit of tempering nuance. In this film, Sunil Dutt plays a man with special needs who feels that he is not a worthy partner to his wife. To strengthen his spirit, the ever-graceful Nutan comforts him with a serenade of this lilting gem. The lyrics of “Tum Hi Mere Mandir” take on a more egalitarian meaning in this context: instead of espousing blind subservience, marital love is portrayed as a divine commitment that should not be weakened by judging our partners for their flaws and imperfections.

This iconic song took home some of the big prizes at the Filmfare Awards Ceremony of 1966. Ravi won Best Music Director, Rajendra Krishan won Best Lyricist, and Lata Mangeshkar received a well-deserved Best Singer award (her third of four total). I mean, it can’t just be my heart that skips a beat as Lata begins to hum that lullaby in the third stanza?

-Mr. ’55
Nutan_SunilDutt_Khandan
Nutan comforts her husband Sunil Dutt with this iconic love song in Khandaan (1965)

Tum Hi Mere Mandir: Lyrics and English Translation

tum hii mere mandir, tum hii merii puujaa
You are my temple, you are my prayer.
tum hii devtaa ho
You are my God.
koii merii aa.nkho.n se dekhe to samjhe
If someone were to see through my eyes, they would understand
ki tum mere kyaa ho
what you mean to me.

jidhar dekhtii huu.n, udhar tum hii tum ho
Wherever I look, I see you and only you.
na jaane magar kin khayaalo.n me.n gum ho
But I do not know what thoughts you are lost in.
mujhe dekh kar tum zaraa muskuraa do
Show me a smile when you glance at me,
nahii.n to mai.n samjhuungii mujh se khafaa ho
or else I will think that you are angry with me.

tum hii mere maathe kii bindiyaa kii jhilmil
You are the sparkle of the bindi on my forehead.
tum hii mere haatho.n ke gajaro.n kii manzil
You are the destination of the flower garlands in my hands.
mai.n huu.n ik chhotii-sii maaTii kii guDiyaa
I am just a little clay doll.
tum hii praaN mere, tum hii aatmaa ho
You are my life, you are my soul.

bahut raat biitii chalo mai.n sulaaa duu.n
It is late in the night; come, let me put you to sleep.
pavan chheDe sargam, mai.n lorii sunaa duu.n, mmmm….
The wind carries a tune, while I sing you a lullaby.
tumhe.n dekh kar yeh khayaal aa rahaa hai
When I look at you, I feel that I am watching
ki jaise farishtaa koii so rahaa ho
an angel in peaceful slumber.

tum hii mere mandir, tum hii merii puujaa
You are my temple, you are my prayer.
tum hii devtaa ho
You are my God.

Glossary

mandir: temple; puujaa: prayer; devtaa: God; gum: lost; muskuraanaa: to smile; khafaa: angry; bindiyaa: decorative mark worn in middle of forehead by Indian women; jhilmil: sparkle; gajraa: flower garland; manzil: destination; maaTii: clay; guDiyaa: doll; praaN: life; aatmaa: soul; sulaanaa: to put to sleep; pavan: breeze, wind; sargam: melody, tune; lorii: lullaby; farishtaa: angel.

Nutan_SunilDutt_Khandan
Nutan serenades Sunil Dutt on a casual bedroom jhoola in Khandaan (1965).
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Hamrahi 1963 starring Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna.png

Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna star in Hamrahi (1963).png
Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna share a fleeting side hug in a song entirely about hugging from Hamrahi (1963).

Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” is one of classic Bollywood’s sweetest romantic duets from the 1960s, an unexpectedly magical collaboration between equal parts celestial being and hep cat Mohammed Rafi and the lesser-known Mubarak Begum. The highlight of the film Hamrahi (1963), “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” is the subject of today’s English translation and lyric analysis. After hearing this song, I have zero doubts that you will firmly preach the gospel of Mohammed Rafi to your co-workers bickering over Pandora stations, and that you’ll surprise yourself at how much you actually really like a female singer whose name doesn’t rhythm with “Mata Langeshkar.”

In Hamrahi, typically squeaky clean Rajendra Kumar reinvents himself by playing a playboy who flits from one gorgeous woman to the next. When he enters into an arranged marriage with Jamuna, he is appalled to find himself falling in love with her just as she rebukes him for his tainted past. He imagines her flinging her arms out and begging him to hug her on their honeymoon (hence this moderately awkward song sequence), but alas, the man-child’s dream is shattered and Rajendra Kumar must prove his worth to Jamuna before she accepts his love.

Jamuna hugs herself in
Unable to straight-on hug the hero due to tight censorship constraints, Jamuna hugs herself in “Mujhko Apne Gale” from Hamrahi (1963)

But I didn’t come here to talk about dream sequences and the less-than-dreamy looking couple who star in it. I intend to open your mind to female playback singer Mubarak Begum (1936-2016). A meatier alternative to Lata’s nymph-like vocals, Mubarak Begum falls shy of Shamshad Begum’s red-blooded gusto and Geeta Dutt’s sassiness, but is easily saccharine enough to be cast as a heroine.

Unfortunately, that never quite happened. Like Suman Kalyanpur and Minoo Purushottam whose ambitions were relegated to the side show, Begum’s career growth was also stunted permanently by the Mangeshkar sisters. Yet when Mubarak Begum was hospitalized toward the end of her life and in dire financial straits, it was none other than Lata Mangeshkar who offered emotional and monetary support to her and her family.

Yes, you may say, but like the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, was this all too little, too late? Or could it be viewed as a generous act by a supremely talented woman who had no choice but to play hardball in a man’s world? After all, can Lata really be blamed for playing to win?

You decide, gentle reader. And as you mull it over, enjoy our English translation of lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri’s “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” below! When you get to the part where Mohammed Rafi softly croons “dil se dil ke taar milaao,” disregard the sudden palpitations in your chest. They are an expected side effect.

Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo Lyrics & English Translation:

Begum: Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo, aye mere hamraahii
Take me in your arms, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Rafi: Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo, aye mere hamraahii
Take me in your arms, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Begum: Jab tum mujhse duur rahte ho, jiiyaa meraa ghabaraataa hai
When you stay far away from me, my soul feels restless
Nii.Nd aankho.N se uD jaatii hai, chaa.Nd agan barasaataa hai
Sleep flies from my eyes, the moon rains fire
Dono.N pahluu jal jaate hai, aag mei.N aag lagaataa hai
Both of our shadows burn, fire upon fire is lit
Jaise taDape bin jal machhalii, pyaar mujhe taDapaataa hai
Like a fish out of water, your love agonizes me
Oh! Pyaar mujhe tadapaataa hai
Oh! Your love agonizes me
Is uljhan se mujhko bachaalo, aye mere hamarahi
Oh save me from this entanglement, my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Rafi: Jin raaho.N par ha.Nske chalo tum, phuul vahaa.N khil jaate hai.N
Flowers bloom upon those paths where you laugh and travel
Dam lene ko jahaa.N ruko tum, madhuushaale ban jaate hai.N
Wherever you stop to take a breath becomes filled with honey
Tumko chhuukar pavan jhakore, khushbuu lekar jaate hai
Upon touching you, the wind gusts and carries your sweet fragrance with it
Lekin hum to dekhe surat, dil thhaame rah jaate hai
Yet when I see your face, I stop to hold onto my heart
Dil thhaame rah jaate hai!
I stop to hold onto my heart!
Dil se dil ke taar milaalo, aye mere hamarahi
Let the strings of our hearts meet, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Begum: Jab tak tumko mai.N na dekhuu.N, chain mujhe kab aata hai?
When I do not see you, when would I find peace?
Khoj mei.N terii man ka pa.Nchhii duur kahii.N kho jaataa hai
In search of you, the bird of my mind becomes lost far away
Rafi: Jab tum mujhko mil jaatii ho, dard davaa ban jaata hai
When you meet me, all pain turns into medicine
Varnaa tum bin saaraa jiivan, suunaa ban kehalaataa hai
Otherwise without you, my entire life would be known as deserted forest
Sunaa ban kehalaataa hai
My life would be known as a deserted forest
Har manzil par mujhko sambhaalo, aye mere hamarahi
Take care of me at every destination, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo, aye mere hamraahii
Take me in your arms, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Glossary:

gale lagaanaa: to take in [your] arms, to hug; hamraahii: fellow traveler, partner; batalaana: to tell; pyaar: love; duur: far; jiiyaa: soul, life; ghabaraanaa: to worry, to become restless; nii.Nd: sleep; aa.Nkhe.N: eyes; uDnaa: to fly; chaa.Nd: moon; agan: fire; barsaataanaa: to rain; pahluu: image, shadow; jalnaa: to burn; aag lagaanaa: to light a fire; jaise: such as, like; taDapnaa: to yearn; jal: water; macchalii: fish; uljhan: entanglement; bachaanaa: to save; raah: path; ha.Nsnaa: to laugh; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to bloom; dam lenaa: to take a breath; ruknaa: to stop; madhuushaalaa: a place where honey or wine is found, a liquor establishment; chhuunaa: to touch, pavan: wind; jhakoraa: gust; khushbuu: sweet fragrance; surat: face; dil: heart; thhaam lena: to hold onto; taar: chord, string; chain: peace; khoj: search; man: mind; pa.Nchhii: bird; dard: pain; davaa: medicine; varnaa: otherwise; saaraa: entire; jiivan: life; suunaa: deserted; ban: forest; kehalaanaa: to call, to name; manzil: destination; sambhalnaa: to take care, to steady

Hamrahi 1963 starring Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna.png
Not afraid of mixing loud sartorial patterns, Rajendra Kumar gets super close to Jamuna in “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” from Hamrahi (1963), but fails spectacularly to make meaningful contact.

I bet you want to know if Jamuna ultimately forgives Rajendra Kumar for his unsavory prior behavior and they live happily ever after in arranged Hindu marriage bliss? Does this couple ever actually get to hug each other? Does Rajendra Kumar fire the poor soul who put him in that striped jacket??

You and I will only ever know the answers to the first two questions. The last will perhaps remain an eternal mystery.

– MRS. 55

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore clasp hands against the beautiful Darjeeling countryside in the film Aradhana (1969).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Bollywood’s favorite love duets “Kora Kaagaz Tha” from Aradhana (1969). The song is a welcome introduction to Autumn, filmed on location on the hilltops of Darjeeling where the only thing cozier than a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance is Rajesh Khanna in a red turtleneck.

Aradhana has rightfully earned widespread acclaim as a monumental Bollywood masala flick that really epitomizes India’s Golden Age of filmmaking. Songs like “Kora Kaagaz Tha” remind us how romance could once be spun from the magic in the air rather than from the dwindling lengths of the heroine’s skirt or from 6,000,000 back-up dancers bumping to an added techno beat. Very few love duets get everything right like this one does, immersing their audience in the beauty of India’s natural landscapes while allowing the Urdu and music to speak for themselves. Sharmila Tagore with her dimpled smile and Rajesh Khanna winking his legendary wink are pure, no-added-hormones or preservatives-required bliss.

I can think of a few other songs that defrost my lifeless heart similarly: “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and “Abhi Na Jao Chhod” from Hum Dono (1961) come to mind.

Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Sharmila Tagore’s spotlight-hogging wig takes no prisoners in Aradhana (1969).

Film director Shakti Samanta famously recalled that after pitching the brief summary of Aradhana to lyricist Anand Bakshi, Bakshi was inspired to write the lyrics to “Kora Kaagaz Tha” within seconds. Who would’ve guessed almost 50 years later, those same poetic ideas would be resurrected in mainstream American pop music with Taylor Swift’s popular “Blank Space“? (OK, maybe T. Swizzle has never seen Aradhana before…but I bet if she did, her eyeliner would drip onto the floor from happy tears.)

The best advice I can give you is to put on your best plaid flannel, wrap a wool throw around you and the one you love, and take a long sip of apple cider before starting this one. I have your back, trust me. As you listen, soak in the full glory of the Urdu “ghain” that punctuates Kishore Kumar’s “kaaghaz” or the blissful pop of the Urdu “qaaf,” adorning Lata Mangeshkar’s “mulaaqaat.” These are elegant linguistic subtleties that are fast disappearing from Bollywood music today. Lyrics and English translation to “Kora Kaagaz Tha” are below!

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation:

KISHORE: Hey hey (hey hey) aahaa hmm hmm (hmm hmm) aahaa haa (haa) haa haa (hmm hmm)

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa (meraa meraa)
My mind was a blank sheet of paper 
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa (teraa teraa)
Until I wrote your name upon it

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Suunaa aa.Ngan thaa jiivan meraa
My life was a lonely courtyard
Bas gayaa pyaar is mei.N teraa
Until your love resided within it

KISHORE: TuuT na jaaye sapne mai.N Dartaa huu.N
I am afraid that my dreams may shatter
Nis din sapno.N mei.N dekhaa kartaa huu.N
I keep seeing you in my dreams all day and night
Nainaa kajraa re, matvaale yeh ishaare
Oh, those kaajal-lined eyes, those intoxicating signals
Khaalii Darpan thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was an empty mirror
Rach gayaa ruup is mei.N teraa
Until your beauty manifested within it

LATA: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Chain ga.Nvaayaa mai.N ne, ni.Ndiiyaa ga.Nvaayii
I lost all peace of mind, I lost sleep
SaaDii saaDii raat jaaguu.N, duu.N mai.N duhaayii
I remain awake all night long and I pray
Kahuu.N kyaa mai.N aage? Nehaa laage, jee na laage
What should I say next? I have fallen in love, my soul is restless
Koii dushman thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was an enemy
Ban gayaa miit jaa ke teraa
Until it became your beloved

KISHORE: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

KISHORE: Baagho.N mei.N phuulo.N ke khilne se pehle
Before the flowers bloomed in the gardens
LATA: Tere mere naino.N ke milane se pehle
Before your and my eyes met
KISHORE: Kahaa.N thii yeh baate.N?
Where were words like these?
LATA: mulaaqaate.N?
Meetings like these?
KISHORE: aisii raate.N?
Night like these?
LATA: TuuTaa taaraa thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a shooting star
KISHORE: Ban gayaa chaa.Nd hoke tera
It turned into a moon when I became yours

BOTH: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Aa aa aaa aa
KISHORE: Aaa aa aaa
LATA: O hooo hoo hoo
KISHORE: O hooo hoo hoo
LATA: Hmm hmm mmm mmm
KISHORE: Hmm hmm mmm mmm

Glossary:

koraa: blank; kaaghaz: piece of paper; man: mind; likhnaa: to write; naam: name; suunaa: lonely, empty; aa.Ngan: courtyard; jiivan: life; basnaa: to reside, to settle; pyaar: love; TuuTnaa: to break; sapnaa: dream; Darnaa: to be afraid; nis-din: day and night; nainaa: eyes, kajraa: black eye-liner, re: an expression of emphasis, such as “oh!”; matvaalaa: intoxicated; ishaaraa: signal; khaalii: empty, Darpan: mirror; rachnaa: to create, to manifest; ruup: beauty; chain: peace of mind; ga.Nvaanaa: to waste, to ruin; ni.Ndiiyaa: sleep; saaDii: entire, whole; jaagnaa: to awaken; duhaaii denaa: to pray, to request; aage: next, future; nehaa: love; dushman: enemy; miit: loved one; baagh: garden; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to blossom; milnaa: to meet; baat: words; mulaaqaat: meeting; TuuTaa taaraa: shooting star; chaa.Nd: moon

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo
Why, hello, cozy red turtleneck. Rajesh Khanna (of perfect human being fame) induces a sense of lightheadedness that the mountain’s altitude could never achieve alone.

Aradhana takes a turn for the spicy a few scenes later with Kishore Kumar’s solo “Roop Tera Mastana” because, after all, you can’t make a masala film without the masala. But those who would forever rather stick to the old fashioned tree-frolicks of classic Bollywood, stay here in safe territory with me as long as the season lasts.

– Mrs. 55

Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

RajendraKumar_AshaParekh_Gharana
Rajendra Kumar serenades Asha Parekh in the Vrindavan Gardens of Mysore, India in Gharana (1961)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to “Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin” from Gharana (1961).

Penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Ravi, this song stands out as an eternal favorite in the genre of Bollywood courtship songs, which includes gems such as “Chaudavin Ka Chand Ho” and “Mere Mehboob Tujhe.” Here, Mohammed Rafi lends his silky vocals to Rajendra Kumar, a pairing that dominated the silver screen throughout the ’60s.

This song is filled with several common tropes found in Urdu poetry that are employed to describe a woman’s beauty. These include similes to the Moon, the flowers of springtime, and the intoxication of wine. Interestingly, while “black cloud” has a negative connotation in English, the phrase kaalii ghataa is used here and frequently in other Urdu-Hindi poems to admire the dark color of a woman’s tresses.

The grammar police out there may be wondering: why has the poet chosen to refer to the object of affection here using the male vocative husnvaale instead of the feminine husnvaalii? The answer to this question can be found by understanding the historical origins of the Urdu ghazal, a form that borrows heavily from the Persian tradition. Unlike Urdu-Hindi, the Persian language does not distinguish gender among pronouns/objects. In keeping with this tradition of gender neutrality, Urdu poetry often refers to female objects of affection using masculine pronouns, leaving it up to the reader to perceive gender using other contextual clues. Now you know!

-Mr. 55
RajendraKumar_AshaParekh_Gharana
Despite being a quintessential romantic here of the 1960s, Rajendra Kumar never received a Filmfare Award.

Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin: Lyrics and English Translation

husnvaale teraa javaab nahii.n
Oh, beautiful one! There is no match for you. 
koii tujh-saa nahii.n hazaaro.n me.n
Among thousands, you are peerless.

tuu hai aisii kalii jo gulshan me.n
You are the flower bud that invites
saath apne bahaar laayii ho
the new Spring to the rose garden.
tuu hai aisii kiran jo raat Dhale
You are the ray of light that, upon nightfall,
chaa.ndnii me.n nahaa ke aayii ho
arrives bathed in the moonlight. 
yeh teraa nuur ye tere jalve
Your luster and resplendence shine
jis tarah chaa.nd ho sitaaro.n me.n
like the Moon among the stars.

terii aa.nkho.n me.n aisii mastii hai
Your eyes evoke a deep intoxication,
jaise chhalke hue ho paimaane
like a goblet overflowing with wine. 
tere ho.nTho.n me.n voh khamoshii hai
You lips contain the silence of
jaise bikhre hue ho afsaane
hidden tales scattered in the wind.
terii zulfo.n kii aisii rangat hai
The dark hue of your tresses is colored
jaise kaalii ghaTaa bahaaro.n me.n
like the black clouds of springtime.

terii surat jo dekh le shaayar
If a poet were to behold your face,
apne shero.n me.n taazgii bhar le
it would fill his couplets with new passion.
ek musavviir jo tujh ko paa jaaye
If a painter were to meet you,
apne khvaabo.n me.n zindagii bhar le
it would fill the creations of his dreams with new life.
naghmagar DhuunDh le agar tujh ko
If a songster were to find you,
dard bhar le voh dil ke taaro.n me.n
his tune of melancholy would pull at the heartstrings.

husnvaale teraa javaab nahii.n
Oh, beautiful one! There is no match for you. 

Glossary

husnvaale: beautiful one; javaab: match; tujh-saa: like you; kalii: flower bud; gulshan: rose garden; chaa.ndnii: moonlight; nahaanaa: to bathe; nuur: light, luster; jalvaa: passion, resplendence; chaa.nd: moon; sitaaraa: star; mastii: intoxication; chhalke hue: spilled, overflowing; paimaanaa: goblet; khamoshii: silence; bikhre hue: scattered; afsaanaa: tale; zulfe.n: tresses; rangat: color; ghaTaa: cloud; surat: face; shaayar: poet; sher: couplet; taazgii: freshness, passion; musavviir: painter; naghmagar: songster; dil ke taar: heartstrings.

RajendraKumar_AshaParekh_Gharana
Rajendra Kumar and Asha Parekh star in their first film together in Gharana (1961)

 

Ek Radha Ek Meera Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mandakini
Mandakini made her controversial debut as the heroine in Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi (1985).

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to ek radhaa ek miiraa from Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi (1985), the last film directed by the legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi served as the debut for actress Mandakini, who was featured in two controversial scenes that raised eyebrows at the time of the film’s release. In true Raj Kapoor fashion, one of these scenes depicts a scantily clad Mandakini under a waterfall in a transparent white sari. Given all of the recent controversy over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat (2018), it makes you wonder what Raj Kapoor had to do to get such a scene approved by the Censor Board?

In this film, the River Ganges serves as a metaphor for the corruption of Indian society, as it flows from the pure heights of the Gangotri Glacier down to the devastatingly polluted banks of Calcutta. When the film’s heroine (naturally named Ganga) makes her journey from Gangotri to Calcutta, her honor is symbolically tainted at every step – by a woman who leads her to a brothel, a priest who attempts to ritually rape her, and a blind man who coerces her into life as a courtesan. In parallel to the pollution of the River Ganges, Ganga’s innocence is sullied by behavior that reflects the darkest facets of human nature.

The film’s soundtrack composed by Ravindra Jain features several hits by Lata Mangeshkar and Suresh Wadkar, but the Raga Kirwani-based ek radhaa ek miiraa is arguably the most memorable song of the group.  This song highlights a common trope employed in the realm of Hindi films: the mythological juxtaposition of Lord Krishna’s consort Radha against 16th-century mystic poet Meera Bai. Although both women are known for their utmost devotion to Lord Krishna, the lyrics of this song beautifully capture the nuances that set their feelings apart.

One more song that depicts the Radha versus Meera juxtaposition is another Ravindra Jain favorite shyam terii bansii pukare radhaa naam sung by Arati Mukherjee in Geet Gata Chal (1975).

At the end of the day, we’re dying to know one thing: are you #TeamMeera or #TeamRadha? Tell us in the comments!

-Mr. ’55
Mandakini
Born Yasmeen Joseph, she was given the stage name Mandakini by Raj Kapoor for her  film debut.

Ek Radha Ek Meera: Lyrics and English Translation

ik raadhaa ik miiraa, dono.n ne shyaam ko chaahaa
Radha and Meera both loved Krishna.
antar kyaa dono.n kii chaaha me.n bolo?
What was the difference in their love?
ik prem divaanii, ik daras diivaanii
One desired his love, the other desired his glance.

raadhaa ne madhuban me.n DhuunDaa
Radha searched for Krishna in the honey gardens,
miiraa ne man me.n paayaa
while Meera found him in her heart.
raadhaa jise kho baiThii voh govind
When Radha lost Krishna, 
miira haath bik aaya
he fell into Meera’s hands. 
ik murlii ik paayal, ik paglii ik ghaayal
One flute and an anklet, one madwoman and a wounded lover.
antar kyaa dono.n kii priit me.n bolo?
What was the difference in their love?
ik suurat lubhaanii, ik muurat lubhaanii
One desired his beautiful face, the other admired his idol.

miira ke prabhuu girdhar naagar, raadhaa ke manmohan
Krishna was Meera’s Lord and Radha’s beloved consort

sa ga ma pa dha, pa dha ma pa re ma ga
ga re sa ni dha re
re ga ma, ga ma pa, ma pa dha, pa dha sa, ni sa re, aa…

miira ke prabhuu girdhar naagar, raadhaa ke manmohan
Krishna was Meera’s Lord and Radha’s beloved consort
raadhaa nit shringaar kare aur miiraa ban gayii jogan
While Radha adorned herself with ornaments, Meera became an ascetic.  
ik raanii ik daasii, dono harii prem kii pyaasii
One queen and one maid, both longed for Krishna’s love.
antar kyaa dono.n kii triptii me.n bolo?
What was the difference in their fulfillment?
ik jiit na maane, ik haar na maane
One could not accept victory, the other could not accept defeat.

ik raadhaa ik miiraa dono.n ne shyaam ko chaahaa
Radha and Meera both loved Krishna.

Glossary:

raadhaa: Lord Krishna’s mythological consort; miiraa: 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Lord Krishna; shyaam: dark-skinned one, a name for Lord Krishna; antar: difference; daras: glimpse, glance; madhuban: honey garden; khonaa: to lose; govind: a name for Lord Krishna; murlii: flute; paayal: anklet; paglii: madwoman, ghaayal: wounded; suurat: face; lubhaanaa: to desire, admire; muurat: idol; prabhuu: lord; girdhar: one who lifts the mountain, a name for Krishna; manmohan: one who pleases the mind, a name for Lord Krishna; nit: always; shringaar karnaa: to adorn, often with ornaments; jogan: female ascetic; raanii: queen; daasii: maid, slave; harii: a name of Lord Krishna; triptii: fulfillment, satisfaction; jiit: victory; haar: defeat, loss.

Rajiv Kapoor
Rajiv Kapoor, Raj Kapoor’s youngest son, stars as the hero who falls in love with Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi (1985).