For our next song, we discuss the lyrics and English translation of Waqt Ne Kiya, an evergreen song by Geeta Dutt from Kaaghaz Ke Phool (1957). Although nearly everyone has grown up watching movies, few people have an understanding of what the production of a film entails. I don’t mean just the technical aspects of constructing a shot—I refer to that way of life, to the tinsel-lined world of glamour and infamy, of triumph and ruin, and of the battle for self-respect that challenges a director. Guru Dutt’s final film, Kaaghaz Ke Phool (1957), is an intimate and haunting tragedy that shows the audience just that—a glimpse into the vanished studio era of 1950s Bollywood.
Following in the mesmerizing footsteps of Sunset Boulevard (1950) and The Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel, 1930), Kaaghaz Ke Phool reveals another side to the world of show business through the rise and spiraling downfall of a great director. It examines the price of the soul of an artist, and is a harsh critique of contemporary values (even including the social condemnation of divorce!). In an ironic twist, the film was a flop at the box office when first released, leading to events in Guru Dutt’s personal life that mirrored the story of his own film. Eerily autobiographical, the film has now achieved a cult status in the history of Indian cinema.
The famous song “Waqt Ne Kiya” comes at a time in the film when the hero and the love of his life both come to an unspoken understanding that they must let each other go. As for the picturization, it is a cinematographer’s dream. Look at the lighting in these shots—at the rich blacks of the shadows, and how the dust from the overhead spotlights is captured floating ethereally in the air. The camera dollies in slowly to each character as they stare at one another and at their unfulfilled dreams enacting before them in the spotlight. There is actually very little movement by the actors—the real player is the camera itself, gracefully gliding through the empty set like a spectre of their own shattered hopes.
Enjoy the lyrics and full English translation of the masterpiece “Waqt Ne Kiya” below:
Waqt Ne Kiya Lyrics and Translation:
Waqt ne kiya kya hasee.N sitam
What a beautiful tragedy time has wrought
Tum rahe na tum
You are no longer you
Hum rahe na ham
I am no longer me
Beqaraar dil is tarha mile
Our restless hearts met in such a way
Jis tarha kabhi hum judaa na the
As though we were never apart
Tum bhi kho gaye
You became lost
Hum bhi kho gaye
I was lost too
Ek raah par chalke do qadam
As we walked a few footsteps on the same path
Waqt ne kiya…
Jaaye.Nge kahaa.N sujhta nahii.N
We cannot see where we are going
Chal paDe magar raastaa nahii.N
We set forward despite there being no path
Kya talaash hai
For what do we search?
Kuch pataa nahii.N
I do not know
Bun rahe hai.N dil khaab dam ba-dam
With every breath, my heart grows another dream
Waqt ne kiya…
Waqt= time, sitam= tragedy, torture; beqaraar= restless; tarha=manner judaa= apart; qadam= footsteps, talaash= search; dam ba-dam= with every breath
For anyone interested in gossip, the song is sung by Geeta Dutt—wife of none other than director and actor Guru Dutt himself. A major star on her own right, Geeta shot to fame at the age of sixteen when she wowed audiences with her uniquely rich and emotional voice (becoming S.D. Burman’s favorite!) But she too later suffered a personal tragedy from the well-known affair between her husband and his favorite actress, Waheeda Rehman—who actually lip-syncs “Waqt Ne Kiya” and plays the role of “the other woman” in the film! As I said, talk about life mimicking art. For more on Guru Dutt’s films, check out our earlier post on Pyaasa!