Next we will discuss the lyrics and translation of the nostalgic Kishore Kumar song “Jani O Jani.” However, this post is going to be a little different since something a little different happened to me this month. My wonderful boyfriend of 2 years proposed to me! We met when he was recruited by a friend to be an extra in the 1950s Bollywood film tribute I was shooting for my thesis at Harvard. The deal was essentially sealed when I realized he had heard more than half the songs on my 60s Mohammed Rafi playlist. Two years later, he planned a surprise engagement proposal straight from a Bollywood dream sequence! I was reminded immensely of an old Kishore Kumar gem, “Jaani O Jaani” from Raja Jani (1972). There is something both nostalgic and hopeful about this song that I love.
Raja Jani (1972) is actually an incredibly fun film–basically the 70s Bollywood version of the American feature-length cartoon Anastasia (1997). It’s colorful, upbeat, and filled with exciting drama at its predictable best. The story is written by the highly-talented Nabendu Ghosh, who also wrote more somber-toned philosophical works like Bandini (1963) and Teesri Kasam (1967).
We don’t often translate Kishore Kumar songs on this site because of my obsession with Mohammed Rafi and Mr. 55’s obsession with Lata (surprise surprise—Mr. 55 and I are just friends!). But this song is special. It’s picturized on Dharmendra driving through the Delhi streets and evokes that sense of travel and beginning a journey found in many of Kishore other great hits (eg. “Musafir Hoo.N Yaaro.N”, “O Maaji Re”, etc.). Very appropriate for the occasion of starting a new life together (oh, give me a break).
Lyrics and Translation:
Jani O jani
Darling, oh darling
Jaldi se aaja miljaa ke biit jaaye yeh jawaanii
Come meet me quickly because our youth slips away
Bigda naseeba banne ke liye
To correct my misguided fate
Ek ishaaraa tere kaafi hai
Just one signal from you is enough
Aashiq ke jiine marne ke liye
To make the choice between life and death for a lover
Itna sahaara tera kafi hai
That is all the support that is needed
Tujh pe lutadoonga mitadoonga mai.N yeh zindagaani
For you, I would throw away and wipe out this life of mine
Jaani O jaani jaani O jaani
Darling, oh darling
Aankhon mei.N teri tasveer liye
Carrying your picture in my eyes
DhuunDh raha hoo.N tujhe raste mei.N
I search for you along the way
Teri galii mei.N teraa diiwaanaa
In your street, that man who is crazy in love with you
Bech rahaa hai dil saste mei.N
Is selling his heart to you cheaply
Karle yeh sauda leja deja raani dil ki nishani
Accept this bargain and let us exchange, my queen, tokens of our hearts
Jaani O jaani
Darling, oh darling
jaani: darling, sweetheart; jaldi se: quickly; jawaani: youth; naseeba: fate; ishaaraa: signal; aashiq: lover; sahaaraa: support; zindagaani: life; tasveer: picture; sauda: bargain, exchange
I know, I know, this is obnoxious, but I really had to put a picture of my engagement ring here. Is the teal box in the background a subtle enough clue that it’s from Tiffany’s?! Was the complimentary teal background over-doing it?
OK, OK, I’m done now.
Can I say congratulations on all fronts and perhaps you should rethink your love of Kishore Kumar songs. Not only was this an excellant one but it seems to have done wonderous things for you! Best of luck to you and the mystery Mr. 55.
Congratulations and all the very best!
Rafi Sahab is my favorite too! Know most of his songs by heart!
Such a feel happy post this one!
This is such a romantic post! Your ring is gorgeous! The song Jani O Jani befits the moment. Everything is glorious!
Thanks everyone! It was a special post for us. More importantly, I’m glad to hear there are some fellow Rafi and Kishore groupies out there!
ok, ok. I totally loved how you went almost down on your knees, came up, down and up- so Cutely confused as to the correct behavior under the circumstances. Many congratulations. Not my favorite song by any means. In fact I fail to find anything remarkable about the lyrics, but I am guessing it is going to be your anthem for life! 🙂
It was 300 in the night ( early morning!) when I woke up restless, for the previous day had been immensely stressful at work. With no mood to do anything I surfed the TV with no involvement in it. Suddenly out of blue the song ‘Jani o jani’ flashed in my memory. I had to listen to it at that moment and found it on You Tube. Then I was wondering if Mr. and Mrs. 55 have any write up on it? And yes, they had!! The comments were, as always incredible and stirred an already emotional heart. I had an insight into the background of Mrs. 55, and enjoyed the description of the discovery of a life partner in the inimitable style. Yes, the song was perfect for the occasion. And thank you for the wonderful posts. Keep adding. Your fan as always.