Jhumka Gira Re Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Sadhana flirts with a percussionist as she dances in the street in Mera Saaya (1966)

Our next translation comes from Raj Khosla’s evergreen thriller Mera Saaya (1967) starring Sadhana and Sunil Dutt. A memorable film with an even more memorable soundtrack composed by Madan Mohan and penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan! The two Lata solos “tuu jahaa.n jahaa.n chalegaa” and “naino.n me.n badraa chhaaye” get all the critical acclaim, but can you guess which song has achieved the most popularity among fans over the years?

That’s right! It’s “jhumkaa giraa re” sung by Asha Bhosle, our favorite queen of nakhra. Although she has been known to be prone to excess, Asha sings this folk-inspired number with just the right amount of sassy charm to get everyone excited without overdoing it. The text of this song reads like a story in which the female protagonist describes a common motif found in Hindustani poetry: a woman’s ornaments, and specifically her earrings in this case. For other songs in a similar vein, listen to “milaa hai kisii kaa jhumkaa” from Parakh (1960),  “terii bindiyaa re” from Abhimaan (1973), “dhuu.nDo dhuu.nDo re sajna, more kaan kaa baalaa” from Ganga Jamuna (1961), and another song with the same title as this number sung by Shamshad Begum in Dekhoji (1947).  Moreover, Mera Saaya is a remake of the Marathi film Pathlag (1964), so there is a similar scene with an accompanying song that shares a resemblance with “jhumkaa giraa re.”

Even a folk number can’t stop Sadhana from showing off her characteristic fringe!

The city of Bareilly gets referenced occasionally in various Bollywood songs (especially in relation to jhumkaas!), so I was interested in learning more about its historical and cultural background. Bareilly is a prominent city situated in Uttar Pradesh, and according to Wikipedia:

“Bareilly is famous for its zari work (a type of fabric decoration), dari (a common type of carpet use in most of the Indian houses), jhumkaa (an intricate type of earrings), and surmaa (eyeliner).”

A montage of sights and attractions in Bareilly, India.

Who knew? After taking in our small cultural lesson for the day, make sure you listen to this classic fok dance gem and follow along with our glossary/translation below. You might expect a light-hearted song like this to be very easy to understand, but there is definitely some interesting vocabulary to be learned here! Enjoy!

-Mr. 55

P.S: Don’t you just love it when the random male interrupts with the “phir kyaa huaa?” each time? It’s my favorite part!

Jhumka Gira Re: Lyrics and Translation

jhumkaa giraa re barelii ke bazaar me.n
My earring fell in a market in Bareilly.
jhumkaa giraa, jhumkaa giraa, jhumkaa giraa
My earring fell, my earring fell, my earring fell.
haay, haay, haay!
Oh, oh, oh!

saiyaa.n aaye nai.n jhukaaye ghar me.n chorii-chorii
My beloved came into the house furtively with a lowered gaze.
bole “jhumkaa mai.n pahnaa duu.n, aaja baa.nkii chhorii
He said: “Come, dear, let me help you put on your earrings.”
mai.n bolii “naa naa naa baabaa, naa kar joraajorii
I said “No, no, no, dear. Please don’t be so aggressive.”
laakh chhuDaayaa, saiyaa.n ne kalaiyaa naahi.n chhoDii
I tried to release myself several times, but my beloved did not let go my wrist.
haay! kalaiyaa nahii.n chhoDii
Oh! He did not let go of my wrist.
[Male: phir kyaa huaa? ]
Then, what happened?
phir? phir jhumkaa giraa re ham dono.n kii Takraar me.n
Then? Then, my earring fell during our ensuing quarrel.
jhumkaa giraa re
My earring fell. 

ghar kii chhat pe mai.n khaDii, galii me.n dilbar jaanii
I stood on my house’s rooftop terrace while my beloved stood in the alley below.
ha.nske bole “niiche aa, ab niiche aa diivaanii
He smiled and said: “Come down, oh crazy one,
yaa anguuThii phe.nk apnii yaa chhallaa de nishaanii”
or throw me your ring as a sign of our love.”
ghar ki chhat pe khaDe-khaDe mai.n huii sharam se paanii
Standing on the roof, I became filled with shame.
mai.n huii sharam se paanii
I became filled with shame.
[Male: phir kyaa huaa?]
Then, what happened?
daiyaa! phir jhumkaa giraa re ham dono.n ke is pyaar me.n
Oh lord! Then, my earring fell in the midst of our love. 
jhumkaa gira re
My earring fell.

bagiyaa me.n balmaa ne merii laT uljhii suljhaayii
In the garden, my beloved tied and unraveled my braids.
thaamke aa.nchal bole “gorii, tu mere man bhaayii
Holding the end of my sari, he said: “Fair one, you have pleased my mind.”
aa.nkh jhukaake kuchh naa bolii, dhiire se muskaayii
With a lowered gaze, I said nothing; I smiled quietly.
saiyaa.n ne jab chheDaa mujh ko ho gauii haathaapaayii
When my beloved teased me, a scuffle ensued.
haay! ho gayii haathaapayii
Oh! A scuffle ensued.
[Male: phir kyaa huaa?]
Then, what happened?
phir jhumkaa giraa re, mai.n kyaa boluu.n bekaar me.n?
Then, my earring fell.  What shall I say in vain? 
jhumkaa giraa re
My earring fell.

jhumkaa giraa re barelii ke bazaar me.n
My earring fell in a market in Bareilly.
jhumkaa giraa, jhumkaa giraa, jhumkaa giraa
My earring fell, my earring fell, my earring fell.
haay, haay, haay!
Oh, oh, oh!


jhumkaa: earring; Bareilly: a city in Uttar Pradesh, India; saiyaa.n: beloved; nain jhukaanaa: to lower one’s gaze; chorii-chorii: quietly, furtively; pahnaa denaa: to help someone wear; baa.nkii chhorii: dear; joraajorii: aggression; chhuDaanaa: to release, disengage; kalaiyaa: wrist; Takraar: quarrel; chhat: rooftop; galii: alley; dilbar jaanii: beloved; anguuThii: ring; chhalla: ring;  nishaanii: sign; sharam se paanii honaa: to become filled with shame; daiyaa: oh lord, an exclamation; bagiyaa: garden; balmaa: beloved; laT uljhaana: to tie braids of hair; laT suljhaanaa: to unravel braids of hair; thaamnaa: to hold, embrace; gorii: fair girl; man bhaanaa: to please the mind; dhiire se: quietly, slowly; chheDnaa: to tease; haathaapaayii: scuffle; bekaar me.n: in vain.

An audience of male creepers can’t help but stare at Sadhana’s moves in Mera Saaya (1966)

17 thoughts on “Jhumka Gira Re Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

  1. You both are incredible.I really enjoyed your post on ‘jhumka gira re’.I did’nt know that ‘Mera Saya’was a remake of a marathi film. I loved the translation of ‘jhumk’ song.Thanks

  2. I’m totally addicted to your blogs! As for ‘jhumka gira re’ — as much as I love Sadhana, I can’t help but notice that she’s no dancer. Her excruciatingly rapid change of face expressions draws your attention away from it, though. A fun observation: Sadhana repeats this look (sans jhumkas, of course) three years later in ‘yeh parda hata do’ from Ek Phool Do Mali.

  3. The lyrics of these folk songs retain thier own charm…and your translation has really enhanced my appreciation of this song…none of liveliness of the lyrics is lost in translation. There are so many fabulous songs which are concentrated on women’s adornments…who can help loving ‘teri bindya re’? ‘Dundhu dhundu re sajna mora kaan ka baala’ is also a very nice song. ‘Thade rahiyo’ also lingers at length on the various ‘sola singhar’ applied for ones lover. One song which I think has fabulous and very fun lyrics is ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ from the film ‘Kismat’. There is also a reference to Barreili in it:

    “ayi ho kahan se gori ankho mein pyar leke
    Where have you come from darling, with love in your eyes?
    chadti jawaani ki yeh pehli bahaar leke
    In this first flush of youth
    dilli sheher ka sara Mina Bazaar leke
    bringing the whole of Delhi’s Mina Bazaar with you
    Jhumka Bareilly wala
    The earings from Barreilly
    Kaano mein aisa daala Jhumke e leli meri jaan
    placed in your ears so, will take my life
    Hai re main tere qurbaan
    I would give my life for you”

    All of the lyrics of this song are fab…and the song itself is fab..however I do wish they didn’t have to picturise it the way they did…seems like a bit of a waste.

    • Thanks for your compliments! Female ornament songs hold a special place in Bollywood cinema, and “kajra muhabbat vaalaa” is an excellent example. Kismat, as a film, is entirely mediocre, which is why the picturization is not up to par. However, the lyrics are quite fun indeed — we may do a whole translation in the future!

  4. Good choice !
    I looove the Parakh song, also picturised on Sadhana who looks so young, fresh & beautiful! Especially these words – “thande thande hare hare neem taley” – transport one right among the breezy shade of a neem with its unique whiff redolent in the breeze.

    Another playful song using the ornament motif : “janu janu re kahe khanke hai tohra kangna” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk0xuD6KSdo
    Madhubala & Meenu Mumtaz at their naughty best

    And on a more sober note, considering the import of this scene in relation to the story – “piya aiso jiya mein” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoCZJqHeJMk
    The entire act of grooming is so enticingly captured in visuals even if not specifically spelt out in words ….

  5. I just noticed a minor mistake.
    “” yaa anguuThii phe.nk apnii achhallaa de nishaanii “”
    The lyrics go like this :
    Yaa anguuThii phe.nk apnii yaa chhallaa de nishaanii
    Either throw me your ring or (give me) your ring as a sign of love
    Obviously, it seems redundant in translation, but fits in well with the meter & sentiments

    achhalla denaa: to toss [[ you probably mistook this for “uchhalla denaa” ]]
    The word here is actually “chhallaa” which is another term for ring.
    And phe.nknaa means to throw/toss.

    • I actually had your interpretation written first, but changed it because I had difficulty hearing the ‘y’ of the second yaa. But if you also hear yaa, then I’ll update the post to reflect this change. We really appreciate your careful reading of our posts!

      • Maybe I can be your resident proof-reader ??? LOL

        But seriously, I always learn something new & nice from your posts. Keep them coming 🙂

  6. It is wonderful how the lyrics convey that the losing of the earring is actually the heroine losing her heart/innocence to her lover. Sadhana makes a joke of the affair in her nonchalant attitude style of singing and dance but it is serious stuff to the villagers listening attentively.

  7. My Hindi is, shall we say, rather ‘kaacha paaka’. I was at a loss for understanding the flowery Urdu poetry in old Bollywood. Most DVDs offer an abhorrent, if not offensive, subtitled translation. Then you guys came along with a translation that does the filmmaker justice, and include a vocab lesson too! I LOVE this blog! 🙂 I hope you’ll find time to revive something for Diwali! Perhaps Ratan or Paigham?

  8. Pingback: What is Solah Singaar? « Mr. & Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited!

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