Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Two Bharat Ratnas come together: Pt. Ravi Shankar and Lata Mangeshkar

Today, we present a guest blog entry by one of our favorite readers Pothik Chatterjee:

“The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world.”

–Lata Mangeshkar, on the passing of Ravi Shankar

Legendary Indian classical musician and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, passed away recently on December 11, 2012 at the age of 92 near his home in Encinitas, California. Shankar, a winner of the prestigious Bharat Ratna award, was a proponent of  “world music” before the term became fashionable in the field. He is most famous in the West for his collaborations with violin virtuouso Yehudi Menuhin, minimalist composer Phillip Glass, and Beatles singer George Harrison. Shankar’s legacy is a testament to the fact that truly great music can overcome cultural barriers and achieve appreciation on a universal scale.

In 2006, I received the opportunity to hear Pandit-ji and his daughter Anoushka Shankar perform live in Washington D.C.  It was a sublime musical experience that I cherish fondly to this day. Even as a child, I have memories of watching Satyajit Ray’s film, Pather Panchali (1955)  and being moved to tears by the touching story of a Bengali family in rural India. The soundtrack that Shankar composed for Ray’s film and the entire Apu Trilogy was so powerful and emotionally stirring that it could be regarded as one of the film’s major characters in itself. Shankar also composed the soundtrack for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, earning him a coveted Oscar nomination.

Pt. Ravi Shankar teaches George Harrison on the sitar.

It is less well-known that that Pandit-ji also composed a handful of soundtracks in the arena of Bollywood cinema, including Anuradha (1960), Godaan (1963) and Meera (1979). As a tribute to Ravi Shankar’s contributions to Hindi film music, we provide the lyrics and English translation for jaane kaise sapno.n me.n from Anuradha (1960). Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, this film is based on a short story by Sachin Bhowmick that was originally inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary. The film tells the story of  Anuradha (played by Leela Naidu), who goes against her father’s wishes by marrying an idealistic doctor (Balraj Sahni). Anuradha sacrifices her singing career to move to the village with her husband, and the film depicts her ensuing feelings of marginalization and entrapment.

The soundtrack to this film is especially memorable for Ravi Shankar’s collaboration with Lata Mangeshkar. Lata navigates effortlessly through the difficult classical compositions of this soundtrack, matching Shankar’s musical genius every step of the way. In this particular song, Shankar crafts a pleasant melody based on raga Tilak Shyam, a hybrid creation of Pandit-ji himself that fuses the evening ragas Tilak Kamod and Shyam Kalyan. Appropriately enough, the picturization here depicts the beautiful and expressive Leela Naidu walking with Balraj Sahni through a grove of coconut trees in the evening with the sun setting behind them.  As a joyous and exuberant raga, Tilak Shyam is often performed at a fast tempo, evoking a sense of romantic delirium that is also reflected in this song’s lyrics penned by Shailendra.

Leela Naidu makes her debut as a Bollywood heroine in Anuradha (1960)

Even diehard fans of vintage Hindi cinema may not recognize the name Leela Naidu. Born to an Indian father and Irish-French mother, Naidu received an elite education in Switzerland and began her training as an actress under the renowned French director Jean Renoir. In 1954, she was named Miss India and made Vogue magazine’s top ten list of most beautiful women in the world. In 1960, Naidu made her Bollywood debut in Anuradha. However, despite her beauty and competence as an actress, she failed to achieve success in the Bollywood industry. There are some interesting parallels between Shankar and Naidu’s experiences in Hindi cinema: the Western exposure and upbringing of both artists alienated them as outsiders in some ways, and this may have prevented them from reaching their full potential in the industry. Perhaps they could only be fully appreciated by the classes, and not the masses of Bollywood fans.

On the other hand, Ravi Shankar did command immense respect from the music directors and singers in the Hindi film world. Such was his aura that when music director Ravi (of Chaudhvin ka Chand fame) entered the film industry, he happily gave up the last part of his name out of reverence. Initially, he was called Ravi Shankar but he did not want to be confused with Pandit-ji.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with an interesting tidbit of controversy about Ravi Shankar and Lata Mangeshkar that originated from their work together during the recordings for Anuradha. Because Lata had failed to show up to one of her recording sessions for the this film without prior notice, tensions flared between these two legendary artists. Years later, Ravi Shankar returned to mainstream Hindi cinema in 1979 to compose the music of Gulzar’s directorial venture Meera. In place of Bollywood’s reigning playback queen, Vani Jairam sang all the compositions on this soundtrack, and she even received a Filmfare Award for her work! Clearly, it doesn’t always pay to be a diva…

-Pothik Chatterjee (@pothik on Twitter)

Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein: Lyrics and Translation

jaane kaise sapno.n me.n kho gayii.n a.nkhiiyaa.n?
Who knows in which dreams my eyes have become lost?
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have fallen asleep.

ajab diivaanii bhayii, mose a.njaanii bhayii
My eyes have become wondrously mad and unfamiliar to me.
pal me.n parayii dekho ho gayii.n a.nkhiiyaa.n
in a moment, my own eyes have turned into strangers.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

barsii yah kaisii dhaaraa, kaa.npe tan-man saaraa
Such a torrent has rained upon me that my entire body and soul is quivering.
ra.ng se a.ng bhigo gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
Along with my body, my eyes have become soaked in color.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

man ujiyaaraa chhaayaa, jag ujiyaaraa chhayaa
When my mind was illuminated, the world lit up.
jag-mag diip sanjo gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
The glimmering candles in my eyes have become enshrined.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

koii man bhaa gayaa, jaaduu vah chalaa gayaa
Someone has pleased my mind; he has cast his magic upon me.
man ke do motiyaa.n piro gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
The two pearls of my mind have been joined together as my eyes.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

jaane kaise sapno.n me.n kho gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n?
Who knows in which dreams my eyes have become lost?

Glossary:

sapnaa: dream; kho jaanaa: to become lost; a.nkhiiyaa.n: eyes; morii: my, an archaic form of merii; jaagii: awake; so jaanaa: to go to sleep; ajab: strange, wondrous; diivaanaa: mad, crazy; mose: from/to me, an archaic form of mujhse; anjaanii: unknown, unfamiliar; paraayaa: stranger, foreign; barasnaa: to rain; dhaaraa: torrent, tide; kaa.npnaa: to quiver; tan-man: body and soul; a.ng: body; bhigo jaanaa: to become soaked; ujiyaaraa chhanaa: to be illuminated, to light up; jag-mag: glimmering; diip: candle; sanjo jaanaa: to become enshrined; man bhaanaa: to please the mind; jaaduu chalaanaa: to cast magic; motii: pearl; piro jaanaa: to be joined together.

Leela Naidu experiences her first love with Balraj Sahni in Anuradha (1960)

Leela Naidu experiences her first love with Balraj Sahni in Anuradha (1960)

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3 thoughts on “Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

  1. This is Such a beautiful, melodious song. And Leela Naidu is sublimely, elegantly beautiful as always. Hadn’t realised the sitar was played by Pandit-ji. The sitar holds a crucial symbolic role in this beautiful movie.
    Also, the other films mentioned – Anuradha (1960), Godaan and Meera (1979) have timeless, seamless music/soundtrack. I should really pay more attention to the entire team, especially for the all these songs/music that are my favorite :-p

    Thanks, Pothik, for this beautiful eulogy. It was an eye-opener too.

  2. Thanks Muskaan for your kind, lovely comments. Glad you liked the eulogy and appreciated Pandit Ravi Shankar’s composition and sitar-playing in the song. As you mentioned, his other soundtracks are beautiful too. I love how Shankar used a lot of folk inspirations from North India for his Godaan soundtrack. I can also see why he would be drawn to composing for Meera, given his strong spiritual inclination, and his belief that music could be a way for connecting to the divine and eternal.

  3. I’d prefer Meera of 1945 in which MS Shubhalakshmy better known as Subbulakshmi acted as Meera & sang all the songs in her own voice. Unforgettable. This was a favourite of our former PMs, all the 3 from the Nehru family.

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