Parda Hai Parda Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

RishiKapoor_AmarAkbarAnthony
Rishi Kapoor stars as a Muslim qawwali singer in Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

Rishi Raj Kapoor died at the age of 67 on April 30th, 2020 after a two-year struggle with acute myeloid leukemia. He is best known for his work as a leading hero in over one hundred Bollywood films including his debut role in Bobby (1973), Karz (1980), Saagar (1985), and Chandni (1989) among many others.

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to pardaah hai pardaah from Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), which remains one of the most cherished performances by Bollywood’s original chocolate boy.

Directed by Manmohan Desai, Amar Akbar Anthony is an ode to secularism and religious tolerance that tells the story of of three brothers separated during childhood. Amar, played by Vinod Khanna, is the eldest Hindu-born brother who grows up to become a policeman. Anthony, played by Amitabh Bachchan, is the middle brother who becomes a practicing Christian and works as a liquor dealer. Finally, Akbar played by Rishi Kapoor, is the youngest brother who goes on to become a Muslim qawwali singer. Following a host of complicated turns and twists, the three brothers are reunited many years later after discovering their mutual roots.

In this film, Rishi Kapoor gives one of his most memorable performances in the beloved qawwalipardaah hai pardaah.” Sung during his late-70’s comeback, Mohammad Rafi deserves equal praise for his expressive vocals under the direction of music composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Although the remainder of the soundtrack’s lyrics are standard Bollywood masala fare, Anand Bakshi’s lyrics for this number are exquisitely penned surrounding the common man-unveils-woman trope (see parde me.n rahne do, yeh jo chilman hai). With the use of words like shabaab, shahazaadii, and mahjabii.n, you might want to brush up on your Urdu vocabulary with our glossary provided below.

Need another movie to add to your quarantine watch list? Pay your tribute to the departed Mr. Kapoor and look no further than Amar Akbar Anthony – the full movie can be found here!

-Mr. ’55

R.I.P. Rishi Kapoor (1952 – 2020)

Rishi Kapoor
Rishi Kapoor woos his real-life wife Neetu Singh in this animated qawwali performance

Parda Hai Parda: Lyrics and English Translation 

MR: shabaab pe mai.n zaraa-sii sharaab phai.nkuu.ngaa
I shall pour some wine over this youth.
kisii hasii.n kii taraf yeh gulaab phai.nkuu.ngaa
I shall throw this rose toward a beauty.

pardaah hai pardaah, pardaah hai pardaah
There is a veil, there is a veil.
parde ke piichhe pardaanashii.n hai
There is a woman behind the veil.
pardaanashii.n ko bepardaah na kar duu.n to
If I do not unveil the woman behind the veil...
Akbar meraa naam nahii.n hai!
then my name is not Akbar!

mai.n dekhtaa huu.n jidhar, log bhii udhar dekhe.n
Wherever I look, people look in the same direction.
kahaa.n Thahartii hai jaa kar merii nazar dekhe.n
They look at where my gaze stops.

mere khvaabo.n kii shahazaadii, mai.n huu.n Akbar ilaahabaadii
Oh, the princess of my dreams! I am Akbar of Allahabad.
mai.n shaayar huu.n hasiino.n kaa, mai.n aashiq mahjabiino.n kaa
I am a poet of beauty. I am a lover of beautiful women.
teraa daaman na chhoDuu.ngaa, mai.n har chilman ko toDuungaa
I shall not leave your side. I shall tear every curtain between us.

na Dar zaalim zamaane se, adaa se yaa bahaane se
Do not fear this cruel world. By grace or pretense,
zaraa apnii suurat dikhaa de, samaa khuubsuurat banaa de
please show your face and beautify the mood.
nahii.n to teraa naam leke, tujhe koii ilzaam deke
Otherwise I will sully your name with an accusation.
tujhko is mahfil me.n rusvaa na kar duu.n
If I do not dishonor you in this gathering...
pardaanashii.n ko bepardaah na kar duu.n to
If I do not unveil the woman behind the veil...
AK: Akbar teraa naam nahii.n hai!
then your name is not Akbar!

MR: khudaa kaa shukr hai, chahraa nazar to aayaa hai
Give thanks to the Lord, her face has been revealed!
hayaa kaa rang nigaaho.n pe phir bhii chhaayaa hai
Yet a tinge of modesty remains in her eyes.

kisii kii jaan jaatii hai, kisii ko sharm aatii hai
As I suffer, she shies away from me.
koii aa.nsuu bahaataa hai, to koii muskuraataa hai
As I shed tears, she cracks a smile.
sataa kar is tarah aksar, mazaa lete hai.n ye dilbar
My lover takes pleasure in torturing me so.
yahii dastuur hai in kaa, sitam mashahuur hai in kaa
Her cruel practices are known to all.

khafaa hoke chahraa chhupaa le, magar yaad rakh husnvaale
Hide your face in anger, my beautiful one, but remember this: 
jo hai aag terii javaanii, meraa pyaar hai sard paanii
my love is like cold water for the fire of your youth.
mai.n tere ghusse ko ThanDaa na kar duu.n haa.n
If I do not calm your anger...
pardaanashii.n ko bepardaah na kar duu.n to
If I do not unveil the woman behind the veil...
AK: Akbar teraa naam nahii.n hai!
then your name is not Akbar!

MR: pardaah hai pardaah, pardaah hai pardaah
There is a veil, there is a veil.

*MR = lines sung by Mohammed Rafi, AK = lines sung by Amit Kumar

GLOSSARY

shabaab: youth; sharaab: wine, alcohol; phainknaa: to throw; hasii.n:
beautiful one; gulaab: rose; pardaah: veil; pardaahnashii.n: veiled
woman; bepardaah karnaa: to unveil; Thaharnaa: to stop; khvaab: dream;
shahazaadii: princess; illahabaadii: from Allahabad, a city in the Indian
state of Uttar Pradesh; shaayar: poet; aashiq: lover; mahjabii.n: moon-
like beauty; daaman chhoDnaa: to leave one's side; chilman: curtain;
zaalim: cruel; zamaanaa: world; adaa: grace; bahaanaa: pretense; suurat:
face; samaa: ambience, atmosphere; khuubsuurat banaanaa: to beautify; 
ilzaam: accusation; mahfil: gathering: rusvaa karnaa: to dishonor; shukr:
thanks; chahraa: face; hayaa: modesty; nigaahe.n: eyes; sharm aanaa: to 
feel shy; sataanaa: to torture; mazaa lenaa: to take pleasure; dilbar: 
lover; khafaa: angry; husnvaale: beautiful one; aag: fire; javaanii: 
youth; sard: cold; ghussaah: anger.
RishiKapoor_AmarAkbarAnthony
Rishi Kapoor’s character is named after a Urdu poet Syed Akbar Hussain, popularly known as Akbar Illahabadi

Janewalo Zara Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

janewalo zara dosti 1964 sudhir kumar

Sudhir Kumar plays a gifted blind boy with sensitivity and finesse in Dosti (1964).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Janewalo Zara Mud Ke Dekho” from the poignant film Dosti (1964). A passionate plea to recognize the humanity in our neighbors and embrace others in our community, no matter their differences, “Janewalo Zara” seems like the perfect anthem for the new realities we all live in.

You may not know this, but Mr. ’55 and I are both doctors! We trained together in the same hospital after medical school and are both working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic this month. The coronavirus has hit us all in different ways, but it has not spared anyone–regardless of race, socioeconomic class, or religion. We truly hope all our fans are staying healthy and staying at home.

We know quarantine is far from easy. During tough times, take a moment to appreciate something you have despite the many losses we all feel. For everyone who is bored in their homes, there are people who have suddenly found themselves homeless during the shutdown. For everyone driving their spouse nuts (not speaking from personal experience, *obviously*), there are people who find themselves entirely alone and secluded all day long. For everyone who has lost their job, there are people who are scared to go to their jobs for fear of becoming infected (and I don’t just mean fellow healthcare workers, but custodians and food service workers and everyone else considered “essential”). For everyone grieving the loss of doing the things they loved, there are people grieving the loss of the people they loved, and maybe could not even visit in the hospital when ill.

Sudhir Kumar Dosti janewalo zara

Mohammed Rafi is the perfect soul stirring match to vocalize the song “Janewalo Zara” from the film Dosti (1964).

Dosti (1964) is a Bollywood bromance between two teenage boys, Ramu and Mohan, who form an unlikely friendship in a time of adversity. Ramu (Sushil Kumar) has a permanent leg injury from a childhood accident and Mohan (Sudhir Kumar) is blind. Together, they demonstrate that friendship and kindness should know no boundaries. This song, with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and vocals by the inimitable Mohammed Rafi, is a reminder about coming together as a community and ensuring our most vulnerable are not abandoned.

On that note, we hope you appreciate our English translation of “Janewalo Zara” below! And if you are able, reach out to and help your neighbors who may be hurting more than you know (from a safe social distance, of course!). We would love to hear what inspires you during this difficult time, and which classic Bollywood songs and films are help you stay sane!

Janewalo Zara Mud Ke Dekho Lyrics & Translation:

Jaanewaalo zaraa muD ke dekho mujhe
Passerbys, turn around a little and look at me
Ek insaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I am a human being, I am just like you
Jisne sabko rachaa apne hii ruup se
He who created everything in his own beauty
Uskii pahchaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I share his identity, I am just like you

Is anokhe jagat kii mai.N taqdiir huu.N
I am the Fate of this strange world
Mai.N vidhaataa ke haatho.N kii tasviir huu.N, ek tasviir huu.N 
I am the image sculpted by the Lord's own hands
Is jahaa.N ke liye, dhartii maa.N ke liye
For the sake of the world, for the sake of Mother Earth
Shiv ka vardaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I am a boon from Shiva, I am just like you

Man ke andhar chhipaaye milan kii lagan
You have hidden the desire to meet in your mind
Apne suraj se huu.N ek bichhaDii kiran, ek bichhaDii kiran
I am a beam of sunlight separated from the sun
Phir rahaa huu.N bhaTaktaa mai.N yahaa.N se vahaa.N
I continue to wander, here and there
Aur pareshaan huu.N mai.N tumhaarii taraah
And I am worried, I am just like you

Mere paas aao, chhoDo yeh saara bharam
Come near me, leave all these misapprehensions behind
Jo mera dukh vahii.N hai tumhaaraa bhii gham
My sadness is the same as your sorrow
Dekhtaa huu.N tumhe, jaantaa huu.N tumhe
I see you, I know you
Laakh anjaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I am an absolute stranger, but I am just like you

Glossary:

zaraa: a little; muDnaa: to turn around; insaan: human being; [kisi kii] taraah: like [someone]; rachnaa: to create; ruup: beauty; appearance; pahchaan: identity, recognition; anokhaa: strange, unique; jagat: world; taqdiir: Fate; vidhaataa: the Lord; haath: hands; tasviir: picture; jahaa.N: world; dhartii: earth; Shiv: Lord Shiva (Hindu); vardaan: boon, wish; man: mind; andhar: inside; chhipaanaa: to hide; milan: meeting; lagan: desire; suraj: sun; bichaDnaa: to become separated; kiran: ray of sunlight; bhaTaknaa: to wander; pareshaan: worry; chhoDnaa: to let go of; bharam: misapprehensions; dukh: sad; gham: sorrow; laakh: ten thousand; anjaan: stranger

Did you know Dosti won the 1964 FilmFare Award for Best Picture, and is #24 on our list of the top classic Bollywood films ever made?

Until next time, stay safe and #stayhomeIndia!

Mr and Mrs 55 ICU

Mr. ’55 and I enjoying sunlight and a post-call brunch after working overnight in the ICU. Note: this picture was taken before restaurants transitioned to take-out only and masks were recommended at all times in public ūüôā

– Mrs. ’55

Aasman Ke Neeche Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Aasman Ke Neeche Dev Anand Jewel Thief

Dev Anand, wearing a deer stalker hat for unclear reasons, hugs Vijantimala during “Aasman Ke Neeche” from Jewel Thief (1967).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to the playful duet “Aasman Ke Neeche” from hit thriller Jewel Thief (1967).

Let me start by saying that Jewel Thief is an incredible film. If I’m being honest amongst friends, not every masala film from the Golden Age stood the test of time. Vijay Anand’s Hitchcockian thriller Jewel Thief makes you its willing hostage by mixing a love triangle with an international crime heist. Throw in Helen posing as a Bond girl in a chicken costume and you have earned my rapt attention on a Friday night. Pun intended, Jewel Thief is a real diamond in the rough.

When “Aasman Ke Neeche” begins, Vijayantimala and Dev Anand relax in a sun-drenched garden on a Spring day. She sings the first few lines of the song and Dev Anand mocks her, twisting her melody into a flat-toned qawwali and calling her song “bogus!” What a dis.

Playful Dev Anand Jewel Thief

Playful Dev Anand teases Vijayantimala in the film Jewel Thief (1967).

Why do people dump on qawwalis so much? Not only are they often just as complicated classical compositions as any Hindustani purist could muster, but they’re a ton of fun. So, at least for me, Dev Anand’s poor attempt backfires. Even he knows it, because he then proceeds to burst into a full blown orchestral (complete with Kishore’s vocals), shutting down the qawwali debacle.

Aasman Ke Neeche” ranks among my favorite classic Hindi film duets. It’s melodic and¬† flirtatious, chasing the audience through a garden of poetic overtures, thanks to the dynamism of S.D. Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri. In a musical masterpiece like Jewel Thief, however, the song can be overshadowed by the film’s other show-stealers (“Raat Akeli Hai,” need I say more?) But in any other film, this duet would be THE song for which you anxiously sat through the entire three hours of melodrama.

We hope you enjoy our English translation to the lyrics of “Aasman Ke Neeche” below! Check out the music video here and let us know your favorite song from Jewel Thief in the comments!

Aasman Ke Neeche Lyrics & English Translation:

Asmaa.N ke niiche, ham aaj apne piichhe 
Beneath the sky, today we leave behind us
Pyaar kaa jahaa.N basaa ke chale
A world of love we inhabited as we go
Qadam ke nishaa.N banaa ke chale
We leave our footprints behind as we go

Kishore: Tum chale to phuul jaise aa.Nchal ke rang se saj gayii raahe.N, saj gayii raahe.N
Kishore: You walk and like flowers the colors of your sari decorate the path
Paas aao mai.N pahanaa duu.N chaahat kaa haar yeh khulii khulii baahe.N, khulii khulii baahe.N
Come close to me, and these opens arms will give you a garland of love
Lata: Jiskaa ho aa.Nchal khud hii chaman, kahiye woh kyuu.N haar baahon ke Daale
Lata: The one with the sari is herself a garden, so tell me why would she need a garland from the branches of your arms?
Asmaa.N ke niiche,¬†ham aaj apne piichhe…

Lata: Boltii hai.N aaj aankhe.N kuch bhii na aaj tum kehne do hamko, kehne do hamko
Lata: Today my eyes are speaking, do not let me say anything
Bekhudii baDhatii chalii hai, ab to khaamosh hii rahne do hamko, rahne do hamko
Although my restlessness grows, leave me in silence now
Kishore: Ek baar ek baar mere liye, kah do, khanake laal ho.NTho.N ke pyaale
Kishore: Just once for me, say something and clamor the plates of your red lips
Asmaa.N ke niiche,¬†ham aaj apne piichhe…

Kishore: Saath mere chalke dekho aayii hai.N dhuum se ab kii bahaare.N, ab kii bahaare.N
Kishore: Come with me and see with what an unproar Spring has arrived
Har galii har moD pe woh dono.N ke naam se hum ko pukaare, tum ko pukaare
At every street, at every turn, they call to me, they call to you
Lata: Kah do bahaaro.N se aaye idhar, un tak uThkar ham nahii.N jaanewaale
Lata: Tell the Spring to come here, I am not getting up and going there

Asmaa.N ke niiche, ham aaj apne piichhe
Beneath the sky, today we leave behind us
Pyaar kaa jahaa.N basaa ke chale
A world of love we inhabited as we go
Qadam ke nishaa.N banaa ke chale
We leave our footprints behind as we go

Glossary:

aasmaa.N: sky; niiche: beneath; piichhe: behind; pyaar: love; jahaa.N: world; basaanaa: to inhabit; qadam ke nishaa.N: footprints; phuul: flower; aa.Nchal: drape of a saari; rang: color; sajnaa: to decorate; raah: path; pahanaa: to wear; chaahat: love, desire; haar: garland; baahe.N: arms; khud: self; chaman: garden; Daal: branch; aa.Nkhe.N: eyes; kuch bhii: anything; bekhudii: restlessness*; bhaDaanaa: to grow: khamosh: silence; ek baar: one time; khanaknaa: to clang together, to clamor; pyaalaa: cup, small plates; dhuum: uproar; bahaare.N: Spring; galii: street; moD: turn; naam: name; pukaarnaa: to call out; idhar: this way (as opposed to udhar, that way); uThnaa: to get up

*Bekhudii is a complicated word to explain briefly. See our translation of “Hum Bekhudi Mein,” featuring none other than Dev Anand (in another stellar hat) for a deeper dive!

Vijayantimala in Jewel Thief Asman Ke Neeche

Dev Anand is no match for sass-queen Vijayantimala in Jewel Thief’s “Aasman Ke Neeche.”

Fun grammar gem: Bahaar taken alone means Spring (singular) in Urdu-Hindi. However, it is the plural form, bahaare.N, that is frequently heard in Bollywood poetry, which can be taken to literally mean the Spring season or more liberally, as general blossomings. To further confuse the budding literati, the Hindi word baahar, which means, outside, is technically the realm where bahaar, Spring, occurs!

This delightful duet was requested by megafans Shabyanath Roshan, and Srini! We greatly appreciate this burst of Springtime fever in the middle of our cold Boston winter!

– Mrs. 55

Beacon hill in the winter

A photo on my way to work in snowy Beacon Hill (Boston, Massachusetts) last week!

Chandan Sa Badan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

saraswatichandra_1_nutan

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation¬†for “Chandan Sa Badan” from¬†Saraswatichandra (1968).

Released during the glamorous Technicolor-filled decade of the ’60s, Saraswatichandra (1968) was one of the last black-and-white feature films of its time. Directed by little-known Govind Saraiya, the film is based on an eponymous Gujarati novel set in 19th-century India by author Govardhanam Madhavaram Tripathi. The story revolves around two star-crossed lovers – played by Nutan and Manish in the film – who repeatedly miss out on enjoying the fruits of physical intimacy due to constraining circumstances but remain spiritually and emotionally united for life.

Manish’s performance is largely passable and limited by his uncomfortable stiffness during moments that call for romance in the film.¬† As always, Nutan shines in a masterful performance by balancing her character’s opposing obligations to society and her love with nuance and a relatable vulnerability.

Kalyanji-Anandji’s National Award-winning soundtrack features a number of memorable songs penned by lyricist Indeewar. “Chandan Sa Badan,” sung in tandem male/female versions by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh, stands out for its exquisite use of pure Hindi vocabulary. Note the deliberate use of Hindi words instead of more common Urdu alternatives such as chanchal (versus bechain), chitvan (versus nazar), dosh (versus qasuur), nayan (versus aankhe.n)¬†and sundar (versus khuubsuurat).

And, finally, as for who sang it best? Mukesh makes a valiant effort, but he is no match for Lata’s effortless perfection as she croons through yet another one of her timeless masterpieces set to the lilting melody of raga Yaman Kalyan. In my opinion, she is no less than the classical virtuosos when she graces us with her renditions in this majestic and soul-stirring raga.¬†Until next time…

-Mr. ’55

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Chandan Sa Badan (Male): Lyrics and English Translation

chandan-saa badan chanchal chitvan
Your sandalwood-sculpted body, your playful glances,
dhiire se teraa yeh muskaanaa
and your gentle smile
mujhe dosh na denaa jagvaalo
Citizens of the world, do not blame me
ho jaauu.n agar mai.n diivaanaa
if I fall madly in love with you

ye kaam kamaan bhave.n terii
Your eyebrows are arched beautifully like a bow
palko.n ke kinaare kajraare
The edges of your eyelids are lined with kohl
mathhe par sinduurii suurat
The vermillion decoration on your forehead
ho.nTho.n pe dehakte angaare
The smoldering embers on your lips
saayaa bhii jo teraa paD jaaye
Even if your shadow is cast upon it, 
aabaad ho dil kaa viiraanaa
my barren heart is cultivated to full bloom.

tan bhii sundar, man bhii sundar
Your body is beautiful, your mind is beautiful
tuu sundartaa kii muurat hai
You are an idol of beauty
kisii aur ko shayad kam hogii
Although others may not need you as much, 
mujhe terii bahut zaruurat hai
I need you eternally. 
pehle bhii bahut mai.n tarsaa huu.n
I have yearned deeply for you in the past, 
tuu aur na mujhko tarsaanaa
please do not make me yearn any longer.

chandan-saa badan chanchal chitvan
Your sandalwood-sculpted body, your playful glances

saraswatichandra_3

Chandan Sa Badan (Female): Lyrics and English Translation

chandan saa badan chanchal chitvan
Your sandalwood-sculpted body, your playful glances,
dhiire se teraa yeh muskaanaa
and your gentle smile
mujhe dosh na denaa jagvaalo
Citizens of the world, do not blame me
ho jaaye agar dil diivaanaa
if my heart falls madly in love with you

ye vishaal nayan jaise niil gagan
Your large eyes are like the deep blue sky
panchhii ki tarah kho jaauu.n mai.n
Like a bird, I shall get lost with within them 
sirhaanaa jo ho terii baaho.n ko
When my head rests in the embrace of your arms, 
angaaro.n pe so jaauu.n mai.n
I am willing to sleep even on burning embers. 
meraa bairaagii man Dol gayaa
My recluse heart begins to sway with joy 
dekhii jo adaa terii mastaanaa
when I see your intoxicating charm.

tan bhii sundar, man bhii sundar
Your body is beautiful, your mind is beautiful
tuu sundartaa kii muurat hai
You are an idol of beauty 
kisii aur ko shayad kam hogii
Although others may not need you as much, 
mujhe terii bahut zaruurat hai
I need you eternally. 
pehle bhii bahut dil tarsaa hai
My heart has yearned deeply for you in the past, 
tuu aur na dil ko tarsaanaa
please do not make my heart yearn any longer.

chandan-saa badan chanchal chitvan
Your sandalwood-sculpted body, your playful glances

Glossary

chandan: sandalwood; badan: body; chanchal: fickle, playful; chitvan: glance; muskaanaa: to smile; dosh: blame; jagvaalo: citizens/residents of the world; kamaan: bow; bhave.n: eyebrows; palko.n: eyelids; kinaare: edge, shore; kajraare: kohl; sinduur: vermillion; dehaknaa: to burn; angaare: embers; saayaa: shadow; aabaad: cultivated, inhabited, blossomed; tan: body, man: mind; sundartaa: beauty; muurat: idol; zaruurat: need; tarasnaa: to yearn; tarsaanaa: to make someone yearn (causative form), vishaal: large; nayan: eyes; niil: blue; gagan: sky; sirhaanaa: headrest, headboard; baaho.n: arms, embrace; bairaagii: recluse; Dolnaa: to sway; adaa: charm; mastaanaa: intoxicating.

Saraswatichandra_4

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman in Ek Anjabi Haseena Se

Sauve but poor boy Rajesh Khanna woos rich girl Zeenat Aman in “Ajnabee” (1974) as her family plots to break up the romance.

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation of “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” from the 1974 Rajesh Khanna-Zeenat Aman film Ajnabee, whose evergreen soundtrack far outshined its earnings at the box office. The film initially follows the well-worn Bollywood playbook of a poor boy falling for a rich girl, fighting against her greedy, scheming family.

As the first song in the film, “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” sets the bar incredibly high for the musical numbers to follow. With Kishore Kumar’s strong vocals, R.D. Burman delivers one of the most charming ballads of the 1970s. In “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se,” Rajesh Khanna weaves the tale of how he met and fell in love with a stranger in the middle of party attended by said “stranger.” Tension rises during the song as she wonders if he will publicly give her away as the object of his love (I mean, what could be more humiliating for a conservative Bollywood heroine)?

So naturally, halfway through the song, he makes all the women line up, bend over, and he circles behind them to pin a handkerchief on the one he is singing about.

Umm

What the…?

Rajesh Khanna Ajnabee 1974

Rajesh Khanna charms the crowd by singing “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” from Ajnabee (1974). I can’t say I love the pentagonal shape of Rajesh Khanna’s hair for most of the 1970s, but obviously I’ll still take it.

Oh, you read that correctly. The ensuing game of “pin the tail on the party guest” is every moment as bizarre as you imagine. Luckily, after these flirtatious antics, the couple eventually does get together and the film pivots in its second half to a more sophisticated tone. The film makes a nice attempt to tackle changing gender roles in a modern marriage, and even broaches the subject of the right to choose (regarding abortion). Not at all what you were expecting, right??

With romantic lyrics by Anand Bakshi, this song smoothly overcomes the brief lapse in sanity of its picturization. Check out our English translation and lyrics of “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” from Ajnabee (1974) below:

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se Lyrics & English Translation:

Ek ajnabii hasiinaa se yuu.N mulaaqaat ho gayii
I met a beautiful girl this way
Phir kyaa huaa, yeh na puuchho, kuch aisii baat ho gayii
Do not ask what happened next, something like this happened

Woh achaanak aa gayii, yuu.N nazar ke saamne
She came suddenly before my eyes 
Jaise nikal aayaa ghaTaa se chaa.Nd
As if the moon had emerged from a cloud
Chehre pe zulfe.N bikharii hui thii
Her hair billowed across her face
Din mei.N raat ho gayii
And day turned into night

Jaan-e man jaan-e jigar, hotaa mai.N shaair agar
Life of my soul, life of my heart, if I had been a poet
Kehtaa ghazal terii adaao.N par
I would recite poems about your grace
Mai.N ne yeh kaha to mujhse khafaa woh
I told her this, but she became angry with me
Jaane hayaa ho gayii
Who knows what shame she felt

Khuubsurat baat yeh, chaar pal kaa saath yeh
These are beautiful words, but this was a fleeting union
Saari umar mujhko rahegaa yaad
Those memories will stay with me my whole life
Mai.N akelaa thaa magar, ban gayii woh hamsafar
I was alone, but she became my life companion
Woh mere saath kho gayii
We became lost together

Ek ajnabii hasiinaa se yuu.N mulaqaat ho gayii
I met a beautiful girl this way
Phir kyaa huaa, yeh na puuchho, kuch aisii baat ho gayii
Do not ask what happened next, something like this happened

Glossary:

ajnabii: stranger; hasiinaa: beautiful woman; mulaaqaat: meeting; phir: then, next; puuchhnaa: to ask; achaanak: suddenly; nazar: gaze, eyes; nikal aanaa: to come out, to emerge; ghaTaa: cloud; chaa.Nd: moon; chehraa: face; zulf: hair; bikharnaa: to billow; din: day; raat: night; man: soul; jigar: liver (I wrote ‘heart’ above for simplicity, but technically, this is a Farsi-derived term for liver, another vital organ and term of endearment); shaair: poet; ghazal: couplet; adaa: grace, style; khafaa: angry; hayaa: shame; khuubsurat: beautiful; chaar pal: a few moments (four moments); saaraa: entire; umar: lifetime; yaad: memory; akelaa: alone; hamsafar: fellow traveler, companion; saath: together; kho jaanaa: to become lost

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se awkward game

In this uncomfortable and wholly unnecessary party game, Rajesh Khanna acts as though he’s about to pin the tail on the donkey, I mean, on his secret crush…?? UGH. Why.

We know monsoon season has come to an end, but it’s worth noting that these two had another famous moment in this film that made our list of the top 15 Bollywood rain songs! It’s mildly awkward for other reasons, but after watching this number, I know you’ll be ready.

– Mrs. 55