Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

dilip-kumar-singing-madhuban-mein-kohinoor

Dilip Kumar plays a swashbuckling raja who knows how to carry a tune in Kohinoor (1960).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation to the semi-classical “Madhuban Mein Radhika” from Kohinoor (1960). Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari star in this masala film set during a romanticized period of Indian history when Hindu royalty were constantly engaged in sword-fights with their rivals, playing the sitar to the acclamation of their courtiers, and saving damsels in distress on horseback. Kohinoor is remembered today for the brilliant soundtrack and delightful script (read: you will not cringe and die during most of the comic scenes) as well a for the breezy performances by its hero and heroine. Meena Kumari giggles more in this film than in any of her other films combined!

Dilip Kumar as the young raja travels to the countryside and happens upon a musical assembly where a talented dancer, played by Kumkum, challenges anyone to perform a song to which she cannot dance. Naturally, our hero is ready with “Madhuban Mein Radhika”  to the delight of the court while Kumkum gracefully dances kathak to his tune. Shakeel Badayuni’s straightforward Radha-Krishna poetry is the basis of a rollicking number that keeps everyone, especially Kumkum, on their toes. “Madhuban Mein Radhika” is a true gem among film songs, drawing heavily upon Hindustani classical traditions that are rare to find executed with such unabashed purism in Bollywood films. It comes as no surprise that the song has maestro Naushad written all over it. To fully appreciate all the ornaments of the piece, I think it’s high time we break for a little vocabulary lesson…

A Brief Hindustani Classical Music Vocabulary Lesson:

Tarana in Hindustani classical music were thought to be invented by the great poet Amir Khusro (1253-1325 CE). Legend has it that a music competition was held by the famous conqueror Alauddin Khilji in which Amir Khusro and Gopal Nayak, court musician to the King of Devagiri were the last men standing. Nayak performed raaga Kadambak in Sanskrit for six evenings straight while Khusro sat enthralled among the courtiers. On the seventh night, Khusro sang the same song, copying each note to perfection, but substituted Persian words and jargon for the lyrics as he did not understand Sanskrit. His amazing performance won him the competition and thus, the tarana was born. Persian couplets and notation for tabla are often intermingled into the tarana, however, the basic phonetics are Farsi-based (eg. yalali, odani, tadeem). The structure consists of a main melody that the performer repeats and elaborates on as well as a second, contrasting melody, that may include higher notes and is introduced once before returning to the main melody. The taranas featured in Lata Mangeshkar’s “Tare Rahiyo” from Pakeezah (1972) and the Pakeezah (1972) Title Music are some of the film’s highlights.

Sargam is the vocalization of the notes that define the raga in which the song is sung. Improvisation ascending and descending the scale allows the audience to understand the raagas range and boundaries, often occurring at the beginning or the end of the piece. The sargam typically incorporates improvisation upon themes to set the tone of the piece. A great example of a beautiful mid-song sargam is in Asha Bhonsle’s “Nigahen Milane Ko” from Dil Hi To Hai (1960).

Alaap is similar to sargam, but does not name the notes, using instead simply the aakaar (“aah” sound) to create music. It frequently opens a piece, but can be interjected in the middle, or at the end for dramatic effect–as well as intermingled among the sargam with artistic license. One of my favorite alaaps from films is Suman Kalyanpur’s heavenly interjection above Hemant Kumar midway through “Na Tum Humen Jano” from Baat Ek Raat Ki (1963). In “Madhuban Mein Radhika,” listen for Mohammed Rafi’s silky alaap to start off the song and entrance his audience.

Taan, is similar to an alaap, but is much more fast-paced and showcases the singer’s vocal abilities. The two taans in this song (picturized on comedic actor Mukri) were sung by Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan. Bollywood film songs Kal Nahii.N Paaye Jiya from Chhoti Si Mulaqat (1967)  and Tu Hai Mera Prem Devta from Kalpana (1960) feature multiple beautiful taans punctuating each stanza.

Jugalbandi is a playful competition between two performers in which one mimics the other, and then surpasses. A challenging test of both the ability to perfectly imitate and then improvise, a jugalbandi between two master musicians is absolutely thrilling to witness. This is commonly between two instrumental performers, but as in “Madhuban Mein Radikha,” is briefly showcased as between the singer and the tabla player (note: the lyrics actually reference the Carnatic mridangam, which is a different percussion instrument than the Hindustani tabla, however, a tabla is indeed is picturized in the film). Another fun example of jugalbandi in Bollywood is at the ending of the song Muqabala Humse Na Karo from Prince (1969).

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Kumkum entrances her audience with a kathak performance based on classic Radha-Krishna imagery in Kohinoor (1960).

Are we all on the same page now? Because I’m fully expecting you to count the taal as you check out the music video here. Follow along with our English translation of the lyrics to “Madhuban Mein Radhika” from Kohinoor (1960) below! How many lovely ornaments of Hindustani classical music can you hear in the song?

Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Lyrics and Translation:

ALAAP: Aaaah aaaah aaaah

madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
In the honey gardens, Radha danced
Girdhar kii muraliiya baje re
As the flute of Krishna played

pag mei.N ghuunghar baandhke
With dancing bells tied to her leg
ghuunghaT mukh par daal ke
With a veil placed upon her face
nainan mei.N kajraa lagaake re
With kajal applied to her eyes
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
In the honey gardens, Radha danced

Dolat chham-chham kaminii
The beautiful lady swayed and sparkled
Chhamakat jaise daamini
Her sparkle was like lightening
Chhanchal, pyarii chhab laage re
Her face appeared mischievous and lovable
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
In the honey gardens, Radha danced

mridang baje…
The drum was played…

Tirikitadhum Tirikitadhum Ta Ta
mridang baje
Tirikitadhum Tirikitadhum

Naachath Chum Chum
ThaThay ThaThay Thatha
Chum Chum ChanaNaNa
Chum Chum ChanaNaNa

Dhan Dhakdan Dhakdan Dha
Dha Dha Dha

madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re…

TAAN: Aaaaaaaah

madhuban mei.N radhikaa…

TAAN: Aaaaaaaah

madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
madhuban mei.N radhikaa…

SARGAM :

Ni Sa Re Sa Ga Re Ma Ga Pa Ma
Dha Pa Ni Dha SA Ni RE SA
RE SA Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa
Dha Ni SA RE SA Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa
Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Ma Re Sa
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re…

SA SA SA Ni Dha Pa
Ma Pa Dha Pa Ga Ma Re Sa Ni Re Sa
Sa Sa Ga Ma Dha Dha Ni Dha SA
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
madhuban mei.N radhikaa…

TARAANAA:

Ode NaDir DiTa NiTa DhaRe Dhim, Dhim Ta Na Na
Nadir DiTa NiTa DhaRe Dhim, Dhim Ta Na Na
Nadir DiTa NiTa DhaRe Dhim, Dhim Ta Na Na

JUGALBANDI:

NaDir DiTa NiTa DhaRe

(tabla response)

ODe Tana Dhir Dhir Tana
Dhir Dhir Dhir Dhir
Thum Dhir Dhir Dhir

(tabla response)

Dha Tirikita Tak , Thum Tirikita Tak
Tirikita Titikita Ta DhaNi

NaDir DiTa NiTa
ODe NaDir DiTa niTa
ODe Nadir Dita NiTa
DhaRe Dhim Dhim Ta Na Na ….

Glossary:

madhuban: sweet garden, honey garden; Radhikaa: Radha, gopi lover of Krishna; nachnaa: to dance; girdhar: Lord Krishna; muralii: flute; baajnaa: to play; pag: leg; ghuungar: dancing bells; baandhnaa: to bind, to tie; ghuungaT: veil; mukh: face: Daalnaa: to place, to put; nainan: eyes; kajraa: eyeliner; Dolat: sway; chham-chham: sparkling; kaamini: beautiful lady; daamini: lightening; chhanchal: mischievous; pyaarii: loveable; chhab: face; mridangam: traditional Carnatic percussion instrument

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Dilip Kumar jams his sitar with rockstar attitude in Kohinoor (1960).

Dilip Kumar’s performance in Kohinoor (1960) garnered the Filmfare award for Best Actor that year. According to Naushad, Dilip Kumar the perfectionist, supposedly learned how to play the sitar just for this song. While that may seem extreme, anyone who has seen Raj Kapoor fail miserably to pretend play the piano (as much as we love the man) will appreciate how big a difference this makes in any self-respecting musical number.

Wondering what’s up with the snake and the mongoose at the end of the song? Naturally, every self-respecting raja-rani film needs at least one assassination-by-cobra attempt…amiright?

– Mrs. 55

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Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi Lyrics & Translaton: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Rajesh Khanna gives Tanuja an unusual jumpstart with a herd of elephants in Haathi Mere Saathi (1971).

Today we present the delightful lyrics and English translation of everyone’s childhood favorite song “Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi” from Haathi Mere Saathi (1971). Rajesh Khanna star as orphaned Raju who makes fast friends with a herd of elephants that protect him and become like family. Among them, Ramu, is the star elephant who helps Raju build a fortune as a street performer, eventually allowing Raju to build a zoo where the community can share in his love of animals. The song “Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi” during which Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja fall in love is a quintessential “only-in-Bollywood” moment. Where on earth (besides your wildest fantasies) will you ever see a convertible pushed by a group of elephants as a mechanism of securing the romance?

Tanuja plays the cleverly named Tanu whose gorgeous red Chevrolet Impala convertible breaks down in the middle of the road. Raju happens to arrive at the critical moment to help this damsel in distress! Fortunately, the elephant crew knows how to drive that puppy straight to the heart.

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Rajesh Khanna rubs noses with his favorite elephant and they both look happy AF.

Kishore Kumar lends his rich voice to Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s playful composition. Anand Bakshi’s lyrics burst with flirtatious overtures as well as underhanded zingers while the singer teasingly appears to solely address the elephants the entire time. A hearty trumpet is gloriously sprinkled throughout the song’s score as a substitute for the elephants roaring their approval. Be sure to watch extra carefully during the swift stunt in which Rajesh Khanna appears to float to the top of the elephant. Anyone who has taken a good old-fashioned haathi ride during a trip to the motherland knows ascending the elephant is NEVER this graceful. Thank you, awkwardly crouched production assistants who gave our hero the leg-up!

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Tanuja pretends to drive as Rajesh Khanna whistles flirtatiously in her ear in Haathi Mere Saathi (1971). I mean it, take off those driving gloves, we all know steering is futile.

So pull up a high-chair and reel your kids in for this one. They’re going to love our English translation of the lyrics of “Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi” and you’ll be glad a world still exists this innocent and colorful, even if only for a few minutes on-screen. Follow along with the video here and enjoy our translation below!

Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi Lyrics and English Translation:

Chal chal chal mere saathii, O mere haathii
Let’s go, my companion, O my elephant
Chal le chal kaTaaraa khii.Nch ke
Come pull this piece of junk
Chal yaar, dhakka maar
Go on, friend, push!
Band hai moTar kaar
The motor car is broken down
Chal yaar dhakka maar
Go on, friend, push!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Phuulo.N se naazuk hai woh, moTar mei.N baiThii hai jo
She who sits in the car is more delicate than a flower
Aahistaa aahistaa chal, usko na taqliif ho
Go carefully, let her not experience any trouble
Haaye, haaye, kha na jaaye
Haaye, haaye, let it not consume me
Uskii naazuk kamariiyaa bal, chal!
The swaying of her delicate hips, let’s go!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Khidmat terii kaam de, shaayad woh inaam de
If your service is successful, perhaps she will reward you
Kar us hasii.N ko salaam, aa.Nkhon se paighaam de
If you salute the beautiful lady, she may send you a message through her eyes
Paas aaja, O sun raajaa
Come close, listen O King
Aisa mauqaa na jaaye nikal, chal!
Let this chance not escape, let’s go!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Tuu yaaro.N ka yaar hai, kitnaa vafaadaar hai!
You are a friend of friends, how faithful you are!
JhuuTha hai saaDaa jahaa.N, sachcha teraa pyaar hai
The rest of the world may be a lie, but your love is honest
Tuu paglaa, na badalaa!
You crazy creature, do not change!
SaDii duniyaa gayii hai badal, chal!
Even if the whole world has changed, let’s go!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Glossary:

saathi: companion; haathi: elephant; kaTaaraa: junk, jalopy; khee.Nchnaa: to pull; dhakka maarna: to push; band hona: to be broken, to be closed; yaar: friend; phuul: flower; naazuk: delicate; baiThnaa: to sit; aahistaa: carefully; taqliif: trouble, problem; khaanaa: to eat, to consume; kamariiyaa: small waist; bal: sway; khidmat: service; kaam dena: to be successful; shaayad: perhaps; inaam: reward; hasii.N: beautiful lady; aa.Nkh: eye, paighaam: message; paas: near, close; aa jaanaa: to come here; sunnaa: to listen; raajaa: king; mauqaa: chance, opportunity; nikalnaa: to escape, to go out; vafaadaar: faithful; jhuuTaa: lie; sachchaa: truth; pyaar: love; paglaa: crazy person; badalnaa: to change; duniyaa: world

elephants in Namibia

Shots of a herd of African elephants I encountered while on a safari in Namibia with my husband recently. Can you guess which song was stuck in my head the whole time?

Ramu and Raju’s friendship are everyone’s bestie goals. They have each other’s backs like nobody’s business. Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) is truly the Bambi (1942) of Bollywood–and every child will remember exactly how they felt the first time they experienced the trauma of the film’s ending. Wow, there is just so much dust flying around my house lately, my eyes really need to stop watering. Stop, get a grip on yourself, Mrs. 55. SERIOUSLY, TOO MUCH DUST, WHY ARE MY EYES SO SENSITIVE.

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Even though your outfit is the color of pepto bismol, you da man, Rajesh Khanna.

This one-of-a-kind song was requested by fan Janaki. Awesome choice! We know we’ve been slower to post lately with the busy year, but requests like these are always inspiring. We love hearing from fans!

-Mrs. 55

A Definitive Ranking of Men’s Facial Hair in Classic Bollywood Films

Raj Kapoor in a promotional photograph for Dil Hi To Hai sporting an 'm' mustache.

Raj Kapoor in a promotional photograph for Dil Hi To Hai (1963) sporting a suave ‘m’ mustache.

Happy Movember! This lovely time of year is a month when men around the world grow out their mustaches to change the face of men’s healthcare–such as through raising awareness for prostate and testicular cancer. Read more about the Movember Foundation here!

Inspired by this movement, today we present a definitive ranking of men’s facial hair in classic Bollywood films, a photographic indulgence of every important mustache and beard that hit the silver screens of Bombay and then bounced straight into our souls. And God knows we needed something this in our lives after that f*$&ing insane apocalypse difficult election week. But be forewarned, some of these manes can bite–and others might make you suddenly feel itchy. Most of all, that fluttering sensation in your chest like a fluffy mustache tickling your heart–that’s called love.

A Definitive Ranking of Men’s Facial Hair in Classic Bollywood Films

15. Kishore Kumar’s waxed perfection in Padosan (1968)

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His mustache is basically a pair of angel wings.

14. Shashi Kapoor’s deadly combo in Chor Sipahee (1979)

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Shashi shines in a shaggy beard and a full-bodied mustache with just a hint of delicate curl. Looking bad never looked so good.

13. Amitabh Bachhan’s full coverage in Do Anjaane (1976)

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Amitabh goes incognito behind a blanket of his generous wool.

12. Pradeep Kumar’s Mughal-style beard in Taj Mahal (1963)

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The Mughals were champions of many things including the artistry of a man’s face. Note the paintbrush side-burns that complete this regal look.

11. Rishi Kapoor’s bad boy scruff in Laila Manju (1979)

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Rishi may be dying of thirst, but his scruff is on fleek right now.

10. Pran’s proud Pathan mane in Zanjeer (1973)

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Pran is a class act as a Pathan sporting a well-tamed auburn fur coating.

9. Vinod Khanna’s caterpillar mustache in Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977)

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Something alive might actually be crawling on his face. Something beautiful and shimmering.

8. Shammi Kapoor’s fluffy goatee in Professor (1962)

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While this look should never be tried at home, Shammi’s iconic goatee made men of boys.

7. Jeetendra’s provocative chevron mustache in Parichay (1972)

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The only thing fuzzier than the tuft of fur nestled in the dimple of Jeetendra’s upper lip is his vision through those thick hipster lenses.

6. Dev Anand’s curly mustache in Hum Dono (1961)

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Thoughtful, courteous, and deadly–the curly mustache of Dev Anand is nothing short of a war hero.

5. Manoj Kumar’s patriotic handlebar in Shaheed (1965)

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Because nothing quite says “Inquilab Zindabad” like a well-trimmed mustache.

4. Raj Kapoor’s pyramidal mustache in Awaara (1951)

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Once a classic, always a classic. The Egyptians building Giza had no idea what they were inspiring.

3. Rajesh Khanna’s hipster beard in Do Raaste (1969)

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Be still my beating heart. I bet there’s a dozen plaid shirts in his closet, and that he listens to actual CDs on his walkman because he just wants to be authentic.

2. Guru Dutt’s emotional mustache in Pyaasa (1957)

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The only thing quivering more than Guru Dutt’s voice is the 4 mm diameter patch of heaven resting on his upper lip

1. WINNER: Rajkumar’s devastating pencil mustache in Pakeezah (1972)

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I DIE THE SWEET DEATH BY LOVE OF A MUSTACHE. There are few things in life greater than this show-stealing masterpiece of men’s grooming.

Men, time to take a hard look in the mirror and evaluate if you’re really bringing your full potential to the world. And remember, just because we all love to see a little facial hair in November, it is NEVER OK to flash your chest hair in public in broad daylight à la Amitabh Bachhan, even if it’s just an unsightly tuft from your too-many-buttons-unbuttoned polo shirt. The 70s are over. These things are not equivalent. I just felt like that had to be said.

You’re welcome.

– Mrs. 55

Khiza Ke Phool Pe Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

khiza-ke-phool-rajesh-khanna-do-raaste

Rajesh Khanna plays a hard-working college student from a poor family in Do Raaste (1969).

Today we highlight the poignant lyrics and our English translation of “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” from Do Raaste (1969). Do Raaste is a classic family drama that hits hard on the tension between Eastern and Western values through an exploration of the dissolution of a joint family household. When one of the sons marries a rich “modernized” Indian girl who refuses to allow him to help pay off his family debt, the remaining relatives fall into poverty. The youngest son, played to perfection by Rajesh Khanna, must compromise his education by dropping out of college in order to support the family. He arrives at the birthday party of his wealthy girlfriend, played by Mumtaz (whose cutesy performance will at times make you want to hang yourself on the chandelier), and realizes that he no longer belongs in her world. The ensuing flood of feelings results in the beautiful ballad “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” written by Anand Bakshki with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelaal. Kishore Kumar’s voice takes on an initially softer, velvety shade that transitions fluidly to a powerful angst at the end of each antra. I dare you not to sigh when he croons, “mai.N roz lab pe naii ek aah taktaa huu.N.”

Though she says nothing that would disrupt the song, Mumtaz appears quite understandably mortified at his public display and rejection. For more uncomfortable dinner parties in Bollywood films, refer to our how-to guide on how to play the awkward miffed lover.

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Mumtaz is heartbroken as Rajesh Khanna announces at her birthday party that they cannot be married in Do Raaste (1969).

Reminiscent of the hallowed “Waqt Ne Kiya” cinematography, in “Khiza Ke Phool Pe,” the camera simply soars with the gloriously endless dolly-ins and dolly-outs to accentuate each poetic moment, as if everyone weren’t already emotionally fragile after seeing Rajesh Khanna fight back tears. I applaud the film director Raj Khosla, despite the kitsch film set. The decor screams of the 1970s–emphasizing all those quasi-luxurious domestic ornaments that would in no way possibly make your life any better. The tinted glass cutout room divider is a textbook case in point. Still, the film crew made lemonade out of life’s interior design lemons.

chintzy-60s-decor-colored-glass-rajesh-khanna-mumtaz

Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz are separated by a bizarre art deco glass structure in her living room in the shot-reverse-shot sequence above. Note how in order to achieve this sequence with the actors seemingly continuing to face each other, Rajesh Khanna must move from the yellow panel to the blue panel on Mumtaz’s right for the reverse shot (below), breaking true visual continuity.

Check out the music video here and keep a box of tissues handy. We invite you join us below in our English translation and lyrics of “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” below:

Khiza Ke Phool Pe Lyrics and Translation:

Khizaa ke phuul pe aati kabhii bahaar nahii.N
The flower of Autumn never sees the Spring
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Na jaane pyaar mei.N kab mai.N zubaa.N se phir jaauu.N
I do not know when in love I may go back on my words
Mai.N ban ke aa.Nsuu khud apnii nazar se gir jaauu.N
By becoming tears, I may fall in my own eyes
Terii qasam hai meraa koii aitbaar nahii.N
I swear by you, I have no confidence
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Main roz lab pe nayii ek aah taktaa huu.N
Every day, a new sigh reaches my lips
Main roz ek naye gham kii raah taktaa huu.N
Every day, I await the arrival of a new sorrow
Kisii khushii kaa mere dil ko intezaar nahii.N
My heart is not waiting for any joy
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Ghariib kaise mohabbat kare amiiro.N se?
How can someone poor love someone rich?
BichhaD gaye hai.N kaii Raanjhe apnii Heero.N se
Many legendary heroes have been separated from their heroines
Kisi ko apne muqaddar pe ikhtiyaar nahii.N
No one has a choice over their fate
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Khizaa ke phuul pe aati kabhi bahaar nahii.N
The flower of Autumn never sees the Spring
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Glossary:

khizaa: Autumn; phuul: flower; bahaar: Spring; kabhii nahii.N: never; naseeb: destiny, fortune; dost: friend; pyaar: love; na jaane: [I] do not know, [who] knows; kab: when; zubaan.N: word, language; phir jaanaa: go back; aa.Nsuu: tears; khud: self; nazar: eyes, gaze; girnaa: to fall; qasam: swear; aitbaar: confidence, trust; roz: every day; lab: lip; nayii: new; aah: sigh; gham: sorrow; raah taknaa: to await; khushii: happiness; [kisi ka] intezaar hona: to wait [for something]; ghariib: poor; mohabbat: love; amiir: rich; bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; Raanjhaa: hero of a classic Hindustani tale of star-crossed lovers (Heer-Ranjha); Heer: heroine of a classic Hindustani tale of star-crossed lovers (Heer Ranjha); muqaddar: fate; ikhtiyaar: choice

Now go cheer yourself up with a pumpkin spice latte and wipe those tears off your face by indulging in a symphony of Rajesh Khanna winks.

– Mrs. 55

 

Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala car window Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si

Madhubala peers at Kishore Kumar through a car window in “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958).

Today we bring you the lyrics and English translation of the delightful “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). A meandering slapstick comedy, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi stars the three fun-loving Kumar brothers: Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, and Anoop Kumar. While Ashok often played more serious roles on the silver-screen (think serious man of affairs), this film was a chance for him to showcase another side of his personality brought out by the most eccentric of the siblings, Kishore.

In Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Kishore Kumar plays a hapless car mechanic who fixes the broken vehicle of a young lady, Madhubala, who both mesmerizes him and vexes him by not paying for the repairs. “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” is arguably the most iconic song from the film and bears a Guru Dutt-esque quality of flowing seamlessly from the dialogue to the opening bars. Composed by S.D. Burman and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, the song exudes the charm of a Broadway showtune that transforms every twist of a wrench and glance through an open car window into a romantic overture, easily one of the most inspiring songs of the monsoon season.

Kishore Kumar Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si

Kishore Kumar plays an entertaining car mechanic desperately in love with Madhubala in the hit comedy “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi” (1958).

Kishore Kumar proves downright hilarious, even now almost 60 years later. One of my favorite moments is when Kishore Kumar ascends the stairs after the second antra. You know that noise that comes out of your mouth that sounds sort of like a dying cat when you’re jamming out to your favorite song alone in the safety of your own home and you don’t really know the words? That’s precisely what Kishore Kumar does too. Except in his case, he jams out as if extemporaneously to his own song smack dab in the middle of the opening performance. You gotta love a guy who enjoys his own tunes this much. Throughout the song, he engages the audience by appearing to break the fourth wall, inviting us to share in his intrigue about the mysterious woman who has entered his shop.

The adorable chemistry between Kishore Kumar and Madhubala is palpable. You can see what each loved about each other that was shared in their real-life romance. Sadly, Madhubala died prematurely at the age of 38, leaving him heartbroken only 3 years after their marriage. Join us below as we navigate the lyrics and English translation of “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si.” Follow along with the video here, and I dare you to try to get through the whole song without smiling!

Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si Lyrics and Translation:

Ek laDki bhiigi bhaagi sii
A girl who appears rather wet
Sotii raaton mei.N jaagi sii
And seems awake in a sleepy night
Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Hmm…

Dil hii dil mei.N jalii jaatii hai.N
In her heart of hearts, she is burning
BigaDii bigaDii chalii aatii hai.N…
In a bad mood, she approaches
Jhunjhalaatii hui, balkhaatii huii
Sulking, swaying
Saawan ki sunii raat mei.N
In this quiet monsoon night

Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Dagmag Dagmag, lehakii lehakii
Wobbling, wavering
Bhuulii bhaT kii behakii behakii
With lost steps, she wanders
Machalii machalii, ghar se nikalii
Restless, she left her home
Paglii sii kalii raat mei.N
Acting a bit crazy in this black night

Tan bhiigaa hai, sar giilaa hai
Her body is drenched, her head is wet
Uskaa koii pech bhii Dhiila hai!
One of her screws must also be loose!
Tanatii, jhuktii, chaltii, rukhtii
Strutting, cowering, moving, then pausing
Nikalii andherii raat mei.N
She emerged into this dark night

Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Hmm…

Glossary:

ladkii: girl; bheegii-bhaagii: wet, drenched; sonaa: to sleep; raat: night; jaagii: awake; milnaa: to meet; ajnabii: stranger; koi: someone; aage: ahead; peechhe: behind; baat: issue, matter; dil: heart; jalnaa: to burn; bigaDnaa: to deteriorate, to become in a bad mood; jhunjhalaanaa: to scoff, to sulk; balkaanaa: to sway, to move in a circle; sawaan: the rainy season; sunii: lonely, quiet; Dagmag: wobbly; lehakii: wavering; bhuulii: lost, forgotten; bhaT: steps; behakii: wandering; machalnaa: to become restless; ghar: home; nikalnaa: to emerge, to come out; tan: body; sar: head; giilaa: wet; pech Dheela: loose screw; tanatnaa: to strut; to appear confident; jhuknaa: to bow; chalnaa: to go; rukhnaa: to stop; andheraa: dark

Kishore Kumar bashful ek ladki bheegi bhagi si

Kishore Kumar’s genius comedic timing remains timeless in “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958).

A quick note about the term “baat” of “koi baat hai/kya baat hai” fame. I translated the phrase above roughly as “something appropriate” but the meaning of the word is far more nuanced. “baat” alone can mean words or conversation, as in the verb “baat karnaa,” meaning “to speak.” You can say “kya baat hai?” to ask “what is the matter?” or you can exclaim “kya baat hai!” as a way of demonstrating awe. A translation that gets more to the heart of how the phrase “tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai” is being used here is perhaps “you tell me if this is something worth talking about,” but to me that felt too cumbersome to write poetically above.

And while I have a captive audience, let’s also examine the grammar of “bheegii/bhaagii sii.” Tacking on the “sii” (feminine) or “saa” (masculine) to any adjective in Hindi softens the descriptor (somewhat like the way in English we sometimes add “ish” to the end of adjectives) or indicates “a little”–as in, she is “a little” wet. A common example you’ll hear is “chhoTaa saa/chhoTii sii” as in the classic Bollywood heroine’s wish to have nothing more than “ek chhoTaa sa ghar” with her faithful husband. But we digress.

– Mrs. 55

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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On June 12, 2016, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This tragedy took the lives of 49 innocent victims and wounded at least 53 more. The majority of victims targeted in this violent massacre were LGBT people of color. We stand in solidarity with Orlando and pay tribute to the lives lost in this hate-fueled tragedy through the translation of a timeless song from Mughal-E-Azam (1960): “pyaar kiyaa to Darnaa kyaa?

Madhubala’s portrayal of Anarkali in Mughal-E-Azam (1960) is widely considered to be her greatest work.

Mughal-E-Azam (1960), directed by K. Asif, narrates the story of forbidden love between Anarkali (played by Madhubala) and Salim (Dilip Kumar). Salim, prince of the Mughal empire, falls in love with Anarkali, a beautiful dancer in the royal court. Emperor Akbar, Salim’s father, is outraged by his son’s relationship with a lowly courtesan. The ensuing conflict between Akbar and Salim, with Anarkali caught in the middle, results in a war between father and son that culminates in a tragic conclusion on all sides.

Although the love story of Salim and Anarkali has been dramatized several times over the decades, this depiction has become immortalized as a masterpiece in the realm of Hindi cinema. This film is considered a crowning glory of the careers for several of the artists involved, especially actress Madhubala, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, music director Naushad, and lyricist Shakeel Badayuni.

With poignant eloquence, “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya?” embodies the spirit of bravery in love.  Indeed, this song expresses a universal message that originates from the time of Mughal emperors yet still resonates today. It inspires us to fight for those we love, to have courage in the face of adversity, and to live our lives freely without fear.

In light of the recent tragedy, let it also be a reminder that love can be expressed in many different ways. Those who love differently from the norm should not be afraid of expressing themselves simply for being who they are. By promoting tolerance over hate, we must come together and take a stand against the persecution of the LGBT community in today’s society.

After all, we cannot forget that love is love.

-Mr. ’55

Madhubala brazenly defies societal norms in the royal court of Emperor Akbar in Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya: Lyrics and English Translation

insaan kisii se duniyaa me.n ek baar muhabbat kartaa hai
An individual only falls in love once in this world.
is dard ko lekar jiitaa hai, is dard ko lekar martaa hai 
He lives with this pain, and he dies with this pain.

pyaar kiyaa to Darnaa kyaa?
If I have loved, then why must I be afraid?
pyaar kiyaa koii chorii nahii.n kii
I have simply loved; I have committed no theft.
chhup chhup aahe.n bharnaa kyaa?
Then, why must I heave these sighs of pain in secrecy?

aaj kahe.nge dil kaa fasaanaa
Today, I will narrate the story of my heart,
jaan bhii le le chaahe zamaanaa
even if the world takes my life.
maut vahii jo duniyaa dekhe
If death is only accepted when witnessed by the world,
ghuT ghuT kar yuu.n marnaa kyaa?
then why must I die by suffocating alone?

unkii tamanna dil me.n rahegii
My desire for him will continue to grow in my heart.
shamma isii mahfil me.n rahegii
The flame will continue to burn in this gathering.
ishq me.n jiinaa, ishq me.n marnaa
After living in love and dying in love,
aur hame.n ab karnaa kyaa?
what else remains for me to do?

chhup na sakegaa ishq hamaraa
My love cannot be hidden,
chaaro.n taraf hai unkaa nazaaraa
it can be seen in all four directions.
pardaa nahii.n hai jab koii khudaa se,
If I do not wear a veil in front of God,
bando.n se pardaa karnaa kyaa?
why must my love remain veiled from society?

pyaar kiyaa to Darnaa kyaa?
If I have loved, then why must I be afraid?

Glossary

insaan: person, human; dard: pain; Darnaa: to fear; chorii: theft; aahe.n bharnaa: to heave sighs; fasanaa: story; zamaanaa: society, world; maut: death; ghuTnaa: to suffocate; tamanna: desire; shamma: flame; ishq: love; nazaaraa: sight; pardaa: veil: banda: person, human.

Mughal-E-Azam (1960) became the first Hindi feature film to be digitally colorized for re-release in theaters in 2004.

20 Gorgeous Waltz Songs from Classic Bollywood Films

Guru Dutt Pyaasa not a waltz

Guru Dutt and Mala Sinha are NOT actually waltzing in the iconic song “Hum Aap Ki Ankhon Mein” from Pyaasa (1957).

The waltz is a beautiful dance form with music in triple meter that originated in 16th century Germany. The name is derived from the Latin volvere, describing the ensemble rotations of the dancers. So what place does the waltz have in 20th century Bollywood films? How did this art form cross continents and cultures?

I first starting looking closely at waltz songs in classic Bollywood films when trying to select a song for my husband and my “first dance” at our wedding. I wanted to use an old Bollywood song for this western tradition, and found myself unsure where to start looking. My mind jumped to the most iconic waltz dance from Bollywood I could think of: who doesn’t recall the serene dream sequence from Pyaasa (1957) in which Guru Dutt and Mala Sinha twirl together through the mist? There was just one issue: “Hum Aap Ki Ankhon Mein” was not actually a waltz.

Meena Kumari Kishore Kumar Mere Neendon Mein Tum waltz

Meena Kumari and Kishore Kumar waltz to O.P. Nayyar’s “Mere Neendon Mein Tum” from Naya Andaz (1956).

Yup. You and I were both fooled. As I discovered the distinct triple meter of the waltz is not ubiquitous in classic Bollywood, nor can you really fake dancing a waltz to anything else. The 3/4 meter of the waltz bears a similarity to the Hindustani dadra 6/8 meter, paving the way for a transition across continents. You can recognize the distinct rhythm of the waltz by listening for a strong first beat followed by two lighter beats. A common mistake is that many people think when dancing the waltz, the first beat is when both dancers move “up.” In reality, that first strong beat is when the dancers may move downwards in unison, and return to normal height (or on the balls of their feet) for the lighter beats following. There are many variations to this pattern, but generally, it gives the waltz dancers that beautiful wave-like cadence as if they are floating across the floor.

The waltz assumes many unexpected incarnations in classic Bollywood, exemplifying everything from urban glamour to girlish excitement to full-out pity party. The first known appearance of waltz in a Bollywood song is in “Hum Aur Tum Aur Yeh Khushi” from Ali Baba (1940) composed by the legendary Anil Biswas. Music director Naushad, known for his brilliant Hindustani classical compositions, helped usher the waltz rhythm into Bollywood mainstream as early as with the tragic “Tod Diya Dil Mera” from Andaz (1949), “Ab Raat Milan Ki” from Jadoo (1951), and “Tara Ri Yara Ri” from Dastan (1952). S.D. Burman highlighted the waltz in his hit House No. 44 (1955) with amorous ballads “Phaili Hui Hai Sapnon” and”Chhup Hai Dharti.” By the late 1950s, the waltz was adopted by nearly every composer, developing an important place in Bollywood well into the 1970s.

Nargis dil ki girah khol waltz

Nargis’ surprisingly incredible waltz moves school everyone in “Dil Ki Girah Khol Do” from Raat Aur Din (1967). And you thought she was only cut out for the village belle.

In Hindi films, a song with a waltz rhythm need not always portray a couple dancing–in fact, some of the best waltz songs create tension by not showing the couple come together. Other times, such as in Nargis’ incredible performance in Raat or Aur Din (1967), waltzing with ease was a sign of Western sophistication and elitism. The waltz gained a brief romantic revival in the 1990s with the super hit song “Kuch Na Kaho” from 1942: A Love Story (1993). But this song became quickly overdone at every Indian function I attended growing up, so I refused to use it at my own wedding. I needed a list of off-the-beaten-path waltz songs from classic Bollywood that would still make us look stylish.

Raj Kapoor Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh waltz

Raj Kapoor and Nadira dance together singing “Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh,” which begins as a lilting waltz in Shree 420 (1955).

But when I was planning my wedding, I never found that list. It’s as though thousands of men and women out there aren’t actually scrambling to dance to a Mohammed Rafi song in front of all their friends and family. I don’t get it. To the couple out there who wants to have the coolest wedding ever, this list is my gift to you!

20 Waltz Songs from Classic Bollywood Films:

  1. Lag Ja Gale (Woh Kaun Thi? 1964)

  2. Dil Ki Nazar Se (Anadi 1959)

  3. Dil Ki Girah Khol Do (Raat Aur Din 1967)

  4. Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (Shree 420 1955)

  5. Dil Ke Jharoke (Brahmachari 1968)

  6. Yeh Raaten Yeh Mausam (Dilli Ka Thug 1958)

  7. Mere Neendon Mein Tum (Naya Andaz 1956)

  8. Phoolon Ke Rang Se (Prem Pujari 1969)

  9. Hum Aur Tum Aur Yeh Sama (Dil Deke Dekho 1959)

  10. Udhar Tum Haseen Ho (Mr. and Mrs. ’55 1955)

  11. Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan (C.I.D. 1956)

  12. Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan (Mera Naam Joker 1970)

  13. Main Shayar To Nahin (Bobby 1973)

  14. Phaili Hui Hai Sapnon (House No. 44 1955)

  15. Tod Diya Dil Mera (Andaz 1949)

  16. Chhup Hai Dharti (House No. 44 1955)

  17. Geet Gaata Hoon Main (Lal Patthar 1971)

  18. Tara Ri Yara Ri (Dastan 1950)

  19. Tera Aana Ik Pal Meri (Hum Naujawan 1985)

  20. Aaja Panchi Akela Hai (No Do Gyarah 1957)

Bollywood wedding waltz

My husband and my ‘first dance’ at our wedding: a waltz to Lata Mangeshkar’s “Lag Ja Gale.” When watching the video of us later, it was clear that I was no Nargis, but at least we had fun!

We ultimately decided on the Viennese waltz “Lag Ja Gale” for our first dance, which proved pretty ambitious for two people whose primary dance skills involved interpretive bhangra. Don’t see your favorite Bollywood waltz on our list? Let us know what other Bollywood waltzes you love in the comments!

– Mrs. 55