Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Shashi Kapoor and Rakhee celebrate their wedding night with song in Kabhi Kabhi (1976).

Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of the occasion, we present the lyrics and full English translation to one of the great love poems of Hindi films: “Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein” from the 1976 star-studded mega-hit Kabhi Kabhi.

Penned by that evergreen poet Sahir Ludhianvi, “Kabhi Kabhi” remains on top of any list of Bollywood love songs. The lyrics are written from the heart in adoration of a woman on a couple’s wedding night. The song is reflective and gentle, but bursting with a beautiful excitement of what lies ahead. Kabhi Kabhi revolves around the love affairs of the protagonists and their effects on the next generation. The ageless devotion expressed in this song continues to evolve and evoke new meanings as the film progresses from one revelation to the next.

An interesting aspect of this song is that it is sung from a male perspective by a female heroine (after all, the song was dedicated to her in the first place by Amitabh Bachchan!) Lines like “Suhaag raat hai, ghunghaT uTaa rahaa hoo.N mai.N” evoke tragic irony as Rakhee feels her veil lifted by a man she does not love. Similarly, the final line “Mai.N jaantaa huu.N ki tuu gher hai, magar yuu.N hii” can be interpreted as both as an understanding that husband and wife still must get to know one another, but also as Amitabh Bachhan accepting that Rakhee now belongs to someone else. And just further to wring your heart, blind-to-reality Shashi Kapoor insists to her that if they ever meet the great poet who wrote these words, they must thank him for being with them on their wedding night. (Naturally, they all do meet up somehow–and it’s every bit a circus you can imagine!)

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Rakhee sings from the anthology of poems written by a former lover in Kabhi Kabhi (1976).

You don’t need to know or appreciate the background of this song to fall head over heels for its melody and blissful lyrics. So celebrate the love in your life and enjoy our English translation of “Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein” below!

Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Lyrics and Translation:

Mukesh:

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart

Lata:

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki jaise tujhko banaayaa gaya hai mere liye
That you were created only for me
Tu ab se pehle sitaaro.n mei.N bas rahii thii kahii.N
Before now you lived somewhere among the stars
Tujhe zameen pe bulaayaa gayaa hai mere liye
You were called to earth only for me

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki yeh badan, yeh nigaahe.N merii amaanat hai.N
That this body and these eyes belong to me
Yeh gesuuo.N kii ghanii chaao.N hai.N merii khaatir
These dark shadows of your hair are for me alone
Yeh honTh aur yeh baahe.N meri amaanat hai.N
These lips and these arms belong to me

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki jaise bajatii hai shahanaaiiaa.N sii raaho.N mei.N
As if wedding music is being played in the streets

Mukesh:

Suhaag raat hai, ghunghaT uTaa rahaa huu.N mai.N
It is our wedding night, I am lifting your veil

Lata:

Suhaag raat hai, ghunghaT uTaa rahaa huu.N mai.N
It is our wedding night, I am lifting your veil
SimaT rahii hai tuu sharmaake apne baaho.N mei.N
You shyly blush as I wrap you in my arms

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki jaise tuu mujhe chaahegii umr bhar yuu.N hii
That you will love me forever like this
UThegii merii taraf pyaar kii nazar yuu.N hii
That you will always lift this loving gaze to me

Mukesh:

Mai.N jaantaa huu.N ki tuu gher hai magar yuu.N hii
I know you are still a stranger, however
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart

Glossary:

kabhi kabhi: sometimes, from time to time; khayaal: thought; sitaaraa: star; zameen: earth; badan: body; nigaahe.N: glances, eyes; amaanat: property; gesuu: hair; ghanii: dark; chaao.N: shadow; [kisii kii] khatir: [for someone’s] sake; honTh; lips; baahe.N: arms; amaanat: belonging; shahanaaii: a wind instrument usually played at weddings; raah: path, streets; suhaag raat: wedding night; ghunghaT: veil; sharmaanaa: to become shy; umr bhar: whole life; [kisii kii] taraf: [in someone’s] direction; gher: stranger

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By the end of “Kabhi Kabhi”, the already awkward suhaag raat scene inevitably becomes more awkward.

This special Valentine’s day post is dedicated to my fiancé! It’s been two years since we’ve been together and I’ve loved every moment. Thank you for putting up with my singing old Lata songs outside my range while you’re trying to study, and for finally appreciating the epicness that is Mughal-e-Azam!

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My adorable fiancé and I met at as undergrads at Harvard where he was in the class ahead of me. He proposed two years later, and now we’re busy planning the wedding!

– Mrs. 55

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Perpetuating Gender Norms in Abhiman

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Art mimics life in Abhiman (1973) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri

Everyone loves a bit of filmi gossip. I have been meaning to watch the film Abhiman (1973) ever since I discovered sometime in elementary school that Amitabh Bachchan was actually married (and now an old man) and to none other than Jaya Bhaduri. Like other Bollywood classics that are spicily known to mimic life itself, such as Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) or Silsila (1981), Abhiman too has a wealth of behind-the-scenes parallels.

The film tells the story of a husband and wife singing duo—and the rift that forms between them as her career far overshadows his. Before I discuss the gender stereotypes that run rampant in this film, did you know that Abhiman is rumored to be based upon real-life singer Kishore Kumar’s relationship with his first wife Ruma Guha Thakurta? Given that Kishore sings half the songs of this film, it gets pretty juicy. Ruma was a hugely successful Bengali singer and actress (not to mention the niece of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray!) whose career was soaring during the time of their marriage. Ruma’s songs were super hits in the Bengali industry and she acted in more than 100 films, starting as a child actress. Kishore and Ruma married in 1951, had a son together Amit Kumar (who was a reasonably successful playback singer himself in the 80s), but the two divorced in 1958. In fact, Kishore proposed to his next wife Madhubala while still married to Ruma. Don’t you just love it?

Kishore Kumar with his first wife Ruma Guha Thakurta and their son Amit Kumar (circa 1953).

The gossip gets even better. After filming Abhiman, Jaya Bhaduri edged out of the acting industry to play housewife while Amitabh continued to make some of his greatest hits—the reason? At the time, people strongly suspected it was in order to prevent art mimicking real life! She was afraid of her own marriage suffering the fate of the marriage they had portrayed together on screen. Whether that’s completely true or not, we certainly don’t know—but their rocky relationship (and Amitabh’s later affair with Rekha) was certainly a hot subject of tabloids for years.

Furthermore, Jaya actually went to Lata Mangeshkar studio recordings for research for her character. In the film she mimics how Lata used to hold her saarii and stand on stage. You might even go so far as to say that this film represents what might have happened to Lata Mangeshkar herself had she married! Ah, the drama.

As far as the movie goes, beyond pure gossip value and an amazing soundtrack, Abhiman doesn’t do much but make your blood boil in one long heteronormative manifesto.

Jaya Bhaduri plays a rising singer in Abhiman (1973)

Amitabh can only be happy when he is the bread-winner and when praise of his wife reflects a praise of his decision to marry her. But when Jaya is recognized as an individual talent, he is unable to bear the competition—she’s a better singer, brings in better money, and let’s face it, better looking. So naturally, being a modern man, he turns to alcohol and the company of other women. Meanwhile, the pure-hearted wife stays a social recluse in her husband’s house, yearning for his return.

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Amitabh Bachchan plays a jealous husband in Abhiman (1973)

The film takes an interesting twist—Jaya miscarriages and Bollywood simplifies this emotional tragedy by turning Jaya into a living statue whose only hope for recovery will be to hear her husband sing again. After all, that was her only wish in life, right? Amitabh even goes so far as to suggest electric shock therapy for her. I almost died.

The film’s overt “male gaze” turns Jaya into unintelligent object of curiosity and manipulation–a far cry from that vibrant and talented woman who once threatened her husband’s social sphere. There’s something disturbing about this message, but hey, what do I know. If you’re looking for a far more realistic portrayal of a similar situation, check out Judy Garland’s performance in A Star Is Born (1954), but otherwise enjoy S.D. Burman’s sublime soundtrack without tainting it with what Abhiman will attempt to pass off as completely normal gender expectations of the period.

– Mrs. 55

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Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachchan struggle to save their marriage in Abhiman (1973)