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

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

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz

Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore clasp hands against the beautiful Darjeeling countryside in the film Aradhana (1969).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Bollywood’s favorite love duets “Kora Kaagaz Tha” from Aradhana (1969). The song is a welcome introduction to Autumn, filmed on location on the hilltops of Darjeeling where the only thing cozier than a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance is Rajesh Khanna in a red turtleneck.

Aradhana has rightfully earned widespread acclaim as a monumental Bollywood masala flick that really epitomizes India’s Golden Age of filmmaking. Songs like “Kora Kaagaz Tha” remind us how romance could once be spun from the magic in the air rather than from the dwindling lengths of the heroine’s skirt or from 6,000,000 back-up dancers bumping to an added techno beat. Very few love duets get everything right like this one does, immersing their audience in the beauty of India’s natural landscapes while allowing the Urdu and music to speak for themselves. Sharmila Tagore with her dimpled smile and Rajesh Khanna winking his legendary wink are pure, no-added-hormones or preservatives-required bliss.

I can think of a few other songs that defrost my lifeless heart similarly: “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and “Abhi Na Jao Chhod” from Hum Dono (1961) come to mind.

Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz

Sharmila Tagore’s spotlight-hogging wig takes no prisoners in Aradhana (1969).

Film director Shakti Samanta famously recalled that after pitching the brief summary of Aradhana to lyricist Anand Bakshi, Bakshi was inspired to write the lyrics to “Kora Kaagaz Tha” within seconds. Who would’ve guessed almost 50 years later, those same poetic ideas would be resurrected in mainstream American pop music with Taylor Swift’s popular “Blank Space“? (OK, maybe T. Swizzle has never seen Aradhana before…but I bet if she did, her eyeliner would drip onto the floor from happy tears.)

The best advice I can give you is to put on your best plaid flannel, wrap a wool throw around you and the one you love, and take a long sip of apple cider before starting this one. I have your back, trust me. As you listen, soak in the full glory of the Urdu “ghain” that punctuates Kishore Kumar’s “kaaghaz” or the blissful pop of the Urdu “qaaf,” adorning Lata Mangeshkar’s “mulaaqaat.” These are elegant linguistic subtleties that are fast disappearing from Bollywood music today. Lyrics and English translation to “Kora Kaagaz Tha” are below!

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation:

KISHORE: Hey hey (hey hey) aahaa hmm hmm (hmm hmm) aahaa haa (haa) haa haa (hmm hmm)

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa (meraa meraa)
My mind was a blank sheet of paper 
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa (teraa teraa)
Until I wrote your name upon it

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Suunaa aa.Ngan thaa jiivan meraa
My life was a lonely courtyard
Bas gayaa pyaar is mei.N teraa
Until your love resided within it

KISHORE: TuuT na jaaye sapne mai.N Dartaa huu.N
I am afraid that my dreams may shatter
Nis din sapno.N mei.N dekhaa kartaa huu.N
I keep seeing you in my dreams all day and night
Nainaa kajraa re, matvaale yeh ishaare
Oh, those kaajal-lined eyes, those intoxicating signals
Khaalii Darpan thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was an empty mirror
Rach gayaa ruup is mei.N teraa
Until your beauty manifested within it

LATA: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Chain ga.Nvaayaa mai.N ne, ni.Ndiiyaa ga.Nvaayii
I lost all peace of mind, I lost sleep
SaaDii saaDii raat jaaguu.N, duu.N mai.N duhaayii
I remain awake all night long and I pray
Kahuu.N kyaa mai.N aage? Nehaa laage, jee na laage
What should I say next? I have fallen in love, my soul is restless
Koii dushman thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was an enemy
Ban gayaa miit jaa ke teraa
Until it became your beloved

KISHORE: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

KISHORE: Baagho.N mei.N phuulo.N ke khilne se pehle
Before the flowers bloomed in the gardens
LATA: Tere mere naino.N ke milane se pehle
Before your and my eyes met
KISHORE: Kahaa.N thii yeh baate.N?
Where were words like these?
LATA: mulaaqaate.N?
Meetings like these?
KISHORE: aisii raate.N?
Night like these?
LATA: TuuTaa taaraa thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a shooting star
KISHORE: Ban gayaa chaa.Nd hoke tera
It turned into a moon when I became yours

BOTH: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Aa aa aaa aa
KISHORE: Aaa aa aaa
LATA: O hooo hoo hoo
KISHORE: O hooo hoo hoo
LATA: Hmm hmm mmm mmm
KISHORE: Hmm hmm mmm mmm

Glossary:

koraa: blank; kaaghaz: piece of paper; man: mind; likhnaa: to write; naam: name; suunaa: lonely, empty; aa.Ngan: courtyard; jiivan: life; basnaa: to reside, to settle; pyaar: love; TuuTnaa: to break; sapnaa: dream; Darnaa: to be afraid; nis-din: day and night; nainaa: eyes, kajraa: black eye-liner, re: an expression of emphasis, such as “oh!”; matvaalaa: intoxicated; ishaaraa: signal; khaalii: empty, Darpan: mirror; rachnaa: to create, to manifest; ruup: beauty; chain: peace of mind; ga.Nvaanaa: to waste, to ruin; ni.Ndiiyaa: sleep; saaDii: entire, whole; jaagnaa: to awaken; duhaaii denaa: to pray, to request; aage: next, future; nehaa: love; dushman: enemy; miit: loved one; baagh: garden; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to blossom; milnaa: to meet; baat: words; mulaaqaat: meeting; TuuTaa taaraa: shooting star; chaa.Nd: moon

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo

Why, hello, cozy red turtleneck. Rajesh Khanna (of perfect human being fame) induces a sense of lightheadedness that the mountain’s altitude could never achieve alone.

Aradhana takes a turn for the spicy a few scenes later with Kishore Kumar’s solo “Roop Tera Mastana” because, after all, you can’t make a masala film without the masala. But those who would forever rather stick to the old fashioned tree-frolicks of classic Bollywood, stay here in safe territory with me as long as the season lasts.

– Mrs. 55

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz nose rub in Aap Ki Kasam

Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz’s chemistry is palpable in a cutesy nose rub from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974). What started as an innocent trip to the temple by newlyweds Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz to pray for a child together turns quickly into a hippie dance party (complete with bhang). The irony-laced, quasi-devotional “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” that ensues is one of the 1970s most memorable duets.

When I was younger, my sister and I used to obsessively watch these VHS tapes with collections of old Bollywood songs (thanks, Mom). On one such tape, dubbed “Greatest Hits of Kishore-Lata,” this number appeared, completely out of context. While we loved the beat of the song and Rajesh Khanna’s striking powder blue bell-bottoms, we HATED Mumtaz and everything about her. First of all, orange is not her colour, and her side burns-turned-curly-Qs would scar any pre-teenage girl. But worse than all her sartorial transgressions was her buffoonery in the opening! Can you imagine the heroine of any of other film stumbling down a staircase in front of everyone? At that time, we had no idea Mumtaz had supposedly just gotten high (much less what bhang even was) and fully intended to come across as comically intoxicated. It took years for us to heal and finally come around to her merits as an actress.

Still, while “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” is a strong competitor in the marijuana trip-themed category of 1970s Bollywood songs, it loses narrowly to “Dum Maro Dum” from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971). To my fellow Hindi film fanatics, I’m sorry, but the gold standard in this particular regard remains Asha.

Mumtaz high in Aap Ki Kasam.png

Mumtaz nails that marijuana-induced euphoria in “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Aap Ki Kasam boasts an incredible soundtrack by R.D. Burman that spans the breadth of human experience–from the love ballad “Karvaten Badalte Rahe” to the philosophic “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar.” I may never be able to explain some things about “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar,” but it’s a huge highlight of the film. Like who on earth is that random old guy who starts singing halfway through? Do his grandkids watch this video too and point out his cameo with pride to all their American friends at school? Because I would.

Rajesh Khanna posing at Natraj in jai jai shiv shankar.png

Rajesh Khanna attempts a Natraj pose in the field during “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

We hope you enjoy our English translation of “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” below! While this playful song is rarely celebrated for the profundity of its lyrics, I hope you take a moment to appreciate Anand Bakshi’s poetic genius. Let’s face it: he was kind of backed up against a wall with the opening line ending in “Shankar.” After all, when was the last time you heard the word “kankar” used in a Bollywood song? I thought as much.

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and English Translation:

Kishore: Hey jai jai Shiv Shankar!
Victory to Lord Shiva!
Kaa.NTaa lage na kankar
Let neither thorn nor rock befall us
Ke pyaalaa tere naam ka piyaa
For I drink this glass is in your name, sweetheart

Lata: Ho gir jaauu.Ngii! mai.N mar jaauu.Ngii!
Oh, I will fall! I will die!
Jo tune mujhe thaam na liyaa
Unless you hold me
Ho sau Rab dii
Oh I swear to God

Lata: Ek ke do, do ke chaar, mujhko to dikhte.N hai.N
I am seeing one as two, and two as four
Kishore: Aisaa hii hotaa hai.N jab do dil milte hai.N
This is what happens when two hearts meet
Lata: Sar pe zameen, paao.N ke niiche hai aasmaa.N, ho!
Th earth is on my head, and beneath my feet is the sky, oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Rando [in Braj bhashaa]: O Bansii bhaiyaa!
Oh musical brother!
O more raajaa, baDe jaTnaa se
Oh my King, you are very blessed
Ke chuure terii phulwaarii re…
To have found a flower garden like her

He he he he he he! [maniacal laughter]

Lata: Kandhe pe sar rakhe tum mujh ko sone do
Let me lay head on your shoulder and sleep
Kishore: Masti mei.N jo chaahe.N ho jaaye hone do
In this intoxication, do whatever you want to do!
Lata: Aise mei.N, tum ho gaye ho baDe be-iimaan…ho!
In my state, you seem very dishonest…oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Kishore: Raste.N mei.N hum dono ghar kaise jaaye.Nge?
How can the two of us return home on this path?
Lata: Gharwaale ab humko khud lene aaye.Nge
Our families will have to come bring us back themselves
Kishore: Kuch bhii ho lekin mazaa aa gayaa, merii jaan…ho!
Anything may happen, but my dear, I had a great time…oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Kishore: Are, bajaao re, bajaao, imaandaarii se bajaao
Hey! Play on, play with honesty
Are bajaao, pachaas hazaar kharchaa kar diyaa
Hey! Play on, we have spent fifty thousand rupees on this
Are imaandaari se bajaao, beta
Hey! Play with honesty, son

Glossary:

Jai: victory; Shiv Shankar: Lord Shiva in supreme and deity form; kaa.Ntaa: thorn; kankar: rock; pyaalaa: glass/goblet; naam: name; piyaa: beloved; gir jaanaa: to fall; mar jaanaa: to die; thaam lena: to hold; Rab dii sau: swear by God (Panjabi); ek: one; do: two; chaar: four; jab: when; dil: heart; milnaa: to meet; sar: head; zamee.N: earth; paao.N: feet; niiche: beneath; aasmaa.N: sky; bansii bhaiyaa: musical brother [bansii is a reference to Lord Krishna’s flute]; raajaa: king; phulwaari: garden; khande: shoulders; sonaa: to sleep; mastii: intoxication; be-iimaan: dishonest; raastaa: path; hum dono: the two of us; ghar: home; gharwaale: (literally) the people at home; khud: self; kuch bhii: anything; lekin: but, yet; mazaa aanaa: to enjoy [oneself], to have fun; jaan: life (used as a term of endearment); bajaanaa: to play [an instrument]; imaandaarii: honesty, integrity; pachhaas: fifty; hazaar: thousand; kharch karnaa: to spend

Stoned Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz Jai Jai Shiv Shankar.png

Who would you bet is higher right now, Rajesh or Mumtaz?

Thank you Garima Singh for this awesome request! Did you know Aap Ki Kasam is a remake of a 1970 Malayalam film Vaazhve Mayam? In the original, the ending is way darker, fulfilling stereotypes about the role of women in traditional society that I resent. I won’t spoil the outcome of Aap Ki Kasam for those who haven’t seen this legitimately great film, but just know that Rajesh Khanna plays a fool you will want to smack upside the head repeatedly–an urge that dissipates satisfyingly when he spirals tragically into self-destruction. Karma, baby.

– Mrs. 55

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz

Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore clasp hands against the beautiful Darjeeling countryside in the film Aradhana (1969).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Bollywood’s favorite love duets “Kora Kaagaz Tha” from Aradhana (1969). The song is a welcome introduction to Autumn, filmed on location on the hilltops of Darjeeling where the only thing cozier than a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance is Rajesh Khanna in a red turtleneck.

Aradhana has rightfully earned widespread acclaim as a monumental Bollywood masala flick that really epitomizes India’s Golden Age of filmmaking. Songs like “Kora Kagaz Tha” remind us how romance could once be spun from the magic in the air rather than from the dwindling lengths of the heroine’s skirt or from 6,000,000 back-up dancers bumping to an added techno beat. Very few love duets get everything right like this one does, immersing their audience in the beauty of India’s natural landscapes while allowing the Urdu and music to speak for themselves. Sharmila Tagore with her dimpled smile and Rajesh Khanna winking his legendary wink are pure, no-added-hormones or preservatives-required bliss. I can think of a few other songs that defrost my lifeless heart similarly: “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and “Abhi Na Jao Chhod” from Hum Dono (1961) come to mind.

Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz

Sharmila Tagore’s spotlight-hogging wig takes no prisoners in Aradhana (1969).

Film director Shakti Samanta famously recalled that after pitching the brief summary of Aradhana to lyricist Anand Bakshi, Bakshi was inspired to write the lyrics to “Kora Kagaz Tha” within seconds. Who would’ve guessed almost 50 years later, those same poetic ideas would be resurrected in mainstream American pop music with Taylor Swift’s popular “Blank Space“? (OK, maybe T. Swizzle has never seen Aradhana before…but I bet if she did, her eyeliner would drip onto the floor from happy tears.)

The best advice I can give you is to put on your best plaid flannel, wrap a wool throw around you and the one you love, and take a long sip of cider before starting this one. I have your back, trust me. And as you listen, soak in the full glory of the Urdu “ghain” that punctuates Kishore Kumar’s “kaaghaz” or the blissful pop of the Urdu “qaaf,” adorning Lata Mangeshkar’s “mulaaqaat.” These are elegant linguistic subtleties that are fast disappearing from Bollywood music today. Lyrics and English translation to “Kora Kagaz Tha” are below!

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation:

KISHORE: Hey hey (hey hey) aahaa hmm hmm (hmm hmm) aahaa haa (haa) haa haa (hmm hmm)

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa (meraa meraa)
My mind was a blank sheet of paper 
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa (teraa teraa)
Until I wrote your name upon it

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Suunaa aa.Ngan thaa jiivan meraa
My life was a lonely courtyard
Bas gayaa pyaar is mei.N teraa
Until your love resided within it

KISHORE: TuuT na jaaye sapne mai.N Dartaa huu.N
I am afraid that my dreams may shatter
Nis din sapno.N mei.N dekhaa kartaa huu.N
I keep seeing you in my dreams all day and night
Nainaa kajraa re, matvaale yeh ishaare
Oh, those kaajal-lined eyes, those intoxicating signals
Khaalii Darpan thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was an empty mirror
Rach gayaa ruup is mei.N teraa
Until your beauty manifested within it

LATA: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Chain ga.Nvaayaa mai.N ne, ni.Ndiiyaa ga.Nvaayii
I lost all peace of mind, I lost sleep
SaaDii saaDii raat jaaguu.N, duu.N mai.N duhaayii
I remain awake all night long and I pray
Kahuu.N kyaa mai.N aage? Nehaa laage, jee na laage
What should I say next? I have fallen in love, my soul is restless
Koii dushman thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was an enemy
Ban gayaa miit jaa ke teraa
Until it became your beloved

KISHORE: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

KISHORE: Baagho.N mei.N phuulo.N ke khilne se pehle
Before the flowers bloomed in the gardens
LATA: Tere mere naino.N ke milane se pehle
Before your and my eyes met
KISHORE: Kahaa.N thii yeh baate.N?
Where were words like these?
LATA: mulaaqaate.N?
Meetings like these?
KISHORE: aisii raate.N?
Night like these?
LATA: TuuTaa taaraa thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a shooting star
KISHORE: Ban gayaa chaa.Nd hoke tera
It turned into a moon when I became yours

BOTH: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Aa aa aaa aa
KISHORE: Aaa aa aaa
LATA: O hooo hoo hoo
KISHORE: O hooo hoo hoo
LATA: Hmm hmm mmm mmm
KISHORE: Hmm hmm mmm mmm

Glossary:

koraa: blank; kaaghaz: piece of paper; man: mind; likhnaa: to write; naam: name; suunaa: lonely, empty; aa.Ngan: courtyard; jiivan: life; basnaa: to reside, to settle; pyaar: love; TuuTnaa: to break; sapnaa: dream; Darnaa: to be afraid; nis-din: day and night; nainaa: eyes, kajraa: black eye-liner, re: an expression of emphasis, such as “oh!”; matvaalaa: intoxicated; ishaaraa: signal; khaalii: empty, Darpan: mirror; rachnaa: to create, to manifest; ruup: beauty; chain: peace of mind; ga.Nvaanaa: to waste, to ruin; ni.Ndiiyaa: sleep; saaDii: entire, whole; jaagnaa: to awaken; duhaaii denaa: to pray, to request; aage: next, future; nehaa: love; dushman: enemy; miit: loved one; baagh: garden; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to blossom; milnaa: to meet; baat: words; mulaaqaat: meeting; TuuTaa taaraa: shooting star; chaa.Nd: moon

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo

Why, hello, cozy red turtleneck. Rajesh Khanna (of perfect human being fame) induces a sense of lightheadedness that the mountain’s altitude could never achieve alone.

Aradhana takes a turn for the spicy a few scenes later with Kishore Kumar’s solo “Roop Tera Mastana” because, after all, you can’t make a masala film without the masala. But those who would forever rather stick to the old fashioned tree-frolicks of classic Bollywood, stay here in safe territory with me as long as the season lasts.

– Mrs. 55