Phool Ahista Phenko Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mumtaz is at her sassy finest on screen during this blazing duet from Prem Kahani (1975)

Our next translation comes from Prem Kahani (1975), a hit film set during the peak of India’s struggle for freedom from British rule that stars Mumtaz, Rajesh Khanna, and Shashi Kapoor in  another take on the archetypal Bollywood love triangle. Rajesh Khanna plays the role of an apolitical poet with aspirations of teaching literature who becomes involved in a revolutionary freedom fighter movement to avenge his brother’s murder during a peace protest. He engages in a passionate romance with Mumtaz; however, when she boldly asks to marry him, he turns her down. The reason? Knowing the risks that he will face as a revolutionary, he does not want Mumtaz to be subjected to the cruelties of becoming widowed. Deeply hurt by this rejection,  Mumtaz agrees to marry the man of her father’s choosing. In the mean time, Rajesh kills his brother’s murderer and becomes a fugitive highly sought after by the police. One day, while visiting his sister-in-law’s house, he is shot by police who arrive to search the premises. In order to recover from his wound, Rajesh flees to seek refuge at his best friend Shashi Kapoor’s place. When Rajesh arrives, he finds that it is the day of Shashi’s wedding! Rajesh meets the new bride, and — you guessed it — it is none other than Mumtaz.

In this context, the meaning of the lyrics in “phuul aahistaa phe.nko” come truly alive. The tension at home between Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna is painfully palpable, and in the midst of this mess, the clueless Shashi calls for the start of an informal mushaira (poetry recital).  If you’re interested in the poetry preceding this song, you can listen to the back-and-forth of the witty retorts between Rajesh and Mumtaz at this link here.  The poetry leads seamlessly into the introduction of this memorable Lata-Mukesh duet, which was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and penned by Anand Bakshi. This gem is a perfect example of how songs in Bollywood films can be used  to express emotions that cannot be described as gracefully with dialogue alone.

Through these lyrics, Rajesh takes the opportunity to express his sorrow for letting Mumtaz go and playing with her heart. Mumtaz, with some sassy lines of her own, chides Rajesh for the way that he treated her. In order to fully understand these lyrics, it is important note that the thematic message of this song revolves around a key metaphor: the roses discussed here represent womankind. Like flowers, Indian women must grapple with a delicate and fragile fate as they endure the pain inflicted by the thorns of society’s constraining norms.  Thus, when Rajesh claims in the mukhDaa that roses must be plucked gently (phuul aahistaa phe.nko, phuul baDe naazuk hote hai.n), Mumtaz sarcastically questions the sincerity of his politesse during her antara (baDii khuubsuurat shikaayat hai yah, magar sochiye kyaa sharafat hai yah?). In her heart, she wishes Rajesh had not been overly concerned with her well-being so that their marriage could have occurred (in spite of her prospects of becoming widowed).  By channeling her emotions into anger, Mumtaz now hopes that the same kind of pain will ultimately afflict Rajesh so that he can understand the heartbreak she was forced to endure because of his decisions (jo rulaate hai.n logo.n ko ek din khud bhii rote hai.n).

As you can tell, this song is power-packed with emotional intensity and some beautifully crafted poetry–I highly recommend a listen if you have not received the opportunity to hear it yet. Follow along with our translation and glossary below, and as always, remember to send in your requests to themrandmrs55@gmail.com!

–Mr.55

Rajesh Khanna recites poetry that expresses deep regret for letting his beloved Mumtaz slip away in Prem Kahani (1975)

Phool Ahista Phenko: Lyrics and Translation

kahaa aap kaa yah bajaa hii sahii
What you have said is entirely correct: 
ki ham beqadar, bevafaa hii sahii
I am insensitive and unfaithful. 
bade shauq se jaaiye chhoD kar
With pleasure, you may leave me and go away.
magar sahan-e-gulshan se yuu.n toD kar
But, from the rose garden,

phuul aahistaa phe.nko, phuul baDe naazuk hote hai.n
Gently pluck the roses, for they are very delicate. 
vaise bhii to ye badqismatnok pe kaa.nto.n kii sote hai.n
Indeed, these ill-fated flowers must reside on the tips of thorns.

baDii khuubsuurat shikaayat hai yah
You have expressed quite a lovely grievance,
magar sochiye, kyaa sharaafat hai yah?
but please consider whether it is mere politesse.
jo auro.n kaa dil toDte rahte hai.n
Those who continue to break others’ hearts 
lage choT unko to yah kahte hai.n ki
say this when they become hurt themselves: 
phuul aahistaa phe.nko, phuul baDe naazuk hote hai.n
Gently pluck the roses, for they are very delicate. 
jo rulaate hai.n logo.n ko ek din khud bhii rote hai.n
Those who make others cry shed their own tears one day.

kisii shauk ko baagh kii sair me.n
During a stroll in the garden,
jo lag jaaye kaa.nTaa koii pair me.n
when a thorn pierces your foot,
khafaa husn phuulo.n se ho kis liye?
why do you become angry with the roses, oh beautiful one?
ye maasuum hai.n, bekhataa is liye
They are innocent and faultless.
phuul aahistaa phe.nko, phuul baDe naazuk hote hai.n
Gently pluck the roses, for they are delicate.
ye kare.nge kaise ghaayal? ye to khud ghaayal hote hai.n 

How can they hurt others? They are wounded themselves.

gulo.n ke baDe aap hamdard hai.n
You are quite sympathetic to the beauty of these roses.
bhalaa kyo.n na ho? aap bhii mard hai.n
And why not? You are also a man!
hazaaro.n savaalo.n kaa hai ek javaab
A thousand questions have this one answer.
fareb-e-nazar yah na ho, ai janaab
My dear, don’t let your eyes deceive you.
phuul aahistaa phe.nko, phuul baDe naazuk hote hai.n

Gently pluck the roses, for they are delicate.
sab jise kahte hai.n shabnam, phuul ke aa.nsuu hote hai.n
What people call dew drops are, in fact, the tears shed by roses

*Female lines sung by Lata Mangeshkar are denoted in red. Male lines sung by Mukesh are denoted in black.

Glossary

bajaa: correct; beqadar: insensitive; bevafaa: unfaithful; shauq se: with pleasure; sahan: courtyard; gulshan: rose garden; phe.nknaa: to pluck, throw; aahistaa: slowly, gently; naazuk: delicate; badqismat: ill-fated; nok: tip; shikaayat; grievance; sharaafat: politesse, decency; choT: injury, wound; shauk: thorn; baagh: garden; sair: promenade, stroll; khafaa: angry; maasuum: innocent; bekhataa: faultless; gul: rose; hamdard: sympathetic; fareb-e-nazar: delusion of sight; shabnam: dew drops.  

The handsome yet clueless Shashi Kapoor is unaware of the tumultuous history between his wife Mumtaz and best friend Rajesh Khanna in Prem Kahani (1975). 

Chingari Koi Bhadke Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Amar Prem

Aided heavily by hard liquor, Rajesh Khanna slips into philosophical discourse gazing at the beautiful Sharmila Tagore in Amar Prem (1972).

Our next English translation, the beautiful lyrics of “Chingari Koi Bhadke,” comes from the eternal love story Amar Prem (1972). Anand Bakshi outdoes himself with these philosophical, thought-provoking lyrics on the nature of life and the inevitability of Fate. Like other masterpieces songs of the sharaab genre in Bollywood, “Chingari Koi Bhadke” glorifies the opportunity to escape societal boundaries through alcohol.

Sung by Rajesh Khanna favorite, Kishore Kumar, “Chingari Koi Bhadke” has some of the greatest lines written in Bollywood music: “Madiira jo pyaas lagaaye, use kaun bhujaaye?” echoes the lines of the great 1935 Hindi poem by Harivanshrai Bachhan, “Madhushala”:

Kya mai.N madhushala ke andhar? Ya mere andhar madhushala?”

Indeed, the theme of an inner thirst can be found in Indian art from time immemorial–whether from spiritual seekers rejecting worldly materialism, or from thwarted lovers searching for a way out.

Amar Prem tells the story of a man trapped in a loveless marriage (Rajesh Khanna) who falls for the golden-hearted brothel songstress, Sharmila Tagore. Although both realize the world will never accept the purity of their love for one another, they remain faithful to their shared ideal of “amar prem” even as they are forced apart. Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore eventually grow older, not knowing what became of the other, but in separate ways undergo a spiritual transformation sparked by the love they shared. This immortal song, like others in the film by versatile maestro R.D. Burman (eg. “Kuch To Log Kahenge” and “Yeh Kya Hua”) is both a critique on an unforgiving society and a resignation to the laws of Nature. Intoxication itself, the profundity of these lyrics take several passes to completely envelop you, so go slowly and enjoy the full lyrics and our English translation of “Chingari Koi Bhadke” below!

Rajesh Khanna Amar Prem

Rajesh Khanna plays a good-hearted alcoholic trapped by the fetters of societal propriety in Amar Prem (1972).

Chingari Koi Bhadke Lyrics and Translation:

Chingaari koii bhadke
If someone lights a spark
To saawan use bujhaaye
Then the rains will put it out
Saawan jo agan lagaaye, use kaun bhujaaye?
But if the rains start a fire, who will put it out?

PatajhaD jo baagh mei.n ujaaDe
If a garden is destroyed in the Autumn
Woh baagh bahaar khilaaye
It will bloom again in the Spring
Jo baagh bahaar mei.N ujade, use kaun khilaaye?
But who can revive the garden that is destroyed in Spring?

Hum se mat poochho kaise
Do not ask me how
mandir TooTaa sapno.N kaa
The temple of my dreams shattered
Logo.N kii baat nahii.N hai
This is not a matter for everyone to discuss
Yeh qissa hai.N apno.N kaa
This tale is only for my own circle

Koi dushman thhais lagaaye
If an enemy strikes you a blow
To miit jiyaa bahalaaye
Then your beloved will nurse you
Manmiit jo ghaav lagaaye, use kaun mitaaye?
But who can nurse the wounds your beloved strikes?

Na jaane kya ho jaataa
I do not know what happens
Jaane hum kyaa kar jaate
I do not know what would happen
Peete hai.N to zindaa hai.N
If I drink, then I live
Na peete, to mar jaate
If I do not drink, then I die

Duniyaa jo pyaasaa rakhe
If the world is thirsty
To madiiraa pyaas bujhaaye
Then wine can slake that thirst
Madiiraa jo pyaas lagaaye, use kaun bujhaaye?
But who can slake the thirst caused by wine?

Maanaa toofaan ke aage
I agree that before a storm
Nahii.N chaltaa zor kisii kaa
No one can use force
Maujo.N ka dosh naii.N hai
Yet this is not the fault of the waves
Yeh dosh hai aur kisi kaa
It is the fault of someone else

Majhadaar mei.N naiyaa Doobe
If a boat starts to rock midstream
To maajhi par lagaaye
The boatman can lead it to shore
Maajhi jo naaw Dooboye, use kaun bachaaye?
But if the riverman drowns the boat, who can save it?

Chingaari koii bhadke
If someone lights a spark
To saawan use bujhaaye
Then the rains will put it out
Saawan jo agan lagaaye, use kaun bhujaaye?
But if the rains start a fire, who will put it out?

Glossary:

chingari: spark;  agan: fire; patajhaD: Autumn; baagh: garden; bahaar: Spring; mandir: temple; qissa: story, tale; dushman: enemy; thhais: blow; ghaav: wound; zindaa: alive; pyaasaa: thirsty; madhiira: spirits; toofaan: storm; zor: force, dosh: fault; majhdaar: midstream; Doobnaa: to drown; maajhi: boatman; naaw: small boat

Sharmila Tagore Amar Prem

Oh, Sharmila! Is there any commentary anyone can really give you for your divinely majestic presence in this film??!

No, Sir, they sure don’t make songs like they used to. I love the elegance and seeming simplicity of the picturization for this song. No big ruffles or fireworks–just a beautiful traditional instrumentation for background and a metaphorical boat ride filled with meaningful glances and serious faces. Could a song this classy even exist today?

-Mrs. 55

Jis Gali Mein Tera Ghar Na Ho Balma Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna serenades Asha Parekh in one of Hindi cinema’s most treasured boat songs from Kati Patang (1970)

If you’ve been following the latest news about Bollywood stars (as you should be), you might be aware of the fact that Rajesh Khanna has been hospitalized recently for exhaustion and a stomach infection. In light of this news, I thought I’d share one of my favorite songs picturized on the Bombay superstar and send along our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Below, I’ve provided the lyrics and a translation for “jis galii me.n teraa ghar na ho baalma,” a beautiful number sung by Mukesh in Kati Patang (1970).

Mukesh singing for Rajesh Khanna? Blasphemy, you might say. As we all know, Kishore Kumar was officially the playback voice for India’s beloved ‘Kaka,’ and you might hear a pairing with Mohammed Rafi on occasion. But a Mukesh song picturized on Rajesh Khanna, let alone a popular one, is quite rare indeed.

In spite of the unconventional pairing, this song from Kati Patang is an all-time classic that has been cherished by fans of Hindi cinema over the years. The beauty in the simplicity of Anand Bakshi’s lyrics here is striking. Expressing the the theme of selflessness in love, these lyrics are unique when placed into context of the film. Rajesh Khanna’s character uses this song to profess his love for Asha Parekh, a woman pretending to be a widow after fleeing the altar. At a time when societal norms prevented such women from marrying again, using such romantic lyrics to describe the love between a man and an ostensible widow is a bold move. In his inimitable style, Mukesh gives one of his career’s best performances as he sings these lyrics with sincerity and a tinge of melancholy.  To top it all off, R.D. Burman composes a simple, yet touching melody that does justice to the beauty of these lyrics. Enjoy this poignantly crafted declaration of love with our glossary and translation below!

-Mr. 55

Playing the role of a supposed widow, Asha Parekh wears a white sari throughout most of this film.

Jis Gali Mein Tera Ghar Na Ho Balma: Lyrics and Translation

jis galii me.n teraa ghar na ho baalma
Any  street on which your house does not reside
us galii se hame.n to guzarnaa nahii.n
is not a street that I shall traverse.
jo Dagar tere dvaare pe jaatii na ho
Any path that does not lead to your door
us Dagar pe hame.n paa.nv rakhnaa nahii.n
is not a path on which I shall set foot.

zindagii me.n kaii rangraliyaa.n sahii
In my life, there have been many colorful celebrations.
har taraf muskuratii ye kaliyaa.n sahii
In every direction, there are smiling flowerbuds
khuubsurat bahaaro.n kii galiyaa.n sahi
and many beautiful views of springtime.
jis chaman mei.n tere pag me.n kaa.nTe chubhe.n
Yet, the garden in which thorns pierce your feet 
us chaman se hame.n phuul chunnaa nahii.n
is not a garden from which I shall pick flowers.

haa.n ye rasme, ye qasame.n sabhii toD ke
Yes, after having broken these rituals and vows,
tu chalii aa chunar pyaar kii oDh ke
please come to me, flying your scarf of love in the air.
yaa chalaa jaauu.nga mai.n yah jag chhoD ke
Or else, I shall go away and leave this world.
jis jagah yaad terii sataane lage
The place where your memories begin to torture me
us jagah ek pal bhii Thaharana nahii.n
is not a place where I shall spend a single moment.

jis galii me.n teraa ghar na ho baalma
Any  street on which your house does not reside…

Glossary

galii: street, alley; baalma: beloved; Dagar: path; dvaaraa: door; rangraliyaa.n: colorful celebrations; kaliyaa.n: flower buds; chaman: garden; pag: foot; chubhnaa: to pierce; rasm: ritual, ceremony; qasam: vow; chunar: scarf; jag: world; sataanaa: to torture.

Rajesh Khanna charms the audience with his characteristic smile.

This song was filmed on site at Lake Nainital in Uttarakhand, India.