Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Zeenat aman chura liya hai asha bhonsle
Zeenat Aman opens “Chura Liya Hai” with a perfectly harmonious clanking of bar goblets in Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). R.D. Burman achieved this sound by actually clanking a spoon against a glass!

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” from retro classic Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

The robust musical composition of “Chura Liya Hai” is nothing short of genius: its instrumental experimentation and rich layers of orchestral nuance are what made R.D. Burman such a radical revolutionary in the industry. But first we must start by discussing the comical opening sequence of Zeenat Aman fake guitaring. I’m sorry, but this can’t be ignored, nor can anyone’s feelings about it be overstated.

Have you ever seen someone play the guitar, Zeenat? Does the timing of when you pluck strings and when the guitar emits sound make sense to you? Or were you rushing through the scene because Elvis was calling and wanted his white jumpsuit back?

Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat
Abandoning all pretense, Zeenat Aman gives her guitar a hug in Yaadon ki Baraat (1973).

I’ll move on. Director Nasir Hussein’s hit film Yaadon Ki Baraat plays upon the classic Hindi film trope of three-brothers-separated-in-childhood who reunite as adults and serve up some nice cold justice on a platter. I’m waiting for someone to remix this as a sister story with a welcome whiff of feminism, but it’s fine. While I would argue Waqt and Amar, Akbar, Anthony made far more note-worthy contributions to cinema, Yaadon Ki Baraat was a formulaic commercial success despite the gauche performance by its leading man Vijay Arora. And yes, I have strong feelings about those protruding ruffles on his tuxedo shirt, but I’ll spare you.

Vijay Arora in Chura liya hai.png
Vijay Arora casually throws the guitar he does not know how to hold over his shoulder in “Chura Liya Hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). In doing so, Zeenat realizes she has found someone who truly understands her.

Vijay Arora plays one of the three brothers who falls for the wealthy daughter of his adoptive father’s employer (played by Zeenat Aman). With vocals that have reached peak Rafi perfection (just years before his voice took a turn for the husky), Vijay easily lands the girl by transforming “Chura Liya Hai” into a flirtatious duet when he pipes up mid-way through the number.

We hope you enjoy our lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” below! God bless you, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Punjabi words like lahuu never make it to mainstream Bollywood songs.

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & English Translation:

ASHA: Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Bahar banke aauu.N kabhii tumhaarii duniyaa mei.N
I will become the Spring and enter your world
Guzar na jaaye yeh din kahii.N issii tamannaa mei.N
Let my days not disappear with this desire
Tum mere ho, ho! tum mere ho, aaj tum itnaa waadaa karte jaanaa
You are mine, oh! You are mine, today you can only leave if you promise me this

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

RAFI: Ho! sajaau.Ngaa luT kar bhi tere badan ki Daali ko
Oh! I would destroy myself to decorate the branches of your body
Lahuu jigar ka duu.Ngaa hasii.N labo.N ki laalii ko
I will give the blood from my heart for the rouge of your lips
Hai wafaa kyaa is jahaa.N ko, ek din dikhlaa duu.Ngaa mai.N diiwaanaa
One day, this crazy man will show the world what a true promise is

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm

Glossary:

churaanaa: to steal; dil: heart; nazar: gaze; sanam: beloved; badalnaa: to change; zindagaanii: life; behlaanaa: to pacify; Bahaar: Spring; duniyaa: world; guzaar jaanaa: to pass; tamannaa: desire; waadaa: promise; sajaanaa: to decorate; luT: ruin, destruction; badan: body; Daalii: branch; lahuu: blood [Panjabi]; jigar: liver/heart; hasii.N: beautiful; lab: lips; laalii: redness; jahaa.N: world; din: day; dikhlaanaa: to show; diiwaanaa: crazy (in love), a la Beyonce

Vijay Arora and Zeenat Aman in Yaadon Ki Baarat.png
Zeenat Aman and Vijay Arora  act all like they didn’t notice the other one is singing straight at them in “Chura Liya hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

You guys might recall that album “You’ve Stolen My Heart” by the Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhonsle in 2005. It features this song…and let’s just say, my heart didn’t get stolen. To me, this song could not be improved upon–and I rarely ever question the absolute sublimity of a Rafi-Lata duet. Here, I have come to appreciate what Asha uniquely brings to this song–a kind of vivacity and playfulness that Lata would have done very differently–and I wouldn’t change it even if I could!

-Mrs. 55

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Salaam-E-Ishq Meri Jaan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Rekha nails the aadab in the introduction to salaam-e-ishq merii jaa.n from Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation of “Salaam-E-Ishq Meri Jaan” from Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978).

Directed by Prakash Mehra, the blockbuster film Muqaddar Ka Sikander became the third highest grossing movie of the ’70s (following Sholay and Bobby) for its mass appeal as a classic masala entertainer. With an all-star cast and a convoluted plot, the film portrays the trials and tribulations of Sikander (Amitabh Bacchan) as he navigates through life’s struggles – from an unfortunate childhood as a poor orphan to a troubled young man with a doomed love.

The soundtrack of this film, composed by the underrated duo Kalyanji-Anandji and penned by Anjaan (Lalji Pandey), was a hit when the movie released and remains popular to this day. Notable gems include rote hue aate hai.n sab by Kishore, o saathii re by Kishore/Ashaand dil to hai dil by Lata. However, the highlight of the film’s soundtrack is the Lata-Kishore duet salaam-e-ishq meri jaa.n, whose lyrics have interestingly been credited to the film’s director Prakash Mehra. Although Rekha’s role in the film is small, she shines in her performance of this mujra number and shares great on-screen chemistry with Amitabh. No one can play the sulking courtesan like Rekha can, am I right?

For the musically inclined, this song is based on Raga Yaman Kalyan with a touch of Puriya Dhanashri when Kishore sings the second antara.

This song was requested by one of our dear readers Salma – thank you! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
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Rekha looks great, but what was Amitabh’s costume designer thinking here?

Salaam-E-Ishq Meri Jaan: Lyrics and English Translation

ishqvaalo.n se na puuchho ki unkii raat kaa aalam
Do not ask lovers about how their nights
tanhaa kaise guzartaa hai?
pass in solitude.
judaa ho hamsafar jiskaa voh usko yaad kartaa hai
Those separated from their companions reminisce about them.
na ho jis kaa koii voh milne kii fariyaad kartaa hai
Those who are alone pray to meet their beloved.

salaam-e-ishq merii jaa.n zaraa qubuul kar lo
My dear, accept these greetings of love.
tum ham se pyaar karne kii zaraa-sii bhuul kar lo
Make the small mistake of falling in love with me.
meraa dil bechain hai hamsafar ke liye
My heart is restless for a companion.

mai.n sunaauu.n tumhe.n baat ik raat kii
I shall tell you the story of one night.
chaa.nd bhii apnii puurii javaanii pe thaa
The Moon was shining in full splendor.
dil me.n tuufaan thaa, ik armaan thaa
In my heart, there was a storm, a desire.
dil kaa tuufaan apnii ravaanii pe thaa
This storm in my heart raged with full vigor.
ik baadal udhar se chalaa jhuum ke
A cloud danced its way from afar
dekhte dekhte chaa.nd par chhaa gayaa
and cast its shadow over the Moon.
chaa.nd bhii kho gaya uskii aaghosh me.n
The Moon was lost in its embrace.
uff! yeh kya ho gaya josh hii josh me.n?
Oh! What has happened amidst such passion?
meraa dil dhaDkaa
My heart beat.
meraa dil taDpaa kisii kii nazar ke liye
My heart pined for someone’s glance.

KISHORE: is ke aage kii ab daastaa.n mujh se sun
Now hear the rest of the story from me.
sun ke terii nazar Dab-Dabaa jaayegii
After hearing it, your gaze will fall.
baat dil kii jo ab tak tere dil me.n thii
The innermost thoughts that have resided in your heart,
meraa daavaa hai ho.nTho.n pe aa jaayegi
I guarantee that they will surface to your lips.
tuu masiiha muhabbat ke maaro.n kaa hai
You are the Messiah for the lovestruck.
ham tera naam sun ke chale aaye hai.n
After hearing your name, I have come to your side.
ab davaa de hame.n yaa tuu de de zahar
Now give me your medicine or give me poison.
terii mahfil me.n ye diljale aaye hai.n
Many of your admirers have arrived in this gathering.
ik ahsaan kar apne mahmaan par
Do a favor for your guests,
de.n duaaye.n
for they will give you blessings.
de.n duaaye.n tujhe umr bhar ke liye
They will give you blessings for the rest of your life.

LATA: salaam-e-ishq merii jaa.n zaraa qubuul kar lo
My dear, accept these greetings of love.

Glossary:

aalaam: condition, atmosphere; fariyaad: prayer; salaam-e-ishq: greetings of love; qubuul karnaa: to accept; bhuul: mistake; bechain: restless; hamsafar: companion; javaanii: youth, splendor; tuufaan: storm; armaan: hope, desire; ravaanii: vigor; baadal: cloud; chhaa jaanaa: to cast a shadow; aaghosh: embrace; josh: passion; taDpaanaa: to pine; daastaa.n: story; Dab-Dabaa jaanaa: to sink, fall; daavaa: promise, guarantee; masiiha: Messiah; muhabbat ke maaro.n: the lovestruck; davaa: medicine; zahar: poison; diljale: admirer; ahsaan: favor; mahmaan: guest; duaaye.n: blessings; umr bhar: life-long.

Amitabh_Rekha_SalaamEIshq_MuqaddarKaSikander
Of course, no mujra number is complete without some groveling from a drunk hero.

The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time

The best music albums from classic Bollywood have been chosen. Which songs made the list of Bollywood’s top 30 greatest?

Raj Kapoor Nargis Iconic BarsaatIntroduction

Welcome to the greatest music of classic Bollywood! We at Mr. and Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! have compiled our ultimate list of the top 30 best classic Bollywood film soundtracks of all-time. Music is the very soul of classic Bollywood, a legacy of beauty and style that once lit the world. These soundtracks showcase the most talented artists of Bollywood and are as diverse and transformative as the films to which they lent their magic. Long after the cinema lights fade, this music remains in the air, haunting us with desire, sustaining us through tragedy, and enchanting our daily experiences in the world.

Soundtracks of all Hindi films released between the years of 1945 to 1985 were considered and ranked based on the merit of lyrics, musical composition and complexity, historical and cultural value, vocal performance, and accomplishments of the soundtrack elements as an ensemble. Topping our list are composers Sachin Dev Burman, Rahul Dev Burman, Naushad, and the duo Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal (often credited as Shankar-Jaikishen) whose works both defined and reinvented Bollywood. Like our enormously popular list of the Top 30 Greatest Classic Bollywood Films of All Time, these soundtracks embrace the unexpected.

The advent of music in Bollywood binds the stormy history of a shackled India emerging from depression and war with the golden age of Hollywood musical film. Many believe that films with de rigeur musical numbers is a unique hallmark of Hindi cinema. However, the early “talkie” pictures of India such as Alam Ara (1931) were heavily influenced by the popular western films like The Jazz Singer (1927) and Showboat (1929) in which the new sound technology instantly propelled musical film as the most profitable genre. Hollywood directors like Busby Berkeley whose signature spectacle was the mass ornament and nimble-footed singer-dancers like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers helped contribute to the hundreds and hundreds of musical films cherished by the western world during the 1930s-1950s. The then universal convention of five to seven musical numbers peppering a film was easily embraced and adapted by Hindi movie directors who introduced Hindustani musical traditions to their work. Playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Asha Bhonsle were as celebrated as the actors for whom they lent their voices. Often before a film was released, a Bollywood movie’s soundtrack was played repeatedly on the radio, reaching the hearts of millions across the country who may not have afforded the luxury to see the actual film in theatres.

While Hollywood eventually diverged from the musical film genre by the late 1960s, India was awakening to its own golden era of film in which music dominated the sensory milieu. Perhaps it was the escapism of music with its perfect harmonies and piercing poetry that touched the newly freed country still finding its identity. From solemn hymns of the countryside to feverish cabarets of city nightlife, from extravagant orchestras to solitary sitar solos, and from singers whose voices seem to descend from heaven, these soundtracks unleashed new eras of possibility and romance. The music of classic Bollywood will change you forever. For a few fleeting minutes, the ideals you dreamed of are made real.

Take this journey with us through the best music albums of yesteryear Hindi cinema. This music the way is was meant to be. This is classic Bollywood.

The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time:

1. Pakeezah

Pakeezah Meena Kumari Chalte Chalte

Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad, 1971

2. Guide

Guide

S.D. Burman, 1965

3. Mughal-e-Azam

Mughal-e-Azam

Naushad, 1960

4. Nagin

Nagin

Hemant Kumar, 1954

5. Aradhana

Aradhana

S.D. Burman, 1969

6. Teesri Manzil

Teesri Manzil

R.D. Burman, 1966

  • Aaja Aaja – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Deewana Mujhsa Nahin – Mohammed Rafi
  • O Haseena Zulfonwali – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • O Mere Sona Re – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Tumne Mujhe Dekha – Mohammed Rafi

7. Barsaat

Barsaat

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1949

  • Hawa Mein Udta Jaye – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Chhod Gaye Balam – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • Jiya Beqarar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Mujhe Kisise Pyar – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Patli Kamar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh

8. Anarkali

Anarkali

C. Ramachandra, 1953

  • Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • O Zindagi Ke Denewale – Hemant Kumar
  • O Aasmanwale – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jaag Dard-e-Ishq – Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar
  • Mohabbat Aisi Dhadhkan Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Mujhse Mat Pooch – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aaja Ab To Aaja – Lata Mangeshkar

9. Kati Patang

Kati Patang

R.D. Burman, 1970

  • Jis Gali Mein – Mukesh
  • Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kishore Kumar
  • Na Koi Umang Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Yeh Shaam Mastani – Kishore Kumar
  • Pyaar Diwanaa Hota Hai – Kishore Kumar
  • Aaj Na Chhodenge – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar

10. Chori Chori

Chori Chori

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956

  • Panchi Banoon Udti – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aaja Sanam – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Jahan Main Jaati Hoon – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Rasik Balma – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Man Bhavan Ke Ghar – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle

11. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Roshan, 1963

12. Hum Dono

Hum Dono Abhi Na Jao Dev Anand Sadhana

Jaidev, 1961

13. Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief

S.D. Burman, 1967

  • Honton Pe Aisi Baat – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aasman Ke Neeche – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
  • Dil Pukare – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Rulake Gaya Sapna – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Yeh Dil Na Hota – Kishore Kumar
  • Title Music

14. Caravan

Caravan

R.D. Burman, 1971

  • Piya Tu Ab To – Asha Bhonsle
  • Chadti Jawani – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Kitna Pyara Wada – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Goriya Kahan – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Ab Jo Mile Hai – Asha Bhonsle

15. Bobby

Bobby Main Shayar To Nahin

Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, 1973

  • Main Shayar To Nahin – Shailendra Singh
  • Bahar Se Koi Andhar – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kate – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Na Mangoon Sona Chandi – Manna Dey and Shailendra Singh

16. Pyaasa

Pyaasa

S.D. Burman, 1957

  • Jaane Woh Kaise – Hemant Kumar
  • Aaj Sajan Mohe – Geeta Dutt
  • Hum Aap Ki Ankhon Mein – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
  • Jane Kya Tune Kahi – Asha Bhonsle
  • Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye – Mohammed Rafi

17. Abhiman

Abhiman

S.D. Burman, 1973

18. Anand

Anand

Salil Choudhury, 1971

19. Kabhi Kabhi

Kabhi Kabhi

Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1976

20. Baiju Bawra

Baiju bawra

Naushad, 1952

  • O Duniya Ke Rakhwale – Mohammed Rafi
  • Man Tarpat Hari Dar – Mohammed Rafi
  • Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jhoole Mein Pawan Ke – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Tu Ganga Ki Mauj – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi

21. Mother India

Mother India

Naushad, 1957

22. Madhumati

Madhumati

Salil Choudhury, 1958

  • Aaja Re Pardesi – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Dil Tadap Tadap – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • Suhana Safar – Mukesh
  • Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Chadh Gayo Papi Bichua – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey

23. Basant Bahar

Basant Bahar

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956

  • Duniya Na Bhaye Mohammed Rafi
  • Bhaye Bhanjana – Manna Dey
  • Ja Ja Re Ja – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Main Piya Teri – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Nain Mile Chain Kahan – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey

24. Aar Paar

Aar Paar

O.P. Nayyar, 1954

  • Babuji Dheere Chalna – Geeta Dutt
  • Sun Sun Sun Zalima – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
  • Kabhi Aar Kabhi Par – Shamshad Begum
  • Yeh Lo Main Haari Piya – Geeta Dutt
  • Hoon Abhi Main Jawan – Geeta Dutt

25. Kashmir Ki Kali

Kashmir Ki Kali

O.P. Nayyar, 1964

26. Bandini

Bandini

S.D. Burman, 1963

  • Ab Ke Baras Bhej – Asha Bhonsle
  • O Re Mahji – S.D. Burman
  • Mora Gora Ang Laile – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jogi Jab Se Tu Aaya – Lata Mangeshkar
  • O Janewale Ho Sake – Mukesh

27. Sangam

Sangam

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1964

28. Yaadon Ki Baraat

Yaadon Ki Baraat

R.D. Burman, 1973

  • Chura Liya Hai – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Aapke Kamre Mein – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Lekar Hum Deewana Dil – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Meri Soni Meri Tamana – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Yaadon Ki Baraat – Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

29. Amar Prem

Rajesh Khanna Amar Prem

R.D. Burman, 1972

  • Chingari Koi Bhadke – Kishore Kumar
  • Raina Beeti Jaaye – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Kuch To Log Kahenge – Kishore Kumar
  • Yeh Kya Hua – Kishore Kumar
  • Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh – Lata Mangeshkar

30. Umrao Jaan

Rekha2_UmraoJaan

Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1981

Find out more about these and other classic Bollywood soundtracks on our song pages! Which soundtracks do you consider among classic Bollywood’s all-time best and why? Leave us a comment and let us know!

– Mrs. 55

Interview with Bollywood Playback Singer Minoo Purushottam: A Mr. & Mrs. 55 Exclusive!

Minoo Purushottam tanpura
Minoo Purushottam, renowned Hindi film playback singer. Photo: Personal collection of Minoo Purushottam.

Last year, we published a popular post on the career of one of our favorite yesterday playback singers, Minoo Purushottam. In one of those great twists of fate taken straight from a 60s masala flick, shortly afterwards, we received an email from Minoo-ji’s son who re-connected Mrs. 55 with her Hindi classical voice teacher, Minoo-ji herself, from years before! Minoo-ji was gracious enough to grant Mr. and Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! an exclusive interview about her career. After spending many years in Houston since leaving Bombay, Minoo-ji has now settled into her new home in Illinois near her son where she continues to teach new students and perform at concerts. We are honored to share with you a transcript of our delightful conversation with her that includes reminiscing about her early schooldays when she was first recognized as a musical prodigy, that time Mukesh blew his 16th take during a recording session, and what advice she has for aspiring singers!

MRS. 55: Could you tell us a little bit more about your early music training?

MINOO: I grew up in Bombay. There were music classes in school. A South Indian teacher used to come and teach us the ragas. At that time, I was chosen to lead the school prayers. That was a great time for me, I was not thinking then that I would become a singer when I was at school. I wanted to become a schoolteacher actually. I had very simple ambitions. When suddenly I realized I was a singer, I started seriously practicing, four hours every day, every day, every day. This was because I had to prepare for my exams: 25 ragas for the sangeet visharad in the first year. It was very difficult. But I always loved to teach, and I still love it. Everybody now thinks they can sing without practice. I think karaoke messed things up that way. If you know the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna said we have 4 Vedas, and there is a Samaveda based on music. The whole universe is singing if you carefully listen to it. All the sounds are like singing. It affects one a lot.

MR. 55: Who was your favorite duet partner in the past?

MINOO: All these singers are great humans. I was working all my life with Mohammed Rafi. At that time I was very young and toured with Asha Bhonsle too. But after the great singers were gone, I was not interested in staying in Bombay. With whom should I sing? I was feeling sad. But still I love to work, I love to sing. Even now I practice every day.

Minoo Purushottam and Asha Bhonsle rehearsing
Playback singers Minoo Purushottam and Asha Bhonsle rehearsing together in a recording studio. Photo: Personal collection of Minoo Purushottam.

MRS. 55: Some singers have commented on the difficult of breaking into the industry when it was dominated by a few select singers. How did you overcome that?

MINOO: I didn’t have any difficulty. It seemed that everybody loved me so much, they wanted to give me a chance. I was doing my job well. All the music directors were very happy with me when I was working with them. I never said that, “I want this, I want that.” I never made demands, so I was very easy to work with. At that time music was so great. The stories in the films were so good. You can see those films 100 times. From my childhood, I saw the film Mahal. It’s a very old movie. I can see that film over and over. I love all those songs. I can see it 1000 times. But my time was after that, mostly colour movies.

MR. 55: You worked with many great music directors. What lessons did they teach you?

MINOO: I was working a lot with Madan Mohan. He was my teacher, teaching me ghazals and pronunciation and accent of ghazals. Jaidev was also my teacher.

MRS. 55: I remember when I took lessons from you, you talked fondly about the actors you worked with, especially Sanjeev Kumar.

MINOO: You know, Sanjeev Kumar’s sister is in Houston and used to come to meet me. We were very good friends. But things change a lot. Madhumati was very good friend of mine as well.

Minoo Purushottam and Manna Dey
Bollywood playback singers Minoo Purushottam and Manna Dey. Photo: Personal collection of Minoo Purushottam.

MR. 55: Are there any new artists that you enjoy?

MINOO: I have a habit of listening to old songs from singers like Talat Mehmood. It’s hard to change that. But some students do want to learn new songs, and then I help them. We should be open-minded, it’s a part of the job.

MRS. 55: What is your favorite film song that you sang?

MINOO: I love all of them. You put so much time and effort into each one. You have to concentrate very hard, you can’t play around with it. One should be very serious. Nowadays they can break the song down in pieces to record just the pieces, and then put them together. But in those days, you and all the musicians had to sing it perfectly all the way through. If you make a mistake, you’d be rejected. One day I was sitting for the recording and Mukesh-ji was making so many mistakes! He was on his 16th take and he said, “If I don’t get it right this time, I’m going to forget this song.” I think my voice has changed with age, and it suits bhajans and ghazals now. And anyway, who would compose film music now the way S.D. Burman and C. Ramchandra did? This time people just want to make money, not make real music.

MRS. 55: Is there anything you’d like to tell your fans?

MINOO: If you really want to sing, you must learn something. Find a teacher. But I can tell you, it’s hard to find time to devote just to music. But you must do it.

– Mr. and Mrs. 55

Minoo Purushottam and Mohammed Rafi
Playback singers Minoo Purushottam and Mohammed Rafi often toured together in the 60s and 70s. Photo: Personal collection of Minoo Purushottam.

Mera Kuch Saamaan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Anuradha Patel plays an impetuous and free-spirited woman who haunts her former lover and his current wife with her gift for poetry. in Ijaazat (1987)
Anuradha Patel plays an impetuous and free-spirited woman who haunts her former lover and his current wife with her gift for poetry in Ijaazat (1987).

Released in 1987, Gulzar’s Ijaazat starring Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha, and Anuradha Patel is a film that falls outside of the time period traditionally associated with the “Golden Era” of Hindi cinema. Although we tend to feature films from the 1950s-1970s on this blog, an exception must be made for this film because of its timeless soundtrack composed by R.D. Burman, penned by Gulzar, and sung by Asha Bhonsle. Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to an ever-haunting gem from Ijaazat (1987): meraa kuchh saamaan

Based on the Bengali story Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh, this film presents the classic love triangle trope often used to excess in Bollywood in a refreshingly subtle and poignant manner that reflects the high caliber of Gulzar’s artistry as a poet-turned-director. The story in this film revolves around the relationships among three main characters: Mahinder (Naseeruddin Shah), Sudha (Rekha), and Maya (Anuradha Patel). Mahinder, a young photographer, has been engaged to his childhood friend Sudha for five years in an arrangement made by his grandfather (Shammi Kapoor). In spite of this arrangement, Mahinder falls passionately in love with the impulsive and free-spirited Maya, but he is too afraid to confide the truth to his grandfather. When pressured to go through with the wedding, the conflicted Mahinder reveals his true feelings to Sudha. However, when Maya suddenly disappears from his life, Mahinder decides to honor his grandfather’s wishes and marries Sudha after all. Even at the end of the film, a lingering question remains: why would Sudha agree to marry a husband who did not truly love her?

Rekha struggles deeply as she is forced to grapple with her husband's history with Anuradha Patel and its effects on their marriage in Ijaazat (1987)
Rekha offers an understated performance as a vulnerable wife forced to grapple with her husband’s history with an ex-lover and its devastating effects on their marriage in Ijaazat (1987)

As the companionship between Sudha and Mahinder begins to grow, the underlying presence of Maya as an unwanted third party in their marriage inevitably leads to marital discord. Mahinder’s unresolved feelings for Maya and Sudha’s awareness of these feelings gradually creates tension that escalates once Maya re-appears in their lives and rekindles a friendship with Mahinder through letters, phone calls, and poems. Mahinder indulges Maya’s attention-seeking actions at each opportunity, deepening the rift that already exists between him and his wife. Despite many efforts to adjust to the very tangible presence of Maya in their lives, Sudha comes to realize that she will never be able to live happily with Mahinder and decides to walk away from her marriage. The turmoil and tragedy of this film goes on to culminate in a conclusion that is surprisingly positive and heart-warming–without completely spoiling the ending here, I will just say that fans of Shashi Kapoor will not be disappointed!

In spite of its portrayal of a relatively ordinary story, Ijazaat stands out from other films in the same vein because of its evocative dialogues, nuanced character development, and, of course, the beautiful music and poetry found in its soundtrack. In the context of the film, meraa kuchh saamaan is a poem addressed to Mahinder from Maya that captures the essence of their troubled relationship with remarkable finesse and sophistication. In this poem, Maya asks Mahinder to return her things back to her–these requests are not for the return of physical objects but rather for memories of their time spent together. Gulzar’s evocative poetry in an unusual free verse format earned him the National Film Award and Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist in 1988, while Asha Bhonsle won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her soulful rendition of this song.

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Anuradha Patel’s character is unique to the version of Jatugriha that is presented in Ijaazat (1987), as the original story depicted the woes of a troubled marriage between a husband and wife without the “other woman” character.

Those of you familiar with this classic already may have wondered why Gulzar chose to use the number 116 in the last stanza of this song to describes the number of moonlit nights spent together by the protagonists. Some have suggested that 116 nights may indicate that Maya and Mahinder were involved in a relationship four months in duration (with four new moons), while others have suggested it is a reference to the number of phases of the moon found in ancient Indian literature. Interestingly, when asked in an interview about the interpretation of this number, Gulzar said: It’s not the number which is important, it’s important that somebody kept the count of the moonlit nights of which they spent together.”  This number went on to carry special significance for Gulzar as he recounts in a 2005 interview that he has written lyrics for exactly 116 of R.D. Burman’s songs during his career. 

Lyrics and Translation:

mera kuchh saamaan tumhare paas paDaa hai
Some of my belongings remain with you.
saavan ke kuchh bhiige bhiige din rakhe hai.n
A few wet monsoon days,
aur mere ek khat me.n lipaTii raat paDii hai
and a night folded into one of my letters.
voh raat bujhaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Extinguish that night, and return my things to me.

patjhaD hai kuchh, hai na?
It was autumn then, no?
patjhaD me.n kuchh patto.n kii girane kii aahaT
The rustling whispers of leaves falling in autumn.
kaano.n me.n ek baar pahan ke lauT aayii thii
I had brought back those whispers once by wearing them as earrings.
patjhaD kii voh shaakh abhii tak kaa.np rahii hai
A branch of autumn still trembles in the breeze.
voh shaakh giraa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Make that branch fall down, and return my things to me.

ek akelii chhatrii me.n jo aadhe-aadhe bhiig rahe the
When we both became drenched in the rain under a single umbrella,
aadhe giile aadhe sukhe, sukhaa to mai.n le aayii thii
half of our things became wet. I had brought the dry half back with me that day.
giilaa man shayad bistar ke paas paDaa ho
But perhaps my drenched heart remained next to the bed.
voh bhijvaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Send that back, and return my things to me.

ek sau solaah chaa.nd kii raate.n, ek tumhaare kaa.ndhe kaa til
One hundred and sixteen moonlit nights, and the single mole on your shoulder.
giillii maha.ndii kii khushbuu, jhuuTh-muuTh ke shikve kuchh
The fragrance of wet henna, and some fake tantrums.
jhuuTh-muuTh ke vaade bhii sab yaad karaa duu.n?
Shall I remind you of all the false promises too?
sab bhijvaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Send all of them back, and return my things to me.

ek ijaazat de do bas, jab isko dafnaauu.ngii
When I bury these these things, just grant me the permission
mai.n bhii vahii.n so jaauu.ngii
To lay myself to sleep among them.
mai.n bhii vahii.n so jaauu.ngii
To lay myself to sleep among them.

Glossary

saamaan: belongings, things; saavan: monsoon; bhiigaa: drenched, wet; khat: letter; lipaTnaa: to wrap, fold; bujhaa denaa: to extinguish; lauTaa denaa: to return; patjhaD: autumn; pattaa: leaf; giranaa: to fall; aahaT: whisper, faint noise; pahanna: to wear; shaakh: branch; giraa denaa: to make something fall; chhatrii: umbrella; aadhaa: half; giilaa: wet; sukhaa: dry; bistar: bed; bhijvaanaa: to have something sent; ek sau solaah: 116; kaa.ndh: shoulder; til: mole; maha.ndii: henna: khushbuu: fragrance; jhuuTh-muuTh: fake, false; shikvaa: complaint, tantrum; vaadaa: promise: yaad karaa denaa: to remind; ijaazat: permission; dafnaanaa: to bury: so jaanaa: to sleep.


In 2005, Asha Bhonsle in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet reprised several of her old songs as a tribute to her late husband R.D. Burman in the album You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood. In recognition of her work on this album, Asha received her second Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary World Music. When asked to name her favorite song from the album, she said it was meraa kuchh saamaan because it “is very close to my heart as it transports me back into time when I was with Pancham.” (Source).

 -Mr. 55