Nainon Mein Sapna Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Sridevi

The untimely demise of Sridevi at the age of 54 on February 24, 2018 has struck fans of Indian cinema across the globe. Today, in honor of Sridevi’s legacy, we present the lyrics and English translation to “Nainon Mein Sapna” from her first superhit Bollywood film Himmatwala (1983).

Sridevi’s acting career began at the age of four and would go on to include 300 films over the span of more than four decades. As an actress in South Indian language films, Sridevi’s early performances highlight her capacity to portray nuanced roles without the glamor and glitz that pervaded the Bollywood industry. Sridevi’s first foray into the world of Hindi cinema as a leading lady occurred in Solva Sawan (1979), but her rise to Bollywood stardom occurred as the heroine in K. Raghavendra Rao’s Himmatwala (1983), a Hindi remake of the Telegu film Ooruki Monagadu.

Regarding her early success with Himmatwala, Sridevi has said in a 1987 interview:

In Tamil films they love to see me act naturally. But in Hindi films all they want is lot of glamour, richness and masala. My bad luck was that my first big hit in Hindi films turned out to be a commercial one (Himmatwala). When I did a character role in Sadma, the picture flopped. So people started casting me only for glamour roles. But one day I’m going to prove to everyone that I can act also.

Following Himmatwala, Sridevi had a string of Bollywood hits in the 1980s and ’90s, soon becoming one of the most sought after actresses in the industry. Some of her most notable works include Mr. India (1987), Chandni (1989), Chaalbaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991) and Khuda Gawah (1992). After a 15-year hiatus following her controversial marriage to Boney Kapoor, Sridevi made an endearing comeback in English Vinglish (2012) as a Hindi-speaking housewife who takes on learning English for the first time in Manhattan. Most recently, Sridevi starred in Mom (2017) as a vigilante mother who avenges the rape of her daughter, which was the actress’s 300th and final appearance on screen before her death.

With her unparalleled charisma and signature big eyes, Sridevi won the hearts of millions of fans across the world. Given her massive popularity and exceptional body of work, she is widely considered to be Bollywood’s first female superstar. As we mourn the untimely loss of an icon, we send our heartfelt condolences to Sridevi’s family during this difficult time.

Do you have a favorite song featuring Sridevi? Let us know in the comments!

-Mr. ’55

Sridevi

Nainon Mein Sapna: Lyrics and English Translation

LATA: naino.n me.n sapnaa
In my eyes, there is a dream.
sapno.n me.n sajnaa
In my dreams, I see my beloved. 
sajnaa pe dil aa gayaa
My heart has fallen for my beloved. 
kyo.n sajnaa pe dil aa gayaa?
Why has my heart fallen for my beloved?

kaii albele dekhe
I have seen many unique sights
javaanii ke rele dekhe
I have seen processions of youth.
hasiino.n ke mele dekhe
I have seen gatherings of beautiful women.
dil pe tu hii chhaa gayaa
But it is only you that reigns over my heart.

KISHORE: naino.n me.n sapna
In my eyes, there is a dream.
sapno.n me.n sajnii
In my dreams, I see my beloved.
sajnii pe dil aa gayaa
My heart has fallen for my beloved.
ki sajnii pe dil aa gayaa
My heart has fallen for my beloved.

LATA: tuu nahii.n, mai.n nahii.n
There is not just you or just me.
ab dil ik hai
Our hearts are now united as one.
do tan ik praan, do dil ik jaan
Two bodies with one soul, two hearts with one life.
manzil ik hai
We now have the same destination.  

KISHORE: arre ang se ang mile
Oh! As our bodies unite,
armaa.n khil gaye
our desires have blossomed.
purab paschim se, paschim purab se
From West to East and East to West,
kaise mil gaye
we have met in strange ways.

pyaar ke zamaane mile
I have been given a new world of love,
husn ke khazaane mile
I have been given a beautiful treasure,
jiine ke bahaane mile
I have been given a reason to live,
man me.n jo tuu aa gayaa
Once you entered my heart.

Sridvi

LATA: saanche me.n tere hii
In your mold,
mai.n to Dhal gayii
I shaped myself.
tuu ne toDaa hai, aisaa moDaa hai
You broke and twisted me
ho gayii mai.n nayii
to give me a new shape.

KISHORE: arre saa.nso.n me.n ho.nTho.n pe
Oh! In my breaths and on my lips,
teraa hii naam hai
only your name resides.
lenaa denaa hai kyaa mujhe duniyaa se?
I have nothing to give or take from this world,
tujh se kaam hai
for I am only attached to you.

rangii.n nazaare mile
I have seen colorful sights,
tuufaa.n me.n kinaare mile
I have found the shore amidst a storm,
dil ke sahaare mile
I have found comfort for my heart,
dil me.n jo tuu aa gaya
Once you entered my heart. 

LATA: naino.n me.n sapnaa
In my eyes, there is a dream.
sapno.n me.n sajnaa
In my dreams, I see my beloved. 
sajnaa pe dil aa gayaa
My heart has fallen for my beloved. 
kyo.n sajnaa pe dil aa gayaa?
Why has my heart fallen for my beloved?

Glossary

sapnaa: dream; sajnaa: beloved; albelaa: unique; javaanii: youth; relaa: procession, surge; hasiinaa: beautiful women; melaa: gathering, fair; chhaa jaanaa: to reign, dominate; praan: soul; manzil: destination; ang: body; armaa.n: desire; khil jaanaa: to blossom; purab: East; paschim: West; zamaanaa: world; husn: beauty; khazaanaa: treasure; bahaanaa: reason, excuse; saanchaa: mold; toDnaa: to break; moDnaa: to twist; saa.ns: breath; ho.nTh: lip; lenaa: to take; denaa: to give; kaam: task, obligation; rangii.n: colorful; nazaaraa: sight, scene; tuufaa.n: storm; kinaaraa: shore; sahaaraa: comfort, support.

Sridevi

 

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Aao Tumhein Chand Pe Le Jaaye Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Asha

Asha Parekh sings a song for Baby Pinky on the ride back from Simla in Zakhmee (1975).  Take note of the Santa Claus figurine hanging off the rearview mirror.

Merry Christmas! Mrs. 55 and I hope that your holiday season is filled with lots of joy, laughter, and great music with your loved ones. In the spirit of the holidays, we are providing the lyrics and English translation to one of the few Christmas-themed songs that has ever graced the Bollywood silver screen: aao tumhe.n chaa.nd pe le jaaye.n from Zakhmee (1975).

Lata Mangeshkar sings for Asha Parekh and Sushma Shreshta sings for Baby Pinky in this song composed by Bappi Lahiri and penned by Gauhar Kanpuri. As is expected for a children’s anthem, the lyrics and melody in this song are nothing fancy. Here, in his debut film, Bappi Lahiri composes a catchy, pleasant tune that builds off of the classic Christmas carol “Jingle Bells.” In the introduction, we even get the rare opportunity to hear Lata Mangeshkar singing a snippet in English from the chorus of “Jingle Bells.” Her accent isn’t too distracting, so we won’t dwell on that point. Interestingly though, you might have noticed that the traditional lyrics to “Jingle Bells” have been modified to include a reference to Santa Claus.

When Baby Pinky asks where Santa Claus lives, Asha Parekh responds that he lives on the Moon and offers to take her there through this song. While I certainly can appreciate a fantasy lunar world now and again, I have to point out that the entire premise here is flawed! Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, which has nothing to do the with the Moon.  It is of slight concern to me that films back then were exposing Indian children to blatant geographical inaccuracies (outer space is not the same thing as the North Pole!) while butchering cherished holiday folklore!

Technicalities aside, we hope that watching this song will spread holiday cheer in true Bollywood style with its outrageous dream sequences, melodramatic facial close-ups, and heart-warming spirit. Enjoy, and have a very merry Christmas! Even if you wanted to go to the Moon, we hope that you received all the presents that you asked for this year. Until next time…

-Mr. 55
Asha

Asha Parekh and Baby Pinky dance together in a dream sequence depicting a fantasy lunar landscape.

Aao Tumhein Chand Pe Le Jaaye: Lyrics and Translation

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
jingle all the way!
Santa Claus is coming to town,
Riding on a sleigh!

Baby Pinky: Miss, Santa Claus kaa ghar kahaa.n hai?
Asha Parekh: chaan.d pe
Baby Pinky: hame.n bhii vahaa.n pe le chaliye na!
Asha Parekhacchaa?

aao tumhe.n chaa.nd pe le jaaye.n
Come, let’s take you to the Moon, 
pyaar bhare sapne sajaaye.n
and create dreams filled with love.
chhoTaa-saa ba.nglaa banaaye.n
Let’s build a small home,
ek nayii duniyaa basaaye.n
and settle a new world.

pyaar kii hai duniyaa duur aasmaa.n pe
A world of love exists in the far skies.
mil ke na bichhDe koii vahaa.n pe
No is separated after being united there.
aisii bhii ek Dagar hai, aisaa bhii ek nagar hai
There is a path to such a place.

gham jahaa.n soye aur khushi jaage
Sorrow sleeps there, while joy awakens.
aas kii hai manzil taaro.n se aage
It is a destination of hope beyond the stars.
vahaa.n dil rote nahii.n hai.n, aan.nsuu to hote nahii.n hai.n
Hearts do not cry there, for tears do not even exist.

aao tumhe.n chaa.nd pe le jaaye.n
Come, let’s take you to the Moon.

Glossary

chaa.nd: the Moon; sapne sajaanaa: to create dreams; ba.nglaa: a house in the Bengali style, a bungalow; duniyaa basaanaa to settle a world; bichhaDnaa: to be separated; Dagar: path; nagar: place, town; aas: hope; manzil: destination; aa.nsuu: tears.

Kirkland House Holiday Dinner and Dance

My blockmates and me at my last winter holiday formal at Harvard! (12.08.2012)

Meera Bhajans as Film Songs: The Saintlier Side of Bollywood

Meera-bai (c. 1498-1547 A.D) was a mystical poet and devotee of Lord Krishna

When most people think of Bollywood cinema, they usually think of extravagant costumes, seductive dance moves, and lots of melodramatic overacting. While all this extravagance is certainly an integral aspect of the industry, you may be surprised to learn about a saintlier side of Bollywood that I will discuss here today: the use of Meera-bai’s texts in Hindi film music.

Meera-bai was a 16th-century mystic whose devotion to Lord Krishna has been immortalized in Indian culture through her poetry and bhajans (religious songs). Meera, a Rajput princess, was married off to a prince at young age, but this marriage did not satisfy her as she already  considered herself the spouse of Lord Krishna. Her husband died in battle soon after their marriage and Meera became a widow at an early age. Meera transformed her grief into spiritual devotion and wrote many poems in praise of Lord Krishna.  In her texts, she worships Krishna from the perspective of a lover longing for union: romantic on one level and spiritual on another. Although her undying devotion to Krishna was initially a private matter, public moments of spiritual ecstasy soon outed her to society. Eventually, her brother-in-law became displeased with her excessive devotion for Krishna and made several attempts on Meera’s life. The most well-known story describes how he poisoned Meera’s prasad and made her drink it, but the Lord transformed the poison into amrit (spiritual nectar) to save her life.

Meera-bai’s texts express themes that are highly pertinent to  heroines in Hindi cinema from the Golden Era. Interpreting and contextualizing Meera’s love for Lord Krishna can be a challenging task, however, because of its apparently paradoxical relationship to acceptable gender norms for women at the time. On one hand, Meera could be considered the ideal Indian woman for the eternal devotion she displays toward her lover–in this case, Lord Krishna–in spite of all the obstacles placed in her way. The type of selfless devotion and sacrifice Meera-bai displays toward Krishna is the same type of devotion that Indian women in the chauvinistic climate of the ’50s and ’60s were expected to provide their husbands.  On the other hand, Meera-bai actually subverts the typical pativrata norms established by Indian society because her devotion is misplaced. Instead of serving her human husband, Meera devotes all of her love to Krishna, which is inconsistent with society’s expectations for the dutiful and virtuous Indian wife. This is further complicated by the fact that Meera, in her mind, actually considered herself to be the wife of Krishna (and supposedly conducted a marriage ceremony with a Krishna idol at a temple).

In any case, it is undeniable that Meera’s texts contain universal themes about love, pain, and devotion that have permeated several mediums of the South Asian cultural sphere. Here, let’s analyze a couple of examples in order to see how Meera’s words have been used in the context of Hindi film songs:

pag ghungruu bandh miiraa nachii re (Meera, 1947): Meera (1947) is a rare treat for lovers of Bollywood films because it is the only Hindi film ever made that features M.S. Subbulakshmi as both an actress and playback singer. M.S. Subbulakshmi, who was the first musician to be awarded the prestigious Bharat Ratna, is one of the most renowned vocalists in the history of the Carnatic musical tradition. Her singing is ethereal and sublime, and many people have praised her by saying she is modern-day personification of Meera-bai herself! Although she retired from films early in her career to pursue classical concert music, her portrayal of Meera in this film is remembered to this day for its natural and pure expression of spiritual divinity.  Words don’t do this woman justice, so just click the link and take a listen for yourself. I’ve selected one of about 20 Meera bhajans that are found in the film; in this particular poem, Meera uses the metaphor of dance to describe her love for the Lord. You may have noticed that the first line of this bhajan was used in another (much less saintly) Bollywood classic rendered by Kishore Kumar and composed by Bappi Lahiri from Namak Halaal (1982) decades later.

M.S. Subbulakshmi embodies the spiritual divinity of Meera-bai in the 1947 Hindi remake of the Tamil film Meera. 

ghunghaT ke paT khol re, tohe piiyaa mile.nge (Jogan, 1950): I have always thought that one of Geeta Dutt’s strengths as a singer was her rendition of bhajans. She shines here in this Raga Jaunpuri-based devotional composed by Bulo C Rani that has some beautiful words penned by Meera-bai. Literally, the first line translates roughly as  “remove your veil so that you can get a glimpse of your beloved.” However, on a deeper level, Meera-bai is using the veil as a metaphor for ignorance–she is asking us to remove our veils of ignorance so that we can be closer to the Lord.

erii mai.n to prem divaanii, meraa dard na jaane koii (Nau Bahar, 1952): Lata Mangeshkar is brilliant in her rendition of this Raga Bhimpalasi-based bhajan composed by Roshan and picturized on Nalini Jaywant  in Nau Bahar. Inspired by a Meera-bai poem, the words here describe how Meera’s devotion to the Lord can is best expressed through love, as she is unfamiliar with the traditional rites and rituals of worship.

 jo tum toDo piiyaa, mai.n naahii.n toDuu.n  (Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, 1955):  V. Shantaram’s Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje was one of India’s first technicolor films when it was released in 1955.  In this Filmfare award-winning film, when the character played by Sandhya fears that she has destroyed her beloved’s (played by Gopi Krishna) dancing career, she becomes so depressed that she decides to reject all wordly pleasures and become an ascetic like Meera-bai. This Bhairavi-based bhajan composed by Vasant Desai is rendered beautifully once again by Lata, who succeeds in expressing the sentiment of Meera’s words about unconditional devotion to her Lord even if he is not faithful to her.

piyaa ko milan kaise hoye rii, mai.n jaanuu.n naahii.n (Andolan, 1977)Asha Bhonsle tends to employ a lot of over-the-top histrionics in her songs, but music director Jaidev manages to get Asha at her pure, unadulterated best with this soulful composition from Andolan picturized on Neetu Singh.

mere to giriidhhar gopaal, duusro na koii  (Meera, 1979): Directed by lyricist Gulzar, this film is yet another Bollywood biopic about Meera-bai, and Hema Malini takes the starring role here. Despite high hopes, this film achieved only moderate success at the box office. However, the film’s soundtrack of  compositions by sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar has certainly left a memorable legacy. In this particular poem, Meera-bai’s words express her singular devotion to the Lord; there is no one else in the world for her except for her Lord Krishna. While Hema falls a little flat in her portrayal of Meera, Vani Jairam actually does a great job expressing the appropriate emotions needed in this rendition and in the rest of the songs on the soundtrack. However, as you may have suspected, Vani was not Ravi Shankar’s first choice of singer for this film–his first choice was none other than Lata Mangeshkar. Lata, however, turned him down, by using the following reasoning:

“How could I? I had already done Meera bhajans for my brother Hridaynath.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the non-filmi album of Meera bhajans released by Lata and Hridaynath. In fact, Lata’s rendition of a similar text  “mhara re giridhhar gopaal, duusra na koii” tuned by Hridaynath for this album is absolutely exquisite. However, her reasoning here doesn’t really make sense to me. Even before her album for Hridaynath, Lata had sung plenty of Meera bhajans for films (see above!) under the baton of other music directors, so I don’t see how this excuse constitutes a legitimate reason to refuse singing in this film. I suspect that her refusal had more to do with some lingering bad blood between her and Ravi Shankar from their prior collaboration on Anuradha (1960): apparently, tensions had flared between the two of them because Lata had failed to show up to a recording session of “saa.nvare saa.nvare” without prior notice. 

Hema Malini is way too attractive to pull off being an ascetic in Meera (1979)

 jo tum toDo piiyaa, mai.n naahii.n toDuu.n  (Silsila, 1981): Although this text is similar to the Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje song listed above, the melody is quite different because music directors Shiv-Hari have tuned this song to the Raga Chandrakauns, an underused raga that is quite rare in the filmi musical sphere. Lata, unfortunately, sounds a bit past her prime here, but this song is still memorable for Meera-bai’s words and their relevance to the contemporary situation at hand in the film. Similar to the real-life rumors that were rampant at this time, Jaya Bacchan’s character suspects that her husband (played by Amitabh Bacchan) is having an extramarital affair with another woman (played by Rekha). Meera-bai’s lyrics express the anguish and torment that Jaya feels in response to her husband’s infidelity, but she resolves to remain faithful to him even though he is not faithful to her. Interestingly, things also turned out this way in real life–Jaya stayed with Amitabh even though it was widely known within the film community that he had cheated on her with Rekha.

Jaya Bacchan laments her husband’s infidelity in Silsila (1981). Look at those eyes!

What are some of your favorite bhajans featured in Bollywood films? Let us know in the comments!
–Mr. 55