Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala car window Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si

Madhubala peers at Kishore Kumar through a car window in “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958).

Today we bring you the lyrics and English translation of the delightful “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). A meandering slapstick comedy, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi stars the three fun-loving Kumar brothers: Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, and Anoop Kumar. While Ashok often played more serious roles on the silver-screen (think serious man of affairs), this film was a chance for him to showcase another side of his personality brought out by the most eccentric of the siblings, Kishore.

In Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Kishore Kumar plays a hapless car mechanic who fixes the broken vehicle of a young lady, Madhubala, who both mesmerizes him and vexes him by not paying for the repairs. “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” is arguably the most iconic song from the film and bears a Guru Dutt-esque quality of flowing seamlessly from the dialogue to the opening bars. Composed by S.D. Burman and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, the song exudes the charm of a Broadway showtune that transforms every twist of a wrench and glance through an open car window into a romantic overture, easily one of the most inspiring songs of the monsoon season.

Kishore Kumar Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si

Kishore Kumar plays an entertaining car mechanic desperately in love with Madhubala in the hit comedy “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi” (1958).

Kishore Kumar proves downright hilarious, even now almost 60 years later. One of my favorite moments is when Kishore Kumar ascends the stairs after the second antra. You know that noise that comes out of your mouth that sounds sort of like a dying cat when you’re jamming out to your favorite song alone in the safety of your own home and you don’t really know the words? That’s precisely what Kishore Kumar does too. Except in his case, he jams out as if extemporaneously to his own song smack dab in the middle of the opening performance. You gotta love a guy who enjoys his own tunes this much. Throughout the song, he engages the audience by appearing to break the fourth wall, inviting us to share in his intrigue about the mysterious woman who has entered his shop.

The adorable chemistry between Kishore Kumar and Madhubala is palpable. You can see what each loved about each other that was shared in their real-life romance. Sadly, Madhubala died prematurely at the age of 38, leaving him heartbroken only 3 years after their marriage. Join us below as we navigate the lyrics and English translation of “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si.” Follow along with the video here, and I dare you to try to get through the whole song without smiling!

Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si Lyrics and Translation:

Ek laDki bhiigi bhaagi sii
A girl who appears rather wet
Sotii raaton mei.N jaagi sii
And seems awake in a sleepy night
Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Hmm…

Dil hii dil mei.N jalii jaatii hai.N
In her heart of hearts, she is burning
BigaDii bigaDii chalii aatii hai.N…
In a bad mood, she approaches
Jhunjhalaatii hui, balkhaatii huii
Sulking, swaying
Saawan ki sunii raat mei.N
In this quiet monsoon night

Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Dagmag Dagmag, lehakii lehakii
Wobbling, wavering
Bhuulii bhaT kii behakii behakii
With lost steps, she wanders
Machalii machalii, ghar se nikalii
Restless, she left her home
Paglii sii kalii raat mei.N
Acting a bit crazy in this black night

Tan bhiigaa hai, sar giilaa hai
Her body is drenched, her head is wet
Uskaa koii pech bhii Dhiila hai!
One of her screws must also be loose!
Tanatii, jhuktii, chaltii, rukhtii
Strutting, cowering, moving, then pausing
Nikalii andherii raat mei.N
She emerged into this dark night

Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Hmm…

Glossary:

ladkii: girl; bheegii-bhaagii: wet, drenched; sonaa: to sleep; raat: night; jaagii: awake; milnaa: to meet; ajnabii: stranger; koi: someone; aage: ahead; peechhe: behind; baat: issue, matter; dil: heart; jalnaa: to burn; bigaDnaa: to deteriorate, to become in a bad mood; jhunjhalaanaa: to scoff, to sulk; balkaanaa: to sway, to move in a circle; sawaan: the rainy season; sunii: lonely, quiet; Dagmag: wobbly; lehakii: wavering; bhuulii: lost, forgotten; bhaT: steps; behakii: wandering; machalnaa: to become restless; ghar: home; nikalnaa: to emerge, to come out; tan: body; sar: head; giilaa: wet; pech Dheela: loose screw; tanatnaa: to strut; to appear confident; jhuknaa: to bow; chalnaa: to go; rukhnaa: to stop; andheraa: dark

Kishore Kumar bashful ek ladki bheegi bhagi si

Kishore Kumar’s genius comedic timing remains timeless in “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958).

A quick note about the term “baat” of “koi baat hai/kya baat hai” fame. I translated the phrase above roughly as “something appropriate” but the meaning of the word is far more nuanced. “baat” alone can mean words or conversation, as in the verb “baat karnaa,” meaning “to speak.” You can say “kya baat hai?” to ask “what is the matter?” or you can exclaim “kya baat hai!” as a way of demonstrating awe. A translation that gets more to the heart of how the phrase “tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai” is being used here is perhaps “you tell me if this is something worth talking about,” but to me that felt too cumbersome to write poetically above.

And while I have a captive audience, let’s also examine the grammar of “bheegii/bhaagii sii.” Tacking on the “sii” (feminine) or “saa” (masculine) to any adjective in Hindi softens the descriptor (somewhat like the way in English we sometimes add “ish” to the end of adjectives) or indicates “a little”–as in, she is “a little” wet. A common example you’ll hear is “chhoTaa saa/chhoTii sii” as in the classic Bollywood heroine’s wish to have nothing more than “ek chhoTaa sa ghar” with her faithful husband. But we digress.

– Mrs. 55

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Plagiarism in Hindi Film Music: Is Imitation the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

Music directors in the Bollywood industry today are often accused of plagiarizing songs without giving proper credit to the original sources. Pritam Chakraborty, in particular, comes to mind as a composer who has been subjected to such accusations in recent times. Yet, lifting tunes is not a new trend in the industry: its origins can be  traced back to the industry’s earliest days when music directors of the Golden Era composed melodies heavily inspired by unattributed sources. Below, let’s take a listen to some plagiarized works composed by five of the greatest music directors of yesteryear: R.D. Burman, S.D. Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan, Salil Chowdhury, and O.P. Nayyar.

 R.D. Burman

Among the music directors of his time, R.D. Burman was perhaps the most notorious for composing inspired tunes.  Within the list that I’ve provided below, the magnitude of plagiarism varies from song to song. Some numbers below are direct lifts from their originals, such as the cult classic “mahbuubaa mahbuubaa” from Sholay (1975). Others represent more subtle variations of plagiarism: for instance,  the Kishore Kumar classic “dilbar mere kab tak mujhe” only takes it mukhDaa from “Zigeunerjunge” but has original antaras and interludes.  As a musician, I personally feel that the latter form of lifting is somewhat justifiable because it still reflects a level of creativity and originality on the part of the composer. The direct copying of tunes, however, raises ethical concerns and may have even placed music directors like R.D. Burman in legal trouble had such songs been released today.  Regardless of your opinion on this issue, what is universally striking about the list of songs below is the diversity of sources from which R.D. Burman drew his inspiration.  Collectively, the original melodies come from a smorgasbord of musical genres from all over the world: traditional folk, American pop, Greek, German, French, and even Iranian rock!

aao twist kare.n (Bhoot Bangla, 1965)  / “Let’s Twist Again” (Chubby Checker, 1962)
churaa liyaa hai tum ne  (Yaadon Ki Baraat,  1973) / “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” (Bojoura, 1969)
teraa mujhse hai pahle kaa naataa koii  (Aa Gale Lag Ja, 1973)/ “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (Traditional)
mahbuubaa, mahbuubaa (Sholay, 1975) / “Say You Love Me” (Demis Roussos, 1974)
mil gayaa ham ko saathii (Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, 1977) / “Mamma Mia” (ABBA, 1975)
jahaa.n terii yah nazar hai (Kaalia, 1981) / “Heleh Maali” (Zia Atabi, 1977)
kaisaa teraa pyaar (Love Story, 1981) / “I Have A Dream” (ABBA, 1979)
dilbar mere kab tak mujhe (Satta Pe Satta, 1982) / “Zigeunerjunge” (Alexandra, 1967)
kahii.n na jaa  (Bade Dilwala, 1983) / “La Vie En Rose” (Edith Piaf, 1955)
tum se milke  (Parinda, 1989) / “When I Need You” (Leo Sayer, 1977)

Zeenat Aman sizzles in “churaa liyaa tum ne” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973)

S.D. Burman

Like his son, S.D. Burman has also composed melodies that reflect marked inspiration from foreign sources.  Although we have already investigated the influence of Tagore’s music on S.D. Burman in a previous post, we now observe how his compositions also were inspired by non-Indian genres.  For a composer who was rather traditional in his musical output, who would have imagined that he lifted material from Mexican, Italian, and American country melodies?

chaahe koi khush ho (Taxi Driver, 1954) / “Tarantella” (Traditional)
jiivan ke safar me.n raahii
 
(Munimji, 1955) / “Mexican Hat Dance” (Traditional)
ek laDkii bhiigii bhaagii sii (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958) / “Sixteen Tons” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955)
ham the vah thii (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958) / “Watermelon Song” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1957)
yah dil na hotaa bechaaraa (Jewel Thief, 1967) / “March” (Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957)
saalaa mai.n to sahab ban gayaa (Sagina, 1974) / “Chella Lla” (Renato Carosone, 1959)

The ever-versatile Kishore Kumar stars in a comic role in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1955)

Shankar-Jaikishan

In my opinion, Shankar-Jakishan were the quintessential music directors of Bollywood’s Golden Age. They combined the authenticity of traditional Indian music with the modern sophistication of Western influences to produce songs that appealed to the masses. It’s not surprising that some of their tunes reflect inspiration from foreign influences, but what is remarkable is that several of the songs listed below are remembered today as some of this duo’s most treasured gems.  Two songs from Chori Chori (1956), two songs from Gumnaam (1965), and the title track of Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961) — among many other hits — were heavily inspired by existing Western numbers. I think you’ll be surprised to see some of your favorites on the list below…

ghar aayaa meraa pardesii (Awaara, 1952) / “Al Balad El Mahboub” (Umm Kulthum)
aajaa sanam madhur chaa.ndnii me.n ham (Chori Chori, 1956) / “Tarantella” (Traditional)
panchii banuu.n uDtii phiruu.n (Chori Chori, 1956) / “Coming Through The Rye” (Traditional)
aigo aigo yah kyaa ho gayaa?
(Boyfriend, 1961) / Stupid Cupid” (Connie Francis, 1958)
jiyaa ho jiyaa kuchh bol do  (Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, 1961) / “Broken-Hearted Melody” (Sarah Vaughan, 1959)
sukuu sukuu (Junglee, 1961) / “Sucu Sucu” (Ping Ping, 1961)
dekho ab to kis ko nahii.n hai khabar (Janwar, 1964) / “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (The Beatles, 1963 )
gumnaam hai koii (Gumnaam, 1965) / “Charade” (Henry Mancini and Orchestra, 1963)
jaane chaman sholaa badan (Gumnaam, 1965) / “Autumn Leaves” (Nat King Cole, 1956)
le jaa le jaa meraa dil (An Evening in Paris, 1967) / “Man of Mystery” (The Shadows, 1960)
kaun hai jo sapno.n me.n aayaa? (Jhuk Gaya Aasman, 1968) / “Marguerita” (Elvis Presley, 1963)

Rajendra Kumar definitely breaks conventions of automobile safety during the picturization of “kaun hai jo sapno.n me.n aayaa?” from Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968).

Salil Chowdhury

Salil Chowdhury’s compositions always reflect an intelligent and sophisticated mastery of music that set him apart from his peers in the industry.  Instead of describing the songs listed here as cases of plagiarism, I would be more likely to categorize them as adaptations. When Salil Chowdhury used another Western melody as an inspiration, he always managed to make it his own by adding something special that would resonate with Indian audiences. Take, for example, the evergreen Talat-Lata duet “itnaa mujhse tu pyaar baDhaa.” Although the mukhDaa is clearly inspired by Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, Salil composes new antaras that beautifully complement the original melody.  As another example, consider “bachpan o bachpan” from Memdidi (1961).  Inspired by the children’s rhyme “A Tisket, A Tasket,” Salil takes the melody to a new level of complexity by inserting operatic interludes sung by our beloved diva Lata Mangeshkar.  Bravo!

dharti kahe pukaar ke (Do Bigha Zameen, 1953) / “Meadowlands” (Lev Knipper, 1934)
halke halke chalo saa.nvare (Tangewaali, 1955) / “The Wedding Samba” (Edmund Ros and Orchestra,  1950)
dil taDap taDap ke (Madhumati, 1957) / “Szla Dziewczka” (Traditional)
zindagii hai kyaa, sun merii jaan  (Maya, 1961) / “Theme from Limelight [from 3:27] ” (Charlie Chaplin, 1952)
itnaa na mujhse tu pyaar baDhaa (Chhaya, 1961) / “Molto allegro” from Symphony No. 40 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1788)
bachpan o bachpan (Memdidi, 1961) / A Tisket, A Tasket” (Traditional)
aa.nkho.n me.n tum ho (Half-Ticket, 1962) / “Buttons and Bows” (Dinah Shore, 1948)

Vijayantimala coyly hides behind a tree in the picturization of “dil taDap taDap ke” from Madhumati (1957)

O.P. Nayyar

O.P. Nayyar is known for his characteristically Western-inspired approach to crafting melodies for Hindi films, but his contribution to our list of directly plagiarized songs is relatively small in comparison to some of his peers in the industry. The most well-known example here is, of course,  the Rafi-Geeta duet “yah hai bambaaii merii jaa.n” which has been lifted from its predecessor “My Darling Clementine.”

baabuujii dhiire chalnaa (Aar Paar, 1954) / “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas(Trio Los Panchos, 1947)
yah hai bambaii merii jaa.n (C.I.D., 1955) / “My Darling Clementine” (Traditional)
lakho.n hai.n yahaa.n dilvaale (Kismat, 1968) / Red River Valley” (Traditional)

Biswajeet hams it up for Babita during the picturization of “lakho.n hai.n yahaa.n dilvaale” in Kismat (1968)

What is your opinion on plagiarism in Hindi film music? Was it acceptable for music directors of this time to lift material from Western sources in order to introduce musical diversity to Indian audiences? Or, is it unethical for such plagiarism to occur without giving credit to the original musicians who created the songs in the first place? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to share any examples that go along the theme of this post!

-Mr. 55