The epitome of modernity, feisty Madhubala croons poolside in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).
Today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Thandi Hawa Kali Gata” from our very own namesake Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955). The film follows an unlikely young couple, Madhubala and Guru Dutt, who are forced together by circumstance and end up challenging their own social mores, maturing, and finding love to essentially become an ideal match—a figurative “couple of the year.”
People tend to have strong feelings one way or another for this film. The music is hands-down fantastic, but the plot tends to be divisive, depending on how you view Guru Dutt’s stance on female emancipation in the 1950s. I tend to argue that the film is empowering—his narrative is social criticism of the flaws in patriarchal society, as well as an exploration of non-traditional female roles. While Madhubala’s character does indeed discover many virtues of a conventional Indian housewife, her realization that she would prefer marriage to divorce comes with a refreshing sense of maturity and self-discovery that in no way shackles her independence. Unlike many great heroines of the era, in Mr. and Mrs. ’55, Madhubala is feisty and does exactly what she wants, when she wants! I like that about a woman.
In the coming-of-age classic “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata,” Madhubala blushes in Mr. and Mrs. 55.
Now let’s take this moment to talk about the ridiculous ribbons and pigtails flying around the set in this song. Don’t be shy, you know precisely what I’m talking about. Mr. and Mrs. 55‘ was not the first film (and certainly not the last) to idealize fully-grown women who did their hair like 5-year old girls. Every actress of Bollywood’s yesteryear from class-act Meena Kumari to joke-a-minute Asha Parekh has played the romantic lead with a hairdo that awkwardly imitates the elementary school kids. Yes, chew on that for a moment. There’s an entire slightly uncomfortable social theory behind the craze. Contrast this lunchbox look to Madhubala’s long flowing locks in the sweet duet “Udhar Tum Haseen Ho” toward the end of the film as she begins to accept her marriage to Guru Dutt. Symbolic, no?
But enough about my beef with pigtails. Sung by Guru Dutt’s own wife Geeta Dutt, there’s plenty to love in this uplifting jingle! Follow along with the video here and enjoy our English translation and lyrics to “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata” below!
Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation:
ThanDiihawaa, kaaliighaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naachejiiyaaghoom ke Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls
baiThii thii chhup-chhaap yuu.N hii, dil kii kalii chhum ke mai.N I was sitting quietly, caressing the flower of my heart dil ne yeh kyaa baat kahii, rah na sakii sun ke mai.N What my heart said, I could not stay there to listen mai.N jo chalii dil ne kahaa aur zaraa jhoom ke As I left, my heart spoke with even more exuberance Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls
Aaj to mai.N apnii chhabii dekh ke sharam aa gayii Today I became shy upon seeing my own reflection Jaane yeh kyaa soch rahii thii ki ha.Nsii aa gayii I do not know what I was thinking, but I suddenly laughed LauT gayii zulf mere honTh meraa chhuum ke My hair flew back and touched my lips Pyaar liiye, Dole ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls
dil kaa haariktaar hilaa, chhiDne lagii raginii The necklace of my heart struck a chord on the iktaar, and it began teasing out a melody kajraa bhare nain liye, ban ke chaluu.N kaaminii With kajra-lined eyes, I became a beautiful woman and set out Keh do koii aaj ghaTaabarse zaraa dhoom se Someone tell the clouds to rain thunderously today Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls
ThanDiihawaa, kaaliighaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naachejiiyaaghoom ke Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls
ThanDii: cold, hawaa: wind; kaalii: dark; ghaTaa: cloud; jhoom: ebullience, exuberance; Dolna: to sway; ha.Nsii: laughter; naachnaa: to dance; jiiyaa: soul, heart; laughter; ghoomnaa: to swirl; chhup-chhaap: absolutely quietly; chhabii: reflection, image; sharam aanaa: to become embarrassed, to become shy; zulf: hair; honTh: lips; haar: necklace; iktaar: a traditional Hindustani one-stringed instrument, raginii: a small song, kajraa: traditional Indian eyeliner; nain; eyes; kaaminii: a beautiful, desirable woman; koii: someone; barasnaa: to rain; dhoom se: with noise
Madhubala and her girlfriends join hands in a chorus of pigtails and parasols in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).
Don’t you love how this film is just bursting with the tension of modernization? Like many typical “coming-of-age” songs, lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri employs nature-based allegories to describe a girl’s maturation to womanhood and the development of romantic inclinations. However, the song is unexpectedly filmed at the uber urban hangout of Mahatma Gandhi swimming pool in Bombay’s Shivaji Park! Gotta love those modern girls. Producer-director Nasreen Munni Kabir describes Guru Dutt’s cinematographic decision-making process while filming this song in her must-see documentary “In Search of Guru Dutt“!
This brilliant Geeta Dutt hit was requested by loyal fan Sonia! We know we’ve been taking longer than usual to get around to requests, but with Mr. 55 getting swamped in medical school and me getting down to the wire for wedding planning, we’re doing our best! Stay tuned–we love hearing from our fans!
Biswajeet is haunted by a mysterious voice singing of love and murder in Bees Saal Baad (1962).
Happy Halloween!What better way to give yourself the creeps than with a vintage Hindi film song! Mr. 55 and I once hosted a Spooky Song-themed study break on-campus during which we projectedold Hindi film noirson a large screen, drank rooh afza and jammed nerdily to Lata’s high notes. Was it any surprise the two of us were the only ones really having an awesome time? Join us in our countdown to the spookiest song of classic Bollywood! When I say scary, I’m not referring toVinod Khanna’s lime green tuxedo in Aan Milo Sajna(although it might give you nightmares). I’m talking about the real deal here. These are songs that will keep you up at night, that will haunt your waking moments as you grapple with the symbolism. And if you see a mysterious woman in a white-sari floating around your house this evening…well, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
The Fifteen Scariest Songs from Old Hindi Films!
15. Tujhko Pukare Mera Pyar (Neel Kamal 1968)
Few things are scarier than being buried alive. Rajkumar haunts his Mughal-era lover through the ages even when she is reborn as a 1960s desperate housewife.
14. Gagan Jhanjhana Rah (Nastik 1954)
This song is a hidden gem. Hemant Kumar actually impersonates God in this song with a voice that booms from the heavens amidst a stormy apocalpyse. The chorus is so darn creepy in this song, you might feel real chills from the wind sound effects mixed into the song!
13. Waqt Ne Kiya (Kaaghaz Ke Phool 1957)
What makes this song so spooky and yet so beautiful? It’s all in the lighting and the spectres lingering in the room–read our translation for more!
12. Jayen To Jayen Kahan (Taxi Driver 1954)
In our translation of this all-time creeper, we discuss the emptiness of the song’s mis-en-scene to heighten a feeling of abandonment, leaving you nothing but Dev Anand’s perfect pompadour to ease the pain.
11. Akele Hain Chale Aao (Raaz 1967)
While the movie Raaz may be a clunk, “Akele Hain” (that is reprised in a male and female version!) will certainly leave you clawing after your security blanket. Insider hint: Rajesh Khanna takes his shirt off later on in the movie if you can sit through the rest of the film.
10. Raat Andheri (Aah 1953)
In this heartbreaking social drama, Raj Kapoor plays a handsome tuberculosis patient unable to marry the girl of his dreams because of his illness. In the throes of self-pity, the minor key music haunts him as his own life slips away. Tragic, yes, but mostly just creepy.
9. Sau Baar Janam Lenge (Ustadon Ke Ustad 1963)
Mohammed Rafi’s unearthly beautiful voice echoes through the mist in this song like a phantom from the other world. The woman in mourning seems ready to commit suicide at any moment during the song, keeping the audience on their toes!
8. Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari (Kaaghaz Ke Phool 1957)
This gentle song of disillusioned love beckons you in like a tantalizing dream, and then drags you to perdition as you scream over the ethereal chorus. Our earlier translation of Dekhi Zamane discusses the transitions of the song from fantasy to absolute nightmare!
7. Koi Duur Se Aawaz De Chale Aao (Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam 1962)
One of my favorite songs in this genre, Guru Dutt is awakened in the middle of the night by a tender lament floating through the halls of the large empty mansion in which he works. Who is this mysterious and sad woman with the enchanting song? You HAVE to watch this genius star-studded film and find out!
6. Jane Kahan Gaye Woh Din (Mera Naam Joker 1970)
Good thing I don’t have a fear of clowns or this song would have permanently wrecked my childhood. Raj Kapoor plays a circus performer who has lost all those he has ever loved. He enters a private Hell in which he is bound to perform in his clown garb to an unfeeling audience, always smiling on the outside and crying on the inside. Brace yourself for several attempts at artsy camera tricks to make him float that could not be more creepy.
5. Gumnaam Hai Koi (Gumnaam 1965)
Based on the Agatha Christie novel “And Then There Were None,” Gumnaam is a kitsch-lovers delight. Drop-dead gorgeous (literally) Lata Mangeshkar’s voice haunts a group of travelers as they meander through a nameless forest. Newsflash! The “ghost” of this song actually chimes in with a high-pitch thrill when the music goes quiet, so listen carefully!
4. Naina Barse (Woh Kaun Thi? 1964)
One of the best examples of a femme fatale in Hindi films, “Naina Barse” is sung by a ghostly woman haunting her lover from a former lifetime. Her flowing white sari against the endless, crisp white snow of a Simla winter set the perfect stage for a nightmare. The woman in a white sari is a classic cliche–read more about its meaning here!
3. Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil (Bees Saal Baad 1964)
This song hardly needs an introduction, so famous is its eerie tune. One of the most brilliant shots is the slow crane down from above the chandelier to Biswajeet’s horrified stare at the piano. But has anyone else ever noticed the film version has the interlude violins playing an entire octave lower than in the recorded version?? It totally blew my mind when watching the film–and both ways are equally horrifying!
2. Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat (Kohra 1964)
Stylistic symbolism sets this creepster apart from its competitors. My favorite moment in this song is when the shadow figures do an interpretive dance in the sand, acting out the “choDo piyaa mera, choDo haath” line. I get chills every time I watch this–the cinematography is genuinely brilliant and haunting!
1. Aayega Aanewala (Mahal 1949)
Welcome to the spookiest song of Bollywood! Nothing will ever top the song that officially taught Bollywood everything it needed to know about horror. Don’t expect any corpses to pop out of the closet–this song is way to classy for that. See our translation of this unbeatable classic for more!
So…I know I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight. What are your favorite spooky songs from Bollywood films? Tell us the scenes that have haunted your waking hours for years (think Sadhana declaring “Mujhe khoon achha lagtaa hai” on a rainy night)! Mr. 55 and I both hope you have a very Happy Halloween!
– Mrs. 55
Mrs. 55 in her go-to gypsy girl costume. When all else fails…tie a chunni on your head.
The top 30 greatest classic Bollywood films have been selected. Which films made the list of Bollywood’s best?
Mr. and Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! at last present our definitive list of the Bollywood classics you absolutely must see before you die. Hundreds of films were scored and ranked across multiple dimensions of Bollywood cinema including: story, direction, performances, musical composition, as well as cultural impact and legacy. We included Hindi-language films made between the period of 1949-1979 on our list of the best classic Bollywood filmsever made. Some on the list are beloved favorites of the industry, while others may surprise you.
Among the winners are directors Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy and Raj Kapoor–names synonymous with masterpiece Indian cinema–each with multiple films among Bollywood’s all-time greatest. Always wondered why a couple of young Harvard students like us love old Indian films so passionately? No matter what you think you know about Bollywood, the movies on this list will change your understanding of Indian films like never before. From village epics that grapple with our national identity to the nostalgic poetry of sudden disillusionment, classic Bollywood films transport us from the enchanting glamour of Bombay nightlife to the majestic gardens of Kashmir. They carry our souls through hardship and loss and revive our spirits with redemption.
This is cinema the way it was meant to be. This is classic Bollywood.
The top 30 Films from 30 years of classic Hindi cinema (1949-1979):
Guru Dutt, 1957
Pyaasa, or “thirst,”is the story of one man’s search for compassion in the cold cynicism of post-independence Indian society. Vijay is an unpublished poet, dismissed by his own family and scorned by socialites and his colleagues. After befriending a prostitute who shelters him, Vijay is believed dead and his poetry “posthumously” lionized. He becomes an overnight sensation, mourned by fans across the country, and the true Vijay is labeled an imposter. India entered its golden age of filmmaking in the 1950s when its long-awaited freedom from England and the hopes of a new government created a social tinderbox of great expectations and disillusionment. Pioneering the technique of utilizing song lyrics as direct extensions of the film’s dialogue, Guru Dutt as the writer-producer-director-star paints a stirring portrait of the commodification of humanity.
Karimuddin Asif, 1961
At the turn of the 17th century, Prince Salim falls in love with the court dancer Anarkali and wages war against his own father, Emperor Akbar, in order to marry her. Director K. Asif’s enormous cast, opulent sets, intricately designed costumes and extravagantly staged battle scenes made the film the most expensive ever produced in India at the time. But despite of all the grandeur, the film has a warm heart, and the dangers of the romance between Salim and Anarkali are infused into each glance they share. Although the love story is the backbone of the film, it is Emperor Akbar, from whom the film derives its name (“the Great Mughal”), who takes center stage as he is torn between love for his only son and the unforgiving demands of the Mughal Empire. Every line of dialogue is written with the ornamentation of poetry, casting an elegance to Mughal-e Azam‘s thunderous power.
Kamal Amrohi, 1971
In the grandeur of Muslim Lucknow at the turn of the century, Pakeezah is a courtesan and dancer who dreams of leaving her life behind when a stranger falls in love with her in a train compartment, not knowing her true profession. With swirling romanticism and languid, dream-like cinematography, Pakeezah instantly became one of the most extraordinary musicals ever made. Perfectionist director Kamal Amrohi, who also wrote the script and some of the lyrics, effectively transports the viewer into a wistful age of bygone formality and luxury. Each of Pakeezah‘s popular semi-classical songs illustrates the duality of a courtesan’s poetry, at once glamorizing the elaborate rituals of love and destroying the institutions that upheld them.
4. Mother India
Mehboob Khan, 1957
With tragedy strikes her family, newlywed village belle Radha is determined to weather a crucible of social and personal adversities without compromising her honor. In doing so, she reinvents herself as a heavy-handed symbol of India’s own pride as an ancient culture and a new democracy. A defining film in the history of Bollywood, director Mehboob Khan’s iconic Mother India set the pattern for the more than 60 years of Bollywood film that followed it. A mythologization of traditional values and an homage to the beauty of Indian heritage, Mother India‘s unabashedly epic glorification of self-sacrifice and female empowerment was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1958.
Vijay Anand, 1965
A corrupt businessman is transformed into a spiritual guide after a misunderstanding that leads to his idolization by a village besieged by drought. Based on the R.K. Narayan novel of the same name and bolstered by a stunning soundtrack, Guide explores a fundamental Vedic transformation from materialism to a release from worldly attachments in an extremely unlikely hero. A scandalous love story settles into the background as director Vijay Anand boldly deconstructs social taboos, from adultery and non-traditional gender roles to religious fraud, in a film that stirringly evolves into a philosophical awakening greater than the circumstances it portrays–a brilliant reflection of the double entendre intended by its title.
A female lawyer is determined to prove her lover’s innocence in a murder attempt on the life of a respected judge. Structured in medias res, the film’s flashback reveals the injustice of her lover’s past when the very judge who condemns him proves to be his own father: a man who threw his wife onto the streets when he believed a criminal had raped her. Echoing the dark lessons of the ancient Ramayana, Awaara shatters the nature versus nurture debate with a showman’s flair and surrealist fantasy, including the film’s legendary dream sequence evoking a descent into Hell. Awaara launched Raj Kapoor’s famous Chaplin-esque hero for the first time, who resonated immensely across the Soviet Union and Communist China as the voice of a new generation.
8. Sahib, Bibi, Aur Ghulam
Guru Dutt/Abrar Alvi, 1962
Desperate to save her marriage, the younger daughter-in-law of a wealthy family sacrifices her moral boundaries to win over her alcoholic husband. A nostalgic glimpse into the decaying Bengali feudal system, Sahib, Bibi, Aur Ghulam unravels a dazzling murder mystery at the heart of its progressive view of societal redemption. Seen from the perspective of a young factory worker lured into a stately mansion as an ally of its young mistress, Sahib, Bibi, Aur Ghulam hauntingly opens the doors to the hollowness of exterior splendor. Spiraling against her will with the collapse of Calcutta’s landed aristocracy, Meena Kumari’s portrayal of the tormented wife is forever considered among the most magnificent on-screen performances of Bollywood history.
Shakti Samanta, 1971
When her lover dies at war, an unwed mother gives up her son up for adoption, vowing to watch over him in secrecy as he grows up in the house of another. Her poignant worship, or aradhana, of her dead fiancé and their son became immortalized in the Indian cinematic psyche as an audacious struggle of traditional society confronted by changing modern values. Boasting one of the all-time greatest soundtracks of Indian cinema, Aradhana epitomizes the versatility and creativity of the era’s leading music directors. From the youthful romance of “Kora Kaagaz Tha” to the grim Bardic undertones of “Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana” to the notoriously seductive “Roop Tera Mastana,” the film is as much remembered for its luminous performances as for exemplifying the golden age of Bollywood music.
10. Do Bigha Zameen
Bimal Roy, 1953
A farming family fights to save their ancestral land from a cunning mill owner. Do Bigha Zameen follows the father and son’s trip to Calcutta from their idyllic village to earn enough money to pay their debts–only to discover the miseries of urban poverty instead. Inspired by the work of Italian neorealism, Do Bigha Zameen pioneered early parallel cinema with a deliberate attention to the “everyday,” and the feeling of an invisible, unhurried camera whose shots and mis-en-scene are both carefully constructed and effortlessly fluid. Directed by Bengali auteur Bimal Roy, the film’s nationalistic electricity hit a broader audience, becoming the first Indian film to win the Prix Internationale at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival.
During the British Raj of the 1930s, a prison doctor falls in love with a convict who reveals the story of her tumultuous connection to a freedom fighter.
Bimal Roy, 1958
On a rainy night, a man enters an abandoned mansion where he is confronted by unfulfilled visions of his past life.
13. Shree 420
Raj Kapoor, 1955
A country boy travels to Bombay to make his fortune where he is lured from the path of virtue into a thrilling life of deceit.
Ramesh Sippy, 1975
After his family is murdered by a notorious bandit, a former police officer enlists the help of two outlaws to capture him.
Shyam Benegal, 1974
The social hierarchies of rural India are disrupted when a landowner begins an affair with a poor farmer’s wife.
16. Hum Dono
Amarjeet, Vijay Anand (1961)
After returning from war, a soldier begins to lead a double-life when his doppelgänger’s family welcomes him home.
17. Barsaat (1949)
Raj Kapoor, 1949
Two men with different ideals of love search for answers with the coming of the monsoons.
18. Amar Akbar Anthony
Manmohan Desai, 1977
Three brothers are separated in childhood and eventually unite after one is brought up a Christian, one a Hindu, and one a Muslim.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1971
A doctor recounts the story of a terminally ill man who wishes to his live life to the fullest and spread happiness to those around him.
Chetan Anand, 1964
A platoon of Indian soldiers leave their homes and loved ones to encounter the harsh realities of battle in the Indo-China War of 1962.
Chandra Barot, 1978
A simpleton is trained to infiltrate the underworld by impersonating a criminal leader who has been killed in a police chase.
Kamal Amrohi, 1949
A young lawyer is haunted by a ghostly woman in his new house, where the builder and his fiancée died shortly after it was built.
Raj Kapoor, 1964
An Indian Air Force Officer leaves for the Kashmiri front, entrusting his wife to the care of his best friend who has secretly always loved her.
Satyen Bose, 1964
A penniless orphan makes the unexpected friendship of a blind boy who teaches him survival on the streets of Bombay.
Yash Chopra, 1965
Natural disaster separates the members of a close-knit family who re-connect in a series of dramatic entanglements years later.
Yash Chopra, 1975
A mother attempts to reunite her two estranged sons: one, a leading criminal of the underworld, and the other, an uprighteous policeman.
27. Kati Patang
Shakti Samanta, 1970
As a promise to raise the child of her dying friend, a young woman risks starting a new life under a false identity.
A powerful politician struggles to reconcile her position with secrets from her past.
29. Purab Aur Paschim
Manoj Kumar, 1970
East clashes with West when a traditional Indian student encounters swinging London society for the first time.
30. Bombai Ka Babu
Raj Khosla, 1960
A small-time thief is forced into a deadly web of deception when he gains the trust of his victim’s family.
Guru Dutt compares the beauty of his beloved Waheeda Rehman to the full moon of the night sky in Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960).
Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to the title trackfrom Mohammed Sadiq’s Chaudavin Ka Chand(1960). After Kaaghaz Ke Phool (1959) proved to be a box office disaster, Chaudavin KaChand salvaged Guru Dutt’s production studio by garnering widespread commercial success at the time of its release. Reflecting on the failure of Kaaghaz Ke Phool and the success of Chaudavin Ka Chand, Guru Dutt said,
“Life me.n, yaar, kyaa hai? Do hii to chiize.n hai.n: kamiyaabii aur failure. There is nothing in between.”
Although the success of Chaudavin Ka Chand as a comeback film for Guru Dutt Productions can be attributed to number of factors, one of the most important is the film’s outstanding musical score. Composed by Ravi and penned by Shakeel Badayuni, this soundtrack is full of memorable gems like the sassy Asha-Shamshad qawwali sharmaa ke ye kyo.n sab pardaanashii.n and the pain-filled badle badle mere sarkaar (Lata Mangeshkar’s only foray into singing for Guru Dutt Films!).
Among these gems, the film’s title track chaudavii.n ka chaa.nd ho steals the show as one of the most beautiful expressions of love in Hindi film music. Tuned to Raga Pahadi, Shakeel Badayuni’s Filmfare Award winning Urdu poetry abounds with metaphors to describe the film’s heroine Waheeda Rehman. Reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), the the poet employs natural imagery to characterize his beloved’s beauty through references to the full moon (chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd), the sun (aftaab), a lotus (ka.nval), wine (sharaab), and more. Ultimately, the poet concludes that his beloved is so beautiful that her beauty is beyond comparison to any object (jo bhii ho tum khudaa kii qasam laajavaab ho).
No discussion about chaudavii.n ka chaa.nd ho can be complete without giving credit to Mohammed Rafi for his magical rendition. Here, Rafi offers a technically brilliant performance but it is the warmth, passion, and soul in his voice that renders this song a timeless masterpiece. About fifteen years following his Bollywood debut, Rafi received his first well-deserved Filmfare Award for this song in 1961.
Did you know that the Censor Board objected to chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd ho when Guru Dutt re-released a version of the song shot in color? As the color version was being filmed, Waheeda Rehman’s eyes became irritated from the heat of the high-powered lights used during the shoot. Upon seeing the red color of the heroine’s eyes, the Censor Board claimed that the colored picturization of the song contained suggestive and lustful implications inappropriate for audiences. What a bizarre and unfair objection placed on such an innocently romantic song! Don’t let it stop your from enjoying this classic gem along with our lyrics and translation below. Until next time…
Sleeping in a white dress, Waheeda Rehman’s angelic beauty shines in Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960).
Chaudavin Ka Chand Ho: Lyrics and Translation
chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd ho yaa aftaab ho? Are you the full moon of the night or the sun of the day? jo bhii ho tum khudaa kii qasam laajavaab ho
Whatever you are, I swear by the Lord that you are incomparable.
zulfe.n hai.n jaise kaandho.n pe baadal jhuke hue
Your tresses are like dark clouds sloping down your shoulders. aa.nkhe.n hai.n jaise mai ke pyaale bhare hue
Your beautiful eyes are like wine-filled goblets. mastii hai jis me.n pyaar kii tum vah sharaab ho
You are the wine that abounds with the intoxication of love.
chaharaa hai jaise jhiil me.n ha.nstaa huaa ka.nval
Is your face like a smiling lotus in the brook, yaa zindagii ke saaz pe chheDii huii ghazal?
or like an ode tuned to the music of life? jaan-e-bahaar tum kisii shaayar kaa khvaab ho
My beloved, you are a poet’s dream.
ho.nTho.n pe kheltii hai.n tabassum kii bijliyaa.n The current of your bright smile runs through your beautiful lips. sajde tumhaarii raah me.n kartii hai kahkashaa.n
Even galaxies lay prostrate with reverence in your path. duniyaa-e-husn-o-ishq kaa tum hii shabaab ho Only your youthful splendor shines in this world of love and beauty. chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd ho yaa aftaab ho? Are you the full moon of the night or the sun of the day?
chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd: moon of the fourteenth night, full moon; aftaab: sun; laajavaab: incomparable; kaandhaa: shoulder; mai: wine; pyaalaa: goblet; mastii: intoxication; sharaab: wine, alcohol; jhiil: brook; ka.nval: lotus; saaz: musical instrument; ghazal: song, ode; jaan-e-bahaar: beloved; shaayar: poet; khvaab: dream; tabassum: smile; bijlii: current; sajde karnaa: to lay prostrate; kahkashaa.n: galaxy; duniyaa-e-husn-o-ishq: world of love and beauty; shabaab: youth.
Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman’s on-screen chemistry in Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960) reflected their passionate off-screen affair.
Guru Dutt evokes classic Christ-like imagery in his depiction of Vijay the struggling poet in Pyaasa (1957).
We now present the lyrics and full English translation to one of my all-time favorite Guru Dutt songs “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957). I think my undying love for Guru Dutt is pretty evident at this point, but in case you need some convincing to get over the bold Clark Gable ‘stache, start here. Pyaasa is no ordinary film. When released to roaring accolades in 1957, Pyaasa broke precedent upon precedent in both impact and style. Notice how every song in this film seems to flow naturally as a consequence of the plot, as if the lyrics of the songs were a poetic continuation of the spoken dialogue? It was a technique pioneered by Guru Dutt that was later emulated by every great director in Bollywood. And the film hit some hard topics. I discuss more of the political stance of the film and the fascinating struggle Guru Dutt faced behind-the-scenes earlier, but now let us look instead to the classic “Jaane Woh Kaise” hit from the immortal pen of Sahir Ludhviani. It’s a mixture of everything right in the world: Guru Dutt as actor, Hemant Kumar with vocals, S.D. Burman composing, and Sahir in the back with the words of wisdom. This Hemant Kumar gem is truly the industry standard for awkward dinner party songs–even copied in modern times by Mira Nair in her film Vanity Fair (2004)!
Guru Dutt is employed as a dinner party waiter for his rich boss, Rehman, where he is confronted by the reality of his former lover, Mala Sinha, having abandoned him for wealth by marrying none other than the man currently employing him. The injustice of it all gets to him, and by chance, he’s a poet at heart who does what any other tragic poet would do in the situation: drop everything and throw a pity party.
Mala Sinha plays a cold-hearted social climber in Pyaasa (1957).
I love the cinematography in this song–Guru Dutt and his brilliant Director of Photography V.K. Murthy were known for their overblown yet graceful dolly-ins (watch the camera fly in “Waqt Ne Kiya“!), and so too in this song, the camera acts as a silent messenger of emotional turmoil, extracting a beautifully devastating toll on each of the key players in the room. And Guru Dutt holds his ground with arms outstretched as if crucified–a soft-spoken martyr against a background of bookshelves in which his own spoken words will later be immortalized and massacred. Again, you really need to see the film to appreciate the poetic genius of Guru Dutt film-making.
So enough talk, onto the lyrics and English translation of “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957)! Check out the picturization on youtube and let us know what you think in the comments!
Jaane Woh Kaise Log Lyrics and Translation
Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated Humne to jab kaliyaa.N maangii kaa.NTo.N kaa haar milaa
Whenever I asked for flowers, I received a garland of thorns
Khushiyo.N kii manzil DhoonDii to gham kii gard milii
I searched for a destination of joy, but I found a circle of sadness Chaahat ke naghme chaahe to aahe.N sard milii
I desired tales of love, but I received only the coldness of sighs Dil kii bojh ko duunaa kar gayaa, jo ghamkhwaar milaa
The burdens of my heart only doubled if I met someone meant to relieve my sorrow
BichhaD gayaa har saathii dekar pal do pal kaa saath
Every companion gave me a few moments of company, and left Kisko fursat hai jo thaame diiwaano.N kaa haath
After all, who has the free time to hold a crazy man’s hand? Humko apnaa saayaa tak aksar bezaar milaa
Even my own shadow is often weary of me
Isko hii jiina kehte hai.N to yuu.N hii jii le.Nge
If this is what they called life, then I will live like this Uff na kare.Nge, lab sii lenge, aa.Nsuu pii lenge
I will not sigh, I will seal my lips, and swallow my tears Gham se ab ghabraana kaisaa, gham sau baar milaa
After all, how can I be concerned by sadness? I have met sadness a hundred times
Humne to jab kaliyaa.N maangii.N kaaTo.N kaa haar milaa
When I asked for flowers, I found a garland of thorns Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated
kali: flower; kaanTaa: thorn; haar: garland; manzil: destination; gham: sadness; gard: circle; chaahat: love, desire; naghma: tale; aah: sigh; sard: chilly, cold; bhoj: burden; duunaa karna: to double; ghamkhwaar: a remover of sadness (note: the w is silent, as in khwaab); bichhaDjaanaa: to become separated; saathi: companion; fursat: free time; haath thaamnaa: to hold hands; saayaa: shadow; bezaar: fed up, weary; lab: lips; aa.Nsuu: tears; gham: sadness: ghabraanaa: to become anxious, concerned
Singing his heart out, Guru Dutt transforms Rehman’s classy dinner gathering into a awkwardly personal pity party in Pyaasa (1957).
Guru Dutt revives the martyr-style mis-en-scene in the reprise of “Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye” at the famous finale of the film! The scene has got to be one of the all-time greatest of Hindi cinematic history. For this and about a million other reasons, Pyaasa is absolutely mandatory classic Bollywood viewing!