Tum Pukar Lo Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Waheeda Rehman Tum Pukar Lo
Waheeda Rehman hesitates at the bottom of a staircase leading to the man she loves in Khamoshi (1968).

For our next post we present the full lyrics and translation to the hauntingly beautiful “Tum Pukar Lo” from Khamoshi (1968). This song easily makes my list of most powerful and stirring picturizations from Bollywood. The stark black-and-white imagery highlights the emptiness of space, of shadows, and symbolic barriers. Most of all, the graceful shots that linger longer than action alone permits serve to create a new environment–a world of waiting where time slows down and the confines of the hospital become both escapist and imprisoning.

I loved and still love the opening dolly shot so much that I attempted to recreate it in my final film project junior year of Harvard. The shot is transformative–literally taking the audience from behind bars to the free world, and Waheeda from the restraint of her conscience to the new life that beckons her above the staircase. A gentle wind miraculously flows down from Dharmendra’s balcony, through the barren corridor, down the grand stairs, and ultimately through Waheeda’s saari palluu giving rise to a simple, evocative image of a woman drawn by a force greater than any danger: love.

Waheeda Rehman Tum Pukar Lo Khamoshi
I LOVE the classic “frame-within-a-frame” of the mis-en-scene. Not how the lighting in this sequence informs the trajectory of the characters–recall that prior to Waheeda’s discouragement, the welcoming light source came from the balcony (now shrouded in obscurity), indicating a change in both destination and mindset.

I’ve broken down the dolly shot into 3 parts with my storyboard sketches to give you a full picture of how a shot like this is pulled off. The timing and fluidity of the dolly movement (and the pull focus) must be perfectly coordinated with the pace of the actresses walk as the camera additionally swivels on its own axis tracking her ascent up the stairs. I can only say after having attempting to do this shot myself, that it’s a headache but the effect is absolutely wonderful.

Ultimately, Khamoshi is a film about identity and the silence caused by its loss through love. The misappropriated gazes in the film that lead characters in and out of a world of insanity is moving and tragic–and the audience too becomes implicit in that beautiful slippage of reality through Kamal Bose’s stunning cinematography, which won him the Filmfare award in 1968! Like Khamoshi’s characters, the camera lingers in each constructedly bereft space, longing for something more.

TumPukarLo1
The shot begins to the side of the staircase, a literal behind-bars view of Waheeda’s ascent.
tumpukarlo2
The camera swivels midway through the dolly pull at a low-angle as the rails of the staircase form a figurative cage around the actress.
The dolly track at last ends at the base of the staircase, holding the shot after Waheeda leaves the stairs, underscoring the incredible emptiness of the space she inhabits.
The dolly track at last ends at the base of the staircase, holding the shot after Waheeda leaves the stairs, underscoring the incredible emptiness of the rigid space she inhabits–and her escape from it.

You won’t see much of Dharmendra, the mystery man and asylum inpatient, who sings this song. Instead you see only his outline against the balcony of their confinement. And of course, anything else would be imperfect–while this, this unfulfilled gaze of love, is precisely the poetic complement to the yearning expressed in Gulzar’s heartfelt lyrics. This song may be my favorite Hemant Kumar solo with a melody that hangs in the air long after the song is finished. Whether or not it beats Rajesh Khanna lip-syncing “Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi” from the same film is up to you to decide!

tum-pukar-lo-03 Dharmendra
Dharmendra passes sleepless nights thinking of the beautiful woman he lost in Khamoshi (1968).

Without further ado, see for yourself why this song has become immortal. Follow along with the video here, and we hope you enjoy the lyrics and full English translation to “Tum Pukar Lo” below!

Tum Pukar Lo Lyrics and Translation:

Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me
Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukar lo
Call out to me
Khwaab chun rahe hai.N raat beqaraar hai
I am sifting through dreams while the night remains restless
Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me

HonTh se liye hue dil ki baat hum
The words in my heart have escaped from my lips
Jaagte rahe.nge aur kitne raat hum?
How many more nights will I remain awake like this?
Mukhtasar si baat hai: tumse pyaar hai
The matter is simple: I love you

Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me

Dil bahal to jaayegaa is khayaal se
My heart will be content with this thought
Haal mil gaya tumhaaraa apne haal se
That my well-being becomes yours
Raat yeh qaraar ki beqaraar hai
This restful night remains restless

Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me

Glossary:

pukaarnaa: to call; intezaar karna: to wait; khvaab: dream; beqaraar: restless; honTh: lips; mukhtasar: brief, short; bahal: content; khayaal: thought; haal: well-being, state; qaraar: restful, quiet

My favorite line of this song is by far “Mukhtasar si baat hai, tum se pyaar hai!” So romantic and God, how I love an understatedly accurate pronunciation of the Urdu khe! However, I’m afraid this is one of those cases in which no matter how you translate it, the beauty of the line is just lost in the bluntness of English.

Mrs. 55

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Jaane Woh Kaise Log Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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

Glossary:

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); bichhaD jaanaa: 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!

-Mrs. 55

Hai Apna Dil To Awaara Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Dev Anand croons “Hai Apna Dil To Awara” aboard a moving train in Solva Saal (1958).

You gotta love this song. Hemant Kumar, whose forte is usually deep soulful melodies, outshines everyone in this catchy classic. Dev Anand stars with the lovely Waheeda Rehman in 1958 quasi-noir Solva Saal, mostly memorable for this all-time hit “Hai Apna Dil To Awara” picturized on a train. What is it about Dev Anand and trains? “Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai” is also sung on a moving train to a sulky heroine, although by that point, Dev had perfected the look and ventured outside the train’s window! But that’s another story.

Directed by the legendary Raj Khosla, the shining moments of Solva Saal are clearly the fruits of a brilliant collaboration. While somewhat obscure, the film delivers a high-paced plot with enough twists to keep you glued, but enough groans to make you want to immediately watch a more redeeming Dev-Waheeda film soon after (I strongly recommend Guide).

Drop-dead beautiful Waheeda Rehman plays a risk-taking jilted lover in Solva Saal (1958). Seriously, Waheeda. Stop being so gorgeous!!

The lyrics of this song, penned by Urdu maestro Majrooh Sultanpuri, are just plain and simple fun. In it, the hero personifies his own heart, speaking as if it were another being with a mind and will separate from his own. It’s so clear that Waheeda is having trouble keeping her mind on the awkward guy next to her she’s supposed to be eloping with!

For anyone more in the mood for melodrama, there’s also a “sad” version of this song just before the hero and heroine sort out their differences and live happily ever after. Until then, follow along with the youtube song of the happier classic, and enjoy our lyrics and translation to “Hai Apna Dil To Awara below!

 

Hai Apna Dil To Awara Lyrics and Translation

Hai apnaa dil to aawaaraa
My heart is a vagabond
Na jaane kis pe aayegaa
I wonder to whom he will take a liking

Haseeno.N ne bulaayaa, gale se bhii lagaayaa
Many beautiful women called me, they even embraced me
Bahut samjhayaa, yahii.N na samajhaa
They tried hard to explain, but my heart did not understand
Bahut bholaa hai bechaaraa
The poor thing is way too innocent
Na jaane kis pe aayegaa
I wonder to whom he will take a liking

Ajab hai diiwaanaa, na ghar na Thiikaanaa
My heart is a strange madman, he has no house and no abode
Zameen se begaanaa, falak se judaa
He has no roots with the Earth, he is distanced from Heaven
Yeh ek tuutaa huaa taaraa
He is a shooting star
Na jaane kis pe aayegaa
I wonder upon whom he will fall

Zamaanaa dekhaa saaraa, hai sab kaa sahaaraa
I have seen this whole world, I have everyone’s support
Yeh dil hii humaaraa, huaa na kisii kaa
Only this heart of mine never gave himself to anyone
Safar mei.N hai yeh banjaaraa
He is a gypsy on a journey
Na jaane kis pe aayegaa
I wonder to whom he will take a liking

Hua jo kabhii raazii, to milaa nahii.N qaazii
If he ever agreed to someone, no pandit could be found
Jahaa.N pe lagii baazii, wohii.N pe haaraa
Wherever he has taken a gamble, he lost
Zamaane bhar kaa naakaaraa
He is rejected by the whole world
Na jaane kis pe aayegaa
I wonder to whom he will take a liking

Glossary:

awaaraa: vagabond; bhola: innocent, pure; bechaaraa: poor thing; ajab: odd; diiwaanaa: madman (from love), ghar: house, Thikaanaa: abode, shelter; zameen: Earth; begaanaa: distanced, estranged; falak: sky, Heaven; tuutaa hua taaraa: a fallen star; sahaaraa: support; safar: journey; banjaaaraa: gypsy, nomads of North Indian origin; raazi: agreement, qaazi: a judge who in Islamic faith can legalize a marriage as witness; baazi: a gamble, a round of cards, haaraa: lose; naakaaraa: rejected

A brief note on the word “vagabond.” The somewhat arcane term is inevitably used across many sources to translate the Hindi word aawaara dating back to Raj Kapoor’s breakthrough film of the same name-so for posterity’s sake, I have translated it similarly. Still, I have never held that the word does justice to what aawaaraa is. Just to clarify, someone who is an aawaaraa is not necessarily a vagrant with all the connotations that come with the English usage—i.e. homeless, unemployed, etc. Aawaaraa, especially as it is commonly used poetically in Hindi films, is someone carefree, independently wandering and unwilling to be tied down. It’s a subtle, but pretty important distinction. I’m glad we’re all on the same page on this.

Waheeda Rehman pretends to be annoyed by Dev Anand’s playful song. Don’t be a such a party-pooper!

More importantly, does anyone else question the slightly awkward cheering and whoops that occur to punctuate this otherwise straightforward song? Listen carefully right during the interlude music just before the last stanza. I mean, can you imagine being a chamcha in S.D. Burman’s brainstorming session when someone decided this was a great idea? And furthermore, I don’t think that the voice is Hemant’s or Dev Anand’s doing the whooping. That means some random chamcha had to come in to the recording studio, put on the headphones, stand in front of an isolated mic, and make these wild sounds that S.D. Burman mixed lovingly into the track.

CHAMCHA: How was that, Boss?

BURMAN: Almost, almost. Right there, where it sounds like you’re having an esophageal hernia. Give me a little more of that kind of enthusiasm.

CHAMCHA: [whoops brains out]

BURMAN: Brilliant! That is precisely the touch that this composition needed. Aloo tikkis are on me tonight!

The whole thing just strikes me as trippy. Of course, we know R.D. Burman took those spastic noises to new heights in the decades following, so I guess we now know where it came from!

– Mrs. 55

Kuch Dil Ne Kaha Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Sharmila Tagore shines in her restrained portrayal of Uma in Anupama (1966)

Our next translation comes from Hrishikesh Mukherji’s Anupama (1966), a poignantly crafted film that narrates the story of a father who blames his daughter for his wife’s death during childbirth.  On the request of one of our readers Himadree, we have provided the lyrics and English translation for the song “kuchh dil ne kahaa” from this film below.

Sharmila Tagore plays the role of Uma, a reticient young woman who has maintained a painful and difficult relationship with her wealthy father (played by Tarun Bose) from a young age. Because Uma’s mother died in childbirth, Uma’s father harbors feelings of resentment that prevent him from fully loving his daughter as she grows up. Uma also assumes culpability for her mother’s death, and her self-repression becomes a coping mechanism to deal with her own guilt and her father’s anger toward her.

When Uma meets the handsome and sensitive writer Ashok (played by Dharmendra), her life seems to to take a turn for the better. Yet, as the two fall in love, it becomes apparent that Uma’s  troubles have not vanished completely: her father has already arranged her marriage with another man and will never not approve of a relationship with a man of Ashok’s social status. Hrishikesh Mukherji uses this situation to provide realistic and eloquent commentary on the complex interplay between love and class in Indian society. In this context, Kaifi Azmi’s lyrics in “kuchh dil ne kahaa” truly come alive. The lyrics express the conflict that characterizes Uma’s state of mind as she faces the most challenging decision of her life: should she pursue her romance with Ashok or should she push him away to appease her father? The essence of this dilemma is captured beautifully in many lines of this song. Although her heart has become restless with love for Ashok, Uma contemplates that it may be best  to suppress these desires: “letaa hai dil angaDaaiiyaa.n, is dil ko samjhaaye koii.”  Moreover, in spite of her outer appearances, Uma’s inner turmoil is a real and painful obstacle in her life (“dil kii tasallii ke liye jhuuThii chamak jhuuThaa nikhaarjiivan to suunaa hii rahaa, sab samjhe aayii hai bahaar”).

In addition to its unique lyrics, this song is a musical masterpiece that has been cherished by Hindi film lovers over the years (though it didn’t receive its due at the time of the film’s release!). Hemant Kumar crafts a serene melody in Raga Bhimpalasi that accentuates the melancholic beauty found in both the lyrics and the natural landscape where this song is picturized. Lata Mangeshkar, as usual, is par excellence here as she emotes softly with some beautifully restrained vocals. As an interesting tidbit, you may have noticed that Lata sings this melody at a lower pitch than is expected for a Bollywood soprano. When Lata repeats the line “aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n” in the mukhda, she hits an A3 (komal ni in the key of B), one of the lower notes of her range recorded during this period. Enjoy our translation of this under-appreciated gem below and continue to send us your requests and other messages–we love to hear from you all!

-Mr. 55
This song was filmed in Mahabaleshwar, a scenic hill station found in the state of Maharashtra. What a stunning landscape!

Kuch Dil Ne Kaha: Lyrics and Translation

kuchh dil ne kahaa, kuchh bhii nahii.n
My heart said something; yet, it was nothing at all.
kuchh dil ne sunaa, kuchh bhii nahii.n
My heart heard something; yet, it was nothing at all.
aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n
Such things happen in life.

letaa hai dil angaDaaiiyaa.n, is dil ko samajhaaye koii
My heart has become restless in anticipation of him; may someone please make it stop.
armaan na aa.nkhe.n khol de.n, rusvaa na ho jaaye koii
I hope that my desires do not cause my eyes to open and bring about disgrace,
palko.n kii ThanDii sej par sapno.n ki pariyaa.n sotii hai.n
For the dream-fairies remain asleep on the cool bed of my eyelids.
aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n
Such things happen in life.

dil kii tasallii ke liye jhuuThii chamak jhuuThaa nikhaar
For my heart’s satisification, I have adorned myself in this false glitter and shine.
jiivan to suunaa hii rahaa, sab samajhe aayii hai bahaar
Though it remains empty, everyone assumes that spring has arrived in my life.
kaliiyo.n se koii puuchtaa, hastii hai.n yaa ve rotii hai.n
Yet, no one has bothered to ask the flowerbuds whether they are smiling or crying.
aisii bhii baate.n hotii hai.n
Such things happen in life.

kuchh dil ne kahaa, kuchh bhii nahii.n
My heart said something; yet, it was nothing at all.

Glossary

angaDaaiiyaa.n: preparation, anticipation; armaan: hope, desire; rusvaa: disgrace; palko.n: eyelids; sej: bed; pariyaa.n: faires; tasallii: satisfaction, relief; chamak: glitter; nikhaar: glow, shine; bahaar: spring.

Sharmila Tagore rocks the classic beehive hairstyle that would later become her trademark.
The ever-handsome Dharmendra plays the role of a sensitive writer in Anupama (1966)

The Glorification of Alcohol in Hindi Cinema

A study released in April of this year claimed that Indian adolescents aged 12-16 exposed to alcohol consumption in films were nearly three times more likely to drink than their peers who did not watch Bollywood movies. While this study most likely pertains to the movies released in the industry today, I would venture to say that the origins of this trend can be traced back to films from the Golden Era of Bollywood cinema. Indeed, the consumption of alcohol has been glorified on India’s silver screen for decades, especially through portrayal of sharaab (alcohol) songs in films. Here, I’ve compiled a list of my five favorite male and female sharaab numbers from the Golden Era–let’s take a closer look at these examples to examine how the consumption of alcohol has been portrayed cinematically and its implications on Indian culture.

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

In Bollywood’s earliest days, drinking alcohol in films was portrayed as a strictly masculine activity, à la Devdas and other Bollywood heroes who have famously drowned their sorrows in liquor. In contrast, the idealized image of the traditional Indian woman did not permit the depiction of female alcohol consumption in the media.  This trend began to change in the 60s when films depicted heroines and female actresses playing roles in which they partook in the consumption of the Devil’s nectar, just like their male counterparts. As you can see below, the contexts in which female characters drink vary from film to film: alcohol has been used by the women of Bollywood as a coping mechanism, a means of revenge, or just a way to have a good time.

na jaao saiyaa.n (Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, 1962): In this film based on a Bengali novel by Bimal Mitra, Meena Kumari gives one of her career’s best performances as Chhoti Bahu. Chhoti Bahu is married to young zamii.ndar (played by Rehman), who neglects his wife at home in order to take part in debauchery at local brothels on a nightly basis. In desperate need of her unfaithful husband’s companionship, she decides to take up drinking in order to keep him away from those pesky courtesans at night. In this heartbreaking song sung by Geeta Dutt, Chhoti Bahu drunkenly entreats her husband to stay at home and spend the night with her. In a truly unfortunate example of art mimicing real life, both Geeta and Meena would succumb to alcoholism as a way to cope with their unhappy marriages in the coming years. For those of you who enjoy this song, be sure to check out Hemant Kumar’s Bengali version of the same tune: “olir katha shune.

Meena Kumari, as Chhoti Bahu, tragically turns to alcoholism in Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (1962).

piike hum tum jo chale aaye hai.n (Gumnaam, 1965): This film (reviewed by us here) is a suspense thriller loosely based on the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None. The story revolves around seven vacationers who find themselves on a remote island in the middle of nowhere after a plane crash. One by one, they are murdered off and the big question is, of course: whodunnit? In the midst of all this tension, two of the vacationers, Miss Kitty (played by Helen) and Asha (played by Nanda), decide to loosen up and have some fun with a few drinks. In this comical duet sung by Asha Bhonsle and Usha Mangeshkar, the two actresses appear to be having the time of their lives in a drunken stupor on screen. I mean, who wouldn’t be having a good time if they were getting drunk with Helen?

Helen and Nanda get sloppy together in Gumnaam (1965). If you excuse the stumbling, Helen actually looks quite sophisticated in this scene because she’s not wearing one of her characteristically outrageous wigs/outfits.

aao huzuur tum ko (Kismat, 1968): This Asha-OP Nayyar collaboration is an all-time classic from the soundtrack of Kismat (along with “kajraa muhabbatvaalaa“). The film’s narrative is so outrageous that it’s not even worth summarizing here, but this song is picturized on the actress Babita, who is the mother of Karisma and Kareena Kapoor. Babita never managed to gain much success as a heroine, and that’s not surprising given that it’s unclear whether she is drunk or undergoing eplipetic fits in this particular scene. She certainly does make a statement though and manages to embarass the hero Biswajeet with her public intoxication at this party. Regardless of the picturization, Asha Bhonsle adds all the right expressions here to make this an unforgettable sharaab number on the basis of the song alone. Her vocal control in the extended introduction (“ham se raushan hai chaa.nd aur taare...”) before the song’s first stanza is especially commendable. 

Babita has probably had one too many in this scene from Kismat (1968)

kaise rahuu.n chup (Inteqaam, 1969): Inteqaam is an entertaining (but occaisionally illogical) thriller that stars Sadhana as a woman who seeks revenge against her former boss because he framed her for a theft that she did not commit. As part of her elaborate plan for revenge, she intends to marry her boss’s son (played by Sanjay Khan) and bring shame to his entire family by revealing that the new bahu is, in fact, a convicted criminal! In this song, Sadhana further embarasses her boss’s family by  acting extremely intoxicated under the influence of alcohol at a public gathering. (Technically, this might not be considered a genuine sharaab song because Sadhana is putting on a facade of being drunk without actually consuming, but I liked this song too much to pass up putting it on the list.) This soundtrack composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal is particularly memorable today because it casts a different light on Lata Mangeshkar, who was considered to be staunchly conservative and traditional in her playback output.  Lata surprises us all by agreeing to sing two sizzling cabaret numbers in addition to this drinking song for the film–listen to her nail those hiccups during the interludes!

Helen serves Sadhana another glass in Inteqaam (1969)

piyaa tuu ab to aajaa (Caravan, 1971): Asha Bhonsle and R.D. Burman come together to produce one of their biggest musical hits together with this classic item number from Caravan. Asha’s performance here solidified her status as the queen of cabaret singing in Hindi cinema. Furthermore, Helen’s portrayal of a nightclub dancer on screen during this song is considered the quintessential Bollywood cabaret performance. Helen’s dance moves are completely outrageous here but she makes it work somehow (see Mrs. 55’s step-by-step breakdown here). Given the ridiculousness of the situation here, you can’t really blame Helen for the heavy drinking…it certainly doesn’t stop her from completely owning the stage during her performance!

Helen gives one of the best cabaret performances of her career in Caravan (1971)

“Alcohol May Be Man’s Worst Enemy…”

Unlike their female counterparts, the men of Bollywood cinema have been imbibing alcohol since the industry’s earliest days. The most popular context for male drinking in Hindi films occurs when the hero resigns himself to heavy drinking in order to drown his sorrows, usually caused by woman-related heartbreak. While female characters are often stigmatized for their drinking and public intoxication, it is more acceptable for men of the silver screen to use alcohol consumption to deal with their grief.  Other contexts where actors are depicted consuming alcohol include scenes of male-male bonding (bromances, anyone?) and seduction of heroines and courtesans. Though Bollywood has glamorized the consumption of alcohol for both genders, the effect is far more pronounced for males, as evident in the examples I’ve selected below.

mujhe duniyaavaalo sharaabii na samjho (Leader, 1964): Even though its soundtrack is full of gems like “tere husn kii kyaa tariif karuu.n” and “ek shahanshah ne banvaa ke ek hasii.n taaj mahal,” Leader is one mess of a film starring Dilip Kumar and Vijayantimala. Dilip Kumar stars as a law graduate and aspiring political revolutionary who falls in love with a princess (played by Vijyantimala). The script has so many holes that it’s difficult to discern the overall message of this film, but there are some scenes of comic relief between Vijayantimala and Dilip Kumar that are worth remembering. By far, however, the main attraction here is the soundtrack composed by Naushad. In this particular number, an intoxicated Dilip Kumar claims that he has been forced to take up drinking to grapple with society’s evils.

Vijayntimala tries to stop a drunk Dilip Kumar from embarassing himself too much at this party in Leader (1964).

din Dhal jaaye (Guide, 1965): Where do I even begin with the praise for Vijay Anand’s Guide? Mrs. 55 and I both love everything about this film: the unique story written by R.K. Narayan, the stellar performances by Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman, and of course, the unforgettable soundtrack composed by S.D. Burman. Each and every song from this film is an absolute gem. In this particular Rafi solo picturized on Dev Anand, the hero drowns his sorrows about lost love in alcohol. The melancholic expression that pervades throughout this scene is enhanced by the beautifully crafted lyrics and tune.

Dev Anand turns to the bottle when love goes sour in Guide (1965).

chuu lene do naazuk ho.nTho.n ko (Kaajal, 1965): With this Rafi number penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Ravi, Raaj Kumar tries to get Meena Kumari, his on-screen shaadi-shudhaa (virtuous) wife, to come to the dark side by having a drink. Alcohol glorification occurs is at its finest in these lyrics: it is referred to as “mubarak cheez,” or a blessed thing.  Meena Kumari excels, as usual, at looking incredibly uncomfortable and disturbed by Raaj Kumar’s advances in this scene.

A drunk Raaj Kumar tries to get Meena Kumari on his team in Kaajal (1965).

jo unkii tamanna hai barbad ho jaa (Inteqaam, 1969): This film certainly features a lot of alcohol consumption on screen. In addition to the drunk Lata number discussed above, this Rafi solo from Inteqaam is picturized on Sanjay Khan as he laments being a mere object in Sadhana’s plans for revenge. Rajinder Krishan’s lyrics are exquisite in their ability to capture the essence of being deceived in love.

Handsome Sanjay Khan turns to alcohol to get over Sadhana’s deception in Inteqaam (1969)

yeh jo muhabbat hai (Kati Patang, 1970): Directed by Shakti Samanta, this film features an evergreen soundtrack composed by R.D. Burman. This particular number sung by Kishore Kumar is one of Bollywood’s most treasured drinking songs, and it features a handsome and bitter Rajesh Khanna drinking the night away because he was stood up at the altar by his wife-to-be.  Asha Parekh watches from a distance, not yet aware of the fact that she is the woman responsible for his heartache.

Rajesh Khanna drinks another glass of liquid courage before singing about the pain of disloyal love in Kati Patang (1970).
What are some of your favorite sharaab/daaru songs from Bollywood films? Let us know in the comments! We’ll understand if your typing is a little bit off…
Mr. 55