Mata Saraswati Sharda Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Saraswati
Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and music, is worshipped each year on Basant Panchami.

Basant Panchami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of Spring through the worship of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and music. On this day, Ma Saraswati is worshipped with great fervor and devotion, especially by students in educational institutions across India.  In addition, many young children are given their first lesson in writing on this holiday through a ritual called haathe-korii. Since this auspicious holiday is coming up in just a few days on Friday, we are presenting the lyrics and English translation to one of Bollywood’s  only homages to goddess Saraswati: maataa sarasvatii shardaa from Alaap (1977).

As many of you probably know, bhajans dedicated to Saraswati are a rare commodity in the arena of Bollywood cinema. The majority of the film industry’s references to Hinduism focus on Vishnu in the form of Krishna and his consort Radha. What is the reason behind Bollywood’s obsession with Radha and Krishna? The most obvious answer is that the love stories presented in Hindi films lend themselves easily to comparisons to the romance shared between these two figures of Hinduism. Bollywood heroes can identify with flirtatious Krishna who uses his charm to seduce Radha whose delicate coyness resembles that of Bollywood heroines.  An austere deity like Saraswati, symbolizing wisdom and education, finds little glamor in an industry that is driven primarily by themes based on love and romance. 

In what context does Saraswati receive prominence in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Alaap (1977)? Tuned by Jaidev in Raga Bhairavi, a version of this bhajan sung by Yesudas, Madhurani, and Dilraj Kaur opens the film as Amitabh Bachhan prays to Saraswati for her blessings at the music school where he studies classical vocal. This bhajan also concludes the film when a version sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Dilraj Kaur is reprised on Rekha singing along with her son for her husband Amitabh who has contracted a severe case of tuberculosis.  The homage to Saraswati is fitting in Alaap because the film’s plot is driven in part by music. In Alaap, Amitabh Bachhan desires to become a classically trained vocalist against the wishes of his conservative father Om Prakash who refuses to accept music as a legitimate profession. He pressures Amitabh to become a lawyer like himself and the ensuing resentment leads to a bitter conflict between father and son that culminates in a tragic conclusion.

As the holiday of Basant Panchami approaches with its celebration of learning and new beginnings, we hope that you enjoy this beautiful bhajan and our English translation provided below. May Ma Saraswati bless all of us in our academic and musical pursuits during the upcoming year. Until next time…

-Mr. 55

P.S. This non-filmi Saraswati Vandana recorded by Lata is also divinely enchanting: yaa kundendu tushaar haar dhavalaa

AB
Amitabh Bacchan looks pious in white during prayers to Ma Saraswati in a music school in Alaap (1977)

Mata Saraswati Sharda: Lyrics and Translation

maataa sarasvatii sharadaa,
Mother Saraswati,
he maataa sarasvatii sharadaa!
Oh mother Saraswati!
vidyaadaanii dayaanii dukh-harinii
You are the giver of knowledge, the goddess of compassion, and the remover of sorrow.
jagatajananii jvaalaamukhii
You are the fire-mouthed mother of this world.
maataa sarasvatii sharadaa!
Mother Saraswati!

kiije sudrishTi
Please cast an auspicous glance upon us,
sevak jaan apnaa
and know us as your humble servants.
itnaa vardaan diije
Please grant us these boons:
taan, taal, aur aalaap
musical mastery of passagework, rhythm, and preludes.
buddhii ala.nkaar, sharadaa
Knowledge is your jewel, Saraswati.

he maataa sarasvatii shardaa!
Oh mother Saraswati!

Glossary

maataa: mother; sarasvatii: Hindu goddess of learning and music; sharadaa: another name for Saraswati; vidyaadaanii: giver of knowledge; dayaanii: goddess of compassion; dukh-harinii: remover of sorrow; jagatjananii: mother of the world; jvaalaamukhii: fire-mouthed; sudrishTii: auspicious glance; sevak: servant; vardaan: boon; taan: musical passagework; taal: rhythm; aalaap: prelude to a raagbuddhii: knowledge; ala.nkaar: jewel, ornamentation.

Rekha
Rekha sings a reprise of this bhajan with her son for her ailing husband Amitabh in the conclusion of Alaap (1977)
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Teri Bindiya Re Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Amitabh Bacchan marries a village girl with a golden voice in Abhimaan (1973)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation of an evergreen duet from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Abhimaan (1975): terii bi.ndiyaa re . Starring Amitabh Bacchan and Jaya Bhaduri, Abhimaan narrates the story of an ill-fated love between two singers that eventually approaches it breaking point when a husband’s masculine ego suffers a wound from his wife’s overwhelming professional success.

Given that this film revolves around a playback singing couple, the composition of its soundtrack naturally demanded a music director par excellence. In this case, director Hrishikesh Mukherjee chose veteran composer S.D. Burman to do the job–and what a job he did! Aside from the duet presented here, the Lata solos “nadiyaa kinaare,” “ab to hai tum se,” and “piyaa binaa,” the Kishore solo “miit na milaa re man kaa,” and the Lata-Kishore duet “tere mere milan kii yah rainaa” are still cherished by fans today. S.D. Burman’s compositions in this film won him his last Filmfare Award for Best Music Director before his death in 1975.

The duet terii bindiyaa re is sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi at a point in the film where Amitabh Bacchan introduces his newly wedded wife Jaya Bhaduri at their wedding reception. In response to a request, they sing this duet for the guests at their party. Here, Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics describe the allure of a woman’s ornaments, specifically her bi.ndiyaa (beauty spot), jhumkaa (earring), and ka.nganaa (bangle).  Voiced by Lata Mangeshkar on playback, Jaya Bhaduri offers an on-screen performance that illustrates a wife’s admiration and respect for her husband. Since this song takes place before Amitabh Bacchan’s tragic descent into insecurity, he is able to reciprocate with affection and warmth.  However, after this performance, a classical musician (played by David) in the audience recognizes that Jaya is the technically superior singer and expresses concern about the couple’s future…watch the film to see how the drama unfolds!

Those of you who are more musically inclined may have noticed that this song is based in rupak taal, a 7-beat rhythmic cycle that was used far less frequently by Bollywood composers than kaharva taal (8 beats) or dadra taal  (6 beats). Interestingly, S.D. Burman has also used this unconventional rhythmic pattern skillfully in the film’s other popular duet tere mere milan kii yah rainaa

What are some of your other favorite Hindi songs that describe female ornaments? Feel free to share with us in the comments! Until next time…

– Mr. 55
Jaya Bacchan gives a Filmfare Award-winning performance as a humble and talented singer whose success in the music industry ultimately hurts her husband’s ego.

Teri Bindiya Re: Lyrics and Translation

terii bi.ndiyaa re, re aay haay!
Your beauty spot, oh!
sajan, bi.ndiyaa le legii terii ni.ndiyaa
Oh beloved, my beauty spot will steal away your sleep.
re aay haay! terii bindiyaa re
Oh, your beauty spot!

tere maathe lage hai.n yuu.n jaise chandaa taaraa
It clings to your forehead like a star to the moon.
jiyaa me.n chamke kabhii kabhii to, jaise koii a.ngaaraa
It shines in my heart from time to time, as if it were a glowing ember.
tere maathe lage hai.n yuu.n
It clings to your forehead.
sajan, nindiyaa le legii, le legii, le legii merii bi.ndiyaa
Beloved, my beauty spot will steal away your sleep.
re aay haay! teraa jhumkaa re
Oh, your earring!
chain lene na degaa sajan tum kaa
It will not let you be at peace, beloved.
re aay haay! meraa jhumkaa re
Oh, my earring!

meraa gahnaa balam tuu, tose saj ke Doluu.n
You are my jewelry, beloved.  Adorning myself with you, I will dance.
bhaTakte hai.n tere hii nainaa, mai.n to kuchh na boluu.n
Your eyes wander, yet I say nothing at all.
meraa gahnaa balam tuu
You are my jewelry, beloved.
to phir yah kyaa bole hai, bole hai, bole hai teraa ka.nganaa?
Then, what is it that your bangle says?
re aay haay! meraa kanganaa re
Oh, my bangle!
bole re ab to chhuuTe na teraa a.nganaa
It says that it will not leave your courtyard.
re aay haay! teraa ka.nganaa re
Oh, your bangle!

tuu aayii hai sajaniyaa, jab se merii ban ke
Beloved, since you came to me and became mine,
Thuumak-Thuumak chale hai tu, merii nas-nas khanke
your strutting has made me feel a jitter in my veins.
tuu aayii hai sajaniyaa
Beloved, since you came to me.
sajan, ab to chhuuTe na, chhuuTe na, chhuuTe na, teraa anganaa
Beloved, it will not leave your courtyard.
re aay haay! teraa ka.nganaa re
Oh, your bangle!
sajan, ab to chuuTe na teraa a.nganaa
Beloved, it will not leave your courtyard.
re aay haay! teraa a.nganaa re
Oh, your courtyard!

*Female lines in red are sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Male lines in green are sung by Mohammed Rafi. 

Glossary

bindiyaa: beauty spot; nindiyaa: sleep; jiyaa: heart; chamkaanaa: to shine, glow; angaaraa: ember; jhumkaa: earring; sajan: beloved; gahnaa: jewelry; balam: beloved; tose: from you, an archaic form of ‘tujhse‘; sajnaa: to adorn; Dolnaa: to swing, dance; bhaTaknaa: to wander; nainaa: eye; kanganaa: bangle; chhuTnaa: to leave, forsake; a.nganaa: courtyard; sajaniyaa: beloved; Thumak-Thumak chalnaa: to strutter; nas-nas: veins; khanaknaa: to jitter.

In her first major non-vamp role, Bindu plays the ‘other woman’  as  a rich socialite who fawns over Amitabh Bacchan in Abhimaan (1973).

Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Two Bharat Ratnas come together: Pt. Ravi Shankar and Lata Mangeshkar

Today, we present a guest blog entry by one of our favorite readers Pothik Chatterjee:

“The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world.”

–Lata Mangeshkar, on the passing of Ravi Shankar

Legendary Indian classical musician and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, passed away recently on December 11, 2012 at the age of 92 near his home in Encinitas, California. Shankar, a winner of the prestigious Bharat Ratna award, was a proponent of  “world music” before the term became fashionable in the field. He is most famous in the West for his collaborations with violin virtuouso Yehudi Menuhin, minimalist composer Phillip Glass, and Beatles singer George Harrison. Shankar’s legacy is a testament to the fact that truly great music can overcome cultural barriers and achieve appreciation on a universal scale.

In 2006, I received the opportunity to hear Pandit-ji and his daughter Anoushka Shankar perform live in Washington D.C.  It was a sublime musical experience that I cherish fondly to this day. Even as a child, I have memories of watching Satyajit Ray’s film, Pather Panchali (1955)  and being moved to tears by the touching story of a Bengali family in rural India. The soundtrack that Shankar composed for Ray’s film and the entire Apu Trilogy was so powerful and emotionally stirring that it could be regarded as one of the film’s major characters in itself. Shankar also composed the soundtrack for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, earning him a coveted Oscar nomination.

Pt. Ravi Shankar teaches George Harrison on the sitar.

It is less well-known that that Pandit-ji also composed a handful of soundtracks in the arena of Bollywood cinema, including Anuradha (1960), Godaan (1963) and Meera (1979). As a tribute to Ravi Shankar’s contributions to Hindi film music, we provide the lyrics and English translation for jaane kaise sapno.n me.n from Anuradha (1960). Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, this film is based on a short story by Sachin Bhowmick that was originally inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary. The film tells the story of  Anuradha (played by Leela Naidu), who goes against her father’s wishes by marrying an idealistic doctor (Balraj Sahni). Anuradha sacrifices her singing career to move to the village with her husband, and the film depicts her ensuing feelings of marginalization and entrapment.

The soundtrack to this film is especially memorable for Ravi Shankar’s collaboration with Lata Mangeshkar. Lata navigates effortlessly through the difficult classical compositions of this soundtrack, matching Shankar’s musical genius every step of the way. In this particular song, Shankar crafts a pleasant melody based on raga Tilak Shyam, a hybrid creation of Pandit-ji himself that fuses the evening ragas Tilak Kamod and Shyam Kalyan. Appropriately enough, the picturization here depicts the beautiful and expressive Leela Naidu walking with Balraj Sahni through a grove of coconut trees in the evening with the sun setting behind them.  As a joyous and exuberant raga, Tilak Shyam is often performed at a fast tempo, evoking a sense of romantic delirium that is also reflected in this song’s lyrics penned by Shailendra.

Leela Naidu makes her debut as a Bollywood heroine in Anuradha (1960)

Even diehard fans of vintage Hindi cinema may not recognize the name Leela Naidu. Born to an Indian father and Irish-French mother, Naidu received an elite education in Switzerland and began her training as an actress under the renowned French director Jean Renoir. In 1954, she was named Miss India and made Vogue magazine’s top ten list of most beautiful women in the world. In 1960, Naidu made her Bollywood debut in Anuradha. However, despite her beauty and competence as an actress, she failed to achieve success in the Bollywood industry. There are some interesting parallels between Shankar and Naidu’s experiences in Hindi cinema: the Western exposure and upbringing of both artists alienated them as outsiders in some ways, and this may have prevented them from reaching their full potential in the industry. Perhaps they could only be fully appreciated by the classes, and not the masses of Bollywood fans.

On the other hand, Ravi Shankar did command immense respect from the music directors and singers in the Hindi film world. Such was his aura that when music director Ravi (of Chaudhvin ka Chand fame) entered the film industry, he happily gave up the last part of his name out of reverence. Initially, he was called Ravi Shankar but he did not want to be confused with Pandit-ji.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with an interesting tidbit of controversy about Ravi Shankar and Lata Mangeshkar that originated from their work together during the recordings for Anuradha. Because Lata had failed to show up to one of her recording sessions for the this film without prior notice, tensions flared between these two legendary artists. Years later, Ravi Shankar returned to mainstream Hindi cinema in 1979 to compose the music of Gulzar’s directorial venture Meera. In place of Bollywood’s reigning playback queen, Vani Jairam sang all the compositions on this soundtrack, and she even received a Filmfare Award for her work! Clearly, it doesn’t always pay to be a diva…

-Pothik Chatterjee (@pothik on Twitter)

Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein: Lyrics and Translation

jaane kaise sapno.n me.n kho gayii.n a.nkhiiyaa.n?
Who knows in which dreams my eyes have become lost?
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have fallen asleep.

ajab diivaanii bhayii, mose a.njaanii bhayii
My eyes have become wondrously mad and unfamiliar to me.
pal me.n parayii dekho ho gayii.n a.nkhiiyaa.n
in a moment, my own eyes have turned into strangers.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

barsii yah kaisii dhaaraa, kaa.npe tan-man saaraa
Such a torrent has rained upon me that my entire body and soul is quivering.
ra.ng se a.ng bhigo gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
Along with my body, my eyes have become soaked in color.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

man ujiyaaraa chhaayaa, jag ujiyaaraa chhayaa
When my mind was illuminated, the world lit up.
jag-mag diip sanjo gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
The glimmering candles in my eyes have become enshrined.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

koii man bhaa gayaa, jaaduu vah chalaa gayaa
Someone has pleased my mind; he has cast his magic upon me.
man ke do motiyaa.n piro gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
The two pearls of my mind have been joined together as my eyes.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

jaane kaise sapno.n me.n kho gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n?
Who knows in which dreams my eyes have become lost?

Glossary:

sapnaa: dream; kho jaanaa: to become lost; a.nkhiiyaa.n: eyes; morii: my, an archaic form of merii; jaagii: awake; so jaanaa: to go to sleep; ajab: strange, wondrous; diivaanaa: mad, crazy; mose: from/to me, an archaic form of mujhse; anjaanii: unknown, unfamiliar; paraayaa: stranger, foreign; barasnaa: to rain; dhaaraa: torrent, tide; kaa.npnaa: to quiver; tan-man: body and soul; a.ng: body; bhigo jaanaa: to become soaked; ujiyaaraa chhanaa: to be illuminated, to light up; jag-mag: glimmering; diip: candle; sanjo jaanaa: to become enshrined; man bhaanaa: to please the mind; jaaduu chalaanaa: to cast magic; motii: pearl; piro jaanaa: to be joined together.

Leela Naidu experiences her first love with Balraj Sahni in Anuradha (1960)
Leela Naidu experiences her first love with Balraj Sahni in Anuradha (1960)