Aayega Aanewala Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Ashok Kumar Mahal (1949)
Ashok Kumar is haunted by a mysterious voice echoing through his palace in Mahal (1949)

Today we showcase the haunting lyrics and English translation of “Aayega Aanewala” from Kamal Amrohi’s Mahal (1949). The film is a landmark in the history of Indian cinema, representing a visionary shift to director-focused auteurism that ushered in India’s Golden Era of filmmaking. Upon its release, director Kamal Amrohi shot to super-stardom along with the then unheard of songstress Lata Mangeshkar and the enchanting teenage Madhubala. A quintessential Bollywood ghost story, Mahal tells the tale of businessman (Ashok Kumar) who inherits a palace in Allahabad and discovers that it is haunted by his lover in a previous life (Madhubala).

With its famous opening chimes of an echoing grandfather clock, “Aayega Aanewala” is a cinematographer’s fantasy, stringing one beautiful image of surrealist delusion after another. From the revealing dolly-shot, shrouded by branches, of a shadowy woman on a swing with a dupatta that chases the wind to the wide shot of a an empty ballroom whose chandelier rocks back-and-forth from an unseen presence, German-born cinematographer Josef Wirsching infuses an intoxicating wonder into each shot that is as much frightening as it is gorgeous. Traces of that languid hallucinatory world he constructs can be seen in his later work, Pakeezah (1971).

Aayega Aanewala ghost on a swing
Above: The ethereal Madhubala is found swinging below in the palace gardens. Below: By the time Ashok Kumar approaches, the swing is empty, swaying eerily in the breeze.

At the age of 22, Kamal Amrohi arrived in Bombay with nothing but Rs. 17 and his own creativity. He wrote for a few films such as Shahjahan (1946) with the help of K.L. Saigal who became his supporter. Originally paid to simply write the script for Mahal, Amrohi insisted that he be allowed to direct as well. After much dispute the legendary Bombay Talkies studio relented–and made Bollywood history.

When recording the song “Aayega Aanewala” in the large empty Bombay Talkies studio, Amrohi had Lata Mangeshkar stand 20 feet away from the microphone when she sung the song’s opening notes. With each few words, she took another step closer until she reached the microphone for the chorus “Aayega, aayega, aayega.” They rehearsed this multiple times until they achieved the sound he desired. The effect was to capture the echoing nature of a voice floating through the large palace. With Lata’s angelic voice and Madhubala’s ghostly grace, the haunting femme fatale was created. Bimal Roy, who worked as an editor on the film, later drew upon Mahal‘s establishment of the Indian film noir genre when directing his own acclaimed Madhumati (1958).

If for no other reason, you’ve got to see this film just to be amazed at what Madhubala looked like as a teenager. I definitely didn’t look like that when I was 16 (although apparently Vyjayanthimala did). We dedicate this translation to our yesteryear fan Satya Khanna! Be sure to watch the film’s beautiful cinematography here as you follow along with our lyrics and English translation of “Aayega Aanewala” below!

Aayega Aanewala Lyrics and English Translation:

Khaamosh hai zamaanaa, chhup-chhaap hai.N sitaare
The earth is silent, the stars are quiet
Aaraam se hai duniyaa, bekal hai.N dil ke maare
The world is at rest, but the lovers are restless
Aise mei.N koii aahaT is tarah aa rahi hai
In the stillness, footsteps are approaching like this
Jaise ki chal rahaa hai man mei.N koi hamaare
As if someone is passing through my soul
Yaa dil dhaDak rahaa hai? ik aas ke sahaare
Or is it only my heart that is beating? I have this one hope for support

Aayegaa, aayegaa, aayegaa
He will come, he will come, he will come
Aayegaa, aayegaa, aanewaalaa
He will come, he will come, he who is to come

Deepak baghair kaise, parwaane jal rahe hai.N?
How are the moths burning without a flame?
Koi nahii.N chalaataa, aur teer chal rahe hai.N
No one fired, yet an arrow is flying
TaDpegaa koii kab tak, be-aas be-sahaare
How long will someone be tormented, without hope and without support?
Lekin yeh keh rahe hai.N dil ke mere ishaare
Yet the signals of my heart are saying
Aayegaa, aayegaa, aayegaa
He will come, he will come, he will come
Aayegaa, aayegaa, aanewaalaa
He will come, he will come, he who is to come

BhaTkii huii jawaanii manzil ko DhoonDhti hai
My wandering youth is searching for a destination
Maajhi baghair nayyaa, saahil ko dhoondhti hai
As if a boat without an oarsman searches for the shore
Kyaa jaane dil ki kashTii, kab tak lage kinaare
What does the boat of my heart know of how long until we reach the river bank
Lekin yeh keh rahe hai.N dil ke mere ishaare
Yet the signals of my heart are saying
Aayegaa, aayegaa, aayegaa
He will come, he will come, he will come
Aayegaa, aayegaa, aanewaalaa
He will come, he will come, he who is to come

Glossary:

khaamosh: silence; zamaanaa: earth; chhup-chhaap: quiet; sitaraa: star; aaraam se: restful; duniyaa: the world; bekal: restless; dil ke maare: lovers; aahaT: footsteps; man: heart, soul; dhaDaknaa: to beat [heart]; aas: hope; sahaaraa: support; deepak: flame; [kisi ke] baghair: without; parwaanaa: moth; jalnaa: to burn; taDapnaa: to be tormented; be-aas: without hope; be-sahaaraa: without support; ishaaraa: signal, symbol; bhaTaknaa: to wander; jawaanii: youth; manzil: destination; DhoonDnaa: to search; maajhi: oarsman; nayyaa: boat; saahil: shore; kashTii: boat; kinaaraa: [river] bank

Now that that’s over, let’s take a brief moment to discuss ye olde moth and flame analogy. A favorite fall-back of Hindi film lyricists, the analogy of a kamikaze moth yearning for unity with fire has intrigued many a Bollywood romantic. With roots in Sufi mysticism, the classic moth and flame analogy has been lovingly immortalized by everyone from Rumi to Charles Dickens.

At its essence, the male lover (or metaphorical moth) is so blinded by love for a woman (the metaphorical flame), that he is willing to burn and die in order to join her. Very well. But in Bollywood, the analogy is so abused, the mere drop of the word parwaanaa in any context can denote a sinister Fate without even going into mention of the flame and burning alive. Interestingly, in the lyrics to “Aayegaa Aanewala“, the poet Nakshab Jarchavi constructs a fascinating twist on the hackneyed metaphor: instead of the male representing the moth, he represents the flame in whose absence our heroine is suffering! I love a good poetic gender role reversal. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

-Mrs. 55

Ashok Kumar cigarette Mahal (1949)
Ashok Kumar cleverly burns his hand with his cigarette to check if he is dreaming. Yeah, no. He’s still awake.

 

Defining Bollywood Film Noir

Sadhana enters a graveyard as the femme fatale of Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

In the U.S. historians and film theorists have debated for decades about the meaning of the elusive term: “film noir.” Although many of us conjure an image of a hard-boiled detective and a mystery made more mysterious by the femme fatale, few “film noirs” actually contain these elements. This so-called genre had its roots in German Expressionism with films like Fritz Lang’s M (1931) and in depression-era crime novels. But what does the term “film noir” mean as it applies to Hindi cinema? What are the hallmarks of this genre as it played out in Bollywood and how did it begin?

I will present five films that I propose to be in the genre of Indian film noir. This is no easy task. Just as the term is vague in the American lexicon, so too does it only hazily engulf a variety of Hindi films with low-key lighting. And so I shall begin with an illustrative example. We can debate the precise definition of the genre until the end of time, but I think I can safely say that whatever Indian film noir is, Woh Kaun Thi? (1964) is Indian film noir.

Woh Kaun Thi? has 4 main basic elements. The first is in its distinct cinematographic style and setting—low-key lighting throughout a mysterious mansion and slow unhurried shots with a somber film score to match. The film gives a sense of the world being trapped in a fatalistic dream, whether alone by a graveyard or in a crowd of dancing people.

The second is the film’s overall tone and pacing—there is an uncomfortable sense of being pursued, of an impending doom unless a mystery is solved in time by the hero. Unlike in American film noir, the hero is no cynic and there is no quick sardonic dialogue to off-set the dreary mood. The hero is instead a righteous and innocent man of affairs, an heir to a fortune who becomes a victim. Though mingled with occasional musical highs, the film spirals from a slow and deliberate set-up to a climax closer and closer to complete ruin.

An interesting element of many American film noirs is the flash-back structure, which takes on an interesting form in their Indian counterparts. Woh Kaun Thi? centers around a mysterious background that occurred in the protagonist’s past life. Because the audience of Hindi films was largely composed of practicing Hindus, the world of reincarnation narrative is able to begin on a new and creatively extremely fertile ground. The hero must revisit through song, hearsay, and secrets events that took place in a past life, but whose consequences (whether karma or otherwise) now haunt him. This is the third element.

Fourthly, the film does indeed revolve around the appearance and (mis)guidance of the femme fatale, who is heard singing alluring, tragic songs. The hero is never able to wholly communicate with her, but her intentions are clearly marked with a deadly undertone. The femme fatale remains an elusive character–sometimes he chases after her, sometimes she chases after him—when her story is fully told, only then can the mystery be solved.

The films below can be placed into the category of Indian film noir along with Who Kaun Thi?:

Mahal (1949): Perhaps the grandfather of this genre, Mahal tells of a man tortured and madly in love with an apparition who haunts his mansion and claims a connection from an earlier life. The film also features the haunting vocals of Lata Mangeshkar’s all-time hit Aayegaa Aanewaalaa.

Madhubala mesmerizes Ashok Kumar in Mahal (1949)

Madhumati (1958): This classic Vijayantimala-Dilip Kumar blockbuster is told in flashback to a previous lifetime of the murder of the woman the hero still loves. The gently alluring Aajaa Re Pardesi encompasses the film’s themes of love and debts spanning several lifetimes.

Vijayantimala is reincarnated to find her lover once more in Madhumati (1958)

Bees Saal Baad (1961): A rich man comes to live in his new mansion and must solve a tragedy and murder that occurred 20 years earlier. The film contains a brilliant surprise ending, and Lata Mangeshkar scores once again with the beautiful Kahin Deep Jale, Kahin Dil.

Biswajeet follows a mysterious voice in Bees Saal Baad (1961)

Kohra (1964): This twist on Hitchcock’s Rebecca is told through the eyes of a female protagonist, living in a large, unexplored mansion that is haunted by the apparition of her husband’s first wife. Waheeda Rehman must discover the true circumstances surrounding the first wife’s death before she is driven insane. The song of the femme fatale (Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat) is an absolutely genius and rare example of symbolic imagery in montage to create a feeling of horror from the song.

Waheeda Rehman sees a ghostly vision atop her mansion roof in Kohra (1964)

There are some films that contain one or more of the above elements that I have not classified as Indian film noir. These include Mera Saaya, Gumnaam, and Karz, for different reasons–often overall tone or cinematographic style. Additionally, others might argue that these films should not be categorized at all as Indian film noir, but rather as Indian gothic horror films or other such genres. Watch some of these classics and let us know your take on this chapter in cinematic history!

– Mrs. 55