Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Directed by the renowned lyricist Gulzar, Aandhi stirred up quite the controversy after the film was released in 1975. Shortly after the release of Aandhi, India found itself in the midst of a national state of emergency instituted by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in response to the deep-seated political unrest and instability that had emerged across the nation. The 21-month Emergency of 1975-1977 is often viewed as one of the darkest eras in the political history of post-independence India: corruption, censorship, and the suspension of civil liberties threatened to compromise the basic principles upon which the nation’s democracy had been built. In this context, it’s not surprising that Aandhi was banned by the government during the Emergency on the grounds that the film’s protagonist bore an inappropriate resemblance to Mrs. Gandhi. As a result, certain scenes depicting the protagonist drinking and smoking were re-shot and an extra scene in which the protagonist tells her father that she idolizes Indira Gandhi (“ye hii to mere ideal hai.n“) was included to separate the film from real life. Although the parallels in appearance, mannerisms, and even the film’s title (Aandhi, meaning storm, rhymes with Gandhi) are undeniable, Gulzar explains in an old Filmfare interview that he never intended to base this film on the life of Indira Gandhi:

“Contrary to popular opinion, my story wasn’t based on Indira Gandhi’s life. It had nothing to do with Indira-ji. She was just the role model for the lady politician. Frankly, who better could there be? She was such a dynamic lady.”

SuchitraSen_Aandhi_IndiraGandhi
Suchitra Sen tells her father that she idolizes Indira Gandhi in a flashback scene that was added to Aandhi (1975) after the film was initially banned by the government.

With inspiration from a novel titled Kali Aandhi by Hindi author Kamaleshwar, Aandhi (1975) depicts the story of Aarti Devi (portrayed by Suchitra Sen) as she struggles to balance her professional ambitions with her quest for personal gratification while navigating through the volatile world of Indian politics. While traveling on the campaign trail, Aarti is caught by surprise when she runs into her estranged husband JK (portrayed by Sanjeev Kumar), who happens to be the owner of the hotel where she is staying currently. Nine years ago, the call to public service compelled Aarti to eschew her domestic duties and leave her husband and daughter in order to pursue her dreams of becoming a politician. After their unexpected reunion, Aarti and JK cultivate a tender but awkward relationship as they reminisce about memories from their past and come to realize that they still have unresolved feelings for each other after all these years. Through an artistic use of flashbacks, we learn about the development of Aarti and JK’s early romance, the disapproval of their marriage by Aarti’s father, and the eventual breakdown of their relationship. Their domestic conflict evolves into an Abhimaan-esque clash of egos and personalities, and they eventually decide to part ways after several failed efforts to maintain a happy marriage.

Su
Suchitra Sen sports Indira Gandhi’s trademark silver streak in Aandhi (1975).

Ultimately, Aandhi illustrates the complexities of an evolving relationship between two individuals who share mutual respect and affection for each other but are unable to reconcile their differences to converge seamlessly on the same path. In addition to providing a mature and realistic view of human relationships, Aandhi sheds light on the unique challenges that confront Indian women in positions of power as they attempt to balance their professional and personal lives. Although Aarti wins her election at the conclusion of the film, this victory is made bittersweet as she grapples with an unfortunate reality: professional success and domestic bliss were often mutually exclusive for Indian women of her time.

SK
The Martand Sun Temple near Anantnag, Kashmir serves as a gorgeous backdrop for this classic song from Aandhi (1975).

In addition to Gulzar’s skillful direction and the captivating performances delivered by Suchitra Sen (her diction is excused!) and Sanjeev Kumar, Aandhi is remembered most often today for its soundtrack of stunning songs composed by R.D. Burman using Gulzar’s poetry. Each Lata-Kishore duet is a gem and serves to illustrate a different facet of Aarti and JK’s relationship in the film. In particular, the classic “tere binaa zindagii se koii” is a tender and wistful expression of regret and lost love. Without the frills of an elevated vocabulary, this song boldly questions: can living life without the one you love be considered a life at all?

Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikwa: Lyrics and Translation

tere binaa zindagii se koii shikvaa to nahii.n, shikvaa nahii.n
I have no complaints against a life without you.
tere binaa zindagii bhii lekin zindagii to nahii.n, zindagii nahii.n
Yet a life without you is not a life at all.

kaash aisaa ho tere qadamo.n se
I wish that, from your footsteps,
chunke manzil chale.n aur kahii.n, duur kahii.n
we could find a new destination; somewhere else, somewhere far.
tum gar saath ho manzilo.n kii kamii to nahii.n
With you by my side, there is no shortage of destinations for us to reach.

SK: suno Aartii, ye jo phuulo.n kii bele.n nazar aatii hai.n na?
Listen Aarti, do you see those things that look like flower vines?
darasal ye bele.n nahii.n, arabii me.n aayate.n likhii.n hai.n.
In fact, they are not vines. They are verses written in Arabic.
ise din ke vaqt dekhnaa chaahiye, bilkul saaf nazar aatii hai.n.
We should see them during the day. They can be read very clearly.
din ke vaqt yah saaraa paanii se bharaa rahtaa hai.
During the day, this whole place is filled with water. 
din ke vaqt jab ye phuvaaare

During the day, when these fountains…

SS:  din kii baat kyo.n kar rahe ho? kahaa.n aa paauu.ngii mai.n din me.n?
Why do you keep talking about the day? How will I come here during the day?

SK: yah jo chaand hai na? ise raat main dekhnaa.
Do you see this Moon? Watch it at night.
yah din me.n nahii.n nikaltaa.

It does not come out during the day. 

SS: yah to roz nikaltaa hogaa.
But the Moon comes out every night.

SK: haa.n, lekin biich me.n amaavas aa jaatii hai.
Yes, but the dark fortnight comes in between.
vaise to amaavas pandrah din kii hotii hai.
The dark fortnight usually lasts 15 days.
lekin is baar bahut lambii thii.
But this time, it felt much longer.

SS: nau baras lambii thii na?
It felt as if it were nine years long, no?

jii me.n aataa hai tere daaman me.n
I yearn to seek refuge in your bosom
sar chhupake ham rote rahe.n, rote rahe.n
to hide my face as I continue to weep.
terii bhii aa.nkho.n me.n aa.nsuuo.n kii namii to nahii.n
Are your eyes not clouded by the mist of fresh tears, too?

tum jo kah do to aaj kii raat
If you say so tonight,
chaa.nd Duubegaa nahii.n, raat ko rok lo
even the Moon will not wane. Please stop the night from passing!
raat kii baat hai, aur zindagii baaqii to nahii.n
We only have tonight, for the rest of our lives will not be shared together.

tere binaa zindagii se koii shikvaa to nahii.n, shikvaa nahii.n
I have no complaints against a life without you.
tere binaa zindagii bhii lekin zindagii to nahii.n, zindagii nahii.n
Yet a life without you is not a life at all.

*Female lines in red are sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Male lines in green are sung by Kishore Kumar.  The dialogue takes place between Sanjeev Kumar (SK) and Suchitra Sen (SS). 

Glossary

shikvaa: complaint; qadam: footstep; chunnaa: to select; manzil: destination; kamii: shortage, dearth; bele.n: vines; darasal: in fact; aayate.n: verses; phuvaare: fountains; amaavas: dark fortnight; pandrah: fifteen; baras: year; daaman: lap, bosom; aa.nsuu: tear; namii: moistness; chaa.nd: Moon. 

SK
After rumors circulate regarding her nightly meetings with Sanjeev Kumar, Suchitra Sen reveals to the public that she has been meeting her estranged husband in Aandhi (1975).

Did you know that this song was based on a Bengali melody originally composed by R.D. Burman for a Durga Puja album in the 1970s? Listen to “jete jete pathe holo deri” to hear this melody sung by the composer himself! When Gulzar heard R.D. Burman working on this song with Bengali lyricist Gauriprasanna Mazumdar, he enjoyed the song so much that he wrote Hindi lyrics for the tune so it could be included in Aandhi. When Gulzar inserted the iconic “nau baras lambii thii, na?” dialogue in between antaras of this song, he reports in the same interview that R.D. Burman was not pleased:

“So we kept the original tune for the mukhda, and he composed something else for the antara. But when I inserted some dialogue into the lyrics, Pancham scolded me, “’Do you have any idea of sur and taal? You cut in with your dialogue anywhere you want. It’s not done!”’ But we did it!”

They certainly did something right, as this song has become immortalized as one of Hindi film music’s most treasured creations. Thanks to our reader Raju for requesting this post! Until next time…

-Mr. 55

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Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

A rare photograph depicting Lata Mangeshkar’s performance of “ai mere vatan ke logo” at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Republic Day,1963

On behalf of Mrs. 55 and me, I’d like to wish all of our readers a happy Indian Independence Day! In celebration of this holiday, we have provided the lyrics and translation for an all-time patriotic classic: ai mere vatan ke logo. Although this song is not technically a Bollywood song, all of the artists involved in its production are legends of the Hindi film industry: composer C. Ramachandra, poet Kavi Pradeep, and of course, singer Lata Mangeshkar. Kavi Pradeep was inspired to write the lyrics of this poem after being moved by the losses India suffered during the Sino-Indian War of 1962. His tribute to the Indian soldiers who fought in the war has become immortalized in this touching anthem, which is remembered today as one of the finest Hindi songs in the patriotic genre.

Even a song like this, however, was not immune to the drama of the Bollywood industry. It has been reported by journalist Raju Bharatan that C.Ramachandra originally composed this song as a duet between Lata and her younger sister Asha Bhonsle. Allegedly, Lata managed to coax her sister out of the situation using questionable tactics and went on to record the song as a solo because she wanted it for herself. If this story is not merely Bollywood gossip, I certainly don’t condone the lack of sisterly love–but I can say that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Lata didn’t do complete justice to this gem.

Kavi Pradeep (left), Lata Mangeshkar (center), C. Ramachandra (right)

In fact, a popular story has been recounted over the years about how Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was moved to tears when Lata debuted this number at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi just two months after the war ended.  Lata narrates this incident in her own words:

Following the Chinese attack on India in 1962, Pradeep ji wrote this song and I sang it for the first time in Delhi on Republic Day on 26th January, 1963. C. Ramchandra conducted the few musicians who were performing on stage with me. That year, many stars and music directors from Bombay were in Delhi, including Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Naushad Ali, Shankar-Jaikishan and Madan Mohan. Once I finished singing, I sat down behind the stage and asked for a coffee.

Mehboob Sahib came rushing to me and said: ‘Lata! Where is Lata? Panditji is calling you.’ I followed him outside and when Pandit ji saw me, he stood up. Indira ji and many leading politicians were there too.

Mehboob Sahib introduced me saying: ‘This is Lata Mangeshkar.’ He said: ‘beTii, tum ne aaj mujhe rulaa diyaa’ [Child, you have brought tears to my eyes today].

Given the occasion, we hope that you’ll take a moment to listen to this evergreen patriotic anthem and commemorate the brave heroes who have fought to protect the freedom of our beloved motherland over the years. Jai Hind!

–Mr. 55

Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo: Lyrics and Translation

ai mere vatan ke logo, tum khuub lagaa lo naaraa
Oh, my fellow citizens! Chant slogans in praise of our country.
yah shubhdin hai ham sab kaa, laharaa lo tiiranga pyaaraa
This is an auspicious day for us all,  so fly our beloved tri-color flag.
par mat bhuulo siimaa par viiro.n ne hai praan ga.nvaaye
Yet, do not forget that brave soldiers have lost their lives on our borders.
kuchh yaad unhe.n bhii kar lo, jo laut ke ghar na aaye
Remember those who have not returned home.

ai mere vatan ke logo, zaraa aa.nkh me.n bhar lo paani
Oh, my fellow citizens! Shed a few tears.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaanii
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs.
tum bhuul na jaao unko, is liye suno yah kahaanii
Listen to this story so that you do not forget them.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaani
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs.

jab ghaayal huaa himaalay, khatre me.n paDii aazaadii
When the great Himalayas were wounded and our freedom was in danger,
jab tak thii saa.ns laDe ve, phir apnii laash bichha dii
They fought until their last breath and then laid their corpses to the ground.
sangiin pe dhar kar maatha, so gaye amar baliidaanii
Resting their heads on bayonets, these immortal martyrs fell into an eternal sleep.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaanii
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs. 

jab desh me.n thii diivaalii, ve khel rahe the holii
When our country celebrated Diwali, they were playing Holi on the battlefield.
jab ham baiThe the gharo.n me.n, ve jhel rahe the golii
As we sat comfortably in our homes, they were firing bullets.
the dhanya javaan ve apane, thii dhanya vah unkii javaanii
Blessed were those soldiers, and blessed was their youth.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaanii
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs.

koii sikh koii jaaT maraaThaa, koii gurkhaa koii madaraasii
Some were Sikh, Jaat, or Marathi; some were Gurkha or Madrasi.
sarhad par marnevaala har viir thaa bhaaratvaasii
But each man who died on the border was an Indian,
jo khuun giraa parvat par, wah khuun thaa hindustaanii
And the blood that stained the mountainside was Indian blood.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaanii
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs. 

thii khuun se lathpath kaayaa, phir bhii banduuk uThaa ke
Although their bodies were soaked in blood, they still raised their guns.
das das ko ek ne maaraa, phir gir gaye hosh ga.nvaa ke
Each man shot tens of enemy soldiers and then fell unconscious to the ground.

jab ant samay aayaa to kah gaye ki ab marte hai.n
When the final moment came, they said: “Now we shall die.
khush rahnaa desh ke pyaaro, ab ham to safar karte hai.n
My beloved countrymen, stay happy. We now begin our final journey to the afterlife.”
kyaa log the ve diivaane, kyaa log the ve abhiimaanii
They displayed such passion and dignity.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaani
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs.

tum bhuul na jaao unko, is liye kahii yah kahaanii
This story has been recounted so that you do not forget them.
jo shahiid hue hai.n unkii, zaraa yaad karo qurbaani
Remember the sacrifice of those martyrs.

jai hind, jai hind kii senaa
jai hind, jai hind, jai hind!
Victory to India and its armed forces!

Glossary

vatan: motherland; naaraa: slogan; shubhdin: auspicious day; tiirangaa: tri-color; siimaa: boundary; viir: brave; praan: life; shahiid: martyr; qurbanii: sacrifice; ghaayal: wounded; khatre me.n: in danger; aazaadii: freedom; laash: corpse; bichhanaa: to lay; sangiin: bayonet; amar: immortal; balidaanii: martyr; golii jhelnaa: to fire a bullet; dhanya: blessed; sarhad: border; khuun: blood; lathpath: soaked; kaayaa: body; hosh: senses, conscious; abhimaanii: dignified; senaa: army.