The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time

The best music albums from classic Bollywood have been chosen. Which songs made the list of Bollywood’s top 30 greatest?

Raj Kapoor Nargis Iconic BarsaatIntroduction

Welcome to the greatest music of classic Bollywood! We at Mr. and Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! have compiled our ultimate list of the top 30 best classic Bollywood film soundtracks of all-time. Music is the very soul of classic Bollywood, a legacy of beauty and style that once lit the world. These soundtracks showcase the best music of Bollywood and are as diverse and transformative as the films to which they lent their magic. Long after the cinema lights fade, this music remains in the air, haunting us with desire, sustaining us through tragedy, and enchanting our daily experiences in the world.

Soundtracks of all Hindi films released between the years of 1945 to 1985 were considered and ranked based on the merit of lyrics, musical composition and complexity, historical and cultural value, vocal performance, and accomplishments of the soundtrack elements as an ensemble. Topping our list are composers Sachin Dev Burman, Rahul Dev Burman, Naushad, and the duo Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal (often credited as Shankar-Jaikishen) whose works both defined and reinvented Bollywood. Like our enormously popular list of the Top 30 Greatest Classic Bollywood Films of All Time, these soundtracks embrace the unexpected.

The advent of music in Bollywood binds the stormy history of a shackled India emerging from depression and war with the golden age of Hollywood musical film. Many believe that films with de rigeur musical numbers is a unique hallmark of Hindi cinema. However, the early “talkie” pictures of India such as Alam Ara (1931) were heavily influenced by the popular western films like The Jazz Singer (1927) and Showboat (1929) in which the new sound technology instantly propelled musical film as the most profitable genre. Hollywood directors like Busby Berkeley whose signature spectacle was the mass ornament and nimble-footed singer-dancers like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers helped contribute to the hundreds and hundreds of musical films cherished by the western world during the 1930s-1950s.

In India, the then universal convention of five to seven musical numbers peppering a film was easily embraced and adapted by Hindi movie directors who introduced Hindustani musical traditions to their work. Playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Asha Bhonsle were as celebrated as the actors for whom they lent their voices. Often before a film was released, a Bollywood movie’s soundtrack was played repeatedly on the radio, reaching the hearts of millions across the country who may not have afforded the luxury to see the actual film in theatres.

While Hollywood eventually diverged from the musical film genre by the late 1960s, India was awakening to its own golden era of film in which music dominated the sensory milieu. Perhaps it was the escapism of music with its perfect harmonies and piercing poetry that touched the newly freed country still finding its identity. From solemn hymns of the countryside to feverish cabarets of city nightlife, from extravagant orchestras to solitary sitar solos, and from singers whose voices seem to descend from heaven, these soundtracks unleashed new eras of possibility and romance. The music of classic Bollywood will change you forever. For a few fleeting minutes, the ideals you dreamed of are made real.

Take this journey with us through the best music albums of yesteryear Hindi cinema. This music the way is was meant to be. This is classic Bollywood.

The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time:

1. Pakeezah

Pakeezah Meena Kumari Chalte Chalte

Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad, 1971

2. Guide

Guide

S.D. Burman, 1965

3. Mughal-e-Azam

Mughal-e-Azam

Naushad, 1960

4. Nagin

Nagin

Hemant Kumar, 1954

5. Aradhana

Aradhana

S.D. Burman, 1969

6. Teesri Manzil

Teesri Manzil

R.D. Burman, 1966

  • Aaja Aaja – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Deewana Mujhsa Nahin – Mohammed Rafi
  • O Haseena Zulfonwali – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • O Mere Sona Re – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Tumne Mujhe Dekha – Mohammed Rafi

7. Barsaat

Barsaat

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1949

  • Hawa Mein Udta Jaye – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Chhod Gaye Balam – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • Jiya Beqarar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Mujhe Kisise Pyar – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Patli Kamar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh

8. Anarkali

Anarkali

C. Ramachandra, 1953

  • Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • O Zindagi Ke Denewale – Hemant Kumar
  • O Aasmanwale – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jaag Dard-e-Ishq – Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar
  • Mohabbat Aisi Dhadhkan Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Mujhse Mat Pooch – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aaja Ab To Aaja – Lata Mangeshkar

9. Kati Patang

Kati Patang

R.D. Burman, 1970

  • Jis Gali Mein – Mukesh
  • Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kishore Kumar
  • Na Koi Umang Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Yeh Shaam Mastani – Kishore Kumar
  • Pyaar Diwanaa Hota Hai – Kishore Kumar
  • Aaj Na Chhodenge – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar

10. Chori Chori

Chori Chori

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956

  • Panchi Banoon Udti – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aaja Sanam – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Jahan Main Jaati Hoon – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Rasik Balma – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Man Bhavan Ke Ghar – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle

11. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Roshan, 1963

12. Hum Dono

Hum Dono Abhi Na Jao Dev Anand Sadhana

Jaidev, 1961

13. Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief

S.D. Burman, 1967

  • Honton Pe Aisi Baat – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aasman Ke Neeche – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
  • Dil Pukare – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Rulake Gaya Sapna – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Yeh Dil Na Hota – Kishore Kumar
  • Title Music

14. Caravan

Caravan

R.D. Burman, 1971

  • Piya Tu Ab To – Asha Bhonsle
  • Chadti Jawani – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Kitna Pyara Wada – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Goriya Kahan – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Ab Jo Mile Hai – Asha Bhonsle

15. Bobby

Bobby Main Shayar To Nahin

Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, 1973

  • Main Shayar To Nahin – Shailendra Singh
  • Bahar Se Koi Andhar – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kate – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Na Mangoon Sona Chandi – Manna Dey and Shailendra Singh

16. Pyaasa

Pyaasa

S.D. Burman, 1957

  • Jaane Woh Kaise – Hemant Kumar
  • Aaj Sajan Mohe – Geeta Dutt
  • Hum Aap Ki Ankhon Mein – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
  • Jane Kya Tune Kahi – Asha Bhonsle
  • Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye – Mohammed Rafi

17. Abhiman

Abhiman

S.D. Burman, 1973

18. Anand

Anand

Salil Choudhury, 1971

19. Kabhi Kabhi

Kabhi Kabhi

Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1976

20. Baiju Bawra

Baiju bawra

Naushad, 1952

  • O Duniya Ke Rakhwale – Mohammed Rafi
  • Man Tarpat Hari Dar – Mohammed Rafi
  • Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jhoole Mein Pawan Ke – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Tu Ganga Ki Mauj – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi

21. Mother India

Mother India

Naushad, 1957

22. Madhumati

Madhumati

Salil Choudhury, 1958

  • Aaja Re Pardesi – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Dil Tadap Tadap – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • Suhana Safar – Mukesh
  • Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Chadh Gayo Papi Bichua – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey

23. Basant Bahar

Basant Bahar

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956

  • Duniya Na Bhaye Mohammed Rafi
  • Bhaye Bhanjana – Manna Dey
  • Ja Ja Re Ja – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Main Piya Teri – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Nain Mile Chain Kahan – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey

24. Aar Paar

Aar Paar

O.P. Nayyar, 1954

  • Babuji Dheere Chalna – Geeta Dutt
  • Sun Sun Sun Zalima – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
  • Kabhi Aar Kabhi Par – Shamshad Begum
  • Yeh Lo Main Haari Piya – Geeta Dutt
  • Hoon Abhi Main Jawan – Geeta Dutt

25. Kashmir Ki Kali

Kashmir Ki Kali

O.P. Nayyar, 1964

26. Bandini

Bandini

S.D. Burman, 1963

  • Ab Ke Baras Bhej – Asha Bhonsle
  • O Re Mahji – S.D. Burman
  • Mora Gora Ang Laile – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jogi Jab Se Tu Aaya – Lata Mangeshkar
  • O Janewale Ho Sake – Mukesh

27. Sangam

Sangam

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1964

28. Yaadon Ki Baraat

Yaadon Ki Baraat

R.D. Burman, 1973

  • Chura Liya Hai – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Aapke Kamre Mein – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Lekar Hum Deewana Dil – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Meri Soni Meri Tamana – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Yaadon Ki Baraat – Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

29. Amar Prem

Rajesh Khanna Amar Prem

R.D. Burman, 1972

  • Chingari Koi Bhadke – Kishore Kumar
  • Raina Beeti Jaaye – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Kuch To Log Kahenge – Kishore Kumar
  • Yeh Kya Hua – Kishore Kumar
  • Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh – Lata Mangeshkar

30. Umrao Jaan

Rekha2_UmraoJaan

Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1981

Find out more about these and other classic Bollywood soundtracks on our song pages! Which soundtracks do you consider among classic Bollywood’s all-time best and why? Leave us a comment and let us know!

– Mrs. 55

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Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Dev Anand croons to Sadhana in a moonlit forest in Hum Dono (1961).
Dev Anand croons to Sadhana in a moonlit forest in Hum Dono (1961).

Next we present the enchanting lyrics and English translation to “Abhi Na Jao” from Hum Dono (1961). When I think of a Bollywood tree song, I think of this. This is where the magical tradition of hopping around a hidden forest and coyly shimmying behind the nearest tree to dodge your lover’s advances all began. Delightful Dev Anand and young Sadhana prance about gently in a quiet grove with slick back-and-forth lyrics that keep us grounded. The essence of the song comes down to this: Boy loves girl. Girl shyly expresses a desire to go home. Boy insists girl stays. Girl fears losing face. Boy takes opportunity to corner girl against a tree. You certainly don’t need anyone else to tell you how to think, but consider what it means that modern day Romeo Shah Rukh Khan voted this picturization as the most romantic song of Hindi cinema! “Abhi Na Jao” is eternal and the embodiment of sweetly innocent Bollywood courtship.

I’ve talked before about my feelings for the Hum Dono recolourization. Frankly, it’s cute, but not worth eliminating the original black-and-white stock. By converting the film from academy ratio to widescreen, you lose a great deal of the movie in exchange for some glitzy editing tricks (watch the colorized version here to see what I mean!). The film, its characters, the music, and the plot are so strong, it does not require any remodeling for wider accessibility. This song comes early in the movie, setting a high key tone for the upcoming embroilment.

Dev Anand Abhi Na Jao
Dev Anand looks like a lost sheep as Sadhana coyly sneaks away in “Abhi Na Jao” from Hum Dono (1961).

The signature Dev Anand coiffure is at its puffiest in this song, a welcome reflection of his bursting emotions. So take a seat, grab a snuggle pillow, and enjoy the lyrics and our full English translation to the evergreen duet “Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar” from Hum Dono (1961)!

Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar Lyrics and Translation

MALE:
Abhi na jaao chhoD kar ki dil abhi bhara nahii.N
Do not go and leave me now, for my heart is not yet filled
Abhi abhi to aayii ho abhi abhi to
You have only just come
Abhi abhi to aayi ho bahaar banke chhaaii ho
You have only just come, you became the Spring as you arrived
Hawaa zaraa mahak to le nazar zara bahak to le
Let the wind spread your fragrance, let your gaze wander
Yeh shaam dhal to le zaraa
Let the night fall a little more
Yeh dil sambhal to le zaraa
Let my heart steady itself
Main thoDi der jii to luu.N nashe ke ghuunT pii to luu.N
Let me live a little longer, let me taste a sip of your intoxication
Nashe ke ghunT pii to luu.N, abhi to kuch kahaa nahii.N
Let me taste a sip of your intoxication, for I have said nothing yet
Abhii to kuch sunaa nahii.N
You have heard nothing yet
Abhii na jaao chod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahii.N
Do not go and leave me now, for my heart is not yet filled

FEMALE:
Sitaare.N jhil milaa uThe
The stars have begun to sparkle
Sitaare.N jhil milaa uThe, chiraag jagmagaa uThe
The stars have begun to sparkle, the lamps have been lit
Bas ab na mujhko Toknaa
Enough, do not scold me now
Bas ab na mujhko Toknaaa, na baDhke raah rokna
Enough, do not scold me now, do not come forward to block my path
Agar mai.N ruk gayii abhii to jaa na paauu.Ngii kabhii
If I stop now, I will never be able to leave
Yehii kahoge tum sadaa ke dil abhii nahii.N bharaa
For you will keep on saying that your heart is not yet filled
Jo khatm ho kisii jagah yeh aisaa silsila nahii.N
This is not the kind of affair that ends easily

MALE:
Abhii nahii.N abhii nahii.N!
Not yet, not yet!

FEMALE:
Nahii.N, nahii.N, nahii.N, nahii.N!
No, no, no, no!

MALE:
Abhi na jaao chod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahii.N
Do not go and leave me now, for my heart is not yet filled

MALE:
Adhuurii aas
Unfulfilled desire
Adhuurii aas chhoDke, adhuurii pyaas chhoD ke
Leaving me with unfulfilled desire, leaving me with unfulfilled thirst
Jo roz yuu.N hii jaaogii to kis tarhaa nibhaaogii
If you go every day like this, then how will you keep your promise?
Ki zindagii kii raah mei.N jawaa.N dilo.N kii chaah mei.N
For in the path of life, in the desire of two young hearts
Kaii maqaam aaye.Nge jo humko aazmaae.Nge
Many challenges will come to test us
Buraa na maano baat kaa, yeh pyaar hai, gilaa nahii.N
Do not be hurt by my words, for they are words of love, not a complaint

FEMALE:
Haa.N, yehii kahoge tum sadaa ki dil abhii bharaa nahii.N!
Yes, but you will keep on saying that your heart is not yet filled!

MALE:
Haa.N, dil abhi bharaa nahii.N
Yes, my heart is not yet filled!

FEMALE:
Nahii.N, nahii.N, nahii.N, nahii.N!
No, no, no, no!

Glossary:

bhara: filled; bahaar: Spring; hawaa: wind; mahak: fragrance; nazar: gaze, bahak: wander; shaam: evening; sambhalnaa: to steady oneself; thoDi der: a little while longer; nashe: intoxication; ghuunT: sip; jhilmilnaa: to sparkle; chiraag: lamp; Toknaa: to scold; raah: path; khatm: finish; jagaah: place; silsilaa: affair; adhuurii: unfulfilled; aas: desire; pyaas: thirst; roz: every day; nibhaanaa: to fulfill [a promise], zindagii: life; jawaa.N: young; chaah: desire, love; maqaam: challenge; aazmaanaa: to test, to try; buraa: hurt; gilaa: complaint

Sadhana Abhi Na Jao Hum Dono
Sadhana worries on a late evening out with her lover in Hum Dono (1961).

Yes, like many a great Hindi song, this one comes with a tragic reprise. A tender Asha Bhonsle solo, “Jahan Mein Aisa Kaun Hai” is a song of steadfast devotion in the face of impending wartime separation. Sadhana beautifully demonstrates her love to be more than a worthy match for the original duet’s playful warning of a perilous future. We have included the full lyrics and translation of Jahan Mein Aisa Kaun Hai as well below for your edification!

Jahan Mein Aisa Kaun Hai Lyrics and Translation:

Dukh aur sukh ke raaste bane hai sab ke vaaste
The paths of sadness and happiness are made for everyone
Jo gham se haar jaaoge to kis tarah nibhaaoge?
If you lose to sadness and leave, then how will you keep your promise?
Khushii mile hame.N ki gham jo hoga baat le.Nge hum
Whether we are met with happiness or sorrow, let us accept it
Mujhe tum aazmaao to zara nazar milaao to
Test me and meet my eyes
Ye jism do sahii magar dilo.N mei.N faaslaa nahii.N
We may have two bodies, but there is no distance between our hearts

Jahaan mei.N aisaa kaun hai ki jisko gham milaa nahii.N?
Is there anyone in the world who has not had sadness?

Tumhaare pyaar kii qasam tumharaa gham hai meraa gham
I swear by your love that your sorrow is my sorrow
Na yuu.N bhujhe bhujhe raho jo dil ki baat hai kaho
Do not fade away like this, tell me what is in your heart
Jo mujhse bhi chhupaaoge to phir kisse bataaoge?
If you hide those words from me, then whom will you tell?
Mai.N koi ghair to nahii.N dilaaoo.N kis tarah yakeen?
I am no stranger, how can I make you believe me?

Ki tum se mai.N judaa nahii.N, mujhse tum judaa nahii.N
For you are not separated from me, and I am not separated from you

Glossary:

dukh: sorrow; sukh: happiness; raastaa: path; [kisii ke] vaaste: for the sake of; haarnaa: to lose; tarah: type, manner; khushii: joy, happiness; aazmaanaa: to test, to try; nazar milaanaa: to make eye contact; jism: body, faaslaa: distance; qasam: swear; chhupaanaa: to hide; ghair: stranger; yakeen: belief

Can’t get enough? Check out our other translations from the same film like “Main Zindagi Ka Saath” and “Allah Tero Naam” for more!

-Mrs. 55

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)

Allah Tero Naam Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Nanda prays for her husband in the army in Hum Dono (1961).
Nanda prays for her husband in the army in Hum Dono (1961).

Happy New Year’s to all our readers! What an incredible year it’s been for us to write this blog and to have enjoyed discovering so many fellow fans of classic Bollywood cinema! I grew up in a Hindu Punjabi family, and in my house, we always celebrate the New Year’s with a havan the morning of January 1st with friends in the community. There’s something calming and cozy about these annual gatherings–we keep it casual where I’m from while taking a break to reflect on the year behind on us and what lies ahead. In the spirit of auspicious beginnings, we shall present the lyrics and full English translation to one of Bollywood’s greatest bhajansAllah Tero Naam” from Hum Dono (1961). Rendered impeccably by Lata Mangeshkar, “Allah Tero Naam” soars with bi-partisan Hindu-Muslim appeal in a humble call to God for wisdom and strength. The iconic number is one of Lata’s personal favorite Jaidev compositions!

nanda allah tero naam 3
Nanda sings the gentle bhajan “Allah Tero Naam” in Hum Dono (1961) as a special expression of bipartisan devotion in Hindi films.

For me, Hum Dono (1961) is one of the finest films of Dev Anand’s illustrious career: it glows with a constantly-twisting plot and a golden soundtrack that places the film among the legends of cinematic history. Dev Anand was well-known for pushing the envelope of societal norms as a director, and the troubling predicaments his characters find themselves in always astound–whether falling in love with a woman who thinks he’s her brother (Bombay Ka Babu), conducting whirlwind affairs with three women at once (Teen Devian) or romancing another man’s wife who believes he’s her real husband (Hum Dono). The plots are scintillating and the acting invariably superb. Furthermore, did I mention Hum Dono a quasi-twin movie too? Couple that with a war-time theme and you can readily imagine the opportunities for confusion of epic Bollywood proportions. See our earlier translation of “Main Zindagi Ka Saath” from the same film!

The Lata Mangeshkar solo is one of the film’s many high points, arriving midway through the film as Nanda prays for her husband’s safe return from the war. The time period was arguably when Lata’s voice was at her most angelic, and the graceful, gentle maneuvers of this song will leave you breathless for more!

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects to “Allah Tero Naam” is the Hindu-Muslim crossover lyrics. Reminiscent of “Ishwar Allah Tero Naam” later rendered by Mohammed Rafi in Nayaa Raastaa (1970), this bhajan encompasses an important and unique aspect of Indian spirituality–the transcendence of religious barriers (which holds a particular intrigue in a war-time themed filmed!) You guessed it, the lyrics are penned by that sensitive soul Sahir Ludhiviani, who’s feelings against war and it’s horrors are a theme in many later works (“Khuda-e-bartar,” anyone?). So whether you adore this song for the lyrics, the rendition, or just for Nanda’s emotive eye-batting, we hope you enjoy the lyrics and our English translation to “Allah Tero Naam” and wish you a happy New Year!

Allah Tero Naam Lyrics and Translation:

Allah tero naam, Ishwar tero naam
Your name is Allah, your name is Ishwar
Sab ko sanmatii de, Bhagwan
Bless everyone with equanimity, God

Maango.N kaa sindoor na chhuuTe
Do not let the sindoor disappear from the part of our hair [Let us not be widowed]
Maa.N bahano.N kii aas na TuuTe
Do not shatter the hopes of mothers and sisters
Deha binaa, Daataa
Without a body, Lord…
Deha binaa bhaTake na praan
Let the soul not wander without a body

O saare jag ke rakhwaale
O keeper of the whole world
Nirbal ko bal denewaale
The giver of strength to the weak
Balwaano.N ko
To the strong…
Balwaano.N ko de de gyaan
Bestow wisdom to the strong

Glossary:

Allah: God [Muslim]; Ishwar: God [Hindu]; sanmatii: equanimity, advise; maaNg: the parting line in a woman’s hair; sindoor: red powder worn in a woman’s hair part to signify marriage; maa.N: mother; bahan: sister; aas: hope; TuuTnaa: to break, to shatter; deha: body; Daataa: Lord; bhataknaa: to wander; praan: soul, life; rakhwaalaa: the keeper; nirbal: weak; bal: strength; balwaan: one who is strong, a warrior; denewaalaa: the giver; gyaan: wisdom, knowledge

dev anand hum dono allah tero naam
Dashing as always Dev Anand is torn from his family and caught in a moral dilemma in Hum Dono (1961).

Ever wondered why some songs use the term “tero” instead of “teraa” such as in this devotional? It’s a grammatical exception in the Hindustani language that you’ll only find in a direct address to God! It’s always nice to start a new year with linguistic trivia. Here at Mr. and Mrs. 55, our New Year’s resolution is to blog more often–we’re almost nearing our 100th post!

– Mrs. 55

Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu Hindi

Dev Anand Hum Dono Main Zindagi Ka Saath
Dev Anand plays a philosophical military officer in Navketan Films’ all-time hit Hum Dono (1961)

We now present the full lyrics and English translation to the evergreen Mohammed Rafi solo, “Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata” from the film Hum Dono (1961). As we know, Hum Dono was released in colour last year by the late film legend Dev Anand, and newly entitled Hum Dono Rangeen. The film joins a string of recently re-colourized classics such as Mughal-e-Azam (1961) and Naya Daur (1957), riding the wave of India’s general excitement to enter previously unexplored technologies in film-making–from animation to digital special effects. The amount of work that goes into a recolourization of a film is amazing–particularly a 3 hour Hindi epic. Imagine hand-painting a single frame from the film: First, you must decide which colours would best match the director’s intention and the styles of the time. Then painstakingly painting the colours onto the frame that follow to exactly match the hue of the one before, making allowances for natural shifts of shadows and lighting as the actors move. When you remember that it takes 24 frames to make 1 second of a film, you can realize the enormity of the job ahead.

Dev Anand Sadhana Hum Dono
Dev Anand imagines Sadhana appearing next to his reflection in a pool of water.

Additionally, apart from adding a splash of colour, it would seem the new editors also altered the aspect ratio of the film into a widescreen presentation. Throughout some of the songs, you’ll also see Dev Anand had added fancy fades to and from black, which are definitely classy. However, I mourn the loss of the original aspect ratio–because the film is now made for the widescreen, a portion of the frame’s top and bottom have been cut off. A bit of the magic was cut too.

But even without these external alterations, the original beauty of the film has shone for decades. Hum Dono is a war film, but the story is not strictly about war. Dev Anand plays a dual role in the film and faces a moral dilemma when he impersonates the identity of his look-alike after the latter’s presumed death. Every action he makes has spiraling and exciting ethical repercussions. The film is one of the finest Bollywood has ever produced, and like most Dev Anand films, boldly explores difficult social themes and relationships. My only regret is that it’s obviously a twin story that no one bothered to explicitly state in the script. It’s a big gripe of mine about Bollywood twin movies, and for one of the worst examples of it, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, see our previous post on Bekhudi Mein Sanam!

Dev Anand hum Dono Main Zindagi Ka Saath 2
Dev Anand in full military dress from Hum Dono (1961)

But the greatest achievement of Hum Dono is in its music by Jaidev. Every single song in its soundtrack is pure gold, from the Rafi-Asha love duet “Abhi Na Jaao ChoD Kar” to the majestic Lata devotional “Allah Tero Naam.” The sweet melodies of Hum Dono have remained popular today, and amongst them is the sentimental mood-lifter “Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya.” In it, Dev Anand expresses many of the philosophies that would present in his later films such as Guide (1965). The Vedic-inspired line “gham aur khushi ke farq na mehsuus ho jahaan” allows the hero a carefree outlook that is unusual and refreshing for a jaded military officer. Because of it, this song has retained its popularity over the years. Of interesting note, Hindi movies were not allowed to use authentic Indian Army officer outfits for their costumes. So for anyone familiar with period military wear in India, you’ll notice the epaulette on the shoulder has been adjusted so it is not an exact replicate of what was actually worn!

Check out the youtube link here, and follow along with us below for full lyrics and English translation of “Main Zindagi Ka Saath“!

Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Lyrics and Translation

Mai.N zindagii ka saath nibhaataa chalaa gayaa
I faithfully followed wherever life took me
Har fikr ko dhuei.N mei.N uDaataa chalaa gayaa
I blew every worry into a mist of smoke

Barbaadiyo.N ka shok manaanaa fizuul tha
It was pointless to grieve about my destruction,
Barbaadiyo.N ka jashn manaataa chalaa gayaa
So I kept making a celebration of my destruction!
Har fikr ko dhuei.N mei.N uDaataa chalaa gayaa
I blew every worry into a mist of smoke

Jo mil gayaa usii ko muqaddar samajh liyaa
Whatever came my way I considered to be my destiny
Jo kho gayaa mei.N usko bhulaataa chalaa gayaa
Whatever was lost to me, I kept putting out of my mind.
Har fikr ko dhuei.N mei.N uDaataa chalaa gayaa
I blew every worry into a mist of smoke

Gham aur khushi mei.N farq na mehsuus ho jahaa.N
That state where happiness and sorrow are indistinguishable
Mai.N dil ko us muqaam pe laataa chalaa gayaa
That realm is where I kept pushing my heart
Har fikr ko dhuei.N mei.N uDaataa chalaa gayaa
I blew every worry into a mist of smoke

Glossary:

zindagii: life; fikr: worry; dhuuei.N; smoke; barbaad: destruction; shok manaanaa: grieve; fizul: pointless; jashn: celebration; muqaddar: destiny, fate; bhulaanaa: to forget gham: sadness; khushi: happiness; farq: difference mehsuus: feeling; muqaam: realm

Dev Anand Hum Dono Main Zindagi Ka Saath
Dev Anand blows all his worries away in a puff of smoke in Hum Dono (1961)

The gentle chiming at the beginning of the song can also be found at the very end of “Abhi Na Jaao ChoD Kar” from the same film. Nice, Jaidev. Nice. This song translation was made by special request from our fan Bhuvesh! We always welcome requests from our readers, so don’t forget to drop us a line!

– Mrs. 55