Aye Dil-E-Nadaan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

 

As many of our readers may already be aware, today marks the 86th birthday of melody queen Lata Mangeshkar. In commemoration of this special day, we would like to present the lyrics and English translation to one of the most exquisitely beautiful songs sung by the Nightingale of India during her long and illustrious career: ai dil-e-naadaa.n from Razia Sultan (1983).

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Hema Malini stars as a 13th century empress of Delhi in Razia Sultan (1983)

Directed by Kamal Amrohi (of Mahal and Pakeezah fame), Razia Sultan narrates the story of the only woman to ascend the throne of Delhi and her alleged love affair with Abyssinian slave-turned-warrior Jaml-ud-Din Yaqut. Hema Malini stars in the title role, while her real-life beau Dharmendra plays the role of her love interest Yaqut. When Sultan Altamash decides that his beloved daughter Razia shall be the successor to his throne instead of his trouble-making son Ferozshah, the kingdom erupts in an uproar over the possibility of being ruled by a woman. After her father’s passing, Razia proves herself to be a compassionate and brave ruler who leads with an eye toward justice like her late father. Over time, Razia is accepted as the first female emperor of the kingdom until gossip spreads among the royal court about an affair between Razia and her former slave Yaqut. Although Yaqut is now a free man and army commander, the relationship between him and the empress is highly scandalous due to his roots as a dark-skinned African slave. When this controversy reaches its peak, Razia must make a choice between her kingdom and her love. In the end, in true Bollywood style, Razia makes the ultimate sacrifice for her love.

Although this film had the potential to provide a compelling view on the complexities of race and gender politics, it fails to meet the mark in many respects and was unable to achieve commercial success at the time of its release. It is likely that the heavy-handed use of formal Urdu made it difficult for audiences to understand many parts of the film’s dialogue. The pace drags in many scenes, and the starring duo provide few memorable moments throughout the film. Those familiar with this period of history will also note that many liberties were taken to create a fictionalized narrative suitable for presentation in a Bollywood movie.

The aspect in which director Kamal Amrohi has shined, as he has done in his previous productions, is in the selection of the music for the film’s soundtrack. Khayyam’s sublime and minimalistic compositions come together with Jaan Nisar Akhtar’s reticent yet expressive poetry to create a memorable album that is probably the single most redeeming quality of Razia Sultan. The crowning jewel of this soundtrack is ai dil-e-nadaa.n rendered flawlessly by the inimitable Lata Mangeshkar. Her voice captures the mysticism and tranquility of the poetry with remarkable ease. Jaan Nisar Akhtar’s poetry is beautiful in its simplicity as it probes the nature of human desire and the inevitable suffering that it causes. No discussion of this song would be complete without mention of the santoor interludes interspersed with moments of silence, which provide gentle accompaniment to the serenity evoked by Akhtar’s words and Lata’s ethereal voice.

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The elaborate costumes and sets used to shoot Razia Sultan (1983) make it one of the most expensive productions of its time. [Source]
A couple of anecdotes from key players involved in the making of this song to round out our discussion today:

Khayyam explains how he was inspired by the story of Razia Sultan during the composition of ai dil-e-naadaa.n: “

The caravan of Razia Sultan came to India from Turkey through a long and tortuous route traversing many countries. If you listen carefully, the tune and orchestration reflects the musical influences of all the regions she traveled across. The song is about the duel in her mind- the woman inside her is deeply in love with a black slave but the princess inside her is all too aware of her duty. The song depicts that dilemma in her mind. [Source]

Lata Mangeshkar has always ranked this song has one of the best of her career and included it in her An Era in An Evening concert that took place in Mumbai in March 1997 (see link above). In her own words, she says:

“Khayyam’s ai dil-e-naadaa.n from Razia Sultan is among the best songs I’ve sung. The way Kamal (Amrohi)-saab explained it to me,  I could actually visualise the situation. I was very satisfied by the way I rendered the number. Kamal-saab found my Urdu pronunciation clear and chaste. The lyrics of ai dil-e-naadaa.n written by Javed Akhtar’s father Jaan Nisar Akhtar, were inspiring. I have sung several songs written by him.” [Source]

Are you wondering why Lata’s voice sounds so heavenly in this song even though it was past its prime at the time of the film’s release in 1983? That’s because Khayyam had this song recorded by Lata nine years earlier in 1974. After just two rehearsals, she had recorded the entire song in one take! Khayyam recollects how the popularity of this song helped him be selected as the music director for other major films in the 1970s like Kabhie Kabhie (1976):

“Actually the reason, I got Kabhie Kabhie was the song ai dil-e-naadaa.n. For Razia Sultan, I had recorded Lata-ji’s ai dil-e-naadaa.n and also Qabban Mirza’s aayii zanjiir kii jhankaar as early as in 1974. ai dil-e-naadaa.n had then created such a stir that practically everyone in the film industry was talking about that song. That fame had reached to Yash Chopra and one evening, when I returned after a Razia Sultan sitting at Kamaalistan, I found Yash-ji and Sahir-saab waiting for me. They told me that they were making a film about a love-story of a poet and they wanted me as a composer. I immediately said, ‘Yes’.” [Source]

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In spite of a solid portrayal of the lead character by Hema Malini, Razia Sultan (1983) failed to achieve success at the box office. [Source]

Aye Dil-E-Nadaan Lyrics and Translation:

ai dil-e-naadaan
Oh, my naive heart!
aarzuu kyaa hai? justujuu kyaa hai?
What do you desire? What do you seek?

ham bhaTakte hai.n, kyo.n bhaTakate hai.n dasht-o-sehraa me.n?
Why do I wander alone in this deserted wilderness?
aisaa lagtaa hai mauj pyaasii hai apne dariyaa me.n
It seems as if I am a wave thirsty for water in its own river.
kaisii uljhan hai? kyo.n yeh uljhan hai?
What is this turmoil? Why is there this turmoil?
ek saayaa-saa ruuh-ba-ruuh kyaa hai?
What is this shadow that stands face-to-face before me?

kyaa qayaamat hai! kyaa musiibat hai!
What a disaster! What misfortune!
keh nahii.n sakte kiskaa armaa.n hai
I am unable to say whom it is that I desire.
zindagii jaise khoyii-khoyii hai, hairaa.n-hairaa.n hai
It seems as if my life itself is lost and confused.
yeh zamii.n chup hai, aasmaa.n chup hai
The earth lies quietly, while the sky remains in silence.
phir yeh dhaDkan-sii chaar-suu kyaa hai?
Yet, what pulsates around me in every direction?

ai dil-e-nadaan aisii raaho.n me.n kitne kaa.nTe hai.n
Oh, my naive heart! There are many thorns along the path of love.
aarzuuo.n ne har kisii dil ko dard baa.nTe hai.n
The pursuit of desires has given pain to every heart.
kitne ghayal hai.n, kitne bismil hai.n
Many hearts are wounded; many hearts are sacrificed.
is khudaayii me.n ek tuu kyaa hai?
In the face of divinity, who are you alone?

ek tuu kyaa hai, ek tuu kyaa hai?
Who are you alone?
ai dil-e-naadaan, ai dil-e-nadaa.n
Oh, my naive heart!

Glossary:

naadaa.n: naive, foolish; aarzuu: desire; justujuu: search, pursuit; bhaTaknaa: to wander; dasht: desert; sehraa: wilderness; mauj: wave; pyaasii: thirsty; dariyaa: river; uljhan: turmoil, confusion; saayaa: shadow; ruuh-ba-ruuh: face-to-face; qayaamat: disaster, crisis, Day of Judgment: musiibat: misfortune; armaa.n: desire, hope; khoyii: lost; hairaa.n: confused, distressed; zamii.n: earth, land; chup: quiet, silent; aasmaa.n: sky; dhaDkan: pulse, heartbeat; chaar-suu: all around, in all four directions; raah: path; kaa.nTe: thorns; dard: pain; baa.nTnaa: to allocate, to distribute; ghayal: wounded; bismil: wounded, sacrificed; khudaayii: divinity, world.

The use of the word bismil adds a unique spiritual dimension to the lyrics of this song. Bismil means wounded or sacrificed and originates from the Islamic ritual of sacrificing animals as an offering while uttering bismillah (in the name of God).

-Mr. 55

Intimate scenes between Hema Malini and Parveen Babi (particularly during the song khvab ban kar koii aayegaa) sparked some controversy at the time of this film’s release. [Source]
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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.

 

Teer-e Nazar Dekhenge Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Teer-e-nazar 1
Bedecked in a white gown symbolic of her own death, Pakeezah dances at the celebration of her lover’s marriage to another woman in Pakeezah (1971).

We now showcase the lyrics and English translation to Lata Mangeshkar’s “Teer-e Nazar” from the cinematic jewel Pakeezah (1971). One of classic Bollywood’s most iconic and daring song sequences, “Teer-e Nazar” dazzles the audience by the audacity of its stunning visual fabric–the magnum opus of the industry’s greatest artists with a story worthy of their union. In an ironic twist, the film’s heroine Pakeezah is asked to perform a mujraa at the wedding of her lover to another woman. Throughout the striking song that follows, director Kamal Amrohi deliberately transforms our understanding of beauty and love into omens of murder and death.

Lyricist Kaif Bhopali’s title phrase “teer-e nazar,” while otherwise a romantic reference to a lover’s piercing gaze, assumes a sinister implication, a literal means of wounding its target. Pakeezah once more dances a graceful kathak dance, but this time she is dressed for a funeral in all-white. The death she celebrates is her own. Her beautiful dance suddenly re-invents itself when she purposefully smashes a glass chandelier across the pristine white floor. The moment is one of the most shocking in Bollywood history, with a dramatic shift in the room’s dynamics to accompany the jarring musical screech. Before this moment, Pakeezah was a mere witness to the injustice of her society’s prejudices. Now, Pakeezah wields a commanding power, entrancing a captive audience to which she willingly presents herself as a ritual sacrifice in the name of her own unfulfilled love.

Teer-e-nazar 4
Like a veiled Lady of Shallot, the effervescent Meena Kumari as Pakeezah realizes the show is coming to an end tonight.

Unleashing a passion she had been trained for so long to suppress, Pakeezah dances upon the jagged broken glass with a frenzied energy. Her blood, the bright red of wedding bliss she has been denied, stains the floor with every footstep. As evidenced by the film’s famous dialogue, feet play an important sensual role in Pakeezah. The blood-smeared feet ironically mirror the once dainty red foot paint of a dancer–the vehicle by which Rajkumar first fell in love with Pakeezah in a train compartment, begging her romantically to never allow them to touch the ground. With each step, Pakeezah regains her identity by destroying the constraints of her past.

Director Kamal Amrohi brilliantly shapes the scene through a chaotic editing pattern as fragmented and disturbing as the glass upon which she dances. Below is a short gallery of some of the many gorgeous shots that compose this scene, each more violent than the next.

This iconic song is among Bollywood’s greatest cinematic moments–made even more fascinating by the behind-the-scenes gossip between Meena Kumari and stunt double Padma Khanna who actually dances in this sequence! Follow along with the video, and we hope you enjoy our lyrics and English translation to the awe-inducing “Teer-e Nazar” from Pakeezah (1971) below!

Teer-e Nazar Dekhenge Lyrics and Translation:

Aaj hum apnii du’aao.n kaa asar dekhe.Nge
Today I shall behold the image of my prayers
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Aap to aa.Nkh milaate hue sharmaate hai.N
Upon meeting my eyes, you feel embarrassed
Aap to dil ke dhaDakne se bhi Dar jaate hai.N
You are even afraid of your own heartbeat
Phir bhi yeh zidd hai ki ham zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
Nonetheless I remain stubborn to witness the wounds of my heart
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Pyaar karna dil-e betaab buraa hotaa hai
It is unfortunate for a weak heart to fall in love
Sunte aaye hai ki yeh khwaab buraa hota hai
I have heard that this dream of mine is also cursed
Aaj is khwaab ke taabiir magar dekhe.Nge
But today I will interpret the meaning of that dream
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Jaan levaa hai mohabbat ka samaa aaj ki raat
Tonight this atmosphere of love feels fatal
Shamaa ho jaayegii jal jal ke dhuaa.N aaj ki raat
Tonight the lamps shall burn into smoke
Aaj ki raat bache.Nge to sahar dekhe.Nge
If I escape tonight, then I shall see the dawn
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Aaj hum apnii du’aao.n kaa asar dekhe.Nge
Today I shall behold the image of my prayers
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Glossary:

du’aa: prayer; asar: sign, image; teer: arrow; nazar: glance; zakhm: wound; jigar: heart; aankh milaanaa: to make eye contact; sharmaanaa: to become embarrassed, to be shy; dhaDaknaa: to beat [heart]; Dar jaanaa: to become afraid; zidd: stubborness, firm; betaab: weak; buraa: bad, unfortunate; khwaab ke taabir: interpretation of a dream; jaan levaa: fatal; mohabbat: love; samaa: atmosphere; shamaa: lamp; dhuaa.N: smoke; sahar: dawn

teer-e-nazar 2
Oh, Meena Kumari, will there ever live a woman so breathtakingly classy again?

This fantastic Pakeezah hit was requested by fans VintageBollywood and Moosa Desai! Thank you for the epic request!

Arguably, Pakeezah’s wild dance following the chandelier shattering contains the most thrilling music (composed by the great Ghulam Mohammed) in the entire film. But there’s a big unsolved mystery here. Does the ambiguity of the diegetic soundscape in this sequence bother anyone else but me? Think about it: If Pakeezah had just smashed a chandelier to the ground, ruffling the entire audience, and then starts bleeding all over the party floor, is it likely that the band would carry on as usual? But on the other hand, if the music is, in fact, non-diegetic, what are the odds her dance movements are still so perfectly coordinated to the beat? Is she in theory really dancing like a maniac to a silent room while the furious strings Kamal Amrohi added are for the film viewers’ ears alone? This is going to keep me awake at night.

For lighter moments from the iconic film, check out our translations of Pakeezah‘s immortal Chalte Chalte, Mausam Hai Aashiqaana, and Inhi Logo.N Ne!

-Mrs. 55

Mausam Hai Aashiqana Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu Hindi

Meena Kumari Pakeezah 4
Meena Kumari pines for an unseen admirer in “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” from Pakeezah (1971).

We revive our popular Pakeezah series and bring you the lyrics and English translation to “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” from Pakeezah (1971) in honor of Meena Kumari’s 80th birthday today! This beautiful melody rendered, of course, by none other than Lata Mangeshkar carries the sense of gently waking up from a dream. Indeed, “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” is sung just as Meena Kumari discovers the abode of her secret admirer–and is filled with joy and hope for the future. The song is one of Pakeezah‘s finest (what does that even mean though, when EVERY song from Pakeezah is a crown jewel?!), and focuses heavily on scenic imagery and the landscape. Perhaps this too is because of Meena Kumari’s growing sickness as filming of Pakeezah became more and more delayed (see our post on behind-the-scenes drama!)

Pakeezah Meena Kumari 3
Meena Kumari passes the long hours daydreaming of her beloved in Pakeezah (1971).

The sounds of birds chirping are even woven into the opening of the musical track with a shot of silhouetted birds flying across the sunrise: a symbol of Pakeezah’s new freedom. The whole effect is feel-good and tender–especially coming after the traumatic elephant attack of the previous scene. Unlike the other semi-classical Lata solos in the film, “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” is pure filmi bliss outside the mujra setting. At last, Pakeezah is able to express a sincere and true anticipation for her beloved’s arrival–sentiments that Pakeezah had before only pretended to feel when dancing before an audience. Queen of her own realm, Pakeezah eagerly explores the new landscape for once without the fetters of a cruel society. Find the lyrics and translation to “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” below and follow along on youtube!

Mausam Hai Aashiqana Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu Hindi

Mausam hai aashiqaanaa
The season is amorous
Aye dil kahii.N se unko aise mei.N DhoonD laanaa
Oh my heart, find him somewhere and bring him to me

Kehna ki ruth jawaan hai
Tell him that the atmosphere is youthful
Aur hum taras rahe hai.N
And that I am pining for him
Kaali ghaTaa ke saaye
The shadows of dark clouds
Phir humko Das rahe hai.N
Are once more attacking me
Dar hai na maar Daale
I am afraid they will kill me
Saawan ka kya Thikaanaa?
What shelter can there be from the rains?

Suraj kahii.N bhii jaaye
The sun may go anywhere
Tum par na dhuup aaye
But let sunlight not fall upon you
Tumko pukaarte hai.N in gesuuo.N ke saaye
The shade of my tresses calls out to you
Aa jaao, mai.N bana doo.N palkon kaa shaamiyaanaa
Come, I will make a tent for you from my eyelids

Phirte hai.N hum akele
I wander about alone
Baaho.N mei.N koi lele
Let someone take me in their arms
Aakhir koii kahaa.N tak tanhaaiiyo.N se khele?
After all, for how long can one play with loneliness?
Din ho gaye hai.N zaalim
The days have become cruel
Raate.N hai.N qaatilaanaa
The nights are murderous

Yeh raat yeh khamoshii
This night, this silence
Yeh khwaab se nazaare
These visions from my dreams
Jugnuu hai.N ya zameen par utre hue hai.N taare?
Are these fireflies or stars that have fallen to Earth?

Bekhwaab merii aankhe.N
My eyes are without dreams
Madhosh hai zamaanaa
But the world seems intoxicated

Mausam hai aashiqaanaa
The season is amorous
Aye dil kahii.N se unko aise mei.N DhoonD laanaa
Oh my heart, find him somewhere and bring him to me

Glossary:

mausam: season; aashiqaanaa: amorous; ruth: atmosphere; jawaan: youthful, young; taras rehna: to be pining; ghaTaa: cloud; saayaa: shadow; Dar: fear; maar Daalnaa: to kill; saawan: rains; Thikaana: shelter; suraj: sun; dhuup: sunlight; gesuu: tresses of hair; shaamiyaanaa: tent; tanhaaii: loneliness; zaalim: cruel; qaatilaanaa: murderous; khamoshii: silence; khwaab: dream; jugnuu: firefly; madhosh: intoxicated

Pakeezah Meena Kumari 1
Waiting for Rajkumar to return home, Meena Kumari sings a song of longing in Pakeezah (1971).

Can we also talk about how Meena Kumari is seen to be wearing an oversized khaki button down during bits of this song, as in, she is wearing his shirt! I never put that together before. Oh, it’s the little things! For more translations from the musical epic that is Pakeezah, check out our English translation of Chalte Chalte!

-Mrs. 55

Paaon Choo Lene Do Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Bina Roy, as Mumtaz Mahal, shys away from Pradeep Kumar in Taj Mahal (1963)

Today we discuss the lyrics and English translation of “paaon choo lene do” from the film Taj Mahal (1963). Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi and music director Roshan both won Filmfare Awards for their work in Taj Mahal (1963), so it’s not surprising that we’ve decided to discuss a third song from this soundtrack here today (see our previous translations of “jurm-e-ulfat pe” and “khudaa-e-bartar“). “paa.nv chuu lene do” is a duet rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi that was picturized on Bina Roy as Mumtaz Mahal and Pradeep Kumar as Shah Jahan in the film. While “jurm-e-ulfat pe” had some political undertones and “khudaa-e-bartar” was a pacifist statement against war, Sahir’s lyrics in this song from Taj Mahal are purely romantic. The male and female leads flirt back and forth using a savaal-javaab (question-response) structure that focuses on idealizing the heroine’s feet. The female foot has been fetishized in Indian culture and Bollywood cinema over the years, and perhaps the most notable example of this phenomenon occurs in Kamal Amrohi’s magnum opus, Pakeezah: Raaj Kumar is completely smitten after one glance at Meena Kumari’s delicate feet during a train ride.

Krishna decorates Radha’s feet with alta.

What are the origins of the Indian obsession with the foot? Part of this obsession can perhaps be attributed to the importance placed on foot worship in Hindu traditions. For instance, religious imagery in temples and paintings has depicted numerous examples of Krishna painting Radha’s feet or Lakshmi massaging Vishnu’s feet.  Moreover, it is a tradition for women in North India to adorn their feet with a bright red dye called alta during marriages, dances, and religious festivals, like Durga Puja. In fact, during some weddings, brides step into a plate of alta before entering their in-law’s house and leave colored footsteps behind them as they walk. Finally, any child growing up in a Hindu household can attest to the fact that greeting one’s elders by touching their feet is an expected gesture of respect.

Regardless of how you feel about feet, you should definitely take a listen to this duet from Taj Mahal and follow along with our translation/glossary provided below. Indeed, Ludhianvi’s use of language here to highlight the contrast between the hero’s unabashed romantic desires and the heroine’s hesistant modesty is exquisite. As a final note, I just wanted to say that this song was requested by one of our readers Vasuki! We love receiving requests, so please let us know if there is a song you’d like translated, a movie you’d like reviewed, or any other topic you’d like discussed by leaving us a comment here or sending an e-mail to themrandmrs55@gmail.com. Enjoy!

–Mr. 55

The camera fetishizes Bina Roy’s feet in Taj Majal (1963)

Paaon Choo Lene Do Lyrics and Translation

Rafi: paa.nv chhuu lene do, phuulo.n ko inaayat hogii
Please let the flowers touch your feet, it will be favor of kindess to them. 
varnaa ham ko nahii.n, inko bhii shikaayat hogii
Or else, not only I, but they too will protest. 

Lata: aap jo phuul bichhaaye.n unhe.n ham Thukaraaye.n
As I reject the flowers that you have picked for me,
ham ko Dar hai ki yah tauhiin-e-muhabbat hogii
I fear that this will be an insult to love.  

Rafi: dil kii bechain umango.n pe karam faramaao
Please have mercy on the restless yearnings of my heart. 

itnaa ruk ruk ke chalogii to qayaamat hogii
If you walk toward me so hesitatingly, it will be a disaster. 

Lata: sharm roke hai idhar, shauq udhar khii.nche hai
Modesty has held me back here, while desire has drawn me over there.  
kyaa khabar thii kabhii is dil kii yah haalat hogii?
Who knew that my heart would ever be in such a state? 

Rafi: sharm ghairo.n se huaa kartii hai apano.n se nahii.n
One should be modest in the presence of strangers, not with loved ones. 
sharm ham se bhii karogii to musiibat hogii
If you shy away from me, there will be trouble.  

paa.nv chhuu lene do, phuulo.n ko inaayat hogii
Please let the flowers touch your feet, it will be favor of kindess to them.  

Glossary

inaayat: favor; varnaa: or else; shikaayat: complaint; Thukaranaa: to reject; tauhiin-e-muhabbat: insult to love; bechain: restless; umang: hope, yearning; karam faramanaa: to have mercy; ruk ruk ke: hesitatingly; qayaamat: disaster; sharm: modesty; shauq: eagerness, desire; haalat: state, condition; ghair: stranger; musiibat: trouble

Pradeep Kumar as Emperor Shah Jahan in Taj Mahal (1963)