Tum Pukar Lo Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Waheeda Rehman Tum Pukar Lo
Waheeda Rehman hesitates at the bottom of a staircase leading to the man she loves in Khamoshi (1968).

For our next post we present the full lyrics and translation to the hauntingly beautiful “Tum Pukar Lo” from Khamoshi (1968). This song easily makes my list of most powerful and stirring picturizations from Bollywood. The stark black-and-white imagery highlights the emptiness of space, of shadows, and symbolic barriers. Most of all, the graceful shots that linger longer than action alone permits serve to create a new environment–a world of waiting where time slows down and the confines of the hospital become both escapist and imprisoning.

I loved and still love the opening dolly shot so much that I attempted to recreate it in my final film project junior year of Harvard. The shot is transformative–literally taking the audience from behind bars to the free world, and Waheeda from the restraint of her conscience to the new life that beckons her above the staircase. A gentle wind miraculously flows down from Dharmendra’s balcony, through the barren corridor, down the grand stairs, and ultimately through Waheeda’s saari palluu giving rise to a simple, evocative image of a woman drawn by a force greater than any danger: love.

Waheeda Rehman Tum Pukar Lo Khamoshi
I LOVE the classic “frame-within-a-frame” of the mis-en-scene. Not how the lighting in this sequence informs the trajectory of the characters–recall that prior to Waheeda’s discouragement, the welcoming light source came from the balcony (now shrouded in obscurity), indicating a change in both destination and mindset.

I’ve broken down the dolly shot into 3 parts with my storyboard sketches to give you a full picture of how a shot like this is pulled off. The timing and fluidity of the dolly movement (and the pull focus) must be perfectly coordinated with the pace of the actresses walk as the camera additionally swivels on its own axis tracking her ascent up the stairs. I can only say after having attempting to do this shot myself, that it’s a headache but the effect is absolutely wonderful.

Ultimately, Khamoshi is a film about identity and the silence caused by its loss through love. The misappropriated gazes in the film that lead characters in and out of a world of insanity is moving and tragic–and the audience too becomes implicit in that beautiful slippage of reality through Kamal Bose’s stunning cinematography, which won him the Filmfare award in 1968! Like Khamoshi’s characters, the camera lingers in each constructedly bereft space, longing for something more.

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The shot begins to the side of the staircase, a literal behind-bars view of Waheeda’s ascent.
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The camera swivels midway through the dolly pull at a low-angle as the rails of the staircase form a figurative cage around the actress.
The dolly track at last ends at the base of the staircase, holding the shot after Waheeda leaves the stairs, underscoring the incredible emptiness of the space she inhabits.
The dolly track at last ends at the base of the staircase, holding the shot after Waheeda leaves the stairs, underscoring the incredible emptiness of the rigid space she inhabits–and her escape from it.

You won’t see much of Dharmendra, the mystery man and asylum inpatient, who sings this song. Instead you see only his outline against the balcony of their confinement. And of course, anything else would be imperfect–while this, this unfulfilled gaze of love, is precisely the poetic complement to the yearning expressed in Gulzar’s heartfelt lyrics. This song may be my favorite Hemant Kumar solo with a melody that hangs in the air long after the song is finished. Whether or not it beats Rajesh Khanna lip-syncing “Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi” from the same film is up to you to decide!

tum-pukar-lo-03 Dharmendra
Dharmendra passes sleepless nights thinking of the beautiful woman he lost in Khamoshi (1968).

Without further ado, see for yourself why this song has become immortal. Follow along with the video here, and we hope you enjoy the lyrics and full English translation to “Tum Pukar Lo” below!

Tum Pukar Lo Lyrics and Translation:

Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me
Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukar lo
Call out to me
Khwaab chun rahe hai.N raat beqaraar hai
I am sifting through dreams while the night remains restless
Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me

HonTh se liye hue dil ki baat hum
The words in my heart have escaped from my lips
Jaagte rahe.nge aur kitne raat hum?
How many more nights will I remain awake like this?
Mukhtasar si baat hai: tumse pyaar hai
The matter is simple: I love you

Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me

Dil bahal to jaayegaa is khayaal se
My heart will be content with this thought
Haal mil gaya tumhaaraa apne haal se
That my well-being becomes yours
Raat yeh qaraar ki beqaraar hai
This restful night remains restless

Tumhaaraa intezaar hai
I am waiting for you
Tum pukaar lo
Call out to me

Glossary:

pukaarnaa: to call; intezaar karna: to wait; khvaab: dream; beqaraar: restless; honTh: lips; mukhtasar: brief, short; bahal: content; khayaal: thought; haal: well-being, state; qaraar: restful, quiet

My favorite line of this song is by far “Mukhtasar si baat hai, tum se pyaar hai!” So romantic and God, how I love an understatedly accurate pronunciation of the Urdu khe! However, I’m afraid this is one of those cases in which no matter how you translate it, the beauty of the line is just lost in the bluntness of English.

Mrs. 55

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Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu Hindi

Waheeda Rehman Rajesh Khanna khamoshi
Waheeda Rehman soothes Rajesh Khanna’s aching soul in Khamoshi (1967).

Our next post will explore the stirring lyrics and translation of “Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi” from Khamoshi (1967.) A one-of-a-kind film from its generation, Khamoshi is the moving story of patients in an insane asylum and the woman who treats them played by the graceful Waheeda Rehman. In American and European films, the theme of mental illness, the dangers of institutionalism, and the murky line between doctor and patient had been explored quite frequently–such as with famous German Expressionism’s The Cabinet of Dr. Calighari (1931), Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1958), and of course, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976). However, in Bollywood, the Asit Sen hit Khamoshi vividly remains the only film from that era to have fully explored this theme.

Based on the short story “Nurse Mitra” by Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay, Khamoshi shines with wonderful performances, exquisite musical compositions, and disturbing black-and-white cinematography. Interestingly, Suchitra Sen starred in the original Bengali version Deep Jwele Jaai (1959) also directed by Asit Sen!

In this song, Rajesh Khanna, a patient at the mental institution where Waheeda works, takes her on a boat and declares his love for her. Still recovering from an episode in which he was jilted by a former girlfriend, Rajesh blurs his memories of the two women in these lyrics. Little does he know, his blind, albeit misguided love is the final provocation for Waheeda Rehman to lose her own sanity as she struggles to recover from having also lost one she once loved.

Waheeda Rehman works as a nurse in an insane asylum for the love-sick in Khamoshi (1967)

Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi Lyrics and Translation:

Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi
There was something strange about that evening,
Yeh shaam bhi ajeeb hai
Just as this evening feels strange
Woh kal bhi paas paas thi, woh aaj bhi qareeb hai
She was close to me yesterday, she is near me today as well
Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi
There was something strange about that evening

Jhukii hui nigaaho.N mei.N, kahii.N meraa khayaal thaa
In her lowered gaze, perhaps there was a thought of me
Dabi dabi ha.Nsii mei.N ek haseen saa gulaal tha
As she suppressed a smile, there was a burst of beautiful color
Main sochtaa thaa meraa naam gungunaa rahi hai woh
I used to think that she was singing my name
Na jaane kyo.N laga mujhe ki muskuraa rahi hai woh
I do not know why it seemed to me that somewhere she is smiling
Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi
There was something strange about that evening

Meraa khayaal hai abhii jhuki hui nigaaho.N mei.N
Now thoughts of me are in her shy, lowered gaze
Khulii hui hansi bhi hai, Dabii huii sii chaah mei.N
Even though she is laughing openly, there a hidden desire
Mai.N jaanta hoo.N, meraa naam gungunaa rahi hai woh
I know that she is singing my name
Yehii khayaal hai mujhe ki saath aa rahi hai woh
It appears to me that she is coming closer
Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi
There was something strange about that evening

Glossary:

shaam: evening; ajeeb: strange; qareeb: close, near; jhuka: lowered; khayaal: thought; ha.Nsii: laughter; gulaal: color [like those thrown during the festival of holi]; muskuraanaa: to smile; khula: open; chaah: want, desire

Rajesh Khanna checks in to the kind of hospital where smoking is permitted, and professionalism in doctor-patient relationships remains conveniently undefined…Khamoshi (1967)

For whoever can’t handle the suspense, the film ends with Waheeda being committed to her own institution and Rajesh Khanna declared sane–with the implication that one day perhaps another doctor will fall in love with her and the roles will reverse yet again. It is a cold and disturbing message filmed with some of the purest cinematographic beauty in Bollywood. I’ll spare you from a discussion of subversive political symbolism, but I will point out one last bit of trivia:

In the Bengali version, the Hemant Kumar song “Ai Raat Tomar Amar” is filmed with the same mis-en-scene as “Tum Pukar Lo” in Khamoshi, however, the melodies are not the same! “Ai Raat Tomar Amar” is in fact the musical predecessor of “Yeh Nayan Dare Dare” from Hemant Kumar’s later soundtrack in Kohraa (see our post on Bollywood film noir for more). Music directors back then were notorious for reusing compositions–and we’re sure glad they did!

-Mrs. 55