Khilte Hain Gul Yahan Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Handsome Shashi Kapoor Sharmilee red turtleneck.png
Handsome Shashi Kapoor gestures romantically with a pink rose in Sharmilee (1971).

Today we showcase the lovely lyrics and English translation of “Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan” from Sharmilee (1971) in honor of beloved actor Shashi Kapoor’s passing this week. “Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan” exemplifies quintessential Bollywood Shashi Kapoor, although film-goers will also remember another very different and talented side of the actor who thrived in independent and cross-over cinema. Born and raised in Bollywood royalty, Shashi Kapoor was 79 years old at the time of his death and had a prolific career of nearly 150 films.

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Soft-lighting helps Rakhee glow in a glamour close-up from Sharmilee (1971).

Released in 1971, Sharmilee was a commercial and artistic success that launched both Shashi Kapoor and Rakhee’s star status in Bombay. Rakhee plays a dual role in the film–twin sisters, one shy and traditional and one outgoing and Westernized–who both fall for a handsome army officer played by Shashi Kapoor. Even at that time, Bollywood was no stranger to the cliche of the twin storyline–Shashi Kapoor himself had recently starred in his own twin-love-triangle-melodrama Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968). Can you guess which twin our hero ultimately ends up with? Is the name of the film not painfully obvious? I’ll give you another hint…in classic Bollywood, the traditional Indian way of life always wins!

Shashi Kapoor meets Rakhee (as vivacious twin) at a picturesque rest house in Kashmir on his way home from the army where she is traveling with a group of girl friends. Emboldened by Kishore Kumar’s confident vocals, Shashi Kapoor charms the party by crooning “Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan” and by his devastatingly gorgeous crooked smile. With music by S.D. Burman and the unparalleled Kashmiri countryside in the Winter, romance is all but inevitable. There’s also something undeniable about Bollywood actors in red turtlenecks that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

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Shashi Kapoor gazes outward at the ethereal Kashmiri snowstorm in Sharmilee (1971).

Follow along with us below in our English translation to the lyrics of “Khilte Hai Gul Yahan” from Sharmilee (1971). The video of the song is here! Lata Mangeshkar reprises the song later in the film, but unfortunately, her version is sadder and far less popular.

Khilte Hain Gul Yahan Lyrics & English Translation:

Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N, khilke bikharane ko
Here roses bloom, but they bloom only to have their petals disperse
Milte hai.N dil yahaa.N, mil ke bichhaDane ko
Here hearts meet, but they meet only to become separated
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Kal rahe na rahe, mausam yeh pyaar kaa
Tomorrow this season of love may or may not remain
Kal ruke na ruke, Dolaa bahaar kaa…
Tomorrow the swing of Spring may or may not come to a stop
Chaar pal mile jo aaj, pyaar mei.N guzaar de
Let us pass these four moments we meet in love 
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Jhiilo.N ke honTho.N par, megho.N kaa raag hai
On the lips of the lakes is the melody of the clouds
Phuulo.N ke siine mei.N, ThanDii-ThanDii aag hai
In the hearts of the flowers is a cool flame
Dil ke aaiine.N mei.N tuu, yeh samaa utaar de
Let this atmosphere reflect upon the mirror of your heart
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Pyaasaa hai dil, sanam, pyaasii yeh raat hai
There is a yearning in my heart, my beloved, as is a yearning in the night
HonTho.N mei.N dabii-dabii koii miiThii baat hai
Sweet words lay silent on the lips
In lamho.N pe aaj tuu, har khushii nisaar de
Bestow every happiness on these moments today
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Glossary:

khilnaa: to bloom; gul: rose; yahaa.N: here; bikharanaa: to disperse; milnaa: to meet; dil: heart; bichhaDnaa: to become separated; kal: tomorrow (or yesterday, depending on context); mausam: season; pyaar: love; ruknaa: to stop; Dolaa: swing; bahaar: Spring; chaar: four; pal: moment; aaj: today; guzaarnaa: to pass; jhiilaa: lake, marsh; ho.NT: lips; meghaa: cloud; raagaa: melody, song; phuul: flowers; siinaa: chest, heart; ThanDii: cold; aag: flame; aaiinaa: mirror; samaa: atmosphere; utaarnaa: to alight, to descend; pyaasaa: thirsty, yearning; sanam: beloved; raat: night; dabii: hidden, silent; miiThii: sweet; baat: words, conversation; lamhaa: moment; har: every; khushii: happiness; nisaar: adornment, bestowment

Did you know that snow is actually extremely difficult to capture on film? Not only could filmmakers not wait around patiently for an actual snowstorm to get their shot, but snow is so fine and iridescent, that traditional film cameras could rarely pick it up. Yesteryear filmmakers often sprayed everything from marble dust, foamite (the fluffy stuff that comes out of fire extinguishers), to cornflakes painted white in order to recreate the magic of a snowstorm. You’ll see what I mean if you take a real close look when Shashi grabs some “snow” from the window sill to throw at the girls in the cabin!

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A snowy view of my parent’s backyard. It may not be Kashmir, but it ain’t bad! And no, that fluff in the air isn’t cornflakes.

This song translation was requested by fan Swami. Thank you for the excellent request!

If you can’t get enough of Shashi Kapoor this week (or in general), check out another romantic hit “Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe” from the film Kanyadaan (1968). It’s one of my personal favorite songs of all time!

– Mrs. 55

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Rajesh Khanna Mehbooba guitar mere naina sawan

Mere Naina Sawan Bhado Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna rainy guitar mere naina sawan bhado
Rajesh Khanna soaks his blue bell bottoms as he croons to Hema Malini in the rain in Mehbooba (1976).

Today we highlight the lyrics and English translation of “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” from Mehbooba (1976). Starring Hema Malini and Rajesh Khanna, Mehbooba is a dramatic reincarnation (punar-janam) love story that can only exist in Bollywood. When contemporary pop singer (played by Rajesh Khanna) is gifted an antique sitar for his birthday, he begins to unravel the mysteries of his past life and search for the woman whose musical talent once mesmerized him (played by the lovely Hema Malini). Mehbooba journeys from hip city life of 1970s Bombay to a countryside royal court of the 1800s where a court musician and dancer fall in love despite the misgivings of society.

First sung by Hema Malini in their past life when she believes Rajesh Khanna has deceived her, the female version of “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” is a tragic rendition, bursting with lovely alaaps that befit the classical nature of that period’s music. “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” is reprised later in the film in the modern day as Rajesh Khanna seeks to remind Hema Malini (now reincarnated as a local village belle) of their former bond. The male version is…well, steamier, in one sense of the word.

One of Mehbooba‘s most iconic scenes occurs when Rajesh Khanna begins to sing “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” in the middle of a raging stormy night, luring Hema Malini from her sleep to discover the mysterious voice filling the air. Lightening flashes menacingly, everyone’s hair is blowing wildly, and still the guitar plays on (check out more on Bollywood rain songs here!). While the male version sung by Kishore Kumar is arguably more popular (Kumar himself ranked this song in his top ten personal favorites!), the female version sung by Lata Mangeshkar is as hauntingly beautiful and enhances our understanding of the former.

Hema Malini Mere Naina Sawan Bhado Mehbooba
Hema Malini’s memories of a past life are stirred when she hears “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” from Mehbooba (1976).

Mehbooba was written by Gulshan Nanda who also wrote the screenplay of Neel Kamal (1968)–a film about a woman who visits an old palace where she discovers she was a court dancer in her previous life and that her former lover is still searching for her. Sound kind of familiar? We all see what you did there, Gulshan. Mehbooba will also literally carry a sense of deja-vu for to anyone who has seen Kudrat (1981), conveniently also starring Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini caught in a punar-janam love tangle. However, Kudrat is a darker film with flashes of expressionist inspiration that elevate the entire genre and likely contributed to its greater commercial success.

With music by R.D. Burman and lyrics by Anand Bakshi, “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” is a passionate tribute to old memories. We hope you appreciate the lyrics and learn from our English translation of both versions of “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado” below!

Mere Naina Sawan Bhado Lyrics and English Translation:

Male version:

Mere nainaa saawan-bhaado.N
My eyes are like the monsoons
Phir bhii meraa man pyaasaa
Yet still my mind remains thirsty

Aye dil diiwaane, khel yeh kyaa jaane?
Oh crazy heart, what does it know of this game?
Dard bharaa yeh giit kahaa.N se
From where does this pain-filled song
In ho.NTho.N pe aaye? duur kahii.N le jaaye
come to these lips? Take me far away
Bhuul gayaa kyaa? bhuulke bhii hai
What have I forgotten? Even though I forget
Mujhko yaad zaraa saa, phir bhii meraa man pyaasaa
I remember a little, yet still my mind is thirsty

Baat puraanii hai, ek kahaanii hai
This is an old conversation, this is a story
Ab sochuu.N tumhe.N, yaad nahii.N hai
Now I think you do not remember
Ab sochuu.N nahii.N bhuule woh saawan ke jhuule
Now I think you could not forget those swing sets of the rainy season
Rut aaye, rut jaaye deke
I saw the seasons come and go
JhuuThaa ek dilaasaa, phir bhii meraa man pyaasaa
This lie is a consolation, yet still my mind is thirsty

Baraso.N biit gaye, hamko mile bichhaDe
Ages have passed since we met and were separated
Bijurii bankar, gagan pe chhamke
We were like lightening that sparkled in the sky
Biite samay kii rekhaa, mai.N ne tumko dekhaa
But that line of time has passed since I saw you
Man sang aa.Nkh-michaulii khele
Playing hide and seek with my mind
Aashaa aur niraashaa, phir bhii meraa man pyaasaa
(were) hope and despair, yet still my mind is thirsty

Female version:

Mere nainaa saawan-bhaado.N
My eyes are like the monsoons
Phir bhii meraa man pyaasaa
Yet still my mind remains thirsty

Ghungharuu kii chham-chham, ban gayii dil kaa gham
The sound of the dancing bells become the sadness of my heart
Duub gayaa dil, yaado.N mei.N
My heart drowned in memories of you
Ubharii berang lakiire.N, dekho yeh tasviire.N
Only to emerge as colorless sketches, look at these portraits
Suune mahal mei.N naach rahii hai
In a lonely palace, still dancing
Ab tak ek rakkaasaa, phir bhii meraa man pyaasaa
Even now is a performer, yet still my mind is thirsty

Glossary:

nainaa: eyes; saawan-bhaado.N: the 5th and 6th months of the Panjabi (Nanakshahi) calendar that comprise the monsoon season; man: mind; pyaasaa: thirsty; dil: heart; diiwaanaa: crazy; khel: game; dard: pain; bharaa: filled; giit: song; kahaa.N: where; ho.NTh: lips; duur: far; bhuulnaa: to forget; yaad: memory; puraanii: old; kahaanii: story, legend; sochnaa: to think; bhuulnaa: to forget; jhuulaa: swing set; rut: season; jhuuThaa: lie; dilaasaa: consolation; baras: age, years; biitnaa: to pass; milnaa: to meet; bichhaDnaa: to be separated; bijuri: lightening; gagan: sky; chhamaknaa: to sparkle; samay: time; rekhaa: line; aa.nkh-michaulii: hide-and-seek; aashaa: hope; niraashaa: despair; gham: sadness; Duubnaa: to drown; ubharii: raised; berang: without color; lakiraaa: line; tasviir: picture; suunaa: lonely, mahal: palace; naachnaa: to dance; tak: until; rakkaasaa: dancer

Rajesh Khanna Mehbooba guitar mere naina sawan
Smooth-operator Rajesh Khanna executes his devastating wink mid-guitar pluck, completely obliterating anyone’s initial repulsion at his haircut.

Did you know Rajesh Khanna actually sings the first antra of the song in a separate scene that takes place in broad daylight? He opens with his famous wink that still manages to induce swoons despite his distractingly dated ‘do! Think I’m the only one obsessed with the hair and outfits in these films? This week our local independent movie theatre happened to be doing a Bollywood series (obviously, I soaked up every moment), including a special screening of Om Shanti Om (2007). During the song “Main Agar Kahoon,” something felt eerily familiar…check out Shah Rukh Khan’s outfit below to see what I mean! It’s one of the many subtle meta classic film references that make Om Shanti Om such a brilliant work!

Shah Rukh Khan imitates Rajesh Khanna's unforgettable blue ensemble with a rainbow top in Om Shanti Om (2008).
Shah Rukh Khan imitates Rajesh Khanna’s scarring unforgettable blue bell bottom ensemble with a rainbow top in Om Shanti Om (2007).

– Mrs. 55

Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi Lyrics & Translaton: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Rajesh Khanna gives Tanuja an unusual jumpstart with a herd of elephants in Haathi Mere Saathi (1971).

Today we present the delightful lyrics and English translation of everyone’s childhood favorite song “Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi” from Haathi Mere Saathi (1971). Rajesh Khanna star as orphaned Raju who makes fast friends with a herd of elephants that protect him and become like family. Among them, Ramu, is the star elephant who helps Raju build a fortune as a street performer, eventually allowing Raju to build a zoo where the community can share in his love of animals. The song “Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi” during which Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja fall in love is a quintessential “only-in-Bollywood” moment. Where on earth (besides your wildest fantasies) will you ever see a convertible pushed by a group of elephants as a mechanism of securing the romance?

Tanuja plays the cleverly named Tanu whose gorgeous red Chevrolet Impala convertible breaks down in the middle of the road. Raju happens to arrive at the critical moment to help this damsel in distress! Fortunately, the elephant crew knows how to drive that puppy straight to the heart.

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Rajesh Khanna rubs noses with his favorite elephant and they both look happy AF.

Kishore Kumar lends his rich voice to Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s playful composition. Anand Bakshi’s lyrics burst with flirtatious overtures as well as underhanded zingers while the singer teasingly appears to solely address the elephants the entire time. A hearty trumpet is gloriously sprinkled throughout the song’s score as a substitute for the elephants roaring their approval. Be sure to watch extra carefully during the swift stunt in which Rajesh Khanna appears to float to the top of the elephant. Anyone who has taken a good old-fashioned haathi ride during a trip to the motherland knows ascending the elephant is NEVER this graceful. Thank you, awkwardly crouched production assistants who gave our hero the leg-up!

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Tanuja pretends to drive as Rajesh Khanna whistles flirtatiously in her ear in Haathi Mere Saathi (1971). I mean it, take off those driving gloves, we all know steering is futile.

So pull up a high-chair and reel your kids in for this one. They’re going to love our English translation of the lyrics of “Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi” and you’ll be glad a world still exists this innocent and colorful, even if only for a few minutes on-screen. Follow along with the video here and enjoy our translation below!

Chal Chal Chal Mere Haathi Lyrics and English Translation:

Chal chal chal mere saathii, O mere haathii
Let’s go, my companion, O my elephant
Chal le chal kaTaaraa khii.Nch ke
Come pull this piece of junk
Chal yaar, dhakka maar
Go on, friend, push!
Band hai moTar kaar
The motor car is broken down
Chal yaar dhakka maar
Go on, friend, push!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Phuulo.N se naazuk hai woh, moTar mei.N baiThii hai jo
She who sits in the car is more delicate than a flower
Aahistaa aahistaa chal, usko na taqliif ho
Go carefully, let her not experience any trouble
Haaye, haaye, kha na jaaye
Haaye, haaye, let it not consume me
Uskii naazuk kamariiyaa bal, chal!
The swaying of her delicate hips, let’s go!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Khidmat terii kaam de, shaayad woh inaam de
If your service is successful, perhaps she will reward you
Kar us hasii.N ko salaam, aa.Nkhon se paighaam de
If you salute the beautiful lady, she may send you a message through her eyes
Paas aaja, O sun raajaa
Come close, listen O King
Aisa mauqaa na jaaye nikal, chal!
Let this chance not escape, let’s go!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Tuu yaaro.N ka yaar hai, kitnaa vafaadaar hai!
You are a friend of friends, how faithful you are!
JhuuTha hai saaDaa jahaa.N, sachcha teraa pyaar hai
The rest of the world may be a lie, but your love is honest
Tuu paglaa, na badalaa!
You crazy creature, do not change!
SaDii duniyaa gayii hai badal, chal!
Even if the whole world has changed, let’s go!
Chal chal chal mere saathii…

Glossary:

saathi: companion; haathi: elephant; kaTaaraa: junk, jalopy; khee.Nchnaa: to pull; dhakka maarna: to push; band hona: to be broken, to be closed; yaar: friend; phuul: flower; naazuk: delicate; baiThnaa: to sit; aahistaa: carefully; taqliif: trouble, problem; khaanaa: to eat, to consume; kamariiyaa: small waist; bal: sway; khidmat: service; kaam dena: to be successful; shaayad: perhaps; inaam: reward; hasii.N: beautiful lady; aa.Nkh: eye, paighaam: message; paas: near, close; aa jaanaa: to come here; sunnaa: to listen; raajaa: king; mauqaa: chance, opportunity; nikalnaa: to escape, to go out; vafaadaar: faithful; jhuuTaa: lie; sachchaa: truth; pyaar: love; paglaa: crazy person; badalnaa: to change; duniyaa: world

elephants in Namibia
Shots of a herd of African elephants I encountered while on a safari in Namibia with my husband recently. Can you guess which song was stuck in my head the whole time?

Ramu and Raju’s friendship are everyone’s bestie goals. They have each other’s backs like nobody’s business. Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) is truly the Bambi (1942) of Bollywood–and every child will remember exactly how they felt the first time they experienced the trauma of the film’s ending. Wow, there is just so much dust flying around my house lately, my eyes really need to stop watering. Stop, get a grip on yourself, Mrs. 55. SERIOUSLY, TOO MUCH DUST, WHY ARE MY EYES SO SENSITIVE.

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Even though your outfit is the color of pepto bismol, you da man, Rajesh Khanna.

This one-of-a-kind song was requested by fan Janaki. Awesome choice! We know we’ve been slower to post lately with the busy year, but requests like these are always inspiring. We love hearing from fans!

-Mrs. 55

Khiza Ke Phool Pe Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Rajesh Khanna plays a hard-working college student from a poor family in Do Raaste (1969).

Today we highlight the poignant lyrics and our English translation of “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” from Do Raaste (1969). Do Raaste is a classic family drama that hits hard on the tension between Eastern and Western values through an exploration of the dissolution of a joint family household. When one of the sons marries a rich “modernized” Indian girl who refuses to allow him to help pay off his family debt, the remaining relatives fall into poverty. The youngest son, played to perfection by Rajesh Khanna, must compromise his education by dropping out of college in order to support the family. He arrives at the birthday party of his wealthy girlfriend, played by Mumtaz (whose cutesy performance will at times make you want to hang yourself on the chandelier), and realizes that he no longer belongs in her world. The ensuing flood of feelings results in the beautiful ballad “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” written by Anand Bakshki with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelaal. Kishore Kumar’s voice takes on an initially softer, velvety shade that transitions fluidly to a powerful angst at the end of each antra. I dare you not to sigh when he croons, “mai.N roz lab pe naii ek aah taktaa huu.N.”

Though she says nothing that would disrupt the song, Mumtaz appears quite understandably mortified at his public display and rejection. For more uncomfortable dinner parties in Bollywood films, refer to our how-to guide on how to play the awkward miffed lover.

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Mumtaz is heartbroken as Rajesh Khanna announces at her birthday party that they cannot be married in Do Raaste (1969).

Reminiscent of the hallowed “Waqt Ne Kiya” cinematography, in “Khiza Ke Phool Pe,” the camera simply soars with the gloriously endless dolly-ins and dolly-outs to accentuate each poetic moment, as if everyone weren’t already emotionally fragile after seeing Rajesh Khanna fight back tears. I applaud the film director Raj Khosla, despite the kitsch film set. The decor screams of the 1970s–emphasizing all those quasi-luxurious domestic ornaments that would in no way possibly make your life any better. The tinted glass cutout room divider is a textbook case in point. Still, the film crew made lemonade out of life’s interior design lemons.

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Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz are separated by a bizarre art deco glass structure in her living room in the shot-reverse-shot sequence above. Note how in order to achieve this sequence with the actors seemingly continuing to face each other, Rajesh Khanna must move from the yellow panel to the blue panel on Mumtaz’s right for the reverse shot (below), breaking true visual continuity.

Check out the music video here and keep a box of tissues handy. We invite you join us below in our English translation and lyrics of “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” below:

Khiza Ke Phool Pe Lyrics and Translation:

Khizaa ke phuul pe aati kabhii bahaar nahii.N
The flower of Autumn never sees the Spring
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Na jaane pyaar mei.N kab mai.N zubaa.N se phir jaauu.N
I do not know when in love I may go back on my words
Mai.N ban ke aa.Nsuu khud apnii nazar se gir jaauu.N
By becoming tears, I may fall in my own eyes
Terii qasam hai meraa koii aitbaar nahii.N
I swear by you, I have no confidence
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Main roz lab pe nayii ek aah taktaa huu.N
Every day, a new sigh reaches my lips
Main roz ek naye gham kii raah taktaa huu.N
Every day, I await the arrival of a new sorrow
Kisii khushii kaa mere dil ko intezaar nahii.N
My heart is not waiting for any joy
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Ghariib kaise mohabbat kare amiiro.N se?
How can someone poor love someone rich?
BichhaD gaye hai.N kaii Raanjhe apnii Heero.N se
Many legendary heroes have been separated from their heroines
Kisi ko apne muqaddar pe ikhtiyaar nahii.N
No one has a choice over their fate
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Khizaa ke phuul pe aati kabhi bahaar nahii.N
The flower of Autumn never sees the Spring
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Glossary:

khizaa: Autumn; phuul: flower; bahaar: Spring; kabhii nahii.N: never; naseeb: destiny, fortune; dost: friend; pyaar: love; na jaane: [I] do not know, [who] knows; kab: when; zubaan.N: word, language; phir jaanaa: go back; aa.Nsuu: tears; khud: self; nazar: eyes, gaze; girnaa: to fall; qasam: swear; aitbaar: confidence, trust; roz: every day; lab: lip; nayii: new; aah: sigh; gham: sorrow; raah taknaa: to await; khushii: happiness; [kisi ka] intezaar hona: to wait [for something]; ghariib: poor; mohabbat: love; amiir: rich; bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; Raanjhaa: hero of a classic Hindustani tale of star-crossed lovers (Heer-Ranjha); Heer: heroine of a classic Hindustani tale of star-crossed lovers (Heer Ranjha); muqaddar: fate; ikhtiyaar: choice

Now go cheer yourself up with a pumpkin spice latte and wipe those tears off your face by indulging in a symphony of Rajesh Khanna winks.

– Mrs. 55

 

Kishore kumar Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si

Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala car window Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si
Madhubala peers at Kishore Kumar through a car window in “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958).

Today we bring you the lyrics and English translation of the delightful “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958). A meandering slapstick comedy, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi stars the three fun-loving Kumar brothers: Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, and Anoop Kumar. While Ashok often played more serious roles on the silver-screen (think serious man of affairs), this film was a chance for him to showcase another side of his personality brought out by the most eccentric of the siblings, Kishore.

In Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Kishore Kumar plays a hapless car mechanic who fixes the broken vehicle of a young lady, Madhubala, who both mesmerizes him and vexes him by not paying for the repairs. “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” is arguably the most iconic song from the film and bears a Guru Dutt-esque quality of flowing seamlessly from the dialogue to the opening bars. Composed by S.D. Burman and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, the song exudes the charm of a Broadway showtune that transforms every twist of a wrench and glance through an open car window into a romantic overture, easily one of the most inspiring songs of the monsoon season.

Kishore Kumar Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si
Kishore Kumar plays an entertaining car mechanic desperately in love with Madhubala in the hit comedy “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi” (1958).

Kishore Kumar proves downright hilarious, even now almost 60 years later. One of my favorite moments is when Kishore Kumar ascends the stairs after the second antra. You know that noise that comes out of your mouth that sounds sort of like a dying cat when you’re jamming out to your favorite song alone in the safety of your own home and you don’t really know the words? That’s precisely what Kishore Kumar does too. Except in his case, he jams out as if extemporaneously to his own song smack dab in the middle of the opening performance. You gotta love a guy who enjoys his own tunes this much. Throughout the song, he engages the audience by appearing to break the fourth wall, inviting us to share in his intrigue about the mysterious woman who has entered his shop.

The adorable chemistry between Kishore Kumar and Madhubala is palpable. You can see what each loved about each other that was shared in their real-life romance. Sadly, Madhubala died prematurely at the age of 38, leaving him heartbroken only 3 years after their marriage. Join us below as we navigate the lyrics and English translation of “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si.” Follow along with the video here, and I dare you to try to get through the whole song without smiling!

Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si Lyrics and Translation:

Ek laDki bhiigi bhaagi sii
A girl who appears rather wet
Sotii raaton mei.N jaagi sii
And seems awake in a sleepy night
Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Hmm…

Dil hii dil mei.N jalii jaatii hai.N
In her heart of hearts, she is burning
BigaDii bigaDii chalii aatii hai.N…
In a bad mood, she approaches
Jhunjhalaatii hui, balkhaatii huii
Sulking, swaying
Saawan ki sunii raat mei.N
In this quiet monsoon night

Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Dagmag Dagmag, lehakii lehakii
Wobbling, wavering
Bhuulii bhaT kii behakii behakii
With lost steps, she wanders
Machalii machalii, ghar se nikalii
Restless, she left her home
Paglii sii kalii raat mei.N
Acting a bit crazy in this black night

Tan bhiigaa hai, sar giilaa hai
Her body is drenched, her head is wet
Uskaa koii pech bhii Dhiila hai!
One of her screws must also be loose!
Tanatii, jhuktii, chaltii, rukhtii
Strutting, cowering, moving, then pausing
Nikalii andherii raat mei.N
She emerged into this dark night

Milii ek ajnabii se
She met a stranger
Koii aage na piichhe
No one preceded or followed her
Tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai!

You tell me if this is appropriate!

Hmm…

Glossary:

ladkii: girl; bheegii-bhaagii: wet, drenched; sonaa: to sleep; raat: night; jaagii: awake; milnaa: to meet; ajnabii: stranger; koi: someone; aage: ahead; peechhe: behind; baat: issue, matter; dil: heart; jalnaa: to burn; bigaDnaa: to deteriorate, to become in a bad mood; jhunjhalaanaa: to scoff, to sulk; balkaanaa: to sway, to move in a circle; sawaan: the rainy season; sunii: lonely, quiet; Dagmag: wobbly; lehakii: wavering; bhuulii: lost, forgotten; bhaT: steps; behakii: wandering; machalnaa: to become restless; ghar: home; nikalnaa: to emerge, to come out; tan: body; sar: head; giilaa: wet; pech Dheela: loose screw; tanatnaa: to strut; to appear confident; jhuknaa: to bow; chalnaa: to go; rukhnaa: to stop; andheraa: dark

Kishore Kumar bashful ek ladki bheegi bhagi si
Kishore Kumar’s genius comedic timing remains timeless in “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958).

A quick note about the term “baat” of “koi baat hai/kya baat hai” fame. I translated the phrase above roughly as “something appropriate” but the meaning of the word is far more nuanced. “baat” alone can mean words or conversation, as in the verb “baat karnaa,” meaning “to speak.” You can say “kya baat hai?” to ask “what is the matter?” or you can exclaim “kya baat hai!” as a way of demonstrating awe. A translation that gets more to the heart of how the phrase “tum hii kaho yeh koii baat hai” is being used here is perhaps “you tell me if this is something worth talking about,” but to me that felt too cumbersome to write poetically above.

And while I have a captive audience, let’s also examine the grammar of “bheegii/bhaagii sii.” Tacking on the “sii” (feminine) or “saa” (masculine) to any adjective in Hindi softens the descriptor (somewhat like the way in English we sometimes add “ish” to the end of adjectives) or indicates “a little”–as in, she is “a little” wet. A common example you’ll hear is “chhoTaa saa/chhoTii sii” as in the classic Bollywood heroine’s wish to have nothing more than “ek chhoTaa sa ghar” with her faithful husband. But we digress.

– Mrs. 55