Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz nose rub in Aap Ki Kasam
Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz’s chemistry is palpable in a cutesy nose rub from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974). What started as an innocent trip to the temple by newlyweds Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz to pray for a child together turns quickly into a hippie dance party (complete with bhang). The irony-laced, quasi-devotional “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” that ensues is one of the 1970s most memorable duets.

When I was younger, my sister and I used to obsessively watch these VHS tapes with collections of old Bollywood songs (thanks, Mom). On one such tape, dubbed “Greatest Hits of Kishore-Lata,” this number appeared, completely out of context. While we loved the beat of the song and Rajesh Khanna’s striking powder blue bell-bottoms, we HATED Mumtaz and everything about her. First of all, orange is not her colour, and her side burns-turned-curly-Qs would scar any pre-teenage girl. But worse than all her sartorial transgressions was her buffoonery in the opening! Can you imagine the heroine of any of other film stumbling down a staircase in front of everyone? At that time, we had no idea Mumtaz had supposedly just gotten high (much less what bhang even was) and fully intended to come across as comically intoxicated. It took years for us to heal and finally come around to her merits as an actress.

Still, while “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” is a strong competitor in the marijuana trip-themed category of 1970s Bollywood songs, it loses narrowly to “Dum Maro Dum” from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971). To my fellow Hindi film fanatics, I’m sorry, but the gold standard in this particular regard remains Asha.

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Mumtaz nails that marijuana-induced euphoria in “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Aap Ki Kasam boasts an incredible soundtrack by R.D. Burman that spans the breadth of human experience–from the love ballad “Karvaten Badalte Rahe” to the philosophic “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar.” I may never be able to explain some things about “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar,” but it’s a huge highlight of the film. Like who on earth is that random old guy who starts singing halfway through? Do his grandkids watch this video too and point out his cameo with pride to all their American friends at school? Because I would.

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Rajesh Khanna attempts a Natraj pose in the field during “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

We hope you enjoy our English translation of “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” below! While this playful song is rarely celebrated for the profundity of its lyrics, I hope you take a moment to appreciate Anand Bakshi’s poetic genius. Let’s face it: he was kind of backed up against a wall with the opening line ending in “Shankar.” After all, when was the last time you heard the word “kankar” used in a Bollywood song? I thought as much.

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and English Translation:

Kishore: Hey jai jai Shiv Shankar!
Victory to Lord Shiva!
Kaa.NTaa lage na kankar
Let neither thorn nor rock befall us
Ke pyaalaa tere naam ka piyaa
For I drink this glass is in your name, sweetheart

Lata: Ho gir jaauu.Ngii! mai.N mar jaauu.Ngii!
Oh, I will fall! I will die!
Jo tune mujhe thaam na liyaa
Unless you hold me
Ho sau Rab dii
Oh I swear to God

Lata: Ek ke do, do ke chaar, mujhko to dikhte.N hai.N
I am seeing one as two, and two as four
Kishore: Aisaa hii hotaa hai.N jab do dil milte hai.N
This is what happens when two hearts meet
Lata: Sar pe zameen, paao.N ke niiche hai aasmaa.N, ho!
Th earth is on my head, and beneath my feet is the sky, oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Rando [in Braj bhashaa]: O Bansii bhaiyaa!
Oh musical brother!
O more raajaa, baDe jaTnaa se
Oh my King, you are very blessed
Ke chuure terii phulwaarii re…
To have found a flower garden like her

He he he he he he! [maniacal laughter]

Lata: Kandhe pe sar rakhe tum mujh ko sone do
Let me lay head on your shoulder and sleep
Kishore: Masti mei.N jo chaahe.N ho jaaye hone do
In this intoxication, do whatever you want to do!
Lata: Aise mei.N, tum ho gaye ho baDe be-iimaan…ho!
In my state, you seem very dishonest…oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Kishore: Raste.N mei.N hum dono ghar kaise jaaye.Nge?
How can the two of us return home on this path?
Lata: Gharwaale ab humko khud lene aaye.Nge
Our families will have to come bring us back themselves
Kishore: Kuch bhii ho lekin mazaa aa gayaa, merii jaan…ho!
Anything may happen, but my dear, I had a great time…oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Kishore: Are, bajaao re, bajaao, imaandaarii se bajaao
Hey! Play on, play with honesty
Are bajaao, pachaas hazaar kharchaa kar diyaa
Hey! Play on, we have spent fifty thousand rupees on this
Are imaandaari se bajaao, beta
Hey! Play with honesty, son

Glossary:

Jai: victory; Shiv Shankar: Lord Shiva in supreme and deity form; kaa.Ntaa: thorn; kankar: rock; pyaalaa: glass/goblet; naam: name; piyaa: beloved; gir jaanaa: to fall; mar jaanaa: to die; thaam lena: to hold; Rab dii sau: swear by God (Panjabi); ek: one; do: two; chaar: four; jab: when; dil: heart; milnaa: to meet; sar: head; zamee.N: earth; paao.N: feet; niiche: beneath; aasmaa.N: sky; bansii bhaiyaa: musical brother [bansii is a reference to Lord Krishna’s flute]; raajaa: king; phulwaari: garden; khande: shoulders; sonaa: to sleep; mastii: intoxication; be-iimaan: dishonest; raastaa: path; hum dono: the two of us; ghar: home; gharwaale: (literally) the people at home; khud: self; kuch bhii: anything; lekin: but, yet; mazaa aanaa: to enjoy [oneself], to have fun; jaan: life (used as a term of endearment); bajaanaa: to play [an instrument]; imaandaarii: honesty, integrity; pachhaas: fifty; hazaar: thousand; kharch karnaa: to spend

Stoned Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz Jai Jai Shiv Shankar.png
Who would you bet is higher right now, Rajesh or Mumtaz?

Thank you Garima Singh for this awesome request! Did you know Aap Ki Kasam is a remake of a 1970 Malayalam film Vaazhve Mayam? In the original, the ending is way darker, fulfilling stereotypes about the role of women in traditional society that I resent. I won’t spoil the outcome of Aap Ki Kasam for those who haven’t seen this legitimately great film, but just know that Rajesh Khanna plays a fool you will want to smack upside the head repeatedly–an urge that dissipates satisfyingly when he spirals tragically into self-destruction. Karma, baby.

– Mrs. 55

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Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Zeenat aman chura liya hai asha bhonsle
Zeenat Aman opens “Chura Liya Hai” with a perfectly harmonious clanking of bar goblets in Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). R.D. Burman achieved this sound by actually clanking a spoon against a glass!

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” from retro classic Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

The robust musical composition of “Chura Liya Hai” is nothing short of genius: its instrumental experimentation and rich layers of orchestral nuance are what made R.D. Burman such a radical revolutionary in the industry. But first we must start by discussing the comical opening sequence of Zeenat Aman fake guitaring. I’m sorry, but this can’t be ignored, nor can anyone’s feelings about it be overstated.

Have you ever seen someone play the guitar, Zeenat? Does the timing of when you pluck strings and when the guitar emits sound make sense to you? Or were you rushing through the scene because Elvis was calling and wanted his white jumpsuit back?

Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat
Abandoning all pretense, Zeenat Aman gives her guitar a hug in Yaadon ki Baraat (1973).

I’ll move on. Director Nasir Hussein’s hit film Yaadon Ki Baraat plays upon the classic Hindi film trope of three-brothers-separated-in-childhood who reunite as adults and serve up some nice cold justice on a platter. I’m waiting for someone to remix this as a sister story with a welcome whiff of feminism, but it’s fine. While I would argue Waqt and Amar, Akbar, Anthony made far more note-worthy contributions to cinema, Yaadon Ki Baraat was a formulaic commercial success despite the gauche performance by its leading man Vijay Arora. And yes, I have strong feelings about those protruding ruffles on his tuxedo shirt, but I’ll spare you.

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Vijay Arora casually throws the guitar he does not know how to hold over his shoulder in “Chura Liya Hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). In doing so, Zeenat realizes she has found someone who truly understands her.

Vijay Arora plays one of the three brothers who falls for the wealthy daughter of his adoptive father’s employer (played by Zeenat Aman). With vocals that have reached peak Rafi perfection (just years before his voice took a turn for the husky), Vijay easily lands the girl by transforming “Chura Liya Hai” into a flirtatious duet when he pipes up mid-way through the number.

We hope you enjoy our lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” below! God bless you, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Punjabi words like lahuu never make it to mainstream Bollywood songs.

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & English Translation:

ASHA: Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Bahar banke aauu.N kabhii tumhaarii duniyaa mei.N
I will become the Spring and enter your world
Guzar na jaaye yeh din kahii.N issii tamannaa mei.N
Let my days not disappear with this desire
Tum mere ho, ho! tum mere ho, aaj tum itnaa waadaa karte jaanaa
You are mine, oh! You are mine, today you can only leave if you promise me this

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

RAFI: Ho! sajaau.Ngaa luT kar bhi tere badan ki Daali ko
Oh! I would destroy myself to decorate the branches of your body
Lahuu jigar ka duu.Ngaa hasii.N labo.N ki laalii ko
I will give the blood from my heart for the rouge of your lips
Hai wafaa kyaa is jahaa.N ko, ek din dikhlaa duu.Ngaa mai.N diiwaanaa
One day, this crazy man will show the world what a true promise is

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm

Glossary:

churaanaa: to steal; dil: heart; nazar: gaze; sanam: beloved; badalnaa: to change; zindagaanii: life; behlaanaa: to pacify; Bahaar: Spring; duniyaa: world; guzaar jaanaa: to pass; tamannaa: desire; waadaa: promise; sajaanaa: to decorate; luT: ruin, destruction; badan: body; Daalii: branch; lahuu: blood [Panjabi]; jigar: liver/heart; hasii.N: beautiful; lab: lips; laalii: redness; jahaa.N: world; din: day; dikhlaanaa: to show; diiwaanaa: crazy (in love), a la Beyonce

Vijay Arora and Zeenat Aman in Yaadon Ki Baarat.png
Zeenat Aman and Vijay Arora  act all like they didn’t notice the other one is singing straight at them in “Chura Liya hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

You guys might recall that album “You’ve Stolen My Heart” by the Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhonsle in 2005. It features this song…and let’s just say, my heart didn’t get stolen. To me, this song could not be improved upon–and I rarely ever question the absolute sublimity of a Rafi-Lata duet. Here, I have come to appreciate what Asha uniquely brings to this song–a kind of vivacity and playfulness that Lata would have done very differently–and I wouldn’t change it even if I could!

-Mrs. 55

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

Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Biswajeet fedora bees saal baad
Biswajeet looks dapper in a fedora even as he is haunted by a ghost in Bees Saal Baad (1962).

In honor of Halloween, today we are showcasing one of Bollywood’s spookiest songs “Kahin Deep Jale” from the film Bees Saal Baad (1962). Loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, Bees Saal Baad is a textbook film in the study of Hindi film noir: ghungroo bells echo throughout a long-abandoned mansion. A sad woman’s song fills the night air. Something lurks deep within the marshes, beckoning the viewer closer with every haunting dolly shot through the tall grass. The scene set, Bees Saal Baad weaves an enticing murder mystery that torments us with the thematic imagery of shadows and light as chandeliers sway and silhouettes vanish into the night.

Like a moth drawn to a flame (note the classic Bollywood metaphor that plays a critical role in “Bees Saal Baad”), dapper Londoner Biswajeet cannot resist returning to his ancestral home in Chandangarh and seeking out the truth behind a series of crimes that has plagued the village for 20 years. As the mystery unravels, he falls in love with a local goat shepherdess (played by Waheeda Rehman) who is forbidden from marrying him due to the “curse” marring his family.

There are a number of shady characters who could be the culprit at the dark heart of this whodunnit. Is it the soft-spoken doctor who is next in line to inherit the family fortune? The bug-eyed servant? Or perhaps it is the creepy romantic rival with an oily mustache? None are more despicable than the hero’s own grandfather who had committed the crime of raping a beloved village girl 20 years prior to the film’s main action. Vaguely intrigued? You should be.

"Kahin Deep Jale" opens with a beautifully framed overhead shot of Biswajeet playing the piano moodily, literally engulfed by the flames in the chandelier (above). The camera then floats to eye level as he hears the sound of a woman singing in the distance (below). 
“Kahin Deep Jale” opens with a beautifully framed overhead shot of Biswajeet playing the piano, symbolically engulfed by the flames in the chandelier (above). The camera then floats to eye level as he hears the sound of a woman singing in the distance (below).

“Kahin Deep Jale” is the film’s dangerous Siren song broken composed by Hemant Kumar in Ragaa Shivranjani. Other famous songs in this ragaa are Awaaz Deke, Dil Ke Jharoke Mein, and Mere Naina Saawan Bhado, and Shivranjani is a ragaa best performed at midnight (no kidding, right?). We compiled a list of the spookiest songs of classic Bollywood and “Kahin Deep Jale” rightfully made the top three (see which song made #1 here!).  Lyricist Shakeel Bayaduni and playback singer Lata Mangeshkar won the Filmfare award in 1962 for their work on “Kahin Deep Jale”!

Director Biren Nag would go on to make Kohra released 2 years later in 1964 (a remake of Hitchcock’s Rebecca), also starring Waheeda Rehman and Biswajeet. Kohra is an even more gorgeously directed film that learned from the mistakes in timing and absent character nuance of Bees Saal Baad. I recommend you binge on all of these films today, we are not judging.

Waheeda Rehman Bees Saal Baad
Waheeda Rehman finds herself at the center of a decades old mystery in Bees Saal Baad (1962).

We hope you enjoy the Halloween festivities safely with friends and family! Set the mood by following along with the video here. Fans of the song may be fascinated to hear that parts of the orchestration used in the movie after the chorus that is a full octave lower than the one heard in the recorded version! I find the whole atmosphere becomes even more frightening as a result. Check out our lyrics and English translation to “Kahin Deep Jale” below!

Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil Lyrics & Translation:

kahii.N diip jale kahii.N dil…
Somewhere a candle burns, somewhere a heart…
zaraa dekh le aa kar, parvaane
Come closer and take a look, moth
terii kaun sii hai manzil?
Which destiny is yours?
kahii.N diip jale kahii.N dil…
Somewhere a candle burns, somewhere a heart…

meraa giit tere dil kii pukaar hai
My song is the calling of your heart
jahaa.N mai.N huu.N, wahii.N teraa pyaar hai
Wherever I am, your love is there
meraa dil hai terii mehfil
My heart is your only company
zaraa dekh le aa kar, parvaane
Come closer and take a look, moth
terii kaun sii hai manzil?
Which destiny is yours?
kahii.N diip jale kahii.N dil…
Somewhere a candle burns, somewhere a heart…

na mai.N sapnaa huu.N, na koii raaz huu.N
I am neither a dream nor a secret
ek dard bharii aavaaz huu.N
I am a voice filled with sorrow
piiyaa, der na kar, aa mil
Beloved, do not delay, come meet me
zaraa dekh le aa kar, parvaane
Come closer and take a look, moth
terii kaun sii hai manzil?
Which destiny is yours?
kahii.N diip jale kahii.N dil…
Somewhere a candle burns, somewhere a heart…

dushman hai.N hazaaro.N yahaa.N jaan ke
Here there are a thousand enemies of life
zaraa milnaa nazar pehchaan ke
Just make eye contact and recognize them
kaii ruup mei.N hai.N qaatil
Murderers come in many colours
zaraa dekh le aa kar, parvaane
Come closer and take a look, moth
terii kaun sii hai manzil?
Which destiny is yours?
kahii.N diip jale kahii.N dil…
Somewhere a candle burns, somewhere a heart…

Glossary:

diip: candle; jalnaa: to burn; dil: heart; dekhnaa: to look; parwaanaa: moth; kaunsii: which; manzil: destination; giit: song; pukarnaa: to call out; pyaar: love; mehfil: company, gathering; sapnaa: dream; raaz: secret; dard: pain; bharaa: full; awaaz: voice; piyaa: beloved; der karnaa: to delay, to be late; dushman: enemy; hazaar: thousand; jaan: life; nazar milnaa: to make eye contact; pehchaan karnaa: to recognize; ruup: colour; qaatil: murderer

Ghost Bees Saal Baad
A shadowy figure haunts the mansion and surrounding marshes of Biswajeet’s ancestral home in Bees Saal Baad (1962).

Dying for a little more? The Bengali predecessor of “Kahin Deep Jale” from Jinghasa (1951) can be heard here, also composed by Hemant Kumar. There is a familiar echo of the eerie alaap that later made it to the Hindi version!

While “Bees Saal Baad” does have a handful of things that are scary for the wrong reasons (the bumbling detective hired to investigate the mystery, Waheeda Rehman’s cutesy village girl one-liners clearly written by a man, and the cheesy glove used in the murder scenes), the camerawork is mesmerizing and there is a legitimately satisfying plot twist at the end. Make sure to peruse our translation of Lata Mangeshkar’s creepy “Naina Barse” from that sublime noir film Woh Kaun Thi? (1964) if you dare!

– Mrs. 55

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore clasp hands against the beautiful Darjeeling countryside in the film Aradhana (1969).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Bollywood’s favorite love duets “Kora Kaagaz Tha” from Aradhana (1969). The song is a welcome introduction to Autumn, filmed on location on the hilltops of Darjeeling where the only thing cozier than a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance is Rajesh Khanna in a red turtleneck.

Aradhana has rightfully earned widespread acclaim as a monumental Bollywood masala flick that really epitomizes India’s Golden Age of filmmaking. Songs like “Kora Kagaz Tha” remind us how romance could once be spun from the magic in the air rather than from the dwindling lengths of the heroine’s skirt or from 6,000,000 back-up dancers bumping to an added techno beat. Very few love duets get everything right like this one does, immersing their audience in the beauty of India’s natural landscapes while allowing the Urdu and music to speak for themselves. Sharmila Tagore with her dimpled smile and Rajesh Khanna winking his legendary wink are pure, no-added-hormones or preservatives-required bliss. I can think of a few other songs that defrost my lifeless heart similarly: “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and “Abhi Na Jao Chhod” from Hum Dono (1961) come to mind.

Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Sharmila Tagore’s spotlight-hogging wig takes no prisoners in Aradhana (1969).

Film director Shakti Samanta famously recalled that after pitching the brief summary of Aradhana to lyricist Anand Bakshi, Bakshi was inspired to write the lyrics to “Kora Kagaz Tha” within seconds. Who would’ve guessed almost 50 years later, those same poetic ideas would be resurrected in mainstream American pop music with Taylor Swift’s popular “Blank Space“? (OK, maybe T. Swizzle has never seen Aradhana before…but I bet if she did, her eyeliner would drip onto the floor from happy tears.)

The best advice I can give you is to put on your best plaid flannel, wrap a wool throw around you and the one you love, and take a long sip of cider before starting this one. I have your back, trust me. And as you listen, soak in the full glory of the Urdu “ghain” that punctuates Kishore Kumar’s “kaaghaz” or the blissful pop of the Urdu “qaaf,” adorning Lata Mangeshkar’s “mulaaqaat.” These are elegant linguistic subtleties that are fast disappearing from Bollywood music today. Lyrics and English translation to “Kora Kagaz Tha” are below!

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation:

KISHORE: Hey hey (hey hey) aahaa hmm hmm (hmm hmm) aahaa haa (haa) haa haa (hmm hmm)

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa (meraa meraa)
My mind was a blank sheet of paper 
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa (teraa teraa)
Until I wrote your name upon it

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Suunaa aa.Ngan thaa jiivan meraa
My life was a lonely courtyard
Bas gayaa pyaar is mei.N teraa
Until your love resided within it

KISHORE: TuuT na jaaye sapne mai.N Dartaa huu.N
I am afraid that my dreams may shatter
Nis din sapno.N mei.N dekhaa kartaa huu.N
I keep seeing you in my dreams all day and night
Nainaa kajraa re, matvaale yeh ishaare
Oh, those kaajal-lined eyes, those intoxicating signals
Khaalii Darpan thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was an empty mirror
Rach gayaa ruup is mei.N teraa
Until your beauty manifested within it

LATA: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Chain ga.Nvaayaa mai.N ne, ni.Ndiiyaa ga.Nvaayii
I lost all peace of mind, I lost sleep
SaaDii saaDii raat jaaguu.N, duu.N mai.N duhaayii
I remain awake all night long and I pray
Kahuu.N kyaa mai.N aage? Nehaa laage, jee na laage
What should I say next? I have fallen in love, my soul is restless
Koii dushman thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was an enemy
Ban gayaa miit jaa ke teraa
Until it became your beloved

KISHORE: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

KISHORE: Baagho.N mei.N phuulo.N ke khilne se pehle
Before the flowers bloomed in the gardens
LATA: Tere mere naino.N ke milane se pehle
Before your and my eyes met
KISHORE: Kahaa.N thii yeh baate.N?
Where were words like these?
LATA: mulaaqaate.N?
Meetings like these?
KISHORE: aisii raate.N?
Night like these?
LATA: TuuTaa taaraa thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a shooting star
KISHORE: Ban gayaa chaa.Nd hoke tera
It turned into a moon when I became yours

BOTH: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Aa aa aaa aa
KISHORE: Aaa aa aaa
LATA: O hooo hoo hoo
KISHORE: O hooo hoo hoo
LATA: Hmm hmm mmm mmm
KISHORE: Hmm hmm mmm mmm

Glossary:

koraa: blank; kaaghaz: piece of paper; man: mind; likhnaa: to write; naam: name; suunaa: lonely, empty; aa.Ngan: courtyard; jiivan: life; basnaa: to reside, to settle; pyaar: love; TuuTnaa: to break; sapnaa: dream; Darnaa: to be afraid; nis-din: day and night; nainaa: eyes, kajraa: black eye-liner, re: an expression of emphasis, such as “oh!”; matvaalaa: intoxicated; ishaaraa: signal; khaalii: empty, Darpan: mirror; rachnaa: to create, to manifest; ruup: beauty; chain: peace of mind; ga.Nvaanaa: to waste, to ruin; ni.Ndiiyaa: sleep; saaDii: entire, whole; jaagnaa: to awaken; duhaaii denaa: to pray, to request; aage: next, future; nehaa: love; dushman: enemy; miit: loved one; baagh: garden; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to blossom; milnaa: to meet; baat: words; mulaaqaat: meeting; TuuTaa taaraa: shooting star; chaa.Nd: moon

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo
Why, hello, cozy red turtleneck. Rajesh Khanna (of perfect human being fame) induces a sense of lightheadedness that the mountain’s altitude could never achieve alone.

Aradhana takes a turn for the spicy a few scenes later with Kishore Kumar’s solo “Roop Tera Mastana” because, after all, you can’t make a masala film without the masala. But those who would forever rather stick to the old fashioned tree-frolicks of classic Bollywood, stay here in safe territory with me as long as the season lasts.

– Mrs. 55