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

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Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala in Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955)

The epitome of modernity, feisty Madhubala croons poolside in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Thandi Hawa Kali Gata” from our very own namesake Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955). The film follows an unlikely young couple, Madhubala and Guru Dutt, who are forced together by circumstance and end up challenging their own social mores, maturing, and finding love to essentially become an ideal match—a figurative “couple of the year.”

People tend to have strong feelings one way or another for this film. The music is hands-down fantastic, but the plot tends to be divisive, depending on how you view Guru Dutt’s stance on female emancipation in the 1950s. I tend to argue that the film is empowering—his narrative is social criticism of the flaws in patriarchal society, as well as an exploration of non-traditional female roles. While Madhubala’s character does indeed discover many virtues of a conventional Indian housewife, her realization that she would prefer marriage to divorce comes with a refreshing sense of maturity and self-discovery that in no way shackles her independence. Unlike many great heroines of the era, in Mr. and Mrs. ’55, Madhubala is feisty and does exactly what she wants, when she wants! I like that about a woman.

Madhubala in Mr. and Mrs. 55 Thandi Hawa

In the coming-of-age classic “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata,” Madhubala blushes in Mr. and Mrs. 55.

Now let’s take this moment to talk about the ridiculous ribbons and pigtails flying around the set in this song. Don’t be shy, you know precisely what I’m talking about. Mr. and Mrs. 55‘ was not the first film (and certainly not the last) to idealize fully-grown women who did their hair like 5-year old girls. Every actress of Bollywood’s yesteryear from class-act Meena Kumari to joke-a-minute Asha Parekh has played the romantic lead with a hairdo that awkwardly imitates the elementary school kids. Yes, chew on that for a moment. There’s an entire slightly uncomfortable social theory behind the craze. Contrast this lunchbox look to Madhubala’s long flowing locks in the sweet duet “Udhar Tum Haseen Ho” toward the end of the film as she begins to accept her marriage to Guru Dutt. Symbolic, no?

But enough about my beef with pigtails. Sung by Guru Dutt’s own wife Geeta Dutt, there’s plenty to love in this uplifting jingle! Follow along with the video here and enjoy our English translation and lyrics to “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata” below!

Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation:

ThanDii hawaa, kaalii ghaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke
A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

baiThii thii chhup-chhaap yuu.N hii, dil kii kalii chhum ke mai.N
I was sitting quietly, caressing the flower of my heart
dil ne yeh kyaa baat kahii, rah na sakii sun ke mai.N
What my heart said, I could not stay there to listen
mai.N jo chalii dil ne kahaa aur zaraa jhoom ke
As I left, my heart spoke with even more exuberance
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

Aaj to mai.N apnii chhabii dekh ke sharam aa gayii
Today I became shy upon seeing my own reflection
Jaane yeh kyaa soch rahii thii ki ha.Nsii aa gayii
I do not know what I was thinking, but I suddenly laughed
LauT gayii zulf mere honTh meraa chhuum ke
My hair flew back and touched my lips
Pyaar liiye, Dole ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

dil kaa haar iktaar hilaa, chhiDne lagii raginii
The necklace of my heart struck a chord on the iktaar, and it began teasing out a melody
kajraa bhare nain liye, ban ke chaluu.N kaaminii
With kajra-lined eyes, I became a beautiful woman and set out
Keh do koii aaj ghaTaa barse zaraa dhoom se
Someone tell the clouds to rain thunderously today
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

ThanDii hawaa, kaalii ghaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke
A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

Glossary:

ThanDii: cold, hawaa: wind; kaalii: dark; ghaTaa: cloud; jhoom: ebullience, exuberance; Dolna: to sway; ha.Nsii: laughter; naachnaa: to dance; jiiyaa: soul, heart; laughter; ghoomnaa: to swirl; chhup-chhaap: absolutely quietly; chhabii: reflection, image; sharam aanaa: to become embarrassed, to become shy; zulf: hair; honTh: lips; haar: necklace; iktaar: a traditional Hindustani one-stringed instrument, raginii: a small song, kajraa: traditional Indian  eyeliner; nain; eyes; kaaminii: a beautiful, desirable woman; koii: someone; barasnaa: to rain; dhoom se: with noise

Madhubala and friends in Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955).

Madhubala and her girlfriends join hands in a chorus of pigtails and parasols in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).

Don’t you love how this film is just bursting with the tension of modernization? Like many typical “coming-of-age” songs, lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri employs nature-based allegories to describe a girl’s maturation to womanhood and the development of romantic inclinations. However, the song is unexpectedly filmed at the uber urban hangout of Mahatma Gandhi swimming pool in Bombay’s Shivaji Park! Gotta love those modern girls. Producer-director Nasreen Munni Kabir describes Guru Dutt’s cinematographic decision-making process while filming this song in her must-see documentary “In Search of Guru Dutt“!

This brilliant Geeta Dutt hit was requested by loyal fan Sonia! We know we’ve been taking longer than usual to get around to requests, but with Mr. 55 getting swamped in medical school and me getting down to the wire for wedding planning, we’re doing our best! Stay tuned–we love hearing from our fans!

– Mrs. 55

 

Tere Mere Milan Ki Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

tere mere milan jaya amitabh abhiman

In the famous climax of Abhimaan (1973), Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachhan reunite on-stage for an emotional rendition of “Tere Mere Milan Ki.”

Today we showcase the lyrics and full English translation of “Tere Mere Milan Ki” from the 1973 hit film Abhimaan. Based loosely on the life of famous playback singer Kishore Kumar and his first wife, Ruma Ghosh, the film centers around a talented newlywed couple whose marriage is threatened by professional jealousy. When high-rolling pop singer Amitabh Bacchan marries innocent country girl Jaya Bhaduri, her newly-discovered musical prowess steals his limelight with alarming disharmony.

The show-stopping number “Tere Mere Milan Ki” is a song of reconciliation in the film’s finale. Flowing with tenderness and hope, the enchanting duet gives Amitabh Bacchan and Jaya Bhaduri another chance to love each other. Is their marriage worth saving? Read more about the film’s story and behind-the-scenes gossip in our earlier review of Abhimaan!

Amitabh Bachan abhiman tere mere milan

Amitabh Bachhan humbly begins his performance alone and ashamed in Abhimaan (1973).

Rightfully earning S.D. Burman the 1973 Filmfare Award for Best Music Director, “Tere Mere Milan Ki” is a classic example of Rabindra-sangeet in Bollywood. The song dazzles with Majrooh Sultanpuri’s poetic nuances, a metaphorical glimpse into the creation of a family. He describes the lover’s eyes as “chanchal,” which can mean playful, but also implies something that does not remain in one spot, a certain liveliness in spirit. With every “dekho na,” he directs that gaze back toward the night of their union, while she looks toward what lies ahead and the family they will begin together.

Jaya Bahaduri tere mere milan abhiman

Jaya Bhaduri mourns her miscarried child backstage of her husband’s performance in Abhimaan (1973).

For me, this song has always glowed. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice resonates after the opening stanza like an angel descending from heaven. But it was only after seeing the film that I realized the heroine of the story had recently suffered a miscarriage. Thus the lines “nanhaa sa gul khilegaa a.Nganaa” are more than a hope for the future, but a true reflection of their family’s dream deferred. The entire song changed its meaning for me, and became if possible, even more poignant.

We hope you enjoy our English translation and lyrics to “Tere Mere Milan Ki” from Abhimaan (1973) below! Follow along with the video here.

Tere Mere Milan Ki Yeh Raina Lyrics and Translation:

Male:
Tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa
On the night of your and my union
Nayaa koi gul khilaayegi
A new rose will bloom
Tabhi to chanchal hai tere naina
That is why your eyes are playful
Dekho na! Dekho na, tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa
Look! Look at the night of your and my union

Female:
Nanha sa gul khilegaa a.Nganaa
A small rose will bloom upon our balcony
Suunii baiyaa sajegii, sajnaa
She will decorate my lonely arms, beloved
Male:
Jaise khele chandaa baadal mei.N
Just as the moon plays with the clouds
Khelegaa woh tere aa.Nchal mei.N
She will play in the folds of your saari
Female:
Chandaniyaa gungunaayegi
The rays of the moon will sing
Tabhi to chanchal hai tere naina
That is why your eyes are playful
Dekho na! Dekho na, tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa
Look! Look at the night of your and my union

Male:
Tujhe thaame kaii hatho.N se
I will hold your hand many times
Miluu.Nga madbharii raato.N mei.N
I will meet you many intoxicating nights
Female:
Jagaake aansuunii si dhaDkan
By awakening this unfamiliar heartbeat
Balamwaa, bhar duu.Ngii teraa man
My beloved, I will fill your soul
Male:
Nayii adaa se sataayegii
With a new style you will torment me
Tabhi to chanchal hai tere naina
That is why your eyes are playful
Dekho na! Dekho na, tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa
Look! Look at the night of your and my union

Both:
Nayaa koi gul khilaayegi
A new rose will bloom
Tabhi to chanchal hai tere naina
That is why your eyes are playful
Dekho na! Dekho na, tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa
Look! Look at the night of your and my union

Glossary:

milan: meeting, union; rainaa: night; gul: rose; tabhi: this is why, hence; chanchal: restless, playful; nainaa: eyes; nanhaa: little, tiny; a.Nganaa: balcony; suunii: lonely; baiyaa: arms; sajnaa [verb]: to decorate; sajnaa [noun]: darling, beloved; chandaa: moon; baadal: clouds; aa.Nchal: the end of a saari (pallu) or dupatta; chandan: silver, rays of the moon; gungunaanaa: to hum, to sing; haath thaamnaa: to hold hands; madbharii: filled with intoxication; jagaanaa: to wake up; aansuunii: unfamiliar, unheard; dhaDkan: heartbeat; balamwaa: lover; man: soul, heart; adaa: style; sataanaa: to torment

Amitabh comforts Jaya tere mere milan abhiman

Art mimics life as Amitabh Bachhan comforts Jaya Bhaduri in “Tere Mere Milan Ki” from Abhimaan (1973).

This lovely Lata-Kishore duet was requested by fan Dilip! Thank you for the beautiful request! For more songs from Abhimaan, check out our earlier post on the lovely Rafi-Lata duet “Teri Bindiya Re.”

– Mrs. 55

Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mamta Suchitra Sen Chhup Lo Yun Dil

Suchitra Sen wishes her daughter will never meet a Fate like her own in Mamta (1966).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to the soulful “Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein” from Mamta (1966). One of Majrooh Sultanpuri’s greatest pieces, the calming lyrics set the tone for both the song’s music and its picturization, entering the film as fluidly as it ebbs away, as if an extension of the dialogue the audience so yearns to hear. “Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein” is an expression of unwavering romantic devotion set to a soothingly monastic pace.

Suchitra Sen and Ashok Kumar play two lovers who were unable to wed because of class differences, but never forget their love for one another. Suchitra later marries an abusive husband, and ultimately is forced into becoming a courtesan to survive. She tearfully gives up her only daughter so that her child can escape her mother’s ignominious shadow. In the aftermath, “Chhupa Lo Yun Dil” is not lipsynced, but rather the female voice is picturized on a lingering image of Suchitra Sen fading behind a drawn curtain, while the male is picturized on Ashok Kumar shrouding his eyes behind a pair of sunglasses. Poetically fitting, both literally conceal themselves from the viewer in a song dedicated to the beauty of hidden worship.

Ashok Kumar Mamta 1966 sunglasses

Ashok Kumar pensively shields his emotions in Mamta (1966).

Roshan’s soundtrack of Mamta is as gorgeous as it is diverse (see our earlier translation of “Rahe Na Rahe Hum“). “Chhupa Lo Yun Dil” employs a rare paucity of musical instrumentation: from the opening chimes of temple manjira to the traditional bansuri echoing alone in the empty cinematic space, the song emphasizes the ascetic nature of their devotion. To match, the romantic lyrics are infused with religious imagery, and director Asit Sen carefully constructs shots that instead of bring the hero and heroine closer together, in fact emphasize their distance (even their eyelines don’t match!). Indeed, perhaps the song is not two lovers singing to each other after all. The song can be read instead as a mother singing to the daughter she will leave forever, and a father discovering a new meaning to his life by caring for the child in her mother’s memory.

Based in Bollywood’s favorite raaga Yaman, “Chhupa Lo Yun Dil” is one of the most moving Hemant Kumar-Lata Mangeshkar duets of all time. We hope you enjoy our English translation to the lyrics of “Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein” below!

Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein Lyrics and Translation:

MALE:
Chhupaa lo yuu.N dil mei.N pyaar meraa
Hide my love inside your heart
Ki jaise mandir mei.N lau diye kii
Like the flame of a candle inside a temple

FEMALE:
Tum apne charano.N mei.N rakh lo mujhko
Keep me by your feet
Tumhaare charano.n ka phuul huu.N mai.N
For I am the flowers beneath your footsteps
Mai.N sar jhukaaye khaDii hoo.n priitam
I am standing with my head bowed, my beloved one
Ki jaise mandir mei.N lau diye kii
Like the flame of a candle inside a temple

MALE:
Yeh sach hai jeenaa thaa paap tum bin
It is true that to live without you was a sin
Yeh paap mai.N ne kiyaa hai ab tak
I have committed this sin until now
Magar thii man mei.N chhabii tumhaariI
But your image was always in my mind
Ki jaise mandir mei.N lau diye kii
Like the flame of a candle inside a temple

FEMALE:
Phir aag birhaa ki mat lagaanaa
Please do not light the fire of separation again,
Ki jal ke mai.N raakh ho chukii hoo.N
For I have already burned into ashes

MALE:
Yeh raakh maaThe pe mai.N ne rakh lii
I have worn those ashes upon my forehead
Ki jaise mandir mei.N lau diye kii
Like the flame of a candle inside a temple

BOTH:
Chhupaa lo yuu.N dil mei.N pyaar meraa
Hide my love inside your heart
Ki jaise mandir mei.N lau diye kii
Like the flame of a candle inside a temple

Glossary:

chhupaanaa: to hide; mandir: temple; lau: flame; diyaa: candle; charan: footsteps; phuul: flower; sar jhukaanaa: to bow [one’s] head; khaDaa: standing; priitam: loved one; jiinaa: to live; paap: sin; man: mind; chhabii: image; aag: fire; birhaa: separation; jalna: to burn; raakh: ashes; maaThe: forehead

Gorgeous Suchitra Sen Mamta 1966

Suchitra Sen’s glittery teal eyeshadow brilliantly matches her sari before becoming soaked in tears in Mamta (1966).

Famous Bengali director Asit Sen was well-known for making films with a refreshingly strong female lead, from Khamoshi (1969) starring Waheeda Rehman to Safar (1970) starring Sharmila Tagore. His mentor was none other than auteur Bimal Roy of Parineeta (1953) fame, which undoubtedly influenced the stories he chose to tell in his own directorial works. This beautiful Mamta song was requested by fan Jiyati Verma! Thank you for the great request!

– Mrs. 55

Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukare Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Dev Anand hum bekhudi kala pani

Dev Anand entrances the audience with “Hum Bekhudi Mein” in Kala Pani (1958).

We now present our complete translation to “Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukare,” one of Mohammed Rafi’s finest solos. The song, and in fact the film Kala Pani (1958), is a considerable break from Dev Anand’s previous work, transforming him from the debonair urbanite to a meditative, black kurta pajama-clad member of the traditional intelligentsia. “Hum Bekhudi Mein” bears the unmistakable hallmark of S.D. Burman’s finest compositions—a hauntingly powerful melody that is so captivating, instrumental ornamentation is close to entirely abandoned. There is something reminiscent of his earlier composition, “Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari“–with an emphasis on reflection, the purity of Mohammed Rafi’s voice engulfs the listener in the qawwal-like trance of his yearning, the feeling of entering a dream where time loses its meaning. Indeed, the “bekhudi” or loss of self as described by the singer is precisely what lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri aims to induce in the listener.

Nalini Jaywant Kala Pani hum bekhudi

Nalini Jaywant believes she has found love at last in the mysterious stranger with a haunting voice in Kala Pani (1958).

The nuance of the lyrics is an exceptional example of the multi-faceted levels of interpretation of Urdu poetry. Each line returns to the refrain’s lingering “chale gaye”—a verb tense indicating continuity of the hero’s past actions, and his current obsession with reliving them. However, Mohammed Rafi’s very deliberate pause before singing “chale gaye” with each line allows for an additional dimension to the song’s interpretation, as if a forlorn reference to the woman herself who has left him (“woh jo chale gaye”). I love this song for every person that hears it will understand it in a slightly different way. If you can’t get enough of this melody, lovers of trivia will be delighted to discover that S.D. Burman actually recorded the original Bengali version of this song in his own voice, “Ghum Bhulechi Nijhum”!

In the Hindi version, hero Dev Anand elaborates on two forms of intoxication—first, the spell cast by his former lover, and second, alcohol to which he has resigned himself.  In the evocative final line of the song, “Sheeshe mei.N aap ko bhi utaare chale gaye,” the hero reconciles their duality and his escape from reality. With the oblivion granted by alcohol, he regains the very woman who has left him in a state of bekhudi—a philosophical wanderer in fugue-like search of a connection.

Dev Anand kala pani black hat

Despite biting his fingernails throughout the song, Dev Anand is simply too attractive to handle in a black kurta and matching traditional hat.

We hope you enjoy our English translation to the lyrics of this beautiful poem “Hum Bekhudi Mein” from Kala Pani (1958). Check out the video in which Dev Anand woos the lovely courtesan Nalini Jaywant with his artistic depth! Did you know that after this song was released, Dev Anand was actually told not to wear black anymore in public because Indian women  would swoon and jump from buildings upon seeing him dressed in that devastatingly attractive shade? I mean…I can see where they’re coming from!

Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukare Lyrics and Translation:

Hum bekhudii mei.N tum ko pukaare chale gaye
Unaware of my own self, I kept calling to you
Saaghar mei.N zindagii ko utaare chale gaye
And so I kept drowning my life in a glass of wine
Hum…

Dekhaa kiye tumhe hum banke deewaanaa
When I used to see you, I was madly love
Utaraa jo nashaa to hum ne yeh jaana
Once that intoxication wore off, I knew this
Saare woh zindagii ke sahaare chale gaye
That all the support I had in life had gone

Hum bekhudii mei.N tum ko pukaare chale gaye
Unaware of my own self, I kept calling to you

Tum to na kaho hum khud hi se khele
At least do not say that I played this game by myself.
Doobe nahii.N humii yuu.N nashe mei.N akele
For I did not drown in this intoxication alone
Sheeshe mei.N aap ko bhi utaare chale gaye
You were what I kept pouring into my glass

Hum bekhudii mei.N tum ko pukaare chale gaye
Unaware of my own self, I kept calling to you
Saaghar mei.N zindagii ko utaare chale gaye
And so I kept drowning my life in a glass of wine
Hum…

Glossary:

bekhudi: loss of self-awareness; pukaarnaa: to call out; saaghar: wine goblet; zindagii: life; deewaanaa: madly in love; nashaa: intoxication; sahaaraa: support; khud: self; khelnaa: to play; Doobnaa: to drown; akelaa: alone; sheeshaa: glass, mirror

Interestingly, this gently hypnotic song is used to trap Nalini Jaywant into falling in love with Dev Anand and confess her past crimes. Yes, it’s all a pretense–Dev Anand is actually in love with Madhubala, the cheeky journalist who is helping him absolve his wrongfully imprisoned father. Nalini Jaywant played a role in the original crime and must now the price of unrequited love for his son. The film was actually based on A.J. Cronin’s Scottish novel “Beyond This Place” published in 1953. Dev Anand loved Cronin’s work so much, he also later turned one of Cronin’s most famous novels, “The Citadel” into the 1971 Bollywood film Tere Mere Sapne.

– Mrs. 55

The Art of Urdu in Hindi Films: Losing A Poetic Legacy

Jan Nisar Akhtar and Sahir Ludhianvi

Legendary Bollywood lyricists Jan Nisar Akhtar (far left) and Sahir Ludhianvi (left center) enjoy a birthday celebration.

The language of Hindi films has evolved since the first talkie Alam Ara in 1931, based on a Parsi play.  The Golden Age of Hindi cinema that blossomed with the studio era of the 1950s and ebbed by the late 1970s is one of India’s greatest artistic achievements. During that time, Hindi films could hardly be called Hindi films. Rather, Hindustani, a mixture of Urdu and Hindi, was the lingua franca of the silver-screen—a reflection of a country unified by a fascinatingly diverse heritage with linguistic influences from Sanskrit, Farsi, Bengali, Arabic, Panjabi, and a myriad of others.

To anyone unfamiliar with the distinction between Urdu and Hindi—there are no hard and fast rules. What many call Hindi, others would call Urdu, but most everyone can appreciate their structural and grammatical similarity. Any attempt to divide them is based on the root origins of the vocabulary intermingled with what is generally a highly homologous syntax. “Urdu” vocabulary tends to draw upon words of Farsi or occasionally Arabic and Turkish origin and “Hindi” vocabulary is generally derived from Sanskrit or regional dialects. But don’t be fooled into thinking any word “belongs” to another language (or those of a particular religion)—Hindustani may vary speaker to speaker, community to community, but the language is all-encompassing.

Veteran Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi (left) with his daughter actress Shabhana Azmi (center), who married contemporary lyricist Javed Akhtar, and wife Shaukat Azmi (right).

Veteran Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi (left) with his daughter actress Shabhana Azmi (center), who married contemporary lyricist Javed Akhtar, and wife Shaukat Azmi (right).

The impact of Urdu in the Indian mainstream can be no better summed up by the famous words of our freedom struggle: “Inquilaab zindabaad!” or “Sarfaroshii kii tamanna ab hamaare dil mei.N hai.” Controversial arguments have been made relating the decline in popularity to links with Pakistan, which adopted Urdu as its official language. Yet in Hindi films for decades, the legacy of Urdu poetry continued to flourish in India as the pinnacle of culture and expression.

Indeed, despite enormous gaps in literacy across the country, some of the most popular songs of that era amazingly contain the most complex Urdu-based vocabulary. Perhaps one reason is that the Hindi film song-writers themselves were trained in the art of Urdu poetry. Many of the finest and most successful poets of Hindi film: Sahir Ludhianvi, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Gulzar, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shakeel Badayuni, Kaifi Azmi, Jan Nisar Akhtar, and Majrooh Sultanpuri to name but a few, began their careers in Urdu mushairaas, or poetic symposiums.

Gulzar lyricist

Record-breaking winner of 11 Filmfare awards for best lyrics, poet Gulzar (right) stands with actor Amitabh Bacchan (left) for whom he wrote hits from the dialogue of Anand (1971) to the modern dance number “Kajra Re” from Bunty Aur Babli (2006)

It would seem more than mere coincidence that these artists came to dominate film lyrics. Like many arenas, the Bombay film industry was an old boy network: Sahir Ludhianvi for example was close friends with Jan Nisar Akhtar, who became in-laws with Kaifi Azmi, who was a prominent member of the pre-partition Progressive Writer’s Movement with Majrooh Sultanpuri. And the music directors who often hand-picked their lyricists and made recommendations to film producers were also steeped in similar artistic traditions. Veteran composer Naushad grew up in the heart of Lucknowi culture, and Madan Mohan spent his childhood in the Middle East, eventually getting his break by joining the All India Radio in Lucknow. Yet connections in the film industry account for only part of its success—audiences had to maintain demand as well.

From the epic qawwali “Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai” from Barsaat Ki Raat (1961), the lilting ode, “Aap Ki Nazron Mein Samjha” from Anpadh 1962), to the playful duet “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Urdu in films was remarkably accessible—holding a place for any viewer in every genre. True, it is unlikely the entire audience understood each word in those songs. However, in this manner, film and music could be educational for those who did not–a unique way of preserving the culture they reflected back on. As parallel cinema diva Shabana Azmi aptly quipped,

“If you compare today’s songs with the songs of the 1960s and 1970s, then definitely today’s songs are according to the demand. But if you see, Hindi films used to protect the Urdu language as they used it, but it is slowly dying and I feel bad for it.”

The same extended to the dialogues of films themselves–and I don’t refer only to genre films like Pakeezah (1971) or Mughal-e-Azam (1961). Pure Urdu was ubiquitous in classic Hindi cinema, wafting equally through the sets of an urban crime drama and meandering through a village epic. The importance and sheer beauty of Urdu poetry in dialogues is highlighted in one of the most famous film speech’s of yesteryear. The stirring climax of Daag (1973) culminates in a speech given by Rajesh Khanna’s character for an award bestowed to him by his community. Notice how in this and so many other scripts, Urdu is an inextricable poetic catalyst for the Hindi speech:

Rajesh Khanna’s Speech from Daag (1973):

Aap.
Aap kya jaane mujhko samajhte hai.N kyaa?
Mai.N to kuch bhi nahii.N

“You.
I do not know what you make of me
For I am nothing

Is qadar pyaar itnii baDe bheed ka mai.N rakhuu.Ngaa kya?
Is qadar pyaar rakhne ke qaabil nahii.N
Mera dil, merii jaan…
Mujhko itni mohabbat na do, dosto.
Soch lo dosto…
Is qadar pyaar kaise sambhaaluu.Ngaa mai.N?
Mai.N to kuch bhi nahii.N

How can I carry such love from so great a crowd?
I am not worthy of such great love
My heart, my life…
Do not give me so much love, my friends
Think instead.
How will I bear such great love?
For I am nothing.

Pyaar.
Pyaar ek shakhs ko agar mil sake to badii cheez hai zindagi ke liye
Aadmi ko magar yeh bhi milta nahii.n
Yeh bhi milta nahii.n
Mujhko itni mohabbat milii aap se,
Mujhko itni mohabbat milii aap se…
Yeh mera haq nahii.N, merii taqdiir hai.
Mai.N zamaane ki nazro.N mei.N kuch bhi na thaa.
Merii ankho.N mei.N ab tak woh tasveer hai

Love.
If a man can receive love, it is a great thing in life
Yet many men do not even receive this
They do not even receive this
I have received so much love from you,
I have received so much love from you
This is not my right, it is my fate
I was once nothing in the eyes of the world
And in my eyes, that image remains

Izzate.N, shauharate.N, chaahate.N, ulfate.N, koi cheez duniya mei.N rehtii nahii.N
Aaj mai.N huu.N jahaa.N, kal koi aur thaa.
Yeh bhi ek daur hai, woh bhi ek daur thaa…

Respect, fame, desire, love, nothing remains in the world permanently
Today where I am, yesterday there was someone else
This is one generation, that was another generation…

Aaj itni mohabbat na do dosto.
Ki mere kal kii khatir ka kuch bhi rahe
Aaj ka pyaar thoDa bacha kar rakho
Aaj ka pyaar thoDa bacha kar rakho, mere kal ke liye

Today do not give me so much love, my friends
So that there may be some left for me tomorrow
Today, save some of that love
Today save some of that love for my days ahead

Kal.
Kal jo gumnaam hai
Kal jo sunsaan hai
Kal jo anjaan hai
Kal jo viiraan hai

Tomorrow.
Tomorrow which is anonymous
Tomorrow which is silent
Tomorrow which is unknown
Tomorrow which may be barren

Main to kuch bhi nahii.N huu.N
Mai.N to kuch bhi nahii.n”

I am nothing at all
I am nothing at all.”

With every thoughtfully chosen word, the pervasive Urdu “qaaf” is pronounced as delicately as the gentle “khe,” and the lines are delivered with the poetic overtures of a song lyric. These dialogues were written with poetry in mind, and indeed many song lyricists eventually took to writing entire film scripts (the script of Daag was written by immortal Urdu poet Akhtar ul Iman of Waqt and Gumraah fame).

Immortal lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri (right) with music director R.D. Burman and film director Nasir Hussain at a 1983 recording session.

Famed lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri (right) with music director R.D. Burman (center) and film director Nasir Hussain (left) at a 1983 recording session.

It would be impossible to summarize the incredible work of these poets in one post (hence why we’ve devoted much of our blog to it!). A small sampling of Filmfare award-winning lyrics are below:

“Chaudhvin ka chaand ho, ya aftaab ho? Jo bhi ho tum khudaa ki qasam laa-jawaab ho…” –Shakeel Badayuni (Chaudhvin Ka Chand 1961)

“Chaahuu.Ngaa mai.N tujhe saa.Nj saveN.re. Phir bhi kabhi ab naam ko tere awaaz mai.N na doo.Ngaa…”--Majrooh Sultanpuri (Dosti 1965)

“Bahaaro.N phool barsaao, meraa mehboob aayaa hai. Hawaao.N raagini gaao, meraa mehboob aaya hai…”--Hasrat Jaipuri (Suraj 1967)

“Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai ki jaise tujhko baanaayaa gaya hai mere liye…” –Sahir Ludhianvi (Kabhi Kabhi 1977)

“Aanewaalaa pal jaanewaalaa hai. Ho sake to is mei.N zindagii biTaado pal jo yeh jaanewalaa hai…” — Gulzar (Gol Maal 1980)

I was fortunate to have the chance to learn to read and write in Urdu from my grandparents who moved to New Delhi after the partition of Punjab. But this opportunity is so rare that I found after my grandfather passed away, I know few people to whom I can still write in Nasta’liq. Urdu is a language of romance—more beautiful than French and Italian, and more intricate than superficial political divides. The legacy of Urdu will continue to add to the allure and nostalgia of old films for generations to come. For the loss of Urdu is more than the mere loss of vocabulary. Without Urdu in Hindi films, we have lost our own andaaz–the manner with which we once communicated our thoughts and feelings, our decorum, and a rich, meaningful ornamentation in expressing ourselves that can never be replaced.

-Mrs. 55

Inhi Logon Ne Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

MK

The tragically beautiful film Pakeezah (1972) stars Meena Kumari in its leading role.

Today, we continue our series on the eternally beautiful Pakeezah (1972) by providing the lyrics and English translation to inhii.n logo.n ne, a classic gem that has defined the genre of Bollywood mujras since its release.  

Tuned by Ghulam Mohammed and penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri, this song was perhaps the most widely appreciated number (it reached #2 on the 1972 Binaca Geet Mala list!) from a soundtrack full of memorable compositions like chalte chalte and mausam hai aashiqaanaa. Although its light, Yaman-based melody evokes a playful sprit, the underlying tragedy expressed in the lyrics of this song is unexpectedly ironic. In spite of the pain she suffers from being stigmatized as a tavaaif, Meena Kumari is forced to render this mujraa with verve and a smile for her patrons at the brothel. While addressing her beloved saiyaa.n, she laments how the men around her have stolen her innocence and modesty, which is symbolically represented by the loss of her DupaTTaa. To persuade her lover, she implores him to ask three characters in the song to confirm that her virtue was soiled against her will: the cloth merchant, the cloth dyer, and the constable. Representing different facets of society, these characters serve as witnesses to her loss of innocence and sometimes take part in the process (e.g. when the constable snatches her scarf away at the market.) To add to the irony, the red color of the lost scarf and Meena Kumari’s on-screen outfit are reminiscent of the colors adorning a South Asian bride on her wedding day. Yet, the audience is acutely aware that a courtesan in such a position will provoke condemnation and disgust for attempting to engage in the conventional structures of love and marriage established by the society around her. 

In addition to carrying a powerful message about social stigma in Indian society, these lyrics are memorable for their apabhransa (corrupt, non-grammatical) use of Urdu-Hindi. Reminiscent of the Awadhi dialect, a number of modifications to modern standard Hindi have been used here for poetic effect:

le liinaa = le liyaa (have taken)
bajajvaa = bajaj (cloth merchant)
hamrii = hamaarii (my, our)
sipaiyaa = sipaahii (constable)
bajariyaa = bazaar (market)

These substitutions really stick in the listener’s mind and give the lyrics of inhii.n logo.n ne a unique linguistic flavor that stands out from other compositions from the same period. Non-standard dialects such as Braj find prominence in classical Hindustani bandishes, but the lyricists for Bollywood cinema of the Golden Age tended to rely on standard Urdu-Hindi for most of their work. 

Songs like inhii.n logo.n ne have historically cast a sympathetic light on the tragic lives led by courtesans of yesteryear, and it is a well-known fact that fans have been fascinated with this genre of music and movies since the earliest days of the Hindi film industry. To conclude, I’ll leave you with a thought-provoking question: given the conservative social climate of 1960s and 1970s India, why did courtesan-based films (e.g. Pakeezah, Mughal-e-Azam, Amar Prem) resonate intimately with Indian audiences? Although deep-seated stigmas surround tavaaifs and their profession, what is the driving force behind India’s obsession with the story of a courtesan with a heart of gold? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

-Mr. 55

P.S. Check out a rare black and white version of this song filmed on a younger Meena Kumari in 1956 (16 years before the film’s eventual release)!

MK

Meena Kumari’s playful spirit in ‘inhii.n logo.n ne belies the tragic reality of her profession as a courtesan in Pakeezah (1972).

Inhi Logon Ne: Lyrics and Translation

inhii.n logo.n ne, inhii.n logo.n ne
These people, these people
inhii.n logo.n ne le liina DupaTTaa meraa

These people have taken away my scarf of modesty.

hamrii na maano, saiyaa.nbajajvaa se puuchho
If you don’t accept my word, oh beloved, ask the cloth merchant
jis ne asharfii gaj diinaa DupaTTaa meraa
who sold me a yard of its fabric for a gold coin.

hamrii na maano, saiyaa.n, ra.ng rajvaa se puuchho
If you don’t accept my word, oh beloved, ask the cloth dyer
jis ne gulaabii ra.ng diinaa DupaTTaa meraa
who gave my scarf its pink color.

hamrii na maano, saiyaa.n, sipaiyaa se puuchho
If you don’t accept my word, oh beloved, ask the constable
jis ne bajariyaa me.n chhiinaa DupaTTaa meraa
who stripped away my scarf at the market.

inhii.n logo.n ne le liinaa DupaTTaa meraa
These people have taken away my scarf of modesty.

Glossary

le lenaa: to take away; DupaTTaa: a long scarf covering a woman’s chest, a traditional symbol of modesty and honor for Indian women; hamrii (baat): my word; maannaa: to accept, believe; bajajvaa: cloth merchant; asharfii: a gold coin issued by Muslim dynasties; gaj: a unit of measurement equivalent to a yard; saiyaa.n: beloved; rang rajvaa: cloth dyer; gulaabii: pink; sipaiyaa: constable; bajariyaa: market; chiinnaa: to strip away.

MK

Adorned in red and gold ornaments, Meena Kumari’s appearance resembles that of an Indian bride in Pakeezah (1972).