Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

two shot sisters Mala Sinha and Tanuja

Tanuja and Mala Sinha play sisters with opposite personalities who love with the same man in Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966).

Today we highlight the lyrics and English translation of the gorgeous “Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe” from Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966). The breathtakingly evocative cinematography of this song steals the show–and that’s a difficult feat with Urdu lyrics dripping with this much beauty. Eminent director Guru Dutt tragically died while directing this film, and it was later finished by Shaheed Latif. As a result, Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi seems to have all the elements of a great work of poetic realism, but lacks all the magic. Dutt’s starring role was eventually replaced by Dharmendra, who is easy on the eyes, but never quite commands the scene like his predecessor.

Dharmendra plays an upright investigative journalist employed by a newspaper company owned by Mala Sinha, a pragmatic entrepreneur fighting for her beliefs in a male-dominated world. Her personal sacrifices have allowed for her younger sister (played by Tanuja) to be raised in a lifestyle of ease and self-indulgence. Mala Sinha begins to fall in love with Dharmendra as his caring manner and flattering attentions opens up the possibility for the romantic fulfillment she had long denied herself. Meanwhile, Tanuja’s girlishly flirtacious advances toward Dharmendra appear not unwanted, completing the dramatic love triangle. Neither sister knows of the other’s intentions, and the audience anxiously awaits the moment when one will discover the truth. Whom will Dharmendra ultimately choose?

At least for the audience, that answer comes during one of the most romantic Mohammed Rafi songs of Bollywood: “Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe.” The cinematography of the film is by K.G. Prabhakar (whose strong legacy includes working as assistant camera in Guru Dutt masterpieces Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Pyaasa). The first thing you might notice about Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi is the (lack of) colour. By 1966, Eastmancolor was by far the norm in Bollywood. Shooting this film in black-and-white stock therefore was a deliberate choice. Guru Dutt never filmed a movie in color (with the exception of a rare scene here and there, eg. “Chaudhvin Ka Chand“), and his films carry a haunting charm. Prabhakar uses creative camera angles and perfectly choreographed movements to convey the message of true love. The exquisite cinematography coupled with a combination of Anjaan’s ornate balladry, the dreamlike piano solo, and Mohammed Rafi’s hypnotically romantic vocals make this song a vision of what film should be.

Tanuja and Mala Sinha eyes

Shots of the two sisters mimic one another throughout “Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe,” heightening the dramatic irony. Here, both sisters shyly glance up toward Dharmendra as they each believe lines from his song are sung exclusively for them. Even their cat-eyeliner and penciled eyebrows are in fierce competition.

Early in the song, the camera choices are critical to casting doubt about to whom Dharmendra is truly singing. Prabhakar shoots the siblings’ reactions and movements in parallel, with each sister’s gazes mimicking the other such that even the audience grows uncomfortable, knowing one of them must be mistaken.

master shot compiled

This master shot creates a literal love triangle in the mis-en-scene and defines both their spatial and emotional relationships.

By the middle of the song, both sisters approach Dharmendra so that all three can be captured in the same shot, creating a fascinating opportunity for the cinematographer. In the master shot pictured above, the camera is placed behind Dharmendra’s shoulder, creating a visual triangle formed by the lid of the grand piano to underscore the romantic triangle blossoming before our eyes. This angle also allows a gorgeous moment of symbolism within the mis-en-scene through the placement of the main characters. Tanuja, whose love is confident and eager, leans toward Dharmendra into the light source, while Mala Sinha, whose love is more careful and protected, stands further away in the shadows, avoiding his direct gaze. Sinha is framed by the piano lid at the pinnacle of the triangle, literally surrounded by the music that has changed how she views the world.

ambiguous eyelines compiled

From a profile shot of Dharmendra to a medium reaction shot of Mala Sinha, the eyelines are ambiguous. Is he singing to Tanuja or to Mala Sinha?

Next, the audience is cleverly teased by the camera with a series of shots that heighten the romantic ambiguity. Prabhakar films a profile shot of Dharmendra singing, so that from the viewer’s perspective, he is just as likely to be making eye contact with Mala Sinha as with Tanuja. He brings the camera into Dharmendra’s seat for Mala Sinha’s reaction so that what we see is as if from Dharmendra’s own perspective. Tension mounts! A reverse shot from Mala Sinha’s position of Dharmendra would close the communicative loop, and we would finally have our answer that the two are definitely looking at one another, and both know it. Alas! Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi is not so simple.

shot reverse shot compiled

The classic over-the-shoulder shot-reverse shot sequence ultimately seals Tanuja as the object of Dharmendra’s affection.

Finally, the camera gives its long-held secret away. At the end of the ballad, two consecutive shots with matching eyelines betray Tanuja and Dharmendra as the primary romantic couple of the film. The camera cuts from an over-the-shoulder shot of Tanuja to a reverse over-the-shoulder shot of Dharmendra. His gaze is now clearly directed at only one sister. Meanwhile, Mala Sinha appears tragically oblivious, wandering to the window to daydream of what we now know is impossible.

We hope you fall in love with the lyrics and our English translation of “Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe” below. When words like chuur-chuur and kashish are tossed around lightly in a Bollywood song, you know you’re in for some solidly gorgeous poetry! Follow along with the cinematography of the film here and let us know which sister you were rooting for in the comments!

Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe Lyrics and Translation:

aap ke hasee.N rukh pe aaj nayaa nuur hai
Upon your beautiful face today is a new light
meraa dil machal gayaa, to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?
aap kii nigaah ne kahaa to kuch zaruur hai
Your glance said something surely
meraa dil machal gayaa to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?

khulii laTo.N ki chhaao.N mei.N, khilaa khilaa yeh ruup hai
In the shade of your open tresses, this beauty bloomed
ghaTaa se jaise chhan rahii, subaah subaah kii dhuup hai
As if morning sunlight is streaming through a cloud
jidhar nazar muDii ,udhar suruur hii suruur hai
In whichever direction my gaze turns, there is only pleasure upon pleasure
meraa dil machal gayaa to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?

jhukii jhukii nigaah mei.N bhii hai.N balaa ki shokhiyaa.N
In your shy lowered gaze is also a calamity of mischief
Dabii Dabii ha.Nsii mei.N bhii, taDap rahii hai.N bijliiyaa.N
Even in your suppressed laughter, lightening is pulsing
shabaab aap kaa nashe mei.N khud hii chuur-chuur hai
Your youthfulness dissolves itself in intoxication
meraa dil machal gayaa to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?

jahaa.N jahaa.N paDe qaDam, wahaa.N fizaa badal gayii
Wherever your foot falls, there the wind changes
ki jaise sar-basar bahaar aap hii mei.N Dhal gayii
As if the whole of Spring descended into you
kisi mei.N yeh kashish kahaa.N jo aap mei.N huzuur hai?
Where is this allure in anyone that is present in you?
meraa dil machal gayaa to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?

aapke haseen rukh pe aaj naya noor hai
Upon your beautiful face today is a new light
meraa dil machal gayaa to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?

aap kii nigaahon ne kahaa to kuch zaruur hai
Your glances said something surely
meraa dil machal gayaa to meraa kyaa qusuur hai?
If my heart trembled, what fault is it of mine?

Hmm hmm hmm…hmm hmm hmm

Glossary:

hasee.N: beautiful; rukh: face; aaj: today; nayaa: new; nuur: light; dil: heart; machalnaa: to quiver, to tremble; qusuur: fault; nigaah: glance; zaruur: surely, of course; khulaa: open; laT: tresses; chhaao.N: shadow, shade; khilnaa: to bloom; ruup: beauty; ghaTaa: cloud; chhannaa: to stream; subaah: morning; dhuup: sunlight; jidhar; in whichever direction; nazar: gaze, eyes; muDnaa: to turn around; udhar: in that direction; suruur: pleasure, addiction; jhuknaa: to bow, to lower; balaa: calamity, misfortune; shokhii: mischief; Dabnaa: to suppress; ha.Nsii: laughter; taDapnaa: to flutter; bijlii: lightening; shabaab: youth; nashaa: intoxication; khud: self; chuur-chuur: pulverized, dissolved; jahaa.N: where; paDnaa: to step; qadam: footstep; wahaa.N: there; fizaa: wind, atmosphere; badalnaa: to change; jaise: like, as if; sar-basaar: entire, whole; bahaar: Spring; Dhalnaa: to set, to descend; kisii mei.N: in someone; kashish: allure, charm; huzuur: present

A brief word on the nuances between English and Urdu-Hindi. I struggled to translate bijliiyaan and shokhiyaan, plurals of the feminine nouns bijlii and shokii respectively. In English, the word lightening does not necessarily imply the number of bolts (singular versus plural), however bijliyaan clear indicates multiple bolts of lightening. Similarly, shokhii, meaning mischief in English, becomes a series of mischievous activities in the plural shokhiiyaan–however there is no simple plural of the word mischief in English (although in and of itself, the word mischief in English can imply plurality, but not necessarily). I also find that when used in Urdu-Hindi, especially romantic songs, shokhii has a much more playful connotation than the potentially negative associations of mischief in English. Isn’t language a wonderful thing?

Mala Sinha window

A stunning dolly shot of Mala Sinha from outside the window represents her emotional imprisonment from which Dharmendra offers a chance at escape.

“Aap Ke Haseen Rukh Pe” was requested by loyal fan Arun. Thank you for reading this  epic essay that came out of your request! For more analysis of great moments in Bollywood cinematography check out our translations of  “Tum Pukar Lo” (Khamoshi 1969) and “Kar Chale Hum Fida” (Haqeeqat 1964).
– Mrs. 55
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Jaane Woh Kaise Log Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Guru Dutt evokes classic Christ-like imagery in his depiction of Vijay the struggling poet in Pyaasa (1957).

We now present the lyrics and full English translation to one of my all-time favorite Guru Dutt songs “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957). I think my undying love for Guru Dutt is pretty evident at this point, but in case you need some convincing to get over the bold Clark Gable ‘stache, start here. Pyaasa is no ordinary film. When released to roaring accolades in 1957, Pyaasa broke precedent upon precedent in both impact and style. Notice how every song in this film seems to flow naturally as a consequence of the plot, as if the lyrics of the songs were a poetic continuation of the spoken dialogue? It was a technique pioneered by Guru Dutt that was later emulated by every great director in Bollywood. And the film hit some hard topics. I discuss more of the political stance of the film and the fascinating struggle Guru Dutt faced behind-the-scenes earlier, but now let us look instead to the classic “Jaane Woh Kaise” hit from the immortal pen of Sahir Ludhviani. It’s a mixture of everything right in the world: Guru Dutt as actor, Hemant Kumar with vocals, S.D. Burman composing, and Sahir in the back with the words of wisdom. This Hemant Kumar gem is truly the industry standard for awkward dinner party songs–even copied in modern times by Mira Nair in her film Vanity Fair (2004)!

Guru Dutt is employed as a dinner party waiter for his rich boss, Rehman, where he is confronted by the reality of his former lover, Mala Sinha, having abandoned him for wealth by marrying none other than the man currently employing him. The injustice of it all gets to him, and by chance, he’s a poet at heart who does what any other tragic poet would do in the situation: drop everything and throw a pity party.

Mala Sinha plays a cold-hearted social climber in Pyaasa (1957).

I love the cinematography in this song–Guru Dutt and his brilliant Director of Photography V.K. Murthy were known for their overblown yet graceful dolly-ins (watch the camera fly in “Waqt Ne Kiya“!), and so too in this song, the camera acts as a silent messenger of emotional turmoil, extracting a beautifully devastating toll on each of the key players in the room. And Guru Dutt holds his ground with arms outstretched as if crucified–a soft-spoken martyr against a background of bookshelves in which his own spoken words will later be immortalized and massacred. Again, you really need to see the film to appreciate the poetic genius of Guru Dutt film-making.

So enough talk, onto the lyrics and English translation of “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957)! Check out the picturization on youtube and let us know what you think in the comments!

Jaane Woh Kaise Log Lyrics and Translation

Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated
Humne to jab kaliyaa.N maangii kaa.NTo.N kaa haar milaa
Whenever I asked for flowers, I received a garland of thorns

Khushiyo.N kii manzil DhoonDii to gham kii gard milii
I searched for a destination of joy, but I found a circle of sadness
Chaahat ke naghme chaahe to aahe.N sard milii
I desired tales of love, but I received only the coldness of sighs
Dil kii bojh ko duunaa kar gayaa, jo ghamkhwaar milaa
The burdens of my heart only doubled if I met someone meant to relieve my sorrow

BichhaD gayaa har saathii dekar pal do pal kaa saath
Every companion gave me a few moments of company, and left
Kisko fursat hai jo thaame diiwaano.N kaa haath
After all, who has the free time to hold a crazy man’s hand?
Humko apnaa saayaa tak aksar bezaar milaa
Even my own shadow is often weary of me

Isko hii jiina kehte hai.N to yuu.N hii jii le.Nge
If this is what they called life, then I will live like this
Uff na kare.Nge, lab sii lenge, aa.Nsuu pii lenge
I will not sigh, I will seal my lips, and swallow my tears
Gham se ab ghabraana kaisaa, gham sau baar milaa
After all, how can I be concerned by sadness? I have met sadness a hundred times

Humne to jab kaliyaa.N maangii.N kaaTo.N kaa haar milaa
When I asked for flowers, I found a garland of thorns
Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated

Glossary:

kali: flower; kaanTaa: thorn; haar: garland; manzil: destination; gham: sadness; gard: circle; chaahat: love, desire; naghma: tale; aah: sigh; sard: chilly, cold; bhoj: burden; duunaa karna: to double; ghamkhwaar: a remover of sadness (note: the w is silent, as in khwaab); bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; saathi: companion; fursat: free time; haath thaamnaa: to hold hands; saayaa: shadow; bezaar: fed up, weary; lab: lips; aa.Nsuu: tears; gham: sadness: ghabraanaa: to become anxious, concerned

Singing his heart out, Guru Dutt transforms Rehman’s classy dinner gathering into a awkwardly personal pity party in Pyaasa (1957).

Guru Dutt revives the martyr-style mis-en-scene in the reprise of “Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye” at the famous finale of the film! The scene has got to be one of the all-time greatest of Hindi cinematic history. For this and about a million other reasons, Pyaasa is absolutely mandatory classic Bollywood viewing!

-Mrs. 55

Hai Isi Mein Pyar Ki Abhroo Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mala Sinha experiences the pain of rejection in Anpadh (1962) from her husband Dharmendra due to her illiteracy.

As a sequel to our previous post on “aap ki nazaro.n samjhaa,” I have provided an English translation and glossary for another memorable ghazal from Anpadh (1962): “hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruu.” As a quick refresher, Anpadh narrates the story of a wealthy but illiterate woman (played by Mala Sinha) who is married off to an educated gentleman (played by Dharmendra).  When Dharmendra asks Mala to recite a poem for him for her on their wedding night, she is compelled to reveal her darkest secret: her parents never taught her how to read or write.  After hearing this, Dharmendra is furious that his parents lured into arranging his marriage to an uneducated woman because of the large dowry. As he spurns Mala for her lack of education, she expresses her sadness through this song, which was composed by Madan Mohan and penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan.

I’ll be the first to admit that these lyrics are a tad excessive in the drama department, but this is exactly the kind of song that you need when you’re in the mood to wallow. The essence of heartache is and the pain of rejection are illustrated beautifully in these words,  so listening to a song like this can really hit the spot when you’re love-sick and need to get that sulking out of your system.  Although one can find beauty in the lyrics, it is difficult to overlook that this ghazal also carries an underlying subtext of misogyny that reflects societal attitudes of the time. Take, for instance, the mukhDaa where Mala proclaims that she finds pride in her beloved’s cruelty: “hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruuwah jafaa kare, mai.n vafaa karuu.n” (In this, I find the pride of love: he is cruel to me, yet I remain faithful to him).  You won’t (and shouldn’t!) find such a line sung by the heroines in the Bollywood industry today.

Even if the lyrics for this song are too much for you to handle, I am certain that you can appreciate this song for its musical value. Madan Mohan has composed an evergreen melody that tugs at your heartstrings, and Lata Mangeshkar pulls through with a winning rendition. As an aside, I thought that I would share an alternate version of this song rendered by Madan Mohan himself using a different tune.  This alternate melody was not used in the film, and I am guessing that was because it sounds too happy to suit the melancholic nature of these lyrics. Take a listen to both versions for yourself, and enjoy the translation and glossary that we have provided below! Requests for future posts, as always, should be e-mailed to themrandmrs55@gmail.com.

The intensity of Mala’s pain depicted in this song highlights the urgency of Anpadh‘s message about the need educate Indian girls.

Hai Isi Mein Pyar Ki Abhroo: Lyrics and Translation

hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruu
In this, I find the pride of love:
wah jafaa kare mai.n vafaa karuu.n
He is cruel to me, yet I remain faithful to him.
jo vafaa bhii kaam na aa sake
Although this love is in vain,
to wahii kahe ki mai.n kyaa karuu.n
It now dictates my actions.

mujhe gham bhii unkaa aziiz hai
Even the sadness I feel is dear to me,
ki unhii kii dii huii chiiz hai
Because it is something given to me by him.
yahii gham hai ab merii zindagii
This sadness has become my life,
ise kaise dil se judaa karuu.n?
how shall I separate it from my heart?

jo na ban sake mai.n wah baat huu.n
I am the matter that cannot be,
jo na khatm ho mai.n wah raat huu.n
And I am the night that cannot end. 
yah likhaa hai mere nasiib mein
It is written in my destiny
yuu.n hii shamma ban ke jalaa karuu.n
That I shall burn here like a candle.

na kisii ke dil kii huu.n aarzuu
I am not the desire of anyone’s heart
na kisii nazar ki huu.n justajuu
Nor am I the object of anyone’s glances.
mai.n wah phuul huu.n jo udaas ho
I am that flower which is wilted.
na bahaar aaye to kyaa karuu.n?
If the spring does not arrive, what shall I do?

hai isii me.n pyaar kii aabhruu
In this, I find the pride of love.

Glossary

aabhruu: pride; jafaa: cruelty; vafaa: loyalty, love; aziiz: dear; judaa: separate; khatm: end; nasiib: destiny, fate; shamma: candle; aarzuu: desire; justajuu: quest, search; udaas: sullen, wilted.

The Best Bollywood Rain Songs: Evolution of a Classic Genre

Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee Rain Song Bollywood

Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee express their sizzling love in the rain in Shehzada (1972).

It’s monsoon season again in India and, naturally, love is sparkling in the air. At last we present our list of the best rain songs from classic Bollywood! We all adore these moments–the iconic cuddling beneath an umbrella, the splashing around in a wet garden, or of course, Zeenat Aman in a drenched saari. It seems now that singing in the rain is the epitome of Bollywood romance, and a marvelous way to introduce a new song. But this phenomena did not occur overnight, and indeed, the meaning of rain itself in a film has shifted over the years with shifting cultural expectations. Let’s take a look at rain songs in Bollywood over the years!

Shree 420 Raj Kapoor Nargis Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua Rain Song Bollywood

Raj Kapoor and Nargis huddle close together beneath an umbrella in Shree 420 (1955).

We being in the earlier days of cinematic magic. As India awoke to freedom and liberty in the 1950s, so too did the country rapidly begin to shift gears away from pure agriculture and toward industrialization. Many of the best rain songs from that era embody a sense of wonder in urban environments and, matching the film censorship boards, an innocent just-got-struck-by love. In these songs, rain seems to act as that enchantment in the air–that driving force bringing a loved one into contact or sight. Rain too acted as that shimmering veil of restraint that both parties hesitate to cross.

Raj Kapoor Dum Dum Diga Diga Chhalia

Raj Kapoor prances about the city streets singing “Dum Dum Diga Diga” from Chhalia (1960).

With the advent of the 60s, came a new meaning of being caught in a rainstorm. No longer was rain an innocent effector of love at first sight, but rather a clever and well-understood pretext for full out passion. To clarify, by passion, I mean, symbolic wet dancing that means much more than actual physical contact. The Bollywood rain songs of the 60s exude a sense of joy, independence and confidence. The onset of a rainstorm had an understood implication for overt displays of affection that both parties are eager to demonstrate. Say hello to bouffant hairdos, tight and wet salwar qameezes, and men doing some very special attempts at a courtship dance.

Shammi Kapoor Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam Mala Sinha

Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha get drenched in Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam (1960)

Gone were the days of “Do Bigha Zameen” style agricultural celebration! While the setting of the village recurred, rain ceased to be a blessing for economic survival–instead, it brought the blessing of love between newly liberated men and woman of a new age. Check out our translation of “O Sajna Barkha Bahar” from Parakh (1960) and listen how music directors cleverly incorporated native Indian instruments into creating the sounds and moods of rain. Indeed, the trickling melodies of sitar have graced the introductions of many a great rain sequence–even famously with Ravi Shankar’s solo for Satyajit Rai’s Aparajito!

Asha Parekh Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke

Dressed as a village belle, Asha Parekh delights in the first rain of the season in “Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke” (1969).

At last the 70s arrived, and the Bollywood rain song explored new territory. Yes, Zeenat Aman in a wet white saari is crossing some obvious lines and certainly deserves a mention on this list, but the rain song did not merely degenerate into a male fantasy. Instead, as the political atmosphere changed, the rain song adopted a meaning to suit its people. With government dissatisfaction in the air, rain songs were (while maintaining something of a romantic undertone), also a means of escape and hope.

Jeetendra Haye Re Haye Humjoli

Jeetendra and Leena Chandavarkar exhibit some of the strangest and wildest dance moves to date in the famous rain love song of Humjoli (1970)

Did you know in the early days of cinema, rain scenes were not actually filmed in the rain? Because of the nature of unforgiving black-and-white film stock, even heavy pounding natural rain does not appear clearly in the camera–much less the gentle puhaare of many a romantic Bollywood setting. As such, the production staff needed to literally dump buckets of water or spray dozens of hoses above the set for “rain” to actually appear so on screen! So the next time you watch these songs, just imagine the total chaos going on outside the frame among the frantic, water-pouring production assistants!

Zeenat Aman sets the rain on fire in “Haye Haye Yeh Majboori” from Shor (1972).

But enough talk. Now that you know the history, here is our list in chronological order of Bollywood’s greatest rain songs! These all-time classic give an entirely new meaning to “Singin’ in the Rain!”

The Best Rain Songs of Classic Bollywood

  1. Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua (Shree 420 – 1955)
  2. Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi (Chori Chori – 1956)
  3. Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi – 1958)
  4. Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam (Dil Tera Deewana – 1960)
  5. Dum Dum Diga Diga (Chhalia -1960)
  6. O Sajna Barkha Bahar Aayi (Parakh -1960)
  7. Rim Jhim Ke Tarane (Kala Bazaar – 1960)
  8. Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi (Barsaat Ki Raat – 1960)
  9. Chhup Gaye Saade Nazare (Do Raaste – 1969)
  10. Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke (Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke – 1969)
  11. Ang Lag Ja Balma (Mera Naam Joker – 1970)
  12. Haye Re Haye (Humjoli – 1970)
  13. Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (Ajnabi – 1972)
  14. Paani Re Paani (Shor – 1972)
  15. Haye Haye Yeh Majboori (Roti Kapada Aur Makaan – 1974)
Rajesh Khanna Zeenat Aman Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein

Rajesh Khanna cuddles Zeenat Aman to keep warm in the spicy rain song “Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein” in Ajnabi (1974).

And there you have it, the 15 best classic Bollywood rain songs over the ages! What are YOUR favorite rain songs from classic Bollywood–and tell us how they’ve influenced your own love stories!

– Mrs. 55

Aap Ki Nazaron Ne Samjha Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

A musical match for the ages: Lata Mangeshkar and Madan Mohan

The collaboration between Lata Mangeshkar and Madan Mohan has produced some of the most cherished songs in the musical history of Hindi cinema. Think of gems such as  “lag jaa gale,” “nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim,” or “tu jahaa.n jahaa.n chalegaa,” to name a few. Today, I’m going to share the lyrics and translation for a ghazal from Anpadh (1962) that is widely considered to be one of this duo’s finest: “aap kii nazaro.n ne samjhaa.” Penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, the lyrics of this song are an equal match for the beauty of the musical composition and rendering. The beauty of the lyrics, however, is perhaps best appreciated once you can get over the whole slave-master dynamic that is going on as Mala Sinha sings to Dharmendra in the film. Although I admit that it is bizarre to refer to your lover as “banda-parvar” (master, lord), it is important to remember that these lyrics were written for the society of 1960s India: gender norms from that era differ dramtically from those established in modern times. At this time, the ideal Indian woman was expected to be submissive to her husband, and this sentiment is reflected in many songs like this one from the period.

An interesting piece of trivia: after the ghazals from Anpadh were released, it is said that composer Naushad supposedly told Madan Mohan that he would trade all of his own compositions for this one song! Although Madan Mohan rarely got his due from audiences back then, it’s nice to hear that his fellow music directors recognized his talent.

-Mr. 55

P.S. Please, for my sake, go to YouTube and give a thumbs-down to Bally Sagoo’s atrocious remix of this song. I don’t understand how these people sleep at night after they ruin the classics (seriously, how did they just change the taal here from 7-beat rupak to 8-beat kaharvaa?)

Mala Sinha expresses her devotion to the handsome Dharmendra in Anpadh (1962)

Aap Ki Nazaron Ne Samjha Lyrics and Translation

aap kii nazaro.n ne samjhaa pyaar ke qaabil mujhe
Your glances deemed me worthy of love.
dil kii ai dhaDkan Thahar jaa, mil gayii manzil mujhe
Oh stop, my heartbeats, for I have found my destination.

jii hame.n manzuur hai, aap kaa yeh faislaa
Yes, this decision of yours is acceptable to me.
kah rahii hai har nazar, bandaa parvar shukriyaa
My every glance is saying, “Thank you, oh lord!”
ha.nske apnii zindagii me.n, kar liyaa shaamil mujhe
As you brought me into your life with a smile. 

aap kii manzil huu.n mai.n, aur merii manzil aap hai.n
I am your destination, and you are mine.

kyo.n mai.n tuufaa.n se Daruu.n? meraa saahil aap hai.n
Why shall I fear the storm? You are my shore.
koii tuufaa.no.n se kah de, mil gayaa saahil mujhe
Someone tell the storms that I have found my shore.

paD gayii.n dil par mere aap ki parchhaaiiyaa.n
Your shadows have cast upon my heart.
har taraf bajne lagii.n saikDo.n shahnaaiiyaa.n
In every direction, hundreds of shahnaiis are playing in celebration
do jahaa.n kii aaj khushiyaa.n, ho gayii.n haasil mujhe
Today, I have enjoyed the happiness of both worlds.

aap kii nazaro.n ne samjhaa pyaar ke qaabil mujhe
Your glances deemed me worthy of love.

Glossary

nazar: glance; qaabil: worthy; manzil: destination; manzuur: acceptable; faislaa: decision; bandaa parvar: master, lord; haasil: achieved, obtained; saahil: shore; parchhaaiiyaa.n: shadows; saikDo.n: hundreds; shahnaaiiyaa.n: traditional Indian instrument resembling a clarinet (associated with weddings); shaamil: present.

Woh Hanske Mile Humse Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Although Asha Bhonsle is perhaps most well-known for her seductive and playful songs (see our translation of “raat akelii hai” here), she was a truly versatile artist who had an excellent command over a range of styles and emotions. When she is in a serious mood, Asha can really tug at your heartstrings with her sad singing. Think “ab ke baras bhej bhaiyya ko babul” from Bandini (1963), “yeh kyaa jagah hai dosto” from Umrao Jaan (1981), or “meraa kuch saamaan” from Ijaazat (1987).  Here, I’ve translated a short yet painfully beautiful Asha solo from Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966) called woh hanske mile humse.”

Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi was released posthumuously under Guru Dutt’s film banner after Guru Dutt’s demise in 1964. The film was not even complete half-way before Guru Dutt’s death, so the film was shot again with a new director Shahid Lateef and new hero Dharmendra. Although the movie itself lacks the magic found in older Guru Dutt films, O.P. Nayyar’s soundtrack for the movie is still remembered today, most notably the Rafi number “aap ke hasiin rukh pe aaj nayaa nur hai.”

Mala Sinha in a melancholic mood in Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966)

The movie’s plot focuses on a love triangle: handsome young news reporter Jitendra (played by Dharmendra) falls in love with the bubbly Sunita (played by Tanuja) while Sunita’s older sister and head of the newspaper Amita (played by Mala Sinha) eventually becomes smitten by Jitendra. Before Amita decides to reveal her feelings to him, she finds out that Jitendra is actually in love with  Sunita. Although she is devastated by this news, she decides to back away for the sake of her sister’s happiness.  Here’s where the song I’ve translated comes in. Backed by Asha’s painstricken vocals and S.H Bihari’s simply crafted lyrics, Amita laments how she misinterpreted Jitendra’s actions to think that he was in love with her when that was not the case (“bekaar hii ulfat kaa izhaar samajh baiThe”). Sigh…

I think this song will strike a chord with those of you who have suffered through a romantic misunderstanding–it certainly did with me.

-Mr. 55

Woh Hanske Mile Humse Lyrics and Translation

woh ha.nske mile ham se, ham pyaar samajh baiThe
He smiled at me when we met, so I thought that he loved me.
bekaar hii ulfat kaa izhaar samajh baiThe
I interpreted it, in vain, as a declaration of love.

aisii to na thii qismat apnaa bhii koii hotaa
It was not in my fate to call someone my own.
kyo.n khud ko muhabbat kaa haqdaar samajh baiThe?
Why did I consider myself entitled to his love? 

roye.n to bhalaa kaise, khole.n to zabaa.n kyo.n kar?
How shall I cry, why should I speak?

Darte hai.n ki jaane kyaa sansaar samajh baiThe.
I fear what society has perceived of this. 

woh ha.nske mile ham se, ham pyaar samajh baiThe
He smiled at me when we met, so I thought that he loved me. 

Glossary

bekaar: useless, in vain; ulfat: love; izhaar: declaration; qismat: fate, destiny; haqdaar: entitled; zabaa.n kholna: to speak; sansaar: society 

Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

SD

Sunil Dutt sings about the pain of heartbreak at the piano in Gumraah (1963)

In my opinion, I think one of the best parts about being a fan of old Hindi music is that it gives you a fun opportunity to brush up on your Urdu-Hindi language skills. From time to time, Mrs. 55 and I have decided that we will share some of our favorite song lyrics here and provide a glossary and translation so that everyone can follow along!

Our first song is “chalo ek baar phir se,” which is an absolute gem from the 1963 film Gumraah directed by B.R. Chopra. Arguably the best song of his career, this composition was rendered by Mahendra Kapoor, an excellent singer who ultimately carved a niche for himself in the industry after emerging from his initial fame as a Mohammed Rafi clone. The real star here, though, is Sahir Ludhianvi, who was truly one of the most gifted poets that has ever written for Hindi cinema. Known for his cynicism and disillusionment with society, Sahir Ludhianvi wrote lyrics that reflect a great deal of emotional complexity and maturity. In contrast to his contemporaries, Ludhianvi chose to remain unhindered by the constraints set by the prototypical Bollywood love song; many of his songs are refreshing to hear for their expression of biting political satire, heartfelt grief, or outspoken anger.

Sahir Ludhianvi, poet (1921-1980)

In “chalo ek baar phir se” Ludhianvi writes about a situation in which unfortunate societal circumstances prevent two lovers from fulfilling their romantic desires and building a life together. Supposedly, Ludhianvi was inspired to write this song when he encountered an ex-lover of his at a party with her new husband. The encounter must have been incredibly painful for him because these lyrics are devoid of the typical romanticizations of pyar and muhabbat that are often found in songs from this period. Instead of praising love as an ideal, the protagonist of the song suggests that he and his lover should return to becoming strangers because the emotional separation will make it easier for both of them to heal from their pain. The last stanza of the song is especially powerful: the protagonist posits that it is counter-productive to invest energy into doomed romantic relationships when they have become a burden. Ludhianvi’s words here suggest that it is sometimes in everyone’s best interests to put an early end to the love stories that simply cannot have happy conclusions. His eloquence and nuanced use of language to express the pain of unfulfilled love is sublime, and this type of  poetic talent is sorely missed in the Bollywood industry today.  For those of you who haven’t heard this song yet, it’s definitely worth a listen. If you follow along with the glossary below, I’m sure you’ll learn a couple new words that will impress ALL your Urdu-speaking friends (yes, all 2 of them).

SD

Sunil Dutt masks his internal anguish with a coy smile in Gumraah (1963)

Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Lyrics and Translation:

chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabii ban jaaye.n ham dono.n
Come, let us become strangers once again.

na mai.n tumse koii ummiid rakhuu.n dilnavaazii kii
I shall no longer maintain hopes of compassion from you
na tum merii taraf dekho ghalat andaaz nazaro.n se
Nor shall you gaze at me with your deceptive glances. 
na mere dil ki dhaDkan laDkhaDaaye merii baato.n me.n
My heart shall no longer tremble when I speak, 
na zaahir ho tumhaari kashm-kash ka raaz nazaro.n se
Nor shall your glances reveal the secret of your torment.

tumhe.n bhii koii uljhan roktii hai pesh-qadmii se
Complications prevent you from advancing further,
mujhe bhii log kahte hai.n ki yeh jalve paraaye hai.n
I too am told that I wear disguises. 
mere hamraah bhi rusvaayiaa.n hai.n mere maazii kii
The disgraces of my past are now my companions,
tumhaare saath bhii guzrii huii raato.n ke saaye hai.n
while the shadows of bygone nights are with you too.

taarruf rog ho jaaye to usko bhuulnaa bahtar
Should knowing one another become a disease, then it is best to forget it. 
taalluq
bojh ban jaaye to usko toDnaa achhaa
Should a relationship become a burden, then it is best to end it. 
voh afsaana jise anjaam tak laanaa na ho mumkin
For that tale which cannot culminate in a conclusion,
use ek khuubsuurat moD de kar chhoDna achhaa
it is best to give it a beautiful turn and leave it be.

chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabii ban jaaye.n ham dono.n
Come, let us become strangers once again. 

Glossary:

ajnabii: stranger; ummiid: hope; dilnavaazii: compassion; ghalat andaaz nazar: deceptive glance; laDkhaDaanaa: to tremble; zaahir: noticeable; kashm-kash: torment, struggle; uljhan: complication; pesh-qadmii karna: to advance; paraayaa jalva: disguise; hamraah: companion; rusvaa: disgrace; maazii: the past; taarruf: mutual acquaintance, knowledge of one another; rog: disease, afflication; taalluq: relationship; afsaanaa: tale; anjaam: conclusion; mumkin: possible; khuubsuurat: beautiful; moD; turn. 

SD

The expressions on the faces of Sunil Dutt, Mala Sinha, and Ashok Kumar  reflect the pervading tension of this situation from Gumraah (1963).