Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Manoj Kumar as Bhagat Singh in Shaheed 1965

Manoj Kumar shines as the revolutionist Bhagat Singh who was executed by the British in Shaheed (1965).

In honor of India’s 70th Independence Day celebrations, today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna.” An Urdu ghazal written in 1921 by Bismal Azimabadi, “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna” became a battle cry of freedom fighters through the 1940s. The poem was adapted for the film Shaheed (1965) starring Manoj Kumar about the life of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Known popularly as Mr. Bharat, Manoj Kumar would go on to make a name for himself glorifying the traditional Indian way of life in other patriotic films like Upkar (1967) and Purab Aur Paschim (1970). In Shaheed, Manoj Kumar settles comfortably into his niche, earning the Best Feature Film award.

Revolutionist Ram Prasad Bismil is sometimes incorrectly attributed with having written the ghazal himself, made more confusing by being a writer himself and sharing part of his name with the real poet. Nonetheless, Bismil, along with many other freedom fighters, helped spread the poem’s popularity.

Prem Chopra as Sukhdev in Shaheed 1965

Prem Chopra breaks from his typecast as the urbane villain to portray freedom fighter Sukhdev Thapur in Shaheed (1965).

In Shaheed, “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamannaa” is sung by Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Rajendra Mehta who lend their voices to the characters of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapur, and Shivaram Rajguru, who were hung for their roles in the Lahore Conspiracy case in 1929. Rich in Urdu ornamentation, “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamannaa” highlights the fighters willingness to die for their country while awaiting execution. The poem describes the gentle, courageous nature of the revolutionists who are proud to rise to the occasion demanded of them by history.

We hope you enjoy the lyrics and English translation of the elegiac ghazal “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna” below. Follow along here with the music video from the film, and for the Urdu-inclined, the complete original poem can be found here!

Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna Lyrics and Translation:

Ek se kartaa nahii.N kyuu.N duusraa kuchh baat-chiit?
Why does no one make conversation with others?
Dekhtaa huu.N mai.N jise woh chhup terii mehfil mei.N hai
Whomever I see is silent in your company
Woh chhup terii mehfil mei.N hai…
They are silent in your company

Sarfaroshii kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mei.N hai
The desire to sacrifice is now in my heart
Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatl mei.N hai
I shall see how much strength is in the arms of my assassin

Waqt aane par bataa de.Nge tujhe, O aasmaan
I will tell you when the time comes, O sky
Hum abhii se kyaa bataaye.N kyaa hamaare dil mei.N hai?
What can I tell you now of what is in my heart?
Kyaa humaare dil mei.N hai…
What is in my heart…
Sarfaroshii kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mei.N hai
The desire to sacrifice is now in my heart

Khai.Nch kar laayii hai sab ko qatl hone kii ummiid
Everyone has been pulled here by the hope of becoming killed
Aashiqo.N kaa aaj jamghaT kuuchaa-e qaatl mei.N hai
A congregation of lovers is in the street of their murderers today
Kuuchaa-e qaatl mei.N hai
They are in the street of their murderers
Sarfaroshii kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mei.N hai
The desire to sacrifice is now in my heart

Glossary:

baat-chiit karnaa: to make conversation, chit-chat; chhup: silent; mehfil: company, gathering; sarfaroshii: sacrifice [literally: cutting of the head]; tamannaa: desire; dil: heart; zor: strength; baazuu: arms; qaatl: murderer, assassin; waqt: time; aasmaan: sky; khai.Nchnaa: to pull; ummiid: hope; aashiq: lover; aaj: today; jamghat: congregation; kuuchaa: street

It would be remiss to discuss this beautiful Urdu poem and its meaning for Indian independence without an inclusion of its equally profound legacy in Pakistan. Let us never forget that the movements that would eventually separate Pakistan and India during the partition were once far weaker than the hopes that united Hindu and Muslim freedom fighters in brotherhood against the British Raj. The dark shadow of partition that marred the celebration of Independence for thousands in the summer of 1947 is a subject close to my heart that I discuss more here along with the tragic decline of Urdu in Bollywood films.

The real Bhagat Singh who lived from 1907 to 1931 (left), Manoj Kumar in the film Shaheed from 1965 (middle), and Shammi Kapoor (right) in the film Shaheed Bhagat Singh from 1963.

The real Bhagat Singh who lived from 1907 until his execution in 1931 (left), Manoj Kumar in the film Shaheed from 1965 (middle), and Shammi Kapoor (right) in the film Shaheed Bhagat Singh from 1963.

“Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna” was also adapted for the more recent film The Legend of Bhagat Singh starring Ajay Devgan (2002). A charismatic young man whose terroristic methods clashed with the non-violence advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh has been the subject of numerous Bollywood films, including a portrayal by Shammi Kapoor in Shaheed Bhagat Singh (1963) and Sunny Deol in 23 March 1931: Shaheed (2002).

In Gandhi’s own words upon Bhagat Singh and his associates’ executions: “These heroes had conquered the fear of death. Let us bow to them a thousand times for their heroism. But we should not imitate their act. In our land of millions of destitute and crippled people, if we take to the practice of seeking justice through murder, there will be a terrifying situation. Our poor people will become victims of our atrocities. By making a dharma of violence, we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions. Hence, though we praise the courage of these brave men, we should never countenance their activities. Our dharma is to swallow our anger, abide by the discipline of non-violence and carry out our duty.”

As we celebrate our freedoms today, we reflect on these moral dilemmas faced by the oppressed whose sacrifices spared us from knowing them.

-Mrs. 55

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Naina Barse Rimjhim Rimjhim Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Sadhana

Sadhana excels in her role as the mysterious femme fatale of Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

Happy Halloween to our readers! What better way to celebrate with a classic ghost song featuring Lata Mangeshkar’s spooky vocals, Sadhana’s haunting beauty, and Madan Mohan’s soul-stirring composition? In the spirit of Halloween, we are sharing the lyrics and English translation to nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim from Raj Khosla’s suspense thriller Woh Kaun Thi? (1964).

In a previous post, we have discussed how Woh Kaun Thi? is the quintessential example of film noir being adapted for vintage Hindi cinema.  In this film, Dr. Anand (Manoj Kumar) encounters a mysterious woman (Sadhana) on a stormy night and offers to give her a ride in his car. After she makes a strange request to be dropped off at a local cemetery, he hears this woman sing the first part of nainaa barse – a song that continues to haunt him at various points throughout the film. Later in the movie, Dr. Anand is called to see a patient in an old mansion that is rumored to be haunted. When he arrives at this mansion, the patient has already died and she appears to be the same woman that he encountered on the stormy night. In an even more strange turn of events, Dr. Anand’s fiancee is murdered suddenly by a cyanide injection. To alleviate his grief and loneliness, Dr. Anand is set up by his mother to his marry a new woman named Sandhya. Much to his surprise, Dr. Anand finds on his wedding night that his new wife looks exactly like the supposedly dead woman he gave a ride to in the film’s opening scene! Like Dr. Anand, the audience is left confused as they grapple with the film’s eponymous question: Woh kaun thi? Who was she?

Throughout her career, Lata Mangeshkar earned a reputation for her haunting renditions of ghost songs in films. Some of her most influential and beautiful hits are used as ghost songs in their respective movies: aayegaa aanevaalaa from Mahal (1949), tuu jahaa.n jahaa.n chalegaa from Mera Saaya (1966), kahii.n diip jale kahii.n dil from Bees Saal Baad (1962), and gumnaam hai koii from Gumnaam (1965). In an interview for her 80th birthday, the melody queen humorously remarks about her career: mai.n ne sab se zyaadaa gaanaa gaaye hai.n bhuuto.n ke (I have sung the most songs for ghosts!).

An interesting and apt anecdote: when this song was being filmed in Kufri (near Shimla), Lata had not yet had the opportunity to record the song in the studio. Much to the surprise of the crowd that had gathered to watch the filming, actress Sadhana shot her scenes by lip-syncing to a version of this song rendered by music director Madan Mohan himself – perhaps a bit creepy but also a rare treat!

Did you know that Woh Kaun Thi? was inspired by a British play called The Woman In White (1859) written by Wilkie Collins? Raj Khosla’s mentor Guru Dutt had attempted to create a film based on the same story a few years earlier in 1959. He abandoned this project entitled Raaz in which he was supposed to play the male lead while Waheeda Rehman played the female lead. Interestingly, this film was supposed to have been R.D. Burman’s debut as a solo music director.

-Mr. 55
MK

Manoj Kumar plays a confused doctor who is recurrently haunted by a mysterious woman and her song in Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

Naina Barse Rimjhim Rimjhim (Version 1): Lyrics and Translation

nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim
My eyes shed tears, drop by drop,
piyaa tore aavan kii aas
in hopes of your return, my beloved.
nainaa barse, barse, barse
My eyes shed tears.

yeh laakho.n gham, yeh tanhaayii
Thousands of sorrows and this solitiude
muhabbat kii yeh rusvaayii
are all part of love’s disgrace. 
kaTii aisii kaii raate.n
I have spent several such nights
na tum aaye na maut aayii
where neither you came to me, nor my death. 
yeh bi.ndiyaa kaa taaraa
The star of my beauty spot
jaise ho a.ngaaraa
burns brightly like an ember.
mahandii mere haatho.n kii udaas
Even the henna on my hands is sullen.

nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim
My eyes shed tears, drop by drop,
piyaa tore aavan kii aas
in hopes of your return, my beloved.
nainaa barse, barse, barse
My eyes shed tears.

MK

Manoj Kumar’s restrained and understated performance falls short in comparison to Sadhana’s dynamic portrayal of the leading character in Woh Kaun Thi? (1964).  

Naina Barse Rimjhim Rimjhim (Version 2): Lyrics and Translation

nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim
My eyes shed tears, drop by drop,
piyaa tore aavan kii aas
in hopes of your return, my beloved. 
nainaa barse, barse, barse
My eyes shed tears.

adhuuraa huu.n mai.n afsaanaa
I am an incomplete story. 
jo yaad aauu.n chale aanaa
When you remember me, come back to me. 
meraa jo haal hai tujh bin
The state that I am in without you, 
voh aa kar dekhte jaanaa
come to me and see it for yourself. 
bhiigii bhiigii palke.n
My eyelashes are moist, 
chham-chham aa.nsuu chhalke.n
as my tears drip, sounding like the jingle of an anklet.  
khoyii khoyii aa.nkhe.n hai.n udaas
My eyes are lost and sullen.

nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim
My eyes shed tears, drop by drop,
piyaa tore aavan kii aas
in hopes of your return, my beloved. 
nainaa barse, barse, barse
My eyes shed tears.

Sadhana

Sadhana’s dashing beauty shines against the backdrop of Shimla in the Himalayas in Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

Naina Barse Rimjhim Rimjhim (Version 3): Lyrics and Translation

nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim
My eyes shed tears, drop by drop,
piyaa tore aavan kii aas
in hopes of your return, my beloved.
nainaa barse, barse, barse
My eyes shed tears.

voh din merii nigaaho.n me.n
Those days remain in my eyes. 
voh yaade.n merii aaho.n me.n
Those memories remain in my sighs. 
yeh dil ab tak bhaTaktaa hai
This heart still wanders
terii ulfat kii raaho.n me.n
along the paths of your love. 
suunii suunii raahe.n, sahmii sahmii baahe.n
Along those empty paths, with my nervous arms, 
aan.kho.n me.n hai barso.n kii pyaas
my eyes carry a thirst unslaked for years.

nazar tujh bin machaltii hai
My sight wavers without you. 
muhabbat haath maltii hai
My love repents in desperation. 
chalaa aa mere parvaane
Please come to me, my moth. 
vafaa kii shamaa jaltii hai
The candle of faithfulness still burns brightly. 
o mere hamraahii, phirtii huu.n ghabraayii
Oh, my soulmate! I wander about afraid. 
jahaa.n bhii hai, aa jaa mere paas
Wherever you are, please come to me.

nainaa barse rimjhim rimjhim
My eyes shed tears, drop by drop,
piyaa tore aavan kii aas
in hopes of your return, my beloved. 
nainaa barse, barse, barse
My eyes shed tears.

Glossary

nainaa: eyes; barasnaa: to rain; rimjhim: onomatopoeia for the dripping noise of rain; aavan: return, arrival; aas: hope; adhuuraa: incomplete; afsaanaa: story; haal: state, condition; palak: eyelid, eyelash; chham-chham: onomatopoeia for the jingling noise of an anklet; chhalaknaa: to drip; udaas: sullen, gloomy; tanhaayii: solitude; rusvaayii: disgrace; maut: death; bi.ndiyaa: beauty spot; angaaraa: cinder, ember; mahandii: henna, nigaah: eyes; aah: sigh; sahmaa: nervous; baras: year; pyaas: thirst; nazar: glance, sight; machalnaa: to waver; haath malnaa: to repent; parvaanaa: moth; vafaa: faithfulness; shamaa: candle; hamraahii: soulmate, companion; phirnaa: to wander about; ghabraayaa: afraid.

Sadhana

     Those eyes! 

Hindi Film Songs with Unnecessary English: Fusion Lyrics in Old Bollywood

Saira Banu looks on in disgust as Manoj Kumar ruins classic English songs with Panjabi dhamaka in Purab Aur Paschim (1970).

Saira Banu is disgusted as Manoj Kumar ruins classic English songs with Panjabi dhamaka in Purab Aur Paschim (1970).

Happy Fourth of July from Mr. and Mrs. 55! To honor this occasion, we would like to discuss that well-recognized, unsettling phenomena of classic Bollywood: Hindi film songs with unnecessary English. Yes, I know you just cringed. But recognition is the first step towards healing. Like those t-shirts your aunties used to bring back from the motherland with random English words sprawled across the front, these songs are the ones you tend to hide from your friends. Despite their heroic attempts at glamorous cross-over appeal, these adulterated lyrics explode messily in the face of linguistic purism.

If you thought this was a strictly modern phenomena, prepare to blow your mind. Indian lyricists have been playing this dangerous game since the 1950s! Why, God, why? You may ask. There are many reasons. In some instances, the use of English was directly pertinent to the plot, such as in Laxmi’s portrayal of an Anglo-Indian girl in Julie (1975) or even Shammi Kapoor’s Elvis-esque embodiment of a happening nightclub singer in Chinatown (1962). Yet other times, the English words were gratuitous with no contextual relevance, such as Joy Mukherjee’s boyish declaration of “Japan, love in Tokyo!” (1966). All of them represent a fashionable trend toward westernization, even exoticism to some extent, in Hindi music that evolved over the 50s through 70s. The lyrics reflected back on the changing Indian society and the growing popularity of interspersed English in spoken Hindustani.

One big happy Anglo-Indian family sings "My Heart is Beating" in Julie (1975).

Just another average evening at home for the big happy Anglo-Indian family singing “My Heart is Beating” together in Julie (1975).

I always find it ironic that as I cling to the idealization of the Indian culture glorified by films of the 50s and 60s, when I visit my cousins in India, they find it tiresome to sit through a Rajesh Khanna film (many hardly know who he is!), or insist on speaking English, while I desperately want to practice my Hindi. Ah, the joys of being an American Desi. These songs that straddle two worlds appall me just as much as they identify a crisis I know so well.

So let us celebrate India’s love of English today with our list of fusion lyrics from classic films! Each song on our list gets a verdict: a cheer or a cry.  Should you feel proud busting out these melodies in the shower, or should you try to hide your shame in the dark recesses of your filmi sub-conscious? Find out below! But be forewarned: this exercise was never meant to be done in public. Go home to the safety of a private room, shut all the windows and lock the doors. Some of the lines you are about to hear require a true devotion to classic Bollywood to survive!

15 Classic Hindi Film Songs with Unnecessary English:

1. All Line Clear (Chori Chori 1956)

Verdict: Cry

It’s not for blind enthusiasm that this song is lacking. Johnny Walker parades his family through the metropolis, rolling the ‘r’ like a Spaniard of what sounds way more like “killier” than “clear.” It’s meant to be comic, but it might reduce you to tears.

2. C-A-T, Cat…Cat Maane Billi (Dilli Ka Thug 1958)

Verdict: Cry

The title says it all. Don’t expect Shakespearean poetry from this song, you might do well on your next spelling bee thanks to Kishore Kumar.

3. Bolo Bolo, Kuch To Bolo (Dil Deke Dekho 1958)

Verdict: Cheer

Questionable line: “Pyaar ho to keh do ‘Yes!’ Pyaar nahii.N to keh do ‘No!'” It’s subtle, right? Just enough English to keep the audience on their toes, but not enough to overwhelm anyone. And the song is so catchy, it’s hard to hate.

4. April Fool Banaya (April Fool 1964)

Verdict: Cry

OMG, Saira, stop it. When she screeches “Yooooooooooou eeediot!” I think we all ask ourselves if we were not better off dead. His awkward reply of “Very good!” is as out of place as the hideous shirt on his back.

5. Baar Baar Dekho (China Town 1965)

Verdict: Cheer…and then cry

See, this song walks the line. It’s so catchy and Shammi looks so fly, that you could go through the entire song and not realize any words of English were actually spoken. Oh, but they were. The refrain he struts around to is actually the English fox-hunting cry “Tally ho!” I don’t understand.

6. Japan, Love in Tokyo (Love in Tokyo 1966)

Verdict: Cry

Just warning you, this song WILL get stuck in your head and won’t be released until you sing the refrain out loud in a public forum. The English here is purely gratuitous. First of all, why does he suddenly scream “Japaaaaaaaaan!”? Could there possibly be any confusion in the viewer’s mind about their location? And second, why must he declare there has been “love in Tokyo!” in English of all languages at this point? Who is his real target audience here?

7. An Evening in Paris (An Evening in Paris 1967)

Verdict: Cheer

They were really experimenting in this film. From Asha’s interesting interpretation of the French “Zou Bisou Bisou” to Mohammed Rafi’s inexplicable commemoration of his Parisien adventure in English, “An Evening in Paris” wins by sheer virtue of its kitsch factor. Can it get more exotic than this??

8. Baar Baar Din Yeh Aaye (Farz 1967)

Verdict: Cheer

This song is quintessential and needs no introduction. Of course, we all wish Bollywood had more to offer in terms of great birthday songs (and ones which were not specifically dedicated to women named Sunita), but we’ll take it. Rafi’s cuckoo-like “oh ho!” after each lilting “Happy Birthday to you!” is just one of many reasons why this song should never get played in front of your non-Indian friends.

9. The She I Love (Mohammed Rafi 1969, non-filmi)

Verdict: Cry

I debated a long time whether or not to put this song on this list. It wasn’t because the song is non-filmi, but rather, because my undying love for Mohammed Rafi held me back from sharing this little dark secret of his with the world. But it had to be done. We must learn from history’s mistakes. Sung vaguely to the tune of “Hum Kale Hain to Kya Hua,” this song is sure to kill the mood of any party.

10. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (Purab Paschim 1970)

Verdict: Cheer

This song just wins hands-down. Saira Banu, as the blonde-wig sporting Londoner, takes on dhoti-clad Manoj Kumar in an East-meets-West sing-off of epic proportions. I love how he twists her straight-laced rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” into a completely Panjabi “Twinkle Twinkle Little Sitar” that is actually far more exciting than the original! The total irony, of course, is that when Asha Bhonsle sings the English lines as if she’s a blue-blooded English girl, her Indian accent is so thick, the effect is totally lost (but still kind of loveable).

11. Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Caravan 1971)

Verdict: Cheer

Helen can literally get away with anything. I have zero problem with the pyscho in a toreador costume crying “Monica! O my darling!” from inside a jumbo birdcage.

12. Meri Soni Meri Tamanna (Yaadon Ki Baraat 1973)

Verdict: Cheer…but it’s borderline

This is song so good, it practically kills me that they threw in an English line just for giggles. It makes the whole thing awkward. Why can’t you just say “tumse pyaar hai” instead of “I low you”? Nope, I didn’t misspell. Listen to the line. I sure didn’t hear the ‘v’ in that sentence either.

13. My Heart is Beating (Julie 1975)

Verdict: Cheer

I know, I know. Bear with me here. I too stuck my head under a pillow and cried about the cruel and unusual punishment I was being served when I first heard this song. Part of it is her thick accent, part of it is the ridiculous caricatures of the members of the Anglo-Saxon family they portray. 100% of the lyrics are sung in English, which is a rare thing in classic Bollywood. Julie took fusion lyrics where no lyricist had dared go before. And I’ll be the first to say…it grew on me. It’s actually very melodious! Sure, Preeti Sagar is no Karen Carpenter, but this song did earn her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1975!

14. My Name is Anthony Gonzalves (Amar Akbar Anthony 1977)

Verdict: Cheer

This song theoretically makes some sense in the context of the film. Yes, Anthony Gonzalves was a real guy, and Amitabh Bachhan is supposed to be just another God-fearing Christian at an Easter party. When he starts spewing strings of random English words together, it’s clear he knows he’s just a buffoon trying to look smart and sophisticated to impress the ladies!

15. Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai (Amar Akbar Anthony 1977)

Verdict: Cry

It’s not that I hate this song, in fact, I love it. But I would have never known in a million years that Amitabh Bachhan is supposed to be saying “God promise, ham sach bolaa hai.” Excuse me, ‘God promise’? Who even SAYS that?? I know you’re supposed to be Christian and all that, but seriously, what is happening here.

We know this is a divisive issue in the obscure world of classic cinema and as constant mourners of the loss of Urdu in Hindi films, we want to hear YOUR thoughts! Do you love you a good Hinglish patois or do you cringe and die every time? Have we forgotten any potential gems that deserve a place on our list? Let us know in the comments!

– Mrs. 55

Shokh Nazar Ki Bijliyan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Manoj Kumar Shokh Nazar Ki Woh Kaun Thi ice skating

Looking extra-special in a French beret, Manoj Kumar goes for a spin on the ice in “Woh Kaun Thi” (1964).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation to the playful wintertime number “Shokh Nazar Ki Bijliyaan” in honor of the Winter Olympics 2014 figure skating competition! My life goes on temporary hold when the Winter Olympics rolls around. I always root vehemently for Team USA, especially in my favorite of all Olympic competitions: Women’s Figure Skating! Have you ever asked why India never participates in figure skating? Today’s showcased song “Shokh Nazar Ki Bijliyan” will prove that it’s not because India lacks talent!

After suffering a series of severe shocks as the hero of Woh Kaun Thi? (1964), Manoj Kumar takes a trip to Simla with his co-worker Praveen Chaudhary to forget his woes. Praveen Chaudhary, who is not-so-secretly in love with him, takes the opportunity to seduce her man with a pair of skates in a way no woman had dared before. Enter Bollywood On Ice!

Praveen Chaudhary Manoj Kumar Woh Kaun Thi ice skating

Praveen Chaudhary playfully pushes Manoj Kumar around the Simla Ice Skating Club in Woh Kaun Thi (1964).

After watching her B-grade flirtatious efforts in this song and comparing them to heroine Sadhana’s subtle performance in “Lag Ja Gale” from the same film, it’s easy to discern which lucky lady Manoj Kumar ultimately chooses. To drive the point home, did you further notice how Praveen is wearing a garish “Western” outfit while Sadhana consistently dresses in saaris? Manoj Kumar may be no Evgeni Plushenko, but his moves always seemed to get all the girls!

“Shokh Nazar Ki Bijliyan” was actually picturised on a famous ice-skating rink, the Simla Ice Skating Club, that is still popular in downtown Simla today! In fact, my own father fondly recalls his childhood in Simla, skating at this very rink where evidently they used to blast the gramophone record of Woh Kaun Thi through their speakers so the songs could be heard for miles around! My father also claims that the kid who adorably falls down in the middle of the song is none other than my own uncle, but this has been vehemently rebuked at many a family reunion.

random kids shokh nazar ki bijliyan woh kaun thi ice skating

Kid, if you ever stumble across this blog, write to us! Did you grow up to become a famous cardiothoracic surgeon? Are you a spoken word poet? Do you sell aloo-puri along the roads of Himachal Pradesh? I NEED TO KNOW what happened to you.

But enough chat. Join us in the spirit of the Winter Olympics with a little romantic ice-skating brought to you by Asha Bhonsle and music composer extraordinaire Madan Mohan. Watch the gold medal-worthy performance here, and follow along with our full English translation and lyrics to “Shokh Nazar Ki Bijliyaan” below!

Shokh Nazar Ki Bijliyaan Lyrics and English Translation:

Shokh nazar ki bijliyaa.N dil pe mere giraaye jaa
Let the lightening bolts of your mischievous glances fall upon my heart
Meraa na kuch khayaal kar, tu yuu.N hii muskuraaye jaa
Do not worry about me, you keep on smiling

Jaag uThii hai aarzuu jaise chiraagh jal paDe
My desire has arisen as if a lamp has been lit
Ab to wafaa ki raah pe hum tere saath chal paDe
Now I have stumbled upon the path of loyalty with you
Chaahe ha.Nsaaye jaa hame.N, chaahe hume.N rulaaye jaa
If you want, you can keep making me laugh or you can keep making me cry

Chain kahii.N kisii ghaDii aaye na tere bin mujhe
Without you, I find no peace anywhere at any moment
Kaash mai.N is jahaa.N se chhiin luu.N ek din tujhe
If only I could steal you away from this world one day
Main tere saath saath hoon, chahe nazar bachaaye jaa
I am by your side, even if you keep avoiding eye contact

Manzil-e ishq duur hai, duur hi bahut duur hai
The destination of our love is far away, very far away
Aa meraa haath thaam le, ruuh thakan se chuur hai
Come, take my hand, my spirit is broken by fatigue
Apne jahaa.N ko chhoD kar, mere jahaa.N pe chaaye jaa
Leave your world, and keep staying in mine

Glossary:

shokh: mischievous, playful; nazar: glance, eyes; bijli: lightening; dil: heart; giraanaa: to let fall; khayaal: thought: yuu.N hii: in this manner, like this; muskuraanaa: to smile; jaag uThnaa: to wake up, to arise; aarzuu: desire; chiraagh: lamp, flame; wafaa: loyalty, faith; raah: path; [kisii ke] saath: by [someone’s] side, together; ha.Nsaanaa: to make laught; rulaanaa: to make cry; chain: peace of mind; ghaDii: moment; kaash: if only; jahaa.N: world; ek din: one day; manzil: destination; ishq: love; duur: far away; haath thaamnaa: to take [someone’s] hand; ruuh: spirit, soul; thakan: exhaustion; chuur: broken

mrs 55 ice skating rockefeller center nyc

Practicing my triple Lutz at the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink in New York City!

ice skatin grockefeller center

Me and some of my roommates (soon to be bridesmaids!), holding up ice skating rink traffic.

You may notice that there’s a discrepancy between the lyrics of the version you see in the video and the ones you may hear on your audio version. Each one has a different second stanza! This comes back to an old sore point I’ve made before about how record companies short-changed Hindi film songs when making the final LP!

-Mrs. 55

Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Manoj Kumar Purab Paschim

Manoj Kumar plays the righteous Mr. Bharat wooing a wayward Westernized girl in Purab Aur Paschim (1970).

We now present the lyrics and English translation to the haunting love song “Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday” from Manoj Kumar’s cult classic Purab Aur Paschim (1970). The film was one of many patriotic hits by Manoj Kumar that etched his niche as a fighter of Indian values on screen that no other producer or actor could replace. Shot with an entirely overt pro-India agenda that is really more endearing than offensive, Purab Aur Paschim rides on the righteousness of traditional values over the decay and corruption of societies lost to drugs, sex, and disregard for elders. It’s the anti-thesis to Orientalism–a vibrant, exotic lens coloured by everything India wanted to believe existed in the wild, wild West. It’s a film that only Manoj Kumar in his quiet Nehru coats, quivering upper lip, and a sincere belief in the Indian way of life could truly pull off. While the exaggerations of  London decadence may seem heavy-handed at times, there’s a real heart in this film that will win you over. See our translation of “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” for more!

“Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday” is a haunting Mukesh solo that stands wonderfully alone without fancy back-up music or elaborate picturization. From the plucking of strings that mark its opening to the quietly fading finale, his song has a unique power. Plus, keeping in line with the extremist traditionalism, how often will you find hardcore Sanskrit-based Hindi films in lyrics like “hriday” or “kanwal“?!

All that said, you can’t ignore that the lyrics are borderline groveling–they are sung by a traditional Mr. Bharat who finds himself in “modern” London and unused to the fast and easy ways of the West. Manoj Kumar falls hard for smoking playgirl Saira Banu–blonde wig, miniskirt, and all–to the point that he proclaims he will wait for her until the end to reciprocate after her other lovers grow tired of her. Is this truly what the perfect Indian man is supposed to be? My former Urdu professor used to have a really negative reaction to Manoj Kumar putting up with a girl like that–and found it pathetic he accepted she had so many other men in her life! Is he really pathetic or just blindly in love? Perhaps Manoj Kumar is simply trying to express that the unconditional love and devotion of the Indian way of life will outlast the fickle West shifting back and forth from empty pleasure to pleasure.

Saira Banu Purab Paschim

Saira Banu feigns nonchalance with her painfully fake blonde bouffant in Purab Aur Paschim (1970).

But say what you want about the lyrics, the melody is beautiful and Mukesh’s rendition is filled with emotion that I adore every time. Enjoy our English translation and lyrics to “Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday” below! Follow along here on youtube and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday Lyrics and Translation

Koi jab tumhaaraa hriday toD de
When someone breaks your heart
Tadaptaa huaa jab koii chhoD de
When someone leaves you in suffering
Tab tum mere paas aanaa priye
Then come to me, beloved
Meraa dar khulaa hai, khulaa hii rahegaa tumhaare liye
My door is open, and will always remain open for you
Koi jab tumhaaraa hriday toD de
When someone breaks your heart

Abhii tumko merii zaruurat nahii.N
At the moment you do not need someone like me
Bahut chaahanewaale mil jaaye.nge
You will meet many people who fall in love with you
Abhii ruup ka ek saagar ho tum
For now you are an ocean of beauty
Kanwal jitne chaahoge khil jaaye.Nge
As many lotuses as you desire will bloom for you
Darpan tumhe jab Daraane lage
When your own image in the mirror starts to scare you
Jawaanii bhi daaman chuDaane lage
When your youth begins to leave you
Tab tum mere paas aanaa priye
Then you will come to me, beloved
Meraa sar jhukaa hai, jhukaa hii rahegaa tumhaare liye
My head is bowed to you, and will always bow to you
Koi jab tumhaaraa hriday toD de
When someone breaks your heart

Koii shart hotii nahii.N pyaar mei.N
There are no conditions in love
Magar pyaar sharto.N pe tum ne kiyaa
But your love is based on conditions
Nazar mei.N sitaare jo chamake zaraa
Those stars in your eyes that glittered for a while
Bujhaane lagii aartii ka diiyaa
They have begun to extinguish the candles of devotion
Jab apnii nazar mei.N hii girne lago
When that image of yourself falls in your own esteem
Andhero.N mei.N apne hii ghirne lago
When your own darkness starts to surround you
Tab tum mere paas aanaa priye
Then you will come to me, beloved
Yeh deepak jalaa hai, jalaa hii rahegaa tumhaare liye
This light is burning, it will always remain burning for you

Koi jab tumhaaraa hriday toD de
When someone breaks your heart
Tadaptaa huaa jab koii chhoD de
When someone leaves you in suffering
Tab tum mere paas aanaa priye
Then come to me, beloved
Meraa dar khulaa hai, khulaa hii rahegaa tumhaare liye
My door is open, and will always remain open for you
Koi jab tumhaaraa hriday toD de
When someone breaks your heart

Glossary

hriday: heart, liver; priya: beloved; dar: door; zaruurat: need; ruup: beauty, saagar: ocean; kanwal: lotus; Darpan: mirror; Daraane: to scare; jawaanii: youth; sar jhuknaa: to bow your head; shart: condition; sitaaraa: star; chamaknaa: to sparkle, to glitter; aartii: a common Hindu devotional prayer; diiyaa: small clay candle; girnaa: to fall; ghirnaa: to cloud, to surround; andheraa: darkness; deepak: light

Note: Take careful note of the use of the verbs ghirnaa and girnaa that are found side-by-side in these lyrics. They sound extremely similar but mean different things!

Saira Banu reformed Purab Paschim

Yes, surprise surprise, Saira Banu reforms her wicked Western ways by the end of the film and bursts into a beautiful Lata rendition of aarti back in the motherland. Oh, looks like you forgot to remove and burn that blonde wig. Woops.

Did you know this song was actually filmed at Oxford University? Watch the video carefully–the trimmed lawns and elegantly gated deer are from none other than Magdalen college! I only wonder what all the hip 60s British college students must have been thinking as they watched the filming take place…

-Mrs. 55

Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Nanda runs in two directions at once, coming and leaving, in “Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hai” from Shor (1972).

We next present the lyrics and full English translation to the eternal love ode “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” from Shor (1972). What makes “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma” so timeless? It is on everyone’s list of favorites. Part of it is that the lyrics are some of the best poetry written in accessible language (don’t get me wrong, personally if someone wants to burst into the Urdu-textbook “Mere Mehboob Tujhe,” I’m down for that too!). “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma” is rendered with almost magical emotion by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh–simultaneously a song of dream-like ecstasy and of tender nostalgia. It’s incomparable. The song speaks to a deep love between two souls undergoing hardship, to cherishing those brief precious moments spent together in happiness, and most of all, to remaining hopeful. The song is simple and evocative–and one of the most beautiful you’ll ever hear.

Manoj Kumar picturizes the famous violin introduction to “Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma” at a family beach outing.

Arriving about midway through the politcally-charged film, Shor, the song is partly told in golden-hued flashback of a family trip to the beach. Manoj Kumar plays a hard-luck activist and single father who’s wife, Nanda, is killed in a train accident.

Now some of you may at first be confused, if not disturbed, by Manoj Kumar’s radical cinematography in this sequence, typical of his edgy style. He experiments with several epigenetic, if you will, modifications at once that create an entirely signature effect: slow-motion, still photography inserts, split mirror screens. It was the 70s, and it was the time to experiment–and he’s one of the few Indian directors who did indeed drizzle these new techniques into his big screen productions. It’s unexpected, but upon closer analysis, I’ll argue works brilliantly. Manoj Kumar is no fool. To picturize a song about ephermal bliss, of prolonging a brief moment–he actually freeze frames his film to highlight the transience and importance of memory. His split frames, showing Nanda walking in and out of the center of the screen, of two halves of the beach merging, capture the duality of life that the lyrics speak of. In context, these techniques actually bring together the reflective themes of the film itself and of the love shared between its protagonists. For it, Manoj Kumar won the Filmfare Award Best Editing in 1972!

Nanda’s own reflection stares back at her as a symbolic representation of past and future in Manoj Kumar’s radical cinematography of Shor (1972).

So follow along below with our English translation of this lovely ode to carpe diem and unconditional devotion, “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” and watch the youtube version here!

Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hai Lyrics and Translation

Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai
Life is a tale of love
Maujo.N kii ravaani hai
Life is the flowing of waves
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story

Kuch paakar khonaa hai
In gaining something, we lose something
Kuch khokar paanaa hai
In losing something, we gain something
Jeevan ka matlab to aanaa aur jaanaa hai
The meaning of life is to come and to go
Do pal ke jeevan se, ek umr churaani hai
From a few moments of existence, we must steal a whole lifetime
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story
Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai…
Life is a tale of love…

Tu dhaar hai nadiyaa kii
You are the waters of a river
Mai.N teraa kinaaraa hoo.N
I am your shore
Tu meraa sahaaraa hai, mai.N teraa sahaaraa hoo.N
You are my support, I am your support
Aankho.N mei.N samandar hai, aashaao.N ka paanii hai
In my eyes is an ocean, it contains the water of hopes
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story
Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai…
Life is a tale of love…

Toofaan to aanaa hai
Storms will come
Aakar chale jaanaa hai
But in the end, they will pass
Baadal hai yeh kuch pal kaa, chhaakar dhal jaanaa hai
These clouds are only momentary, after rising they will diminish
Parachhaaiiyaa.N reh jaatii, reh jaatii nishaanii hai
But these shadows remain, these symbols of you remain
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story
Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai…
Life is a tale of love…

Glossary:

naghma: tale, ravaani: flowing, turning; zindagi: life; kahaanii: story; matlab: meaning; umr: age, lifetime, dhaar: water; nadiyaa: river; kinaaraa: shore; sahaaraa: support; samandar: ocean; aashaa: hope, wish; paanii: water; toofaan: storm; baadal: cloud; parchaaii: shadow; nishaanii: symbol, sign

Manoj Kumar remembers his dead wife and the love she left behind in Shor (1972).

The film, as in many Manoj Kumar patriotic hits, ends on a defiantly tragic note. Like Shaheed (1965), in which he is martyred with pride, or Upkar (1967) in which he loses his limbs for the glorious cause, in Shor too, Manoj Kumar becomes deaf–a poetic price for his son to gain back his lost voice. The film is a must-see for many reasons, if only to complete your understanding of the role Manoj Kumar played in Bollywood and defining the political tensions of his era. Although Manoj Kumar can no longer hear his late wife sing “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” to him, and from now on will no longer be able to hear his son, he remains hopeful and comforted by memories of the moments he once spent in happiness.

– Mrs. 55

Lag Ja Gale Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Maybe only a hardcore fanatic like me would know this, but today (September 28th) is Lata Mangeshkar’s birthday! Mrs 55 and I would like to wish our favorite melody queen many happy returns of the day as she turns 83 years young.

Lata Mangeshkar (1929- )

Given this special occasion, I have decided to share one of my all-time favorite songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar: lag jaa gale from Raj Khosla’s classic film noir Woh Kaun Thi? (1964). I am often asked to name my favorite Lata song, but I find this request to be challenging because there are simply too many gems to narrow it down to one choice. Instead, I feel compelled to produce a list and I can say that this song consistently makes my top ten compilation of personal favorites rendered by India’s beloved nightingale.

Sadhana displays an ethereal beauty in Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

Penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan and composed by Madan Mohan, this song has been immortalized as a veritable gem of the Hindi film music industry. Through an expression of carpe diem philosophy, these lyrics encourage listeners to live in the moment and cherish their loved ones now before the opportunity escapes in the future. The beautiful simplicity of these lyrics is enhanced by a sublime melody crafted by Madan Mohan–one of his career’s finest. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice is also at its heavenly best here, and her flawless rendition takes this song to the next level. It is certainly no mystery why this song has survived the test of time as one of Bollywood’s most cherished musical numbers. As you follow along with our translation and glossary below, I hope that you enjoy this masterpiece whose beauty has brought joy to countless listeners (myself included!) over the years.

-Mr. 55

Lag Ja Gale: Lyrics and Translation

lag jaa gale ki phir yah hasii.n raat ho na ho
Embrace me, for this beautiful night may come no more. 
shayad phir is janam me.n mulaaqaat ho na ho
Perhaps, in this life, we may never meet again.

ham ko milii hai.n aaj ye ghaDiyaa.n nasiib se
We are fortunate to share these moments today.
jii bhar ke dekh liijiye ham ko qariib se
Wholeheartedly take a look at me from up close,
phir aap ke nasiib me.n yah baat ho na ho
As your fate may never hold this opportunity again.
shayad phir is janam me.n mulaaqaat ho na ho
Perhaps, in this life, we may never meet again. 

paas aaiye ki ham nahii.n aaye.nge baar baar
Come close to me, for I will not return again and again.
baahe.n gale me.n Daal ke ham ro le.n zaar-zaar
Wrapping my arms around your neck, I will continue to weep. 
aa.nkho.n se phir yah pyaar kii barsaat ho na ho
My eyes may never shed such a storm of love again. 
shayad phir is janam me.n mulaaqaat ho na ho
Perhaps, in this life, we may never meet again.

lag jaa gale ki phir yah hasii.n raat ho na ho
Embrace me, for this beautiful night may come no more. 

Glossary

gale lag jaanaa: to embrace; hasii.n: beautiful; janam: birth, life; mulaaqaat: meeting;  ghaDiyaa.n: moments; nasiib se: fortunately; nasiib: fate, destiny; jii bhar ke: wholeheartedly; qariib se: up close; baahe.n: arms; galaa: neck; zaar-zaar ro lenaa: to weep continuously; barsaat: storm.

Sadhana enchants Manoj Kumar with her mysterious allure in Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)