Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

dilip-kumar-singing-madhuban-mein-kohinoor

Dilip Kumar plays a swashbuckling raja who knows how to carry a tune in Kohinoor (1960).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation to the semi-classical “Madhuban Mein Radhika” from Kohinoor (1960). Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari star in this masala film set during a romanticized period of Indian history when Hindu royalty were constantly engaged in sword-fights with their rivals, playing sitar to the acclamation of their courtiers, and saving damsels in distress on horseback. Kohinoor is remembered today for the brilliant soundtrack and delightful script (read: you will not cringe and die during most of the comic scenes) as well a for the breezy performances by its hero and heroine–both of whom were better known for their serious, even tragic, roles. Meena Kumari giggles more in this film than in any of her other films combined. And Kohinoor‘s costumes could not be more both on point and stereotypically ridiculous than if Nicole Kidman were choosing them for a play set in ancient India for the Moulin Rouge.

Dilip Kumar as the young raja travels to the countryside and happens upon a musical assembly where a talented dancer, played by Kumkum, challenges anyone to perform a song to which she cannot dance. Naturally, our hero is ready with “Madhuban Mein Radhika”  to the delight of his courtiers while Kumkum gracefully dances kathak to his tune. Shakeel Badayuni’s straightforward Radha-Krishna poetry is the basis of a rollicking number that keeps everyone, especially Kumkum, on their toes. “Madhuban Mein Radhika” is a true gem among film songs, drawing heavily upon Hindustani classical traditions that are rare to find executed with such unabashed purism in Bollywood films. It comes as no surprise that the song has maestro Naushad written all over it. To fully appreciate all the ornaments of the piece, I think it’s high time we break for a little vocabulary lesson.

A Brief Hindustani Classical Music Vocabulary Lesson:

Tarana in Hindustani classical music were thought to be invented by the great poet Amir Khusro (1253-1325 CE). Legend has it that a music competition was held by the famous conqueror Alauddin Khilji in which Amir Khusro and Gopal Nayak, court musician to the King of Devagiri were the last men standing. Nayak performed raaga Kadambak in Sanskrit for six evenings straight while Khusro sat enthralled among the courtiers. On the seventh night, Khusro sang the same song, copying each note to perfection, but substituted Persian words and jargon for the lyrics as he did not understand Sanskrit. His amazing performance won him the competition and thus, the tarana was born. Persian couplets and notation for tabla are often intermingled into the tarana, however, the basic phonetics are Farsi-based (eg. yalali, odani, tadeem). The structure consists of a main melody that the performer repeats and elaborates on as well as a second, contrasting melody, that may include higher notes and is introduced once before returning to the main melody. The taranas featured in Lata Mangeshkar’s “Tare Rahiyo” from Pakeezah (1972) and the Pakeezah (1972) Title Music are some of the film’s highlights.

Sargam is the vocalization of the notes that define the raga in which the song is sung. Improvisation ascending and descending the scale allows the audience to understand the raagas range and boundaries, often occurring at the beginning or the end of the piece. The sargam typically incorporates improvisation upon themes to set the tone of the piece. A great example of a beautiful mid-song sargam is in Asha Bhonsle’s “Nigahen Milane Ko” from Dil Hi To Hai (1960).

Alaap is similar to sargam, but does not name the notes, using instead simply the aakaar (“aah” sound) to create music. It frequently opens a piece, but can be interjected in the middle, or at the end for dramatic effect–as well as intermingled among the sargam with artistic license. One of my favorite alaaps from films is Suman Kalyanpur’s heavenly interjection above Hemant Kumar midway through “Na Tum Humen Jano” from Baat Ek Raat Ki (1963). In “Madhuban Mein Radhika,” listen for Mohammed Rafi’s silky alaap to start off the song and entrance his audience.

Taan, is similar to an alaap, but is much more fast-paced and showcases the singer’s vocal abilities. The two taans in this song (picturized on comedic actor Mukri) were sung by Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan. Bollywood film songs Kal Nahii.N Paaye Jiya from Chhoti Si Mulaqat (1967)  and Tu Hai Mera Prem Devta from Kalpana (1960) feature multiple beautiful taans punctuating each stanza.

Jugalbandi is a playful competition between two performers in which one mimics the other, and then surpasses. A challenging test of both the ability to perfectly imitate and then improvise, a jugalbandi between two master musicians is absolutely thrilling to witness. This is commonly between two instrumental performers, but as in “Madhuban Mein Radikha,” is briefly showcased as between the singer and the tabla player (note: the lyrics actually reference the Carnatic mridangam, which is a different percussion instrument than the Hindustani tabla, however, a tabla is indeed is picturized in the film). Another fun example of jugalbandi in Bollywood is at the ending of the song Muqabala Humse Na Karo from Prince (1969).

kumkum-dancing-madhuban-mein-kohinoor

Kumkum entrances her audience with a kathak performance based on classic Radha-Krishna imagery in Kohinoor (1960).

Are we all on the same page now? Because I’m fully expecting you to count the taal as you check out the music video here. Follow along with our English translation of the lyrics to “Madhuban Mein Radhika” from Kohinoor (1960) below! How many lovely ornaments of Hindustani classical music can you hear in the song?

Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Lyrics and Translation:

ALAAP: Aaaah aaaah aaaah

madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
In the honey gardens, Radha danced
Girdhar kii muraliiya baje re
As the flute of Krishna played

pag mei.N ghuunghar baandhke
With dancing bells tied to her leg
ghuunghaT mukh par daal ke
With a veil placed upon her face
nainan mei.N kajraa lagaake re
With kajal applied to her eyes
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
In the honey gardens, Radha danced

Dolat chham-chham kaminii
The beautiful lady swayed and sparkled
Chhamakat jaise daamini
Her sparkle was like lightening
Chhanchal, pyarii chhab laage re
Her face appeared mischievous and lovable
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
In the honey gardens, Radha danced

mridang baje…
The drum was played…

Tirikitadhum Tirikitadhum Ta Ta
mridang baje
Tirikitadhum Tirikitadhum

Naachath Chum Chum
ThaThay ThaThay Thatha
Chum Chum ChanaNaNa
Chum Chum ChanaNaNa

Dhan Dhakdan Dhakdan Dha
Dha Dha Dha

madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re…

TAAN: Aaaaaaaah

madhuban mei.N radhikaa…

TAAN: Aaaaaaaah

madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
madhuban mei.N radhikaa…

SARGAM :

Ni Sa Re Sa Ga Re Ma Ga Pa Ma
Dha Pa Ni Dha SA Ni RE SA
RE SA Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa
Dha Ni SA RE SA Ni Dha Pa Ma Pa
Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Ma Re Sa
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re…

SA SA SA Ni Dha Pa
Ma Pa Dha Pa Ga Ma Re Sa Ni Re Sa
Sa Sa Ga Ma Dha Dha Ni Dha SA
madhuban mei.N radhikaa nache re
madhuban mei.N radhikaa…

TARAANAA:

Ode NaDir DiTa NiTa DhaRe Dhim, Dhim Ta Na Na
Nadir DiTa NiTa DhaRe Dhim, Dhim Ta Na Na
Nadir DiTa NiTa DhaRe Dhim, Dhim Ta Na Na

JUGALBANDI:

NaDir DiTa NiTa DhaRe

(tabla response)

ODe Tana Dhir Dhir Tana
Dhir Dhir Dhir Dhir
Thum Dhir Dhir Dhir

(tabla response)

Dha Tirikita Tak , Thum Tirikita Tak
Tirikita Titikita Ta DhaNi

NaDir DiTa NiTa
ODe NaDir DiTa niTa
ODe Nadir Dita NiTa
DhaRe Dhim Dhim Ta Na Na ….

Glossary:

madhuban: sweet garden, honey garden; Radhikaa: Radha, gopi lover of Krishna; nachnaa: to dance; girdhar: Lord Krishna; muralii: flute; baajnaa: to play; pag: leg; ghuungar: dancing bells; baandhnaa: to bind, to tie; ghuungaT: veil; mukh: face: Daalnaa: to place, to put; nainan: eyes; kajraa: eyeliner; Dolat: sway; chham-chham: sparkling; kaamini: beautiful lady; daamini: lightening; chhanchal: mischievous; pyaarii: loveable; chhab: face; mridangam: traditional Carnatic percussion instrument

dilip-kumar-sitar-kohinoor-madhuban-mein

Dilip Kumar jams his sitar with rockstar attitude in Kohinoor (1960).

Dilip Kumar’s performance in Kohinoor (1960) garnered the Filmfare award for Best Actor that year. According to Naushad, Dilip Kumar the perfectionist, supposedly learned how to play the sitar just for this song. While that may seem extreme, anyone who has seen Raj Kapoor fail miserably to pretend play the piano (as much as we love the man) will appreciate how big a difference this makes in any self-respecting musical number.

Wondering what’s up with the snake and the mongoose at the end of the song? Let it suffice to say that every self-respecting raja-rani film needs at least one assassination-by-cobra attempt…amiright?

– Mrs. 55

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50 Best Film Shots That Will Make You Believe in the Magic of Classic Bollywood

 

We’ve compiled a montage of the best film shots from classic Bollywood movies that we feel exemplify the splendor, allure, and excitement of Hindi movies from the Golden Age. Consider these 50 beautiful film shots a glimpse through a keyhole into a much grander world of cinematographic sublimity: behold the magic of classic Bollywood.

This project was kindled in part by my reaction to everyone who’s ever told me, “I love Bollywood!” I get that a lot. Being a film production major who’s worked in the Hindi movie industry, I hear the phrase, “I love Bollywood!” several times a month—from classmates, friends, and random people at parties. Bollywood has become a trend all over the globe—every hipster worth their organic sea salt is familiar with the term, and many have even seen a Hindi film or two themselves. Except I don’t really ever know what to say in reply. It’s not because loving Bollywood isn’t exactly what I look for in new friends (because believe me, it is), but because I don’t understand what that phrase even means.

Let me put this in perspective. To me, this can be the equivalent of someone in rural Punjab who’s seen the Bourne trilogy saying, “I love Hollywood!”

Think about that. What does it mean to love “Hollywood”? Are you saying you love American filmmaking and its history? Celebrity gossip? Or do you really mean to say, “I love action flicks and Matt Damon?” Because Hollywood is not just big-budget androcentric action flicks (although they are a cool part of a big genre). Ryan Gosling kissing Rachel McAdams in the rain is Hollywood. Orsen Welles fighting a smear campaign for governor is Hollywood. Judy Garland singing over a rainbow is Hollywood. And Jack Nicholas running amok in an insane asylum is Hollywood. It’s rare to find someone who knows and loves it all.

So when you say, “I love Bollywood!” to me, as a true lover of all things Bollywood, I don’t know what you’re really referring to. Often people who haven’t had much exposure tend to generalize that elusive term Bollywood to mean “pretty costumes!” or “crazy dancing!” This perception applies just as much to Indians from India as to non-Indians anywhere else. Because Bollywood is not just the melodramatic musical with half-naked women and a loose masala plot that is often stereotyped. Bollywood is Guru Dutt searching the streets of urban decay for a glimmer of humanity. Bollywood is Meena Kumari dancing kathak upon shattered glass in sorrow. Bollywood is Amitabh Bachhan’s fist meeting the jaws of his twenty adversaries with a satisfying smack. And yes, Bollywood is Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan in glittery costumes declaring love in the moonlight. I often yearn to somehow share all the magic of classic Hindi cinema that comes to my mind when I think of Bollywood, because it is a well-hidden treasure for so many of my generation.

Now before someone throws a fit, I get it. Not everyone has the time or interest to become heavily familiarized with Bombay’s film output since the 1930s. Nor should they. All I’m saying is, I wish more people were aware of what Bollywood truly encompasses. When you exclaim, “I love Bollywood!” there is a reason why I can’t bring myself to reply, “OMG, totes!” but instead want to fill your ear with my reverence of the cinematography in Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959). Simply tell me you loved the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) (because, seriously, who didn’t?), or that you thought Deepika Padukone’s outfits were beautiful in that one rom-com. Otherwise, we’ll both end up feeling awkward after I start on my spiel. Yes, I probably overthink this. Yes, most people probably don’t care one way or another. But I can’t imagine living a world without the enchantment of classic Bollywood films, and maybe there are people out there who would want in, if they only knew what they’re missing.

So this montage is the reply I wish I could give everyone, but I cannot articulate–a reply that must be seen to be believed. Because when I respond, “Really? I love Bollywood too!” this is what comes to my mind. This montage is why I love Bollywood. I hope that by watching these shots, you can get a peek into that hypnotizing world yourself, and that you’ll crave more. I hope that this might be a chance to understand that Bollywood is far richer, far more complex, and far more evocative than can be summed up by mere words or by viewing a single film.

Therefore, don’t just take my word for it. Watch the 50 Film Shots That Will Make You Believe in the Magic of Classic Bollywood, and I’ll bet that somewhere deep inside your heart, something faintly stirs in a way you never knew possible. And afterwards, I recommend starting with any of the movies that made our list of the Top 30 Greatest Classic Bollywood Films of All Time. I’ll get off my soap box now. Back to translating obscure old songs where I belong. But send us a comment if this montage resonates with you, and share it with anyone who may have never experienced the wonder of the films to which it pays homage.

Just don’t even get me started on Slumdog Millionaire.

– Mrs. 55

Final Shot from Mother India Nargis

An aged Nargis remembers the trials of her youth in the final shot of the Academy Award-nominated film Mother India (1957).

As a reference, the corresponding films to our 50 selected shots are below. The music playing during the montage is the “Title Music” from Pakeezah (1972).

50 Shots’ Film Names (in order of appearance):

  1. Bandini (1963)
  2. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
  3. Pakeezah (1972)
  4. Aradhana (1969)
  5. Bombai Ka Babu (1960)
  6. Kohra (1964)
  7. Mother India (1957)
  8. Guide (1965)
  9. Shree 420 (1955)
  10. Sangam (1964)
  11. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)
  12. Chinatown (1962)
  13. Caravan (1971)
  14. Shree 420 (1955)
  15. Shree 420 (1955)
  16. Sholay (1975)
  17. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
  18. Pakeezah (1972)
  19. Pakeezah (1972)
  20. Pyaasa (1957)
  21. Bombai Ka Babu (1960)
  22. Umrao Jaan (1981)
  23. Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
  24. Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971)
  25. Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965)
  26. Aradhana (1969)
  27. Khamoshi (1970)
  28. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)
  29. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)
  30. Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
  31. Mother India (1957)
  32. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
  33. Guide (1965)
  34. Andaz (1949)
  35. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)
  36. Aradhana (1969)
  37. Pakeezah (1972)
  38. Jewel Thief (1967)
  39. Aan Milo Sajna (1970)
  40. Anand (1971)
  41. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
  42. Awaara (1951)
  43. Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977)
  44. Do Raaste (1969)
  45. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
  46. Awaara (1951)
  47. Sholay (1975)
  48. Baazi (1951)
  49. Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
  50. Mother India (1957)

Hum Tere Pyar Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Meena Kumari expresses ultimate devotion to her husband through song in Dil Ek Mandir (1963).

Today, we provide the lyrics and English translation to a memorable song from C.V. Sridhar’s Dil Ek Mandir (1963): ham tere pyaar me.n .  Starring Meena Kumari, Rajendra Kumar, and Raaj Kumar, Dil Ek Mandir is a Hindi remake of the Tamil film Nenjil Ore Alayam (1962). Dil Ek Mandir was a box-office hit at the time of its release, and it even garnered Raaj Kumar a Filmfare Award for his performance in the film.

When oncologist Rajendra Kumar returns from abroad, he is shocked to learn that his former love Meena Kumari has been married off to another man in a cruel twist of fate. Grief-stricken, he devotes the rest of his life to caring for cancer patients at a nursing home. One day, Meena Kumari brings her husband Raaj Kumar to the nursing home because he has fallen critically ill. When she realizes that Rajendra Kumar will be his doctor, she wants to take her husband elsewhere out of fear that Rajendra Kumar will be unable to offer him unbiased medical care.  As Rajendra Kumar prepares to perform a technically demanding operation to save the life of his former lover’s husband, he is faced with an uncomfortable ethical dilemma: should he save Raaj Kumar’s life by performing the surgery to the best of his abilities or should he use this opportunity to rekindle his love with Meena Kumari after Raaj Kumar’s impending death? Watch the movie to find out if he does the right thing!

Placed into the context of this film, “ham tere pyaar me.n” is picturized on Meena Kumari singing to Raaj Kumar in reaction to his suggestion that she should marry Rajendra Kumar after his death. Staunchly adhering to the pativrata norms that defined ideal female behavior at the time, she rejects this proposal as immoral and absurd. In this song, she expresses ultimate devotion to her husband by declaring that she can only understand the true meaning of love through him. While devotion and commitment are certainly admirable, many would argue that the poetry of this song penned by Hasrat Jaipuri errs on the side of misogyny and anti-feminism. When a male poet makes a female protagonist start singing about loving cages instead of people (“yah pyaar kaa pinjraa man bhaayaa“) or about harboring a wish to die at her husband’s feet (“ab in charano.n me.n dam nikle, bas itnii aur tamanna hai“), you can’t help but think that something’s not quite right.

However, two things are definitely right about this song: Lata Mangeshkar’s angelic rendition and Shankar-Jaikishan’s exquisitely crafted melody. Even if the lyrics are too extreme for your liking, the artistic beauty of this song is still preserved in the way Lata’s voice drips with pathos as she navigates through this delicate tune. Meena Kumari’s on-screen portrayal is suitably melodramatic, and I am especially fond of the way in which the beautiful sitar interludes have been highlighted by including the instrument in the song’s picturization.

Finally, as an aside, some of you may remember that Sonu Nigam sang the mukhDaa of this song on the very first episode of SaReGaMa, the televised singing competition that went on to discover many notable talents such as Shreya Ghosal. This song is certainly an interesting choice to open a show with, and the rendition by a male singer casts a new light upon the discussion of this song’s underlying subtext of misogyny. Enjoy, and share your thoughts with us in the comments! Until next time…

-Mr. 55

Raaj Kumar won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a cancer patient in Dil Ek Mandir (1963)

Hum Tere Pyar Mein: Lyrics and Translation

ham tere pyaar me.n saaraa aalam kho baiThe hai.n, kho baiThe
I have lost the entire world by loving you. 
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

panchhii se chhuDaa kar uskaa ghar tum apne ghar par le aaye
You took a cage from the birds and brought it to your own house.
yah pyaar kaa pinjraa man bhaayaa, ham jii bhar bhar kar muskaaye
This cage of love pleased me, and I smiled to my heart’s content. 
jab pyaar huaa is pinjre se tum kahne lage aazaad raho
When I fell in love with this cage, you told me to remain free. 
ham kaise bhuulaaye pyaar teraa? tum apnii zubaa.n se yah na kaho
But how can I forget this love? Please don’t tell me this in your own words. 
ab tum saa jahaa.n me.n koii nahii.n hai, ham to tumhaare ho baiThe
No one else like you exists in this world, and I will remain yours forever. 
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

is tere charan kii dhuul se ham ne apnii jiivan maa.ng bharii
From the dust at your feet, I have marked the parting of my hair.
jab hii to suhaagan kahlaayii, duniyaa kii nazar me.n pyaar banii
When I considered myself a married woman, the world witnessed the creation of love.
tum pyaar kii sundar muurat ho aur pyaar hamaari puujaa hai
You are a beautiful idol of love, and love is my form of worship.
ab in charano.n me.n dam nikle bas itnii aur tamannaa hai
Indeed, I harbor one parting desire: I hope to die at your feet.
ham pyaar ke ganga jal se, balam jii, tan-man apna dho baiThe
My beloved, I have cleansed my body and soul with water from the Ganges of love.
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

sapno.n kaa darpan dekhaa thaa, sapno.n ka darpan toD diyaa
I saw a mirror of dreams, and then I shattered it.
yah pyaar kaa aa.nchal ham ne to daaman se tumhaare baa.ndh liyaa
I tied the end of this sari of love to the tail of your shirt.
yah aisii gaa.nTh hai ulfat kii, jis ko na koii bhii khol sakaa
This knot of romance is tied so tightly that no one can untie it.
tum aan base jab is dil me.n, dil phir to kahii.n na Dol sakaa
Since you began to reside in my heart, it has been unable to frolic elsewhere.
o pyaar ke saagar, ham terii laharo.n me.n naav Dubo baiThe
Oh, the ocean of love! I have drowned a boat in your waves.
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

ham tere pyaar me.n saaraa aalam kho baiThe hai.n, kho baiThe
I have lost the entire world by loving you.

Glossary

aalaam: world; chhuDaaanaa: to take, remove; pinjraa: cage; man bhaanaa: to please the mind; jii bhar kar:  wholeheartedly;  aazaad: free; zubaa.n: language, words; jahaa.n: world;  maa.ng bharnaa: to apply vermillion to the parting of a woman’s hair (a Hindu ritual signifying wedded status); suhaagaan: a married individual; kahlaanaa: to call oneself; dam nikalna: to lose one’s breath, to die; tamanna: desire; ganga: the Ganges, a sacred Indian river; tan-man: body and soul; darpan: mirror; aanchal: decorative end of a sari; Dolnaa: to frolic, to swing; daaman: tail of a garment; gaa.nTh: knot; ulfat: love; lahar: wave; naav: boat.

Meena Kumari’s image is reflected upon Raaj Kumar’s pupils in the picturization of this song. How melodramatic!

Teer-e Nazar Dekhenge Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Teer-e-nazar 1

Bedecked in a white gown symbolic of her own death, Pakeezah dances at the celebration of her lover’s marriage to another woman in Pakeezah (1971).

We now showcase the lyrics and English translation to Lata Mangeshkar’s “Teer-e Nazar” from the cinematic jewel Pakeezah (1971). One of classic Bollywood’s most iconic and daring song sequences, “Teer-e Nazar” dazzles the audience by the audacity of its stunning visual fabric–the magnum opus of the industry’s greatest artists with a story worthy of their union. In an ironic twist, the film’s heroine Pakeezah is asked to perform a mujraa at the wedding of her lover to another woman. Throughout the striking song that follows, director Kamal Amrohi deliberately transforms our understanding of beauty and love into omens of murder and death.

Lyricist Kaif Bhopali’s title phrase “teer-e nazar,” while otherwise a romantic reference to a lover’s piercing gaze, assumes a sinister implication, a literal means of wounding its target. Pakeezah once more dances a graceful kathak dance, but this time she is dressed for a funeral in all-white. The death she celebrates is her own. Her beautiful dance suddenly re-invents itself when she purposefully smashes a glass chandelier across the pristine white floor. The moment is one of the most shocking in Bollywood history, with a dramatic shift in the room’s dynamics to accompany the jarring musical screech. Before this moment, Pakeezah was a mere witness to the injustice of her society’s prejudices. Now, Pakeezah wields a commanding power, entrancing a captive audience to which she willingly presents herself as a ritual sacrifice in the name of her own unfulfilled love.

Teer-e-nazar 4

Like a veiled Lady of Shallot, the effervescent Meena Kumari as Pakeezah realizes the show is coming to an end tonight.

Unleashing a passion she had been trained for so long to suppress, Pakeezah dances upon the jagged broken glass with a frenzied energy. Her blood, the bright red of wedding bliss she has been denied, stains the floor with every footstep. As evidenced by the film’s famous dialogue, feet play an important sensual role in Pakeezah. The blood-smeared feet ironically mirror the once dainty red foot paint of a dancer–the vehicle by which Rajkumar first fell in love with Pakeezah in a train compartment, begging her romantically to never allow them to touch the ground. With each step, Pakeezah regains her identity by destroying the constraints of her past.

Director Kamal Amrohi brilliantly shapes the scene through a chaotic editing pattern as fragmented and disturbing as the glass upon which she dances. Below is a short gallery of some of the many gorgeous shots that compose this scene, each more violent than the next.

This iconic song is among Bollywood’s greatest cinematic moments–made even more fascinating by the behind-the-scenes gossip between Meena Kumari and stunt double Padma Khanna who actually dances in this sequence! Follow along with the video, and we hope you enjoy our lyrics and English translation to the awe-inducing “Teer-e Nazar” from Pakeezah (1971) below!

Teer-e Nazar Dekhenge Lyrics and Translation:

Aaj hum apnii du’aao.n kaa asar dekhe.Nge
Today I shall behold the image of my prayers
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Aap to aa.Nkh milaate hue sharmaate hai.N
Upon meeting my eyes, you feel embarrassed
Aap to dil ke dhaDakne se bhi Dar jaate hai.N
You are even afraid of your own heartbeat
Phir bhi yeh zidd hai ki ham zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
Nonetheless I remain stubborn to witness the wounds of my heart
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Pyaar karna dil-e betaab buraa hotaa hai
It is unfortunate for a weak heart to fall in love
Sunte aaye hai ki yeh khwaab buraa hota hai
I have heard that this dream of mine is also cursed
Aaj is khwaab ke taabiir magar dekhe.Nge
But today I will interpret the meaning of that dream
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Jaan levaa hai mohabbat ka samaa aaj ki raat
Tonight this atmosphere of love feels fatal
Shamaa ho jaayegii jal jal ke dhuaa.N aaj ki raat
Tonight the lamps shall burn into smoke
Aaj ki raat bache.Nge to sahar dekhe.Nge
If I escape tonight, then I shall see the dawn
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Aaj hum apnii du’aao.n kaa asar dekhe.Nge
Today I shall behold the image of my prayers
Teer-e nazar dekhe.Nge, zakhm-e jigar dekhe.Nge
I shall see arrows from your glances, I shall see the wounds of my heart

Glossary:

du’aa: prayer; asar: sign, image; teer: arrow; nazar: glance; zakhm: wound; jigar: heart; aankh milaanaa: to make eye contact; sharmaanaa: to become embarrassed, to be shy; dhaDaknaa: to beat [heart]; Dar jaanaa: to become afraid; zidd: stubborness, firm; betaab: weak; buraa: bad, unfortunate; khwaab ke taabir: interpretation of a dream; jaan levaa: fatal; mohabbat: love; samaa: atmosphere; shamaa: lamp; dhuaa.N: smoke; sahar: dawn

teer-e-nazar 2

Oh, Meena Kumari, will there ever live a woman so breathtakingly classy again?

This fantastic Pakeezah hit was requested by fans VintageBollywood and Moosa Desai! Thank you for the epic request!

Arguably, Pakeezah’s wild dance following the chandelier shattering contains the most thrilling music (composed by the great Ghulam Mohammed) in the entire film. But there’s a big unsolved mystery here. Does the ambiguity of the diegetic soundscape in this sequence bother anyone else but me? Think about it: If Pakeezah had just smashed a chandelier to the ground, ruffling the entire audience, and then starts bleeding all over the party floor, is it likely that the band would carry on as usual? But on the other hand, if the music is, in fact, non-diegetic, what are the odds her dance movements are still so perfectly coordinated to the beat? Is she in theory really dancing like a maniac to a silent room while the furious strings Kamal Amrohi added are for the film viewers’ ears alone? This is going to keep me awake at night.

For lighter moments from the iconic film, check out our translations of Pakeezah‘s immortal Chalte Chalte, Mausam Hai Aashiqaana, and Inhi Logo.N Ne!

-Mrs. 55

What is Solah Singaar?

Fans of vintage Hindi films are intimately familiar with the theme of female ornamentation, which is expressed beautifully through song lyrics from this period of cinema. Countless songs from the Golden Era describe the charms of a woman’s kajraa (kohl), gajraa (flower garland), jhumkaa (earring), bi.ndii (beauty spot), ka.nganaa (bangle), and so on. In addition to these words, another common term that you might encounter in this genre of songs is solaah si.ngaar, which literally means “sixteen embellishments.” 

MK

Meena Kumari is beautifully adorned as a sensitive courtesan in the classic film Pakeezah (1972).

The most famous example of this phrase occurs in a song from the eternally beautiful film PakeezahIn “ThaaDe rahiiyo, o baa.nke yaar,” Lata Mangeshkar, on Meena Kumari, sings:

mai.n to kar aauu.n solaah si.ngaar / (I will come, adorned with the sixteen embellishments)
ThaaDe rahiiyo, o baa.nke yaar / (Keep waiting, oh beautiful lover) 

The term solaah si.ngaar refers to sixteen ways in which brides of ancient India adorned themselves before meeting their groom. Although sources conflict over the inclusion of certain ornaments, I am presenting a list of the most commonly accepted beautification aids associated with solaah si.ngaar below. 

1. bi.ndii, a beauty spot adorning the forehead. 

2. si.nduur, a sacred mark of vermillion lining the parting of a bride’s hair. si.nduur is still applied as a sign of marriage by modern Indian women. 

3. maa.ng tiikaaa gold pendant that hangs over the bride’s forehead. 

4. a.njanaa or kaajalthe decoration of  the bride’s eyes using kohl. 

5. naath, a hoop-shaped nose ring.

6. haar, intricate necklaces made of gold and precious stones. The most auspicious necklace offered to the bride during a Hindu wedding is the mangalsutra, which symbolizes the inseparable bond between husband and wife. 

Mangalsutras often contain a gold pendant on a chain of black beads as shown here.

7. karan phuullarge earrings that cover the bride’s entire ear. 

8. maha.ndiihenna designs drawn on the bride’s hands and feet. 

9. chuuDiisets of bangles adorning the bride’s wrists. 

10. baajuba.ndarmlets adorning the bride’s upper arms. 

11. aarsii, a flat jeweled mirror worn as a ring. Supposedly, it was used by brides to check their appearance and possibly sneak a look at their grooms before the official unveiling! 

12. keshaa-pashaa-rachnaa, the styling of the bride’s hair in traditional patterns and adornment of the hair with jewelry and gajraa (flower garlands). 

13. kamarba.nda waist band made of gold and precious gems. The etymologists among our readers might notice the uncanny similarity of this word to cummerbund, the broad waist sash worn by men with tuxedos.  

14. paayala chain adorned with small bells, often made of silver, worn around the ankle. 

15. itarfragrant oils and perfumes to keep the bride smelling fresh throughout the ceremony. 

16. saarii/laha.ngaa, the bridal dress. Popular colors include red, green, and gold. 

Rekha

In Utsav (1984), Rekha is bedecked with many of the common ornaments that constitute solaah si.ngaar: maa.ng tiikaa, kaajal, maa.ng tiikaa, naath, haar, karan phuul, chuuDii, baajuba.nd, and kamarba.nd.  

As you can see, solaah si.ngaar takes make-up to a whole new level of complexity and depth! Thankfully, modern Indian brides aren’t expected to keep up most of these practices past their wedding day in order to please their husbands. We can only imagine how much time and effort brides in ancient India must have spent on perfecting their appearances through this elaborate regimen of beautification.

This post was inspired by a question about solaah si.ngaar by one of our readers paasha. If you have any more burning questions about vintage Hindi cinema, feel free to shoot us a line–we’ll do our best to solve your Bollywood mystery! Until next time…

-Mr. 55

Mausam Hai Aashiqana Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu Hindi

Meena Kumari Pakeezah 4

Meena Kumari pines for an unseen admirer in “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” from Pakeezah (1971).

We revive our popular Pakeezah series and bring you the lyrics and English translation to “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” from Pakeezah (1971) in honor of Meena Kumari’s 80th birthday today! This beautiful melody rendered, of course, by none other than Lata Mangeshkar carries the sense of gently waking up from a dream. Indeed, “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” is sung just as Meena Kumari discovers the abode of her secret admirer–and is filled with joy and hope for the future. The song is one of Pakeezah‘s finest (what does that even mean though, when EVERY song from Pakeezah is a crown jewel?!), and focuses heavily on scenic imagery and the landscape. Perhaps this too is because of Meena Kumari’s growing sickness as filming of Pakeezah became more and more delayed (see our post on behind-the-scenes drama!)

Pakeezah Meena Kumari 3

Meena Kumari passes the long hours daydreaming of her beloved in Pakeezah (1971).

The sounds of birds chirping are even woven into the opening of the musical track with a shot of silhouetted birds flying across the sunrise: a symbol of Pakeezah’s new freedom. The whole effect is feel-good and tender–especially coming after the traumatic elephant attack of the previous scene. Unlike the other semi-classical Lata solos in the film, “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” is pure filmi bliss outside the mujra setting. At last, Pakeezah is able to express a sincere and true anticipation for her beloved’s arrival–sentiments that Pakeezah had before only pretended to feel when dancing before an audience. Queen of her own realm, Pakeezah eagerly explores the new landscape for once without the fetters of a cruel society. Find the lyrics and translation to “Mausam Hai Ashiqana” below and follow along on youtube!

Mausam Hai Aashiqana Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu Hindi

Mausam hai aashiqaanaa
The season is amorous
Aye dil kahii.N se unko aise mei.N DhoonD laanaa
Oh my heart, find him somewhere and bring him to me

Kehna ki ruth jawaan hai
Tell him that the atmosphere is youthful
Aur hum taras rahe hai.N
And that I am pining for him
Kaali ghaTaa ke saaye
The shadows of dark clouds
Phir humko Das rahe hai.N
Are once more attacking me
Dar hai na maar Daale
I am afraid they will kill me
Saawan ka kya Thikaanaa?
What shelter can there be from the rains?

Suraj kahii.N bhii jaaye
The sun may go anywhere
Tum par na dhuup aaye
But let sunlight not fall upon you
Tumko pukaarte hai.N in gesuuo.N ke saaye
The shade of my tresses calls out to you
Aa jaao, mai.N bana doo.N palkon kaa shaamiyaanaa
Come, I will make a tent for you from my eyelids

Phirte hai.N hum akele
I wander about alone
Baaho.N mei.N koi lele
Let someone take me in their arms
Aakhir koii kahaa.N tak tanhaaiiyo.N se khele?
After all, for how long can one play with loneliness?
Din ho gaye hai.N zaalim
The days have become cruel
Raate.N hai.N qaatilaanaa
The nights are murderous

Yeh raat yeh khamoshii
This night, this silence
Yeh khwaab se nazaare
These visions from my dreams
Jugnuu hai.N ya zameen par utre hue hai.N taare?
Are these fireflies or stars that have fallen to Earth?

Bekhwaab merii aankhe.N
My eyes are without dreams
Madhosh hai zamaanaa
But the world seems intoxicated

Mausam hai aashiqaanaa
The season is amorous
Aye dil kahii.N se unko aise mei.N DhoonD laanaa
Oh my heart, find him somewhere and bring him to me

Glossary:

mausam: season; aashiqaanaa: amorous; ruth: atmosphere; jawaan: youthful, young; taras rehna: to be pining; ghaTaa: cloud; saayaa: shadow; Dar: fear; maar Daalnaa: to kill; saawan: rains; Thikaana: shelter; suraj: sun; dhuup: sunlight; gesuu: tresses of hair; shaamiyaanaa: tent; tanhaaii: loneliness; zaalim: cruel; qaatilaanaa: murderous; khamoshii: silence; khwaab: dream; jugnuu: firefly; madhosh: intoxicated

Pakeezah Meena Kumari 1

Waiting for Rajkumar to return home, Meena Kumari sings a song of longing in Pakeezah (1971).

Can we also talk about how Meena Kumari is seen to be wearing an oversized khaki button down during bits of this song, as in, she is wearing his shirt! I never put that together before. Oh, it’s the little things! For more translations from the musical epic that is Pakeezah, check out our English translation of Chalte Chalte!

-Mrs. 55

Ab Kya Misal Doon Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Pradeep Kumar Aarti 1962

Pradeep Kumar sings an Urdu love poem to Meena Kumari in Aarti (1962)

The next Hindi song translation in our series is of the poetic  lyrics to “Ab Kya Misal Doon” from Aarti (1962). This timeless song is one of Bollywood’s most beloved romantic odes by Mohammed Rafi. Pradeep Kumar, Meena Kumari, and Ashok Kumar star in Aarti, a family drama of love, debts, and vengeance. Ashok Kumar plays a wealthy surgeon and the villain of the film, vowing revenge when his betrothed, Meena Kumari, marries another man, Pradeep Kumar. An exacting dilemma of the film comes when ironically Ashok Kumar must decide whether or not to push aside his emotional battles and perform surgery on his own rival Pradeep Kumar to save his life. Of course, Meena Kumari throws in some more drama into the bargain–and her quiet beauty steals the show yet again. Aarti has a number of great songs written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, but unarguably the greatest is the sweet Mohammed Rafi ballad “Ab Kya Misal Doon.”

Pradeep Kumar plays “the other man” in the film–a good-hearted, but unemployed poetic dreamer who croons softly to Meena Kumari in this number. It would put any girl in a tough position: the poetry of the song is exquisite, without overwhelming anyone with an Urdu vocabulary exam. It has just the right blend of tenderness, lyricism, and adoration made magical by the unequivocal talent of Mohammed Rafi. Follow along on youtube here and enjoy our English translation of this poetic masterpiece!

Meena Kumari in Aarti 1962

Meena Kumari blushes as she hears Pradeep Kumar singing her praises in Aarti (1962)

Ab Kya Misal Doon: Lyrics and Translation

Ab kyaa misaal doon mei.N tumhaare shabaab ki
What can I now compare to your lustre?
Insaan ban gayee hai kiran mahtaab kii
You are a ray of the moon in human form

Chehre mei.N ghul gayaa hai haseen chaandni ka noor
The beautiful light of the moon has melted upon your face
Aankho.N mei.N hai chaman ki jawaan raat ka suroor
In your eyes is the garden of the early night’s joy
Gardan hai ek jhuki hui daali gulab kii
Your neck is like a lowered branch of a rose flower
Ab kyaa misaal doon…
What can I compare now…

Gesu khule to shaam ke dil se dhuan uThe
When your hair was let open, then the smokiness of night emerged from my heart
Chhule qadam to jhuk ke na phir aasmaan uThe
When your feet hit the ground, the sky bowed down would not raise itself again
Sau baar jhilmilaaye shamaa aftaab kii
The light of this sun sparkled a hundred times
Ab kyaa misaal doon…
What can I compare now…

Deewar-o-dar kaa rang, yeh aanchal, yeh pairhan
The end of your saarii and your robes are the colours of my refuge
Ghar kaa mere chiraagh hai boota sa yeh badan
The lamp of my house is this slender plant-like body
Tasveer ho tumhii mere jannat ke khwaab kii
You are the image of the paradise of my dreams
Ab kyaa misaal doon…
What can I compare now…

Glossary:

misaal: example, comparison; shabaab: glory, lustre; insaan: human; kiran: ray, mahtaab: moon; chehra: face; noor: light; chaman: garden; suruur: joy, exhilaration; gardan: neck; daalii: branch; gulaab: rose flower; gesuu: hair; dhuaan: smoke; qadam: footsteps; aasmaan: sky; sau baar: a hundred times; jhilmilaanaa: to sparkle, to shine; aftaab: sun; deewar-o-dar: walls and doors, refuge; rang: colour; aanchal: the end draping of a saarii; pairhan: robe; ghar: house; chiraagh: light; boota: small plant; badan: body; tasveer: image, picture; jannat: paradise; khwaab: dream

Meena Kumari filmfare awards 1962

Meena Kumari poses with Ashok Kumar and actress Shashikala at the 1962 Filmfare Awards.

Did you know in 1962, Meena Kumari was the only nominee at the Filmfare Awards for Best Actress? She was nominated for Aarti, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Main Chhup Rahuungi. Talk about a walk-over. She took it home for Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962).

-Mrs. 55