Parda Hai Parda Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

RishiKapoor_AmarAkbarAnthony
Rishi Kapoor stars as a Muslim qawwali singer in Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

Rishi Raj Kapoor died at the age of 67 on April 30th, 2020 after a two-year struggle with acute myeloid leukemia. He is best known for his work as a leading hero in over one hundred Bollywood films including his debut role in Bobby (1973), Karz (1980), Saagar (1985), and Chandni (1989) among many others.

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to pardaah hai pardaah from Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), which remains one of the most cherished performances by Bollywood’s original chocolate boy.

Directed by Manmohan Desai, Amar Akbar Anthony is an ode to secularism and religious tolerance that tells the story of of three brothers separated during childhood. Amar, played by Vinod Khanna, is the eldest Hindu-born brother who grows up to become a policeman. Anthony, played by Amitabh Bachchan, is the middle brother who becomes a practicing Christian and works as a liquor dealer. Finally, Akbar played by Rishi Kapoor, is the youngest brother who goes on to become a Muslim qawwali singer. Following a host of complicated turns and twists, the three brothers are reunited many years later after discovering their mutual roots.

In this film, Rishi Kapoor gives one of his most memorable performances in the beloved qawwalipardaah hai pardaah.” Sung during his late-70’s comeback, Mohammad Rafi deserves equal praise for his expressive vocals under the direction of music composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Although the remainder of the soundtrack’s lyrics are standard Bollywood masala fare, Anand Bakshi’s lyrics for this number are exquisitely penned surrounding the common man-unveils-woman trope (see parde me.n rahne do, yeh jo chilman hai). With the use of words like shabaab, shahazaadii, and mahjabii.n, you might want to brush up on your Urdu vocabulary with our glossary provided below.

Need another movie to add to your quarantine watch list? Pay your tribute to the departed Mr. Kapoor and look no further than Amar Akbar Anthony – the full movie can be found here!

-Mr. ’55

R.I.P. Rishi Kapoor (1952 – 2020)

Rishi Kapoor
Rishi Kapoor woos his real-life wife Neetu Singh in this animated qawwali performance

Parda Hai Parda: Lyrics and English Translation 

MR: shabaab pe mai.n zaraa-sii sharaab phai.nkuu.ngaa
I shall pour some wine over this youth.
kisii hasii.n kii taraf yeh gulaab phai.nkuu.ngaa
I shall throw this rose toward a beauty.

pardaah hai pardaah, pardaah hai pardaah
There is a veil, there is a veil.
parde ke piichhe pardaanashii.n hai
There is a woman behind the veil.
pardaanashii.n ko bepardaah na kar duu.n to
If I do not unveil the woman behind the veil...
Akbar meraa naam nahii.n hai!
then my name is not Akbar!

mai.n dekhtaa huu.n jidhar, log bhii udhar dekhe.n
Wherever I look, people look in the same direction.
kahaa.n Thahartii hai jaa kar merii nazar dekhe.n
They look at where my gaze stops.

mere khvaabo.n kii shahazaadii, mai.n huu.n Akbar ilaahabaadii
Oh, the princess of my dreams! I am Akbar of Allahabad.
mai.n shaayar huu.n hasiino.n kaa, mai.n aashiq mahjabiino.n kaa
I am a poet of beauty. I am a lover of beautiful women.
teraa daaman na chhoDuu.ngaa, mai.n har chilman ko toDuungaa
I shall not leave your side. I shall tear every curtain between us.

na Dar zaalim zamaane se, adaa se yaa bahaane se
Do not fear this cruel world. By grace or pretense,
zaraa apnii suurat dikhaa de, samaa khuubsuurat banaa de
please show your face and beautify the mood.
nahii.n to teraa naam leke, tujhe koii ilzaam deke
Otherwise I will sully your name with an accusation.
tujhko is mahfil me.n rusvaa na kar duu.n
If I do not dishonor you in this gathering...
pardaanashii.n ko bepardaah na kar duu.n to
If I do not unveil the woman behind the veil...
AK: Akbar teraa naam nahii.n hai!
then your name is not Akbar!

MR: khudaa kaa shukr hai, chahraa nazar to aayaa hai
Give thanks to the Lord, her face has been revealed!
hayaa kaa rang nigaaho.n pe phir bhii chhaayaa hai
Yet a tinge of modesty remains in her eyes.

kisii kii jaan jaatii hai, kisii ko sharm aatii hai
As I suffer, she shies away from me.
koii aa.nsuu bahaataa hai, to koii muskuraataa hai
As I shed tears, she cracks a smile.
sataa kar is tarah aksar, mazaa lete hai.n ye dilbar
My lover takes pleasure in torturing me so.
yahii dastuur hai in kaa, sitam mashahuur hai in kaa
Her cruel practices are known to all.

khafaa hoke chahraa chhupaa le, magar yaad rakh husnvaale
Hide your face in anger, my beautiful one, but remember this: 
jo hai aag terii javaanii, meraa pyaar hai sard paanii
my love is like cold water for the fire of your youth.
mai.n tere ghusse ko ThanDaa na kar duu.n haa.n
If I do not calm your anger...
pardaanashii.n ko bepardaah na kar duu.n to
If I do not unveil the woman behind the veil...
AK: Akbar teraa naam nahii.n hai!
then your name is not Akbar!

MR: pardaah hai pardaah, pardaah hai pardaah
There is a veil, there is a veil.

*MR = lines sung by Mohammed Rafi, AK = lines sung by Amit Kumar

GLOSSARY

shabaab: youth; sharaab: wine, alcohol; phainknaa: to throw; hasii.n:
beautiful one; gulaab: rose; pardaah: veil; pardaahnashii.n: veiled
woman; bepardaah karnaa: to unveil; Thaharnaa: to stop; khvaab: dream;
shahazaadii: princess; illahabaadii: from Allahabad, a city in the Indian
state of Uttar Pradesh; shaayar: poet; aashiq: lover; mahjabii.n: moon-
like beauty; daaman chhoDnaa: to leave one's side; chilman: curtain;
zaalim: cruel; zamaanaa: world; adaa: grace; bahaanaa: pretense; suurat:
face; samaa: ambience, atmosphere; khuubsuurat banaanaa: to beautify; 
ilzaam: accusation; mahfil: gathering: rusvaa karnaa: to dishonor; shukr:
thanks; chahraa: face; hayaa: modesty; nigaahe.n: eyes; sharm aanaa: to 
feel shy; sataanaa: to torture; mazaa lenaa: to take pleasure; dilbar: 
lover; khafaa: angry; husnvaale: beautiful one; aag: fire; javaanii: 
youth; sard: cold; ghussaah: anger.
RishiKapoor_AmarAkbarAnthony
Rishi Kapoor’s character is named after a Urdu poet Syed Akbar Hussain, popularly known as Akbar Illahabadi

Janewalo Zara Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

janewalo zara dosti 1964 sudhir kumar

Sudhir Kumar plays a gifted blind boy with sensitivity and finesse in Dosti (1964).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Janewalo Zara Mud Ke Dekho” from the poignant film Dosti (1964). A passionate plea to recognize the humanity in our neighbors and embrace others in our community, no matter their differences, “Janewalo Zara” seems like the perfect anthem for the new realities we all live in.

You may not know this, but Mr. ’55 and I are both doctors! We trained together in the same hospital after medical school and are both working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic this month. The coronavirus has hit us all in different ways, but it has not spared anyone–regardless of race, socioeconomic class, or religion. We truly hope all our fans are staying healthy and staying at home.

We know quarantine is far from easy. During tough times, take a moment to appreciate something you have despite the many losses we all feel. For everyone who is bored in their homes, there are people who have suddenly found themselves homeless during the shutdown. For everyone driving their spouse nuts (not speaking from personal experience, *obviously*), there are people who find themselves entirely alone and secluded all day long. For everyone who has lost their job, there are people who are scared to go to their jobs for fear of becoming infected (and I don’t just mean fellow healthcare workers, but custodians and food service workers and everyone else considered “essential”). For everyone grieving the loss of doing the things they loved, there are people grieving the loss of the people they loved, and maybe could not even visit in the hospital when ill.

Sudhir Kumar Dosti janewalo zara

Mohammed Rafi is the perfect soul stirring match to vocalize the song “Janewalo Zara” from the film Dosti (1964).

Dosti (1964) is a Bollywood bromance between two teenage boys, Ramu and Mohan, who form an unlikely friendship in a time of adversity. Ramu (Sushil Kumar) has a permanent leg injury from a childhood accident and Mohan (Sudhir Kumar) is blind. Together, they demonstrate that friendship and kindness should know no boundaries. This song, with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and vocals by the inimitable Mohammed Rafi, is a reminder about coming together as a community and ensuring our most vulnerable are not abandoned.

On that note, we hope you appreciate our English translation of “Janewalo Zara” below! And if you are able, reach out to and help your neighbors who may be hurting more than you know (from a safe social distance, of course!). We would love to hear what inspires you during this difficult time, and which classic Bollywood songs and films are help you stay sane!

Janewalo Zara Mud Ke Dekho Lyrics & Translation:

Jaanewaalo zaraa muD ke dekho mujhe
Passerbys, turn around a little and look at me
Ek insaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I am a human being, I am just like you
Jisne sabko rachaa apne hii ruup se
He who created everything in his own beauty
Uskii pahchaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I share his identity, I am just like you

Is anokhe jagat kii mai.N taqdiir huu.N
I am the Fate of this strange world
Mai.N vidhaataa ke haatho.N kii tasviir huu.N, ek tasviir huu.N 
I am the image sculpted by the Lord's own hands
Is jahaa.N ke liye, dhartii maa.N ke liye
For the sake of the world, for the sake of Mother Earth
Shiv ka vardaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I am a boon from Shiva, I am just like you

Man ke andhar chhipaaye milan kii lagan
You have hidden the desire to meet in your mind
Apne suraj se huu.N ek bichhaDii kiran, ek bichhaDii kiran
I am a beam of sunlight separated from the sun
Phir rahaa huu.N bhaTaktaa mai.N yahaa.N se vahaa.N
I continue to wander, here and there
Aur pareshaan huu.N mai.N tumhaarii taraah
And I am worried, I am just like you

Mere paas aao, chhoDo yeh saara bharam
Come near me, leave all these misapprehensions behind
Jo mera dukh vahii.N hai tumhaaraa bhii gham
My sadness is the same as your sorrow
Dekhtaa huu.N tumhe, jaantaa huu.N tumhe
I see you, I know you
Laakh anjaan huu.N, mai.N tumhaarii taraah
I am an absolute stranger, but I am just like you

Glossary:

zaraa: a little; muDnaa: to turn around; insaan: human being; [kisi kii] taraah: like [someone]; rachnaa: to create; ruup: beauty; appearance; pahchaan: identity, recognition; anokhaa: strange, unique; jagat: world; taqdiir: Fate; vidhaataa: the Lord; haath: hands; tasviir: picture; jahaa.N: world; dhartii: earth; Shiv: Lord Shiva (Hindu); vardaan: boon, wish; man: mind; andhar: inside; chhipaanaa: to hide; milan: meeting; lagan: desire; suraj: sun; bichaDnaa: to become separated; kiran: ray of sunlight; bhaTaknaa: to wander; pareshaan: worry; chhoDnaa: to let go of; bharam: misapprehensions; dukh: sad; gham: sorrow; laakh: ten thousand; anjaan: stranger

Did you know Dosti won the 1964 FilmFare Award for Best Picture, and is #24 on our list of the top classic Bollywood films ever made?

Until next time, stay safe and #stayhomeIndia!

Mr and Mrs 55 ICU

Mr. ’55 and I enjoying sunlight and a post-call brunch after working overnight in the ICU. Note: this picture was taken before restaurants transitioned to take-out only and masks were recommended at all times in public ūüôā

– Mrs. ’55

O Mere Sona Re Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Shammi Kapoor Asha Parekh in O Mere Sona Re Teesri Manzil

Asha Parekh flirts with Shammi Kapoor by poking hay in his ear during “O Mere Sona Re” from Teesri Manzil (1966).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation of “O Mere Sona Re” from the film Teesri Manzil (1966). This playful duet is one of many gems in R. D. Burman’s crowning soundtrack for this memorable film.

Teesri Manzil opens as a dark murder mystery when Asha Parekh’s sister falls to her death off the balcony of the third story of a hotel. Seeking revenge on her sister’s ex-lover Rocky whom she believes to be the culprit, Asha travels to Deradhun where Rocky is the lead singer in a band. However, she’s (almost literally) derailed by a train ride meet-cute with Shammi Kapoor, transforming the film into a slapstick romantic-comedy. Smooth operator Shammi Kapoor and corny, but savage Asha Parekh exchange a biting repartee that builds a perfect synergy between the two notoriously over-the-top actors.

After a misunderstanding about Shammi’s romantic, but honorable intentions, Asha leaves him in the lurch only for him to be beaten up by goons before her eyes–a consequence she deeply regrets. Asha cajoles him with the energetically flirtatious “O Mere Sona Re” on a sunny hillside. The song has particular significance in the film as she had hitherto refused to call him by his nickname “Sona.” Although she now uses this term of endearment for romantic effect, the joke is on her because the audience knows something he has been desperately hiding from her: Sona is actually Rocky!

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Asha Parekh and Shammi Kapoor create Vaudevillian chemistry in Teesri Manzil (1966).

Can you hear that single-note high-pitched violin? It’s the sound of your interest being piqued. We hope that you love our English translation of the beloved “O Mere Sona Re” below–it’s one of the most fun Asha-Rafi duets from that era! And we both know you never hit “skip” when it pops up on your iTunes shuffle.

O Mere Sona Re Lyrics & Translation:

O mere sonaa re, sonaa re, sonaa re
Oh my beloved, my beloved, my beloved
de duu.Ngii jaa.N judaa mat honaa re
I will give you my life, but let us not be separated
mai.N ne tujhe zaraa der mei.N jaanaa
I took some time to get to you know better
huaa qusuur khafaa mat honaa re
It was my fault, but do not become upset
O mere sonaa re, sonaa re, sonaa …
Oh my beloved, my beloved, my beloved…

o merii baaho.N se nikal ke, tu agar mere raste se haT jayegaa
Oh if you escape from my arms and leave my path
toh laharaake ho balkhaake, meraa saayaa tere tan se lipaT jaayegaa
Then swaying and billowing, my shadow will wrap around your body
Tum chhuDaao laakh damaa.N
You may release yourself from a hundred thousand of my embraces
chhoDte hai.N kab yeh armaa.N?
But when will you let go of these desires?
Ki mai.N bhii saath rahuu.Ngii rahoge jahaa.N
For I will stay together with you wherever you are

O mere sonaa re, sonaa re, sonaa…

O miyaa, hamse na chhipaao, woh banaavaT kii saarii adaaye.N liye
O gentleman, do not hide from me with all your artificial graces
Ki tum is pe ho itaraate, ki mai.N piichhe huu.N sau iltijaae.N liye
Why must you flaunt so much when I am behind you pleading a hundred times?
jii, mai.N khush huu.N, mere sonaa
Yes, I am happy my beloved
jhuuTh hai kyaa? Sach kaho na!
Is this a lie? Tell me the truth!
Ki mai.N bhii saath rahuu.Ngii rahoge jahaa.N
For I will stay together with you wherever you are

O mere sonaa re sonaa re sonaa…

O phir hamse na ulajhnaa, nahii.N laT aur uljhan mei.N paD jayegii
Oh, do not entangle me again, for if not, your hair will become even more tangled
O pachtaaogii kuch aise, ki yeh surakhii labo.N kii utar jaayegii
Oh, you will regret so much that the redness of your lips will disappear
yeh sazaa tum bhuul na jaanaa
Do not forget this punishment
pyaar ko Thokar mat lagaanaa
Do not knock down love again
ki chalaa jaau.Ngaa phir mai.N na jaane kahaa.N
For I will leave then, I do not know where

O mere sonaa re sonaa re sonaa…

Glossary:

sonaa: beloved (literally: gold/golden one); jaan: life; judaa: separation; der mei.N: late; qusuur: fault; khafaa: angry; baahe.N: arms; nikalnaa: to come out, to emerge; raastaa: path; haT jaanaa: to get out; laharaanaa: to sway, to wave; balkhaanaa: to billow; saayaa: shadow; tan: body; lipaT jaanaa: to wrap around, to twist; chhudaanaa: to release, to disengage; laakh: one hundred thousand; daamaa.N: embrace; chhodnaa: to let go of, to release; armaa.N: desire; miyaa: gentleman; chhipaanaa: to hide; banaavaT: artificial, fake; adaa: grace, style; itaraanaa: to flaunt, to show off; piichhe: behind; iltajaa: plea; khush: happy; jhuuTh: lie; sach: truth; phir: again, then; ulajhnaa: to bother, to entangle; laT: locks of hair; pachtaanaa: to regret; surakhii: redness; lab: lips; utarnaa: to get off, to descend; sazaa: punishment; bhuulnaa: to forget; Thokar: knock;

Shammi Kapoor O Mere Sona Re

His pompadour ruffled irreparably, Shammi Kapoor reproaches Asha Parekh at the end of “O Mere Sona Re” from Teesri Manzil (1966).

You may now be asking yourself, what is poetic genius Majrooh Sultanpuri really saying on a deeper level with the whole “pachtaaogii kuch aise, ki yeh surakhii labo.N kii utar jaayegii“?

Like…are we just talking about lipstick getting smudged here…by her love interest perhaps? Or is she going to lose that red color because she grows pale from iron deficiency anemia? Will there be actual blood loss?

So many ways to interpret this. I leave it to you, O, gentle reader.

This winner was requested by superfan Shiraz. We love getting great requests like this one!

– Mrs. 55

Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Sasural film
Rajendra Kumar scores big with the Mohammed Rafi’s chartbuster “Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko” from Bollywood film Sasural (1961).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation of “Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko,” one of Mohammed Rafi’s most romantic hits in honor of Valentine’s Day. Oozing with a dated flirtatious paternalism, Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics remind us of the incomparable beauty of the Urdu language. Who else but the great Mohammed Rafi (with that dreamy satin waterfall of a voice) could utter phrases like “chashme badduur” or “zarro.N ki nazar na lage” and induce seizures on the spot? He was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Playback singer for “Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko” in 1961, having remarkably also won the year prior for “Chaudhvin Ka Chand!” Until 1967, male and female singers competed for the same singing award, so keep in mind that he crushed the Mangeshkar sisters twice in a row.

Now you are doubtless wondering, what the heck does “chashme badduur” mean? In Urdu-Hindi vernacular, the word “chashme” is often used for “eyeglasses,” so it seems awkward to start discussing your myopia just as you’re about to praise your crush’s beauty. Derived from Farsi, the phrase “chashme badduur” means literally “keep the evil eye far away.” We more commonly use the term “nazar” in Urdu-Hindi to mean “evil eye,” an omen of someone wishing ill upon you often from jealousy (of your beauty, wealth, achievements, etc). This is complicated by the fact that the term “nazar” in the right context bears no such connotations and could just mean “glance,” frequently employed in Bollywood love songs with poetic abandon. Context clues are everything.

So move past any disbelief in the cultural trope of the “evil eye” (just try winning an argument with your grandparents on this one), and you can appreciate what a sweet compliment it is to say, “chashme badduur.” This simple, respectful phrase conveys a desire to protect as well as admire. I recognize that this line of reasoning can quickly become a slippery slope, but hey, a 1960s romance is what it is. And I bet you’re already feeling lightheaded.

Still not sure what song to sing to your boo on Valentine’s Day? I’ll let the “Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko” lyrics do the rest of the talking and I’m confident your confusion will dissipate. Don’t let the mediocre looks of Rajendra Kumar wear you down (he always manages to snag the best Rafi songs–“Yeh Mera Prem Patra“or “Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin” to name but a few). While everyone loves to hate on Saroja Devi, I think she does everyone a favor by distracting from the bigger on-screen eyesore.

Saroja Devi in Sasural,
As the film’s heroine, Saroja Devi uncomfortably dons the pigtails and bows of a middle-schooler in Sasural (1960). Fully grown women dressing as little girls is so classic of that era. It really deserves a separate conversation.

Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko Lyrics & Translation:

Terii pyaarii pyaarii suurat ko, kisii kii nazar na lage
Let no one cast an evil eye upon your lovely face
Chashm-e-badduur
Keep the evil eye far away
MukhaDe ko chhupaa lo aa.Nchal mei.N, kahii.N merii nazar na lage
Hide your face in the drape of your sari, lest I cast an evil eye upon you
Chashme baddur
Keep the evil eye far away

Yuu.N na akele phiraa karo, sab kii nazar se Daraa karo
Do not wander alone like this, be wary of everyone’s gaze
Phuul se zyaadaa naazuk ho tum, chaal sambhal kar chalaa karo
You are more delicate than a flower, be careful of how you walk
Zulfo.N ko giraa lo gaalo.N par, mausam kii nazar na lage
Let your hair fall upon your cheeks, lest the atmosphere cast an evil eye upon you
Chashme baddur
Keep the evil eye far away

Ek jhalak jo paata hai, raahii wahii ruk jaata hai
Upon gaining one look at you, a traveler halts right there in his tracks
Dekh ke teraa ruup salonaa, chaa.Nd bhii sar ko jhukaataa hai
Upon seeing your stunning beauty, even the moon bows its head
Dekhaa na karo tum aaiinaa, kahii.N khud kii nazar na lage
Do not keep looking into the mirror, lest you cast an evil eye upon yourself
Chashme baddur
Keep the evil eye far away

Dil mei.N chhupaa voh tiir ho tum, chaahat kii tasviir ho tum
You are the arrow hidden in my heart, you are the image of my desire
Kaun na hogaa tum se diiwaanaa? pyaar bharii tasviir ho tum
Who would not go mad for you? You are a picture filled with love
Nikalaa na karo tum raaho.N par zarro.N kii nazar na lage
Do not keep coming out upon this path, lest even a particle cast an evil eye upon you
Chashme baddur
Keep the evil eye far away

Terii pyaari pyaari suurat ko, kisii kii nazar na lage
Let no one cast an evil eye upon your lovely face
Chashme badduur
Keep the evil eye far away

 Glossary:

pyaarii: beloved, lovely; suurat: face; nazar: evil eye; chashm-e-badduur: keep the evil eye afar; mukhaDaa: face; chhupaa lenaa: to hide; aa.Nchal: the fancy end of a saarii that drapes over the shoulder; phirnaa: to wander, to revolve; [kisii se] Darnaa: to be afraid [of something]; phuul: flower; [kisii se] zyaadaa: more [than something]; chaal: gait; sambhal karnaa: to be careful; chalnaa: to go; zulfe.N: hair; girnaa: to fall; gaal: cheek; mausam: season, atmosphere; jhalak: glimpse; raahii: traveler; ruk jaanaa: to halt; ruup: beauty; salonaa: gorgeous, stunning; chaa.Nd: moon; sar jhuknaa: to bow [one’s] head; aaiinaa: mirror; khud: self; dil: heart; tiir: arrow; chaahat: love, desire; tasviir: picture; diiwaanaa: mad; bharaa: filled; nikalnaa: to emerge; zarr: particle (see use in “O Mere Shah-e Khuban“)

Rajendra Kumar and Saroja Devi in
Rajendra Kumar and Saroja Devi fall unavoidably in love during the Urdu lover’s paradise that is “Teri Pyari Pyari Surat” from Sasural (1960).

This incredibly apt Mohammed Rafi song was requested by mega-fan Ravi Chandran. Hope you and your special someone love it!

As for me, I wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to my sweet husband who still writes me love letters that would make Hasrat Jaipuri envious! Fortunately, knowing my style, he has entirely avoided mention of the whole “nazar” clich√©…

– Mrs. 55

Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna star in Hamrahi (1963).png

Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna share a fleeting side hug in a song entirely about hugging from Hamrahi (1963).

Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” is one of classic Bollywood’s sweetest romantic duets from the 1960s, an unexpectedly magical collaboration between equal parts celestial being and hep cat Mohammed Rafi and the lesser-known Mubarak Begum. The highlight of the film Hamrahi¬†(1963), “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” is the subject of today’s English translation and lyric analysis. After hearing this song, I have zero doubts that you will firmly preach the gospel of Mohammed Rafi to your co-workers bickering over Pandora stations, and that you’ll surprise yourself at how much you actually really like a female singer whose name doesn’t rhythm with “Mata Langeshkar.”

In Hamrahi, typically squeaky clean Rajendra Kumar reinvents himself by playing a playboy who flits from one gorgeous woman to the next. When he enters into an arranged marriage with Jamuna, he is appalled to find himself falling in love with her just as she rebukes him for his tainted past. He imagines her flinging her arms out and begging him to hug her on their honeymoon (hence this moderately awkward song sequence), but alas, the man-child’s dream is shattered and Rajendra Kumar must prove his worth to Jamuna before she accepts his love.

Jamuna hugs herself in

Unable to straight-on hug the hero due to tight censorship constraints, Jamuna hugs herself in “Mujhko Apne Gale” from Hamrahi (1963)

But I didn’t come here to talk about dream sequences and the less-than-dreamy looking couple who star in it. I intend to open your mind to female playback singer Mubarak Begum (1936-2016). A meatier alternative to Lata’s nymph-like vocals, Mubarak Begum falls shy of Shamshad Begum’s red-blooded gusto and Geeta Dutt’s sassiness, but is easily saccharine enough to be cast as a heroine.

Unfortunately, that never quite happened. Like¬†Suman Kalyanpur and Minoo Purushottam¬†whose ambitions were relegated to the side show, Begum’s career growth was also stunted permanently by the Mangeshkar sisters. Yet when Mubarak Begum was hospitalized toward the end of her life and in dire financial straits, it was none other than Lata Mangeshkar who offered emotional and monetary support to her and her family.

Yes, you may say, but like the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, was this all too little, too late? Or could it be viewed as a generous act by a supremely talented woman who had no choice but to play hardball in a man’s world? After all, can Lata really be blamed for playing to win?

You decide, gentle reader. And as you mull it over, enjoy our English translation of lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri’s “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” below! When you get to the part where Mohammed Rafi softly croons “dil se dil ke taar milaao,” disregard the sudden palpitations in your chest. They are an expected side effect.

Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo Lyrics & English Translation:

Begum: Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo, aye mere hamraahii
Take me in your arms, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Rafi: Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo, aye mere hamraahii
Take me in your arms, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Begum: Jab tum mujhse duur rahte ho, jiiyaa meraa ghabaraataa hai
When you stay far away from me, my soul feels restless
Nii.Nd aankho.N se uD jaatii hai, chaa.Nd agan barasaataa hai
Sleep flies from my eyes, the moon rains fire
Dono.N pahluu jal jaate hai, aag mei.N aag lagaataa hai
Both of our shadows burn, fire upon fire is lit
Jaise taDape bin jal machhalii, pyaar mujhe taDapaataa hai
Like a fish out of water, your love agonizes me
Oh! Pyaar mujhe tadapaataa hai
Oh! Your love agonizes me
Is uljhan se mujhko bachaalo, aye mere hamarahi
Oh save me from this entanglement, my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Rafi: Jin raaho.N par ha.Nske chalo tum, phuul vahaa.N khil jaate hai.N
Flowers bloom upon those paths where you laugh and travel
Dam lene ko jahaa.N ruko tum, madhuushaale ban jaate hai.N
Wherever you stop to take a breath becomes filled with honey
Tumko chhuukar pavan jhakore, khushbuu lekar jaate hai
Upon touching you, the wind gusts and carries your sweet fragrance with it
Lekin hum to dekhe surat, dil thhaame rah jaate hai
Yet when I see your face, I stop to hold onto my heart
Dil thhaame rah jaate hai!
I stop to hold onto my heart!
Dil se dil ke taar milaalo, aye mere hamarahi
Let the strings of our hearts meet, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Begum: Jab tak tumko mai.N na dekhuu.N, chain mujhe kab aata hai?
When I do not see you, when would I find peace?
Khoj mei.N terii man ka pa.Nchhii duur kahii.N kho jaataa hai
In search of you, the bird of my mind becomes lost far away
Rafi: Jab tum mujhko mil jaatii ho, dard davaa ban jaata hai
When you meet me, all pain turns into medicine
Varnaa tum bin saaraa jiivan, suunaa ban kehalaataa hai
Otherwise without you, my entire life would be known as deserted forest
Sunaa ban kehalaataa hai
My life would be known as a deserted forest
Har manzil par mujhko sambhaalo, aye mere hamarahi
Take care of me at every destination, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo, aye mere hamraahii
Take me in your arms, oh my fellow traveler
Tumko kyaa batalaauu.N mai.N? Ki tumse kitnaa pyaar hai?
What should I tell you? How much I love you?

Glossary:

gale lagaanaa: to take in [your] arms, to hug; hamraahii: fellow traveler, partner; batalaana: to tell; pyaar: love; duur: far; jiiyaa: soul, life; ghabaraanaa: to worry, to become restless; nii.Nd: sleep; aa.Nkhe.N: eyes; uDnaa: to fly; chaa.Nd: moon; agan: fire; barsaataanaa: to rain; pahluu: image, shadow; jalnaa: to burn; aag lagaanaa: to light a fire; jaise: such as, like; taDapnaa: to yearn; jal: water; macchalii: fish; uljhan: entanglement; bachaanaa: to save; raah: path; ha.Nsnaa: to laugh; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to bloom; dam lenaa: to take a breath; ruknaa: to stop; madhuushaalaa: a place where honey or wine is found, a liquor establishment; chhuunaa: to touch, pavan: wind; jhakoraa: gust; khushbuu: sweet fragrance; surat: face; dil: heart; thhaam lena: to hold onto; taar: chord, string; chain: peace; khoj: search; man: mind; pa.Nchhii: bird; dard: pain; davaa: medicine; varnaa: otherwise; saaraa: entire; jiivan: life; suunaa: deserted; ban: forest; kehalaanaa: to call, to name; manzil: destination; sambhalnaa: to take care, to steady

Hamrahi 1963 starring Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna.png

Not afraid of mixing loud sartorial patterns, Rajendra Kumar gets super close to Jamuna in “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” from Hamrahi (1963), but fails spectacularly to make meaningful contact.

I bet you want to know if Jamuna ultimately forgives Rajendra Kumar for his unsavory prior behavior and they live happily ever after in arranged Hindu marriage bliss? Does this couple ever actually get to hug each other? Does Rajendra Kumar fire the poor soul who put him in that striped jacket??

You and I will only ever know the answers to the first two questions. The last will perhaps remain an eternal mystery.

– MRS. 55