Hamrahi 1963 starring Rajendra Kumar and Jamuna.png

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

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Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

RajendraKumar_AshaParekh_Gharana
Rajendra Kumar serenades Asha Parekh in the Vrindavan Gardens of Mysore, India in Gharana (1961)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to “Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin” from Gharana (1961).

Penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Ravi, this song stands out as an eternal favorite in the genre of Bollywood courtship songs, which includes gems such as “Chaudavin Ka Chand Ho” and “Mere Mehboob Tujhe.” Here, Mohammed Rafi lends his silky vocals to Rajendra Kumar, a pairing that dominated the silver screen throughout the ’60s.

This song is filled with several common tropes found in Urdu poetry that are employed to describe a woman’s beauty. These include similes to the Moon, the flowers of springtime, and the intoxication of wine. Interestingly, while “black cloud” has a negative connotation in English, the phrase kaalii ghataa is used here and frequently in other Urdu-Hindi poems to admire the dark color of a woman’s tresses.

The grammar police out there may be wondering: why has the poet chosen to refer to the object of affection here using the male vocative husnvaale instead of the feminine husnvaalii? The answer to this question can be found by understanding the historical origins of the Urdu ghazal, a form that borrows heavily from the Persian tradition. Unlike Urdu-Hindi, the Persian language does not distinguish gender among pronouns/objects. In keeping with this tradition of gender neutrality, Urdu poetry often refers to female objects of affection using masculine pronouns, leaving it up to the reader to perceive gender using other contextual clues. Now you know!

-Mr. 55
RajendraKumar_AshaParekh_Gharana
Despite being a quintessential romantic here of the 1960s, Rajendra Kumar never received a Filmfare Award.

Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin: Lyrics and English Translation

husnvaale teraa javaab nahii.n
Oh, beautiful one! There is no match for you. 
koii tujh-saa nahii.n hazaaro.n me.n
Among thousands, you are peerless.

tuu hai aisii kalii jo gulshan me.n
You are the flower bud that invites
saath apne bahaar laayii ho
the new Spring to the rose garden.
tuu hai aisii kiran jo raat Dhale
You are the ray of light that, upon nightfall,
chaa.ndnii me.n nahaa ke aayii ho
arrives bathed in the moonlight. 
yeh teraa nuur ye tere jalve
Your luster and resplendence shine
jis tarah chaa.nd ho sitaaro.n me.n
like the Moon among the stars.

terii aa.nkho.n me.n aisii mastii hai
Your eyes evoke a deep intoxication,
jaise chhalke hue ho paimaane
like a goblet overflowing with wine. 
tere ho.nTho.n me.n voh khamoshii hai
You lips contain the silence of
jaise bikhre hue ho afsaane
hidden tales scattered in the wind.
terii zulfo.n kii aisii rangat hai
The dark hue of your tresses is colored
jaise kaalii ghaTaa bahaaro.n me.n
like the black clouds of springtime.

terii surat jo dekh le shaayar
If a poet were to behold your face,
apne shero.n me.n taazgii bhar le
it would fill his couplets with new passion.
ek musavviir jo tujh ko paa jaaye
If a painter were to meet you,
apne khvaabo.n me.n zindagii bhar le
it would fill the creations of his dreams with new life.
naghmagar DhuunDh le agar tujh ko
If a songster were to find you,
dard bhar le voh dil ke taaro.n me.n
his tune of melancholy would pull at the heartstrings.

husnvaale teraa javaab nahii.n
Oh, beautiful one! There is no match for you. 

Glossary

husnvaale: beautiful one; javaab: match; tujh-saa: like you; kalii: flower bud; gulshan: rose garden; chaa.ndnii: moonlight; nahaanaa: to bathe; nuur: light, luster; jalvaa: passion, resplendence; chaa.nd: moon; sitaaraa: star; mastii: intoxication; chhalke hue: spilled, overflowing; paimaanaa: goblet; khamoshii: silence; bikhre hue: scattered; afsaanaa: tale; zulfe.n: tresses; rangat: color; ghaTaa: cloud; surat: face; shaayar: poet; sher: couplet; taazgii: freshness, passion; musavviir: painter; naghmagar: songster; dil ke taar: heartstrings.

RajendraKumar_AshaParekh_Gharana
Rajendra Kumar and Asha Parekh star in their first film together in Gharana (1961)

 

Qutab Minar window Tere Ghar Ke Samne nutan dev anand

Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn-Urdu Hindi

Dev Anand and Nutan in Paying guest
Nutan and Dev Anand co-star in the romantic comedy Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

Today we highlight the lyrics and English translation of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” from the romantic-comedy Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

Dev Anand plays an architect who is inadvertently commissioned to work on a home project for a his parent’ rival family. When he meets and falls in love their extremely pretty daughter, he risks the ire of both families’ elders by pursuing her. A free-spirited, independent woman in her own right, Nutan’s wit matches Dev Anand at every turn. Their repartee scripted by Vijay Anand is reminiscent of the Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracey chemistry that audiences universally loved.

S.D. Burman’s soundtrack of Tere Ghar Ke Samne is phenomenal, but few moments in Hindi cinema are more enchanting than the song sequence of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” famously picturised in Delhi’s Qutab Minar. Built in the 12th century by the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, the Qutab Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts hundreds of tourists daily. A narrow tower that ascends five tapering stories, Qutab Minar forces Dev Anand and Nutan into close proximity, each step rippling with amorous opportunity. Unfortunately, because of the bulky film equipment required, a replica set was actually created in order to capture the magic of this site! Each shot emphasizes the intimacy of the space filled by echoes Mohammed Rafi’s lilting melody.

I visited Qutab Minar this winter with my husband and uncle, and was struck by the magnificence of both the tower and the beauty of the surrounding ruins. In any other world, the stone carvings of the Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque within the Qutab Minar complex alone would be the main attraction. I was disappointed to learn that the top of Qutab Minar is no longer open to the public, so my husband narrowly escaped my forcing him to serenade me in broad daylight. Luckily, there was an excellent dosa joint nearby whose buttery goodness made everyone feel that all was right in the world again.

Dev Anand Qutab Minar Paying Guest
Why, hello there! Dev Anand plays a little peekaboo in “Dil Ka Bhanwar” as he descends the Qutab Minar.

Tere Ghar Ke Samne, like many of Dev Anand’s films, was a vision ahead of its time. Its theme of a never-ended struggle between modernity and tradition hints at irony, as many would look upon his films as being antiquated now themselves. There could be no better place to film such a sequence than in the Qutab complex, where the forward slog of time seems to come to a halt. Donning a stylish newsboy cap and flirting unabashedly in public, Dev Anand’s westernized appeal contrasts with his centuries-old surroundings. He knows better than to continue wooing Nutan as elders dressed in traditional clothing pass them by. As he ceases his serenade, the camera captures a perfect tableau of old and new India.

Nutan Dev Anand Qutab Minar
Dev Anand shields Nutan from the disapproving gaze of fellow-tourists at the Qutab Minar in Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

We hope you love our English translation of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” as much as we enjoyed exploring this delightful song with you!

Dil Ka Bhanwar Lyrics and English Translation:

Dil ka bha.Nwar kare pukaar
The bumblebee of my heart has called out
Pyaar ka raagsuno
Hear its love song
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear its love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Phuul tum gulaab ka kyaa jawaab aap kaa
You are a rose flower, you have no comparison
Jo adaa hai woh bahaar hai
The grace you possess is that of Spring
Aaj dil ki bekalii aa gayii zubaan par
Today the restlessness of my heart has reached my tongue
Baat yeh hai tumse pyaar hai
The words are that I love you
Dil tum hii ko diya re
Oh, I have given my heart to you alone
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Chahe tum miTaanaa par na tum giraanaa
If you want, make me disappear, but do not make me fall
Aa.Nsuukii tarah nigaah se
Like tears from your eyes
Pyaar kii uu.Nchaaii, ishq ki gehraii
The height of my love, the depth of my love
Puuchh lo hamaarii aah se
Ask my sighs for these answers
Aasmaa.Nchhuu liyaa re
My love has touched the sky
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Is hasii.N paar pe hum na baiThe.N haar ke
In this beautiful passageway, I will not accept defeat sitting down
Saayaaba.Nkesaath ham chale.N
I will become your shadow and go with you
Aaj mere sang tu, guuNje dil ki aarzuu
Today you are by my side and the desires of my heart echo
Tujhse merii aa.Nkhjab mile
Ever since our eyes met
Jaane kyaa kar diyaa re
I wonder what you have done to me
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Aap kaa yeh aa.Nchal, pyaar ka yeh baadal
This saari of yours is like a cloud of love
Phir hame.N zamee.N pe le chalaa
It brings me back to earth again
Ab to haath thaamlo, ek nazar ka jaam do
Now take my hand, allow me one drink from your gaze
Is naye safar ka waastaa
For the of this new journey
Tum mere saaqiiyaa re
You are what makes me feel intoxicated
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song

Glossary:

dil: heart; bhanwar: bumblebee; pukarnaa: to call out; pyaar: love; raagaa: melody [in Hindustani classical music, the framework for a composition]; sunnaa: to listen; phuul: flower; gulaab: rose; jawaab: answer, comparison; adaa: grace, style; bahaar: Spring; bekalii: restlessness; zubaan: tongue, language; baat; matter, words; miTaanaa: to make [something] disappear; giraanaa: to make [something] fall; aa.Nsuu: tears; [kisi ki] taraah: as if [something], like [something]; nigaah: eye; uu.Nchaaii: height; ishq: love; gehraaii: depth; puuchhnaa: to ask; aah: sigh; aasmaa.N: sky; chuunaa: to touch; hasii.N: beautiful; paar: passageway, toward; baiThnaa: to sit; haarnaa: to lose; saayaa: shadow; bannaa: to become; saath: together; aaj: today; [kisi ke] sang: by [someone’s] side; guu.Njnaa: to echo; aarzuu: desire; aa.Nkh: eye; jab: when; milnaa: to meet; aa.Nchal: the end of a saari that typically falls over the shoulder; phir: again; zamee.N: earth; haath thaam lenaa: to take [someone’s] hands; jaam: goblet; nayaa: new; safar: journey; waastaa: sake; saaqiiyaa: [literally] the person who serves wine

Qutab Minar window Paying guest nutan dev anand
Dev Anand and Nutan explore the nooks and crannies of Old Delhi’s famous Qutab Minar in Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

Never heard that last stanza before? You’re not alone! Most commercial recordings of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” impiously neglect to include the full version that is present in the actual film. Can you believe your whole life you had missed out on hearing that sweet bliss that is Mohammed Rafi’s “le chalaa-aa-aa-aa“?

– Mrs. 55

Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Zeenat aman chura liya hai asha bhonsle
Zeenat Aman opens “Chura Liya Hai” with a perfectly harmonious clanking of bar goblets in Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). R.D. Burman achieved this sound by actually clanking a spoon against a glass!

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” from retro classic Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

The robust musical composition of “Chura Liya Hai” is nothing short of genius: its instrumental experimentation and rich layers of orchestral nuance are what made R.D. Burman such a radical revolutionary in the industry. But first we must start by discussing the comical opening sequence of Zeenat Aman fake guitaring. I’m sorry, but this can’t be ignored, nor can anyone’s feelings about it be overstated.

Have you ever seen someone play the guitar, Zeenat? Does the timing of when you pluck strings and when the guitar emits sound make sense to you? Or were you rushing through the scene because Elvis was calling and wanted his white jumpsuit back?

Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat
Abandoning all pretense, Zeenat Aman gives her guitar a hug in Yaadon ki Baraat (1973).

I’ll move on. Director Nasir Hussein’s hit film Yaadon Ki Baraat plays upon the classic Hindi film trope of three-brothers-separated-in-childhood who reunite as adults and serve up some nice cold justice on a platter. I’m waiting for someone to remix this as a sister story with a welcome whiff of feminism, but it’s fine. While I would argue Waqt and Amar, Akbar, Anthony made far more note-worthy contributions to cinema, Yaadon Ki Baraat was a formulaic commercial success despite the gauche performance by its leading man Vijay Arora. And yes, I have strong feelings about those protruding ruffles on his tuxedo shirt, but I’ll spare you.

Vijay Arora in Chura liya hai.png
Vijay Arora casually throws the guitar he does not know how to hold over his shoulder in “Chura Liya Hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). In doing so, Zeenat realizes she has found someone who truly understands her.

Vijay Arora plays one of the three brothers who falls for the wealthy daughter of his adoptive father’s employer (played by Zeenat Aman). With vocals that have reached peak Rafi perfection (just years before his voice took a turn for the husky), Vijay easily lands the girl by transforming “Chura Liya Hai” into a flirtatious duet when he pipes up mid-way through the number.

We hope you enjoy our lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” below! God bless you, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Punjabi words like lahuu never make it to mainstream Bollywood songs.

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & English Translation:

ASHA: Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Bahar banke aauu.N kabhii tumhaarii duniyaa mei.N
I will become the Spring and enter your world
Guzar na jaaye yeh din kahii.N issii tamannaa mei.N
Let my days not disappear with this desire
Tum mere ho, ho! tum mere ho, aaj tum itnaa waadaa karte jaanaa
You are mine, oh! You are mine, today you can only leave if you promise me this

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

RAFI: Ho! sajaau.Ngaa luT kar bhi tere badan ki Daali ko
Oh! I would destroy myself to decorate the branches of your body
Lahuu jigar ka duu.Ngaa hasii.N labo.N ki laalii ko
I will give the blood from my heart for the rouge of your lips
Hai wafaa kyaa is jahaa.N ko, ek din dikhlaa duu.Ngaa mai.N diiwaanaa
One day, this crazy man will show the world what a true promise is

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm

Glossary:

churaanaa: to steal; dil: heart; nazar: gaze; sanam: beloved; badalnaa: to change; zindagaanii: life; behlaanaa: to pacify; Bahaar: Spring; duniyaa: world; guzaar jaanaa: to pass; tamannaa: desire; waadaa: promise; sajaanaa: to decorate; luT: ruin, destruction; badan: body; Daalii: branch; lahuu: blood [Panjabi]; jigar: liver/heart; hasii.N: beautiful; lab: lips; laalii: redness; jahaa.N: world; din: day; dikhlaanaa: to show; diiwaanaa: crazy (in love), a la Beyonce

Vijay Arora and Zeenat Aman in Yaadon Ki Baarat.png
Zeenat Aman and Vijay Arora  act all like they didn’t notice the other one is singing straight at them in “Chura Liya hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

You guys might recall that album “You’ve Stolen My Heart” by the Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhonsle in 2005. It features this song…and let’s just say, my heart didn’t get stolen. To me, this song could not be improved upon–and I rarely ever question the absolute sublimity of a Rafi-Lata duet. Here, I have come to appreciate what Asha uniquely brings to this song–a kind of vivacity and playfulness that Lata would have done very differently–and I wouldn’t change it even if I could!

-Mrs. 55

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