Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Shamshad Begum Bollywood playback singer

Bollywood playback legend Shamshad Begum (1919-2013)

Last Wednesday, Bollywood lost another of its finest treasures: legendary playback singer Shamshad Begum. The veteran singer was 94 years old. She was well-known for breaking the norms–a maverick with a Brenda Lee-esque penchant for the Western and an irresistible je ne sais quoi that drew hoards of admirers from across the sub-continent. While Lata Mangeshkar and her clones sought to define femininity by delicate, high-pitch vocals Shamshad Begum proved over and over again that a sexy, strong timber could still carry innocence and that women in India could not all be categorized by a single stereotyped voice. Yes, the world needed Shamshad Begum, a woman who never succumbed to expectations and whose daring voice lent itself to some of the greatest works of Bollywood’s Golden Age. We salute you, Shamshad, and the invaluable service you did to the nascent Hindi film industry.

Who can forget her performance with Nigar Sultana as the sultry Bahar in Mughal-e-Azam‘s “Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat“? Few women dared sing a duet with Lata Mangeshkar for fear of inferiority–but that was precisely where the great talents of Shamshad shined their brightest. With a voice unlike anything in Bollywood history, Shamshad dazzled audiences with a deep, edgy flair for which she was famous. There was simply no competition because the voices were incomparable. Shamshad’s other famous duets such as “Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar” with Mohammed Rafi from CID (1956), “Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon” with Chitalkar Ramchandra in Patanga (1949) or “Kajra Mohabbatwala” with Asha Bhonsle in Qismat (1968) to name a few, showcase her unique robust twist on the norm and continue to be remade and popularized today.

Shamshad Begum receiving the Padma Bhushan for a lifetime of achievements in 200.9

Shamshad Begum receiving the Padma Bhushan for a lifetime of achievements in 2009.

Music director O.P. Nayyar confessed in an interview that when he entered the music industry, he begged Shamshad Begum to sing for his compositions. Her first collaboration with him became absolutely legendary: “Kabhi Aar, Kabhi Paar” from the film Aar Paar (1954). Here at Mr. and Mrs. 55, our favorite of her solo hits is the extraordinarily catchy S.D. Burman composition, “Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re” from Bahar (1951) in which classical dancer Vijayantimala made her Bollywood debut.

You can tell from themyriad of hand gestures reminiscent of a classical mudra to accompany the emotion of each line (coupled with her impeccable posture), that teenager Vijayantimala was well-trained in Bharatnatyam arts. This theatrical dance form meshes interestingly with the medium of film, at times carrying the over-expression of a silent movie and the spectacle of a living room classical dance performance. Perhaps the best part of this adorably innocent love song (besides, of course, Shamshad’s vocals!) is the clever and hilariously unnecessary drama accompanying the actresses 4 costumes changes in the song!

Vijayantimala in Bahar 1951 Saiyan Dil Mein Ana Re

Young Vijantimala makes her Bollywood film debut singing Shamshad Begum’s “Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re” in Bahar (1951).

Please enjoy the full lyrics and English translation to this Shamshad Begum hit “Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re” below and let us know YOUR favorite Shamshad Begum song in the comments!

Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re Lyrics and Translation:

Saiyaa.N dil mei.N aanaa re
Beloved, come into my heart
Aake phir na jaanaa re
And once you come, never leave
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Raja ban ke aanaa re
Like a king, come to me
Mohe leke jaanaa re
And take me with you when you go
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Chaandnii raat hogii, taaro.N kii baaraat hogii
It will be a moonlit night, the stars will form a wedding procession
Pehle pehle pyaar kii pehlii pehlii baat hogii
The first words of my first love will be spoken
Khushii khushii gaaye.Nge ham geet suhaanaa re
We will joyfully sing a beautiful song

ThoDii thoDii sahal hogii, thoDaa thoDaa pyaar hogaa
Little by little, our love will become easy
Kabhii iqraar hoga, kabhii inkaar hogaa
Sometimes you will agree with me, sometimes you will refuse me
Teraa manaanaa meraa rooTh jaanaa re
But you appease me, my anger will disappear

Tum mere paas hoge, gham baDii duur hogaa
You will be beside me, and all sadness will be far away
Kehtaa hai jiyaa meraa hogaa zuroor hogaa
My heart tells me this will certainly be so
Laanaa re laanaa tashriif laana re
Come, believe in me

Saiyaa.N dil mei.N aanaa re
Beloved, come into my heart
Aake phir na jaanaa re
And once you come, never leave
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Raja ban ke aanaa re
Like a king, come to me
Mohe leke jaanaa re
And take me with you when you go
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Glossary:

saiyaaN: beloved; raajaa: king; chaandnii: moonlight; baaraat: wedding procession; khushii: happiness, joy; geet: song; suhaanaa: beautiful; thoDaa: a little; sahal: easy; iqraar: agreement, acceptance; inkaar: refusal; manaanaa: to appease someone; rooTh: sulk, anger; gham: sadness; duur: far; jiyaa: soul, heart; zuroor: certainly; tashriif laanaa: a respectful way of asking someone to come or to enter (and in doing so, trust their honor with you)

So now you’re asking yourself, why is there no translation given for arguably the best line of the song: “Chham chhamaa chham chham“? There are a few ways to analyze this line–whether she’s referencing the glittering of stars, doing some free-styling by adding an extemporaneous beat to the melody, or getting carried away by the excitement of her own life–I think any real attempt to translate that exceedingly interpretive line formally would be an injustice to the song’s joie de vivre. Let us know your favorite Shamshad Begum moment in the comments!

– Mrs. 55

What Killed Madhubala: A Close Look at the Death of A Bollywood Icon

Rare Madhubala picture Indian actress

Madhubala, classic Bollywood actress, (1933-1969)

Madhubala was born Mumtaz Jahan Nehlavi on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1933. Perhaps was no coincidence with such a birthday that Madhubala would grow up to become one of the most beloved romantic heroines of India. But her life could not share the happy endings of many of her films. This month, Madhubala would have turned 80 years old. Her premature death has likened Madhubala to iconic Hollywood greats like Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Carol Lombard and even Bollywood’s own Meena Kumari–women of the silver screen who died before the world was ready.

Madhubala’s unique allure was known worldwide–she had been featured in many American magazines including LIFE magazine whose rare photographs are featured in this post. Legendary director Frank Capra was eager to bring the mysterious Indian beauty to Hollywood and launch an international career–but his efforts were halted quickly by Madhubala’s conservative father. She was sought after by every great Bollywood director and actor from Dilip Kumar to Dev Anand and even romanced and married playback singer Kishore Kumar at the height of her illustrious career. For years, Madhubala was the Queen of Bollywood and the hearts of millions.

But what killed Madhubala, ending her short-lived reign? Could it have been prevented?

Rare vintage photograph of Indian actress Madhubala by LIFE magazine

Indian actress Madhubala as photographed by James Burke for LIFE magazine in 1951.

When Madhubala was born to a traditional Muslim family in Delhi, her elder sister Madhur Bhushan recalled that the baby was “blue”–a serious sign of cyanosis and poor oxygen perfusion. Madhubala had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a disorder colloquially referred to as a “hole in the heart.” A congenital abnormality of that kind allowed for mixing of both normal oxygenated blood and deoxygenated blood to be shunted through her body–an unhealthy adulteration with a bad prognosis. While a somewhat common birth defect (1 in 500 babies are born with a VSD), the medical community’s understanding of  the condition was in its infancy–VSD had first been described in 1879 and at the time of Madhubala birth, there was no treatment. Yet Madhubala continued to grow into a vivacious and beautiful young woman whose fragility was for many years known only to a few.

madhubala life magazine bed

Indian superstar Madhubala was sought by directors across the country and internationally during the height of her career.

The young beauty shot to fame in 1949 at the age of 16 in Kamal Amrohi’s Mahal with Bollywood veteran Ashok Kumar. One success followed another, establishing Madhubala as an A-grade star with a rare versatility and ebullience that hid her growing fatigue and weakness. In was not until filming scenes for Bahut Din Hue in 1954, Madhubala vomited blood on the set. It was an ominous sign that electrified the Indian media. The history of her heart defect came to public light as the mid-1950s brought her a string of failures, earning her the label “box office poison.” With skyrocketing notoriety, no longer was Madhubala’s illness a family secret.

Beautiful madhubala in a personal photograph

The lovely Madhubala in an unscripted moment in her room in Bombay.

Little did her family know, in the same year on the other side of the world at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Walt Lillehei was about to make medical history. After years of research in the field, on the morning of March 26, 1954, Lillehei performed the first surgical closure on a child with VSD. The surgery was a success that brought hope to thousands of families whose children were otherwise not expected to live past their 30th birthday.

Meanwhile in Bombay, Madhubala’s career revived and reached dazzling heights with smash hits like Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) and the pinnacle of her career, Mughal-e Azam (1961). However, as Madhubala neared her 30th birthday, the grueling filming of historical epic Mughal-e Azam was to take a toll on the young actress’ health that is speculated to have hurried her demise.

An unscripted moment with Madhubala

Madhubala died on February 23, 1969 at the age of 36.

During the filming of the famous song, “Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye,” Madhubala’s performance turned art into life. The scene was of defiant courtesan Anarkali chained in the palace prison, singing for mercy. Director K. Asif actually made Madhubala perform in heavy, burdensome metal chains that weighed the actress down and cut into her skin. Her exhaustion and despair that you can see in the song are real–for a patient with VSD, such an amount of physical exertion truly mimicked the torture of her Mughal character. It became clear that her only hope lay in the the rumors of a surgical cure with the techniques recently pioneered by Dr. Lillehei.

Madhubala Life magazine

Bollywood Actress Madhubala was most remembered for her roles in Mahal (1949), Mughal-e Azam (1960), and Barsaat Ki Raat (1960).

In 1960, the actress sought treatment in London, but physicians refused to operate. Although Lillehei’s surgery had worked in children, physicians across the West had not perfected the technique in adults, and the first heart transplant in a human adult would not be performed for 7 more years. It was with a heavy spirit that Madhubala returned home to Bombay where she realized her career as an actress was over. She sought instead to enter film as a director, setting the stage to make tremendous strides for women in her directorial debut of the film Farz Aur Ishq. However, while the project was still in pre-production, Madhubala–the immortal woman with a mischievous smile and a mystical aura–succumbed to her illness at the age of 36. Tragically, within a few short years of her death, operations that closed VSDs were made widely available to adults. The history of heart surgery and Madhubala’s life crossed paths at a critical corner, but for a matter of time, never made that life-saving collision.

Rare beautiful photograph of Madhubala

The enigmatic beauty of Madhubala captures audiences generations after her death.

Perhaps if Madhubala had been born just a few years later or if Dr. Lillehei had begun his famous experiments just a few years earlier, Madhubala would have lived to see a surgery that would have allowed her to celebrate her 80th birthday today with us. Perhaps it was Madhubala’s early death itself that has immortalized her as a forever beautiful, forever carefree young woman who will remain always elusive. That ethereal woman haunting the mansion of Mahal (1949) or glittering in jewels of Mughal-e Azam (1961) is now only a shadow in our memories who vanished before time could transform her. In the words of her famous character from Mahal in which she starred at the age of 16:

Mai.N vehm nahii.N hoo.N, haqeeqat.” [“I am not an apparition, I am reality.”]

For fans of Madhubala all over, her words proved true only for a short while.

– Mrs. 55

What is Eastmancolor?

Amar Akbar Anthony in blinding Eastmancolor!

No, really, what the heck is Eastmancolor? When you look closely at title screen of each of your favorite classic Bollywood films, you find the simple, but bold little phrase, “EASTMANCOLOR” conspicuously splashed across the screen. It’s gnawed quietly at the back of your mind for years. Is “Eastmancolor” part of the name of the film? Is someone making a not-so-clever reference to Indians themselves (“Who is this MAN from the EAST, anyway?”)!? But the words quickly dissolve, the film begins, and in the excitement and messiness of the resulting masala, why “Eastmancolor” deserves a holy spot right in the title screen remains forever an unsolved mystery. Luckily for you, that’s about to change.

Aradhana in mind-blowing Eastmancolor!

Let’s back ourselves up and unravel this riddle from the start. When the first monopack colour film stocks hit Hollywood in the 1930s, India was eager to catch up and bring colour to Bollywood. But the process was not easy. Apart from being significantly more expensive than traditional black-and-white (silver halide photographic emulsion), coloured film stock brought with it a new set of artistic problems: development of the negative taking both luminosity and color into account.

Mere Huzoor in death-defying Eastmancolor!

The first colour film made entirely in India was Kisan Kanya (1937), produced by Ardeshir Irani who had also pioneered the first talkie of Hindi cinema 6 years earlier. However, poor box-office returns and difficulties and expenses in garnering rights to the American Cinecolor stock development process kept coloured film largely out of range for many years following. Guru Dutt, not surprisingly, was among the later auteurs who help revive its popularity. He experimented with the new colour cinematography in his timeless beauty “Chaudhvin Ka Chand”(1961)  that highlights the effect of (fake) moonlight and colour ranges at night. The opportunity to use colour arrived mid-production, and although Dutt had wanted to reshoot the entire film with the new technology, budget and time-constraints forced him to film only this and one other song in colour before the release. Around the same time, K. Asif too experimented with the range of this new technology, incorporating the dazzling colour song “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya” into his magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (1961) as a stunning and vivid tribute to the full glamour of the Mughal Empire.

Junglee in dazzling Eastmancolor!

India’s full-length color feature, Mother India (1957), was a landmark film for many reasons, but notably for demonstrating that coloured film stock was the wave of the future—garnering a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards the year of its release. After the overwhelming success of Mother India, Bollywood began shifting its norm to predominantly coloured film, eventually using black-and-white sparingly for stylistic reasons (as in the film noirs or Teen Devian).

Caravan in jaw-dropping Eastmancolor!

Prior to this era, colourizing film had been a technical and artistic nightmare—as far back as the 1910s and 1920s, filmmakers had been painting each frame of a film by hand, bleaching the film stock and adding color dye, or most popularly, using the expensive Technicolor multi-strip subtractive method. These options had little ground in the competitive, movie-a-minute atmosphere of India, and the hassle of processing such film stock (which often needed to be shipped abroad for the purpose), left India for many years colourless.

Teesri Manzil in heart-stopping Eastmancolor!

Eastmancolor, introduced in 1950 by Kodak was a novel and economic technology that used a single-strip 33mm negative-positive process incorporated into one strip of film. While a popular rival to expensive Technicolor, it unfortunately is also the stock most prone to fading over the years. The Eastmancolor emulsions are made of cyan, yellow, and magenta layers. The cyan is the first to fade—in films you see what were originally blue skies now turned white—then eventually all you have left are the sun-washed reddish hues. This gives us a classic image of badly preserved Bollywood films with faded colours and a warm tint.  Contrast this with most beautifully vivid Technicolor processed films you can watch today (think MGM Judy Garland musicals), and you can see a big difference in how the colours have survived.

Safar in gut-wrenching Eastmancolor!

By the time DVDs rolled around, many of the films we know and love in Bollywood had suffered destruction in their original film stocks that no one bothered to repair before a DVD transfer. However, just to give you a hint of what we’ve lost, I’ve personally adjusted the color (albeit imperfectly), to a few stills below from some classic Bollywood films as they would have looked had they been printed on extremely saturated Technicolor. See how subtle thing like this can actually make a HUGE overall difference?! That faded look is merely a tragic artifact of time and neglect.

Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai in Taj Mahal (1963).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

Sunil Dutt and Sadhana in Waqt (1965).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

Waheeda Rehman in Guide (1965).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh in Teesri Manzil (1966).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

Aruna Irani in Caravan (1971).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in Aradhana (1969).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

Zeenat Aman and Dev Anand in Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971).
Left: Eastmancolor. Right: Technicolor.

We often think that Eastmancolor was used only in Bollywood, but it truly started in America as a cheaper rival to Technicolor. In fact, with the advent of Cinemascope (a new widescreen format that once again changed the dynamic of filmmaking), Eastmancolor became THE industry standard—however, in America and unlike in India, the Eastmancolor stock was actually processed still by Technicolor using their sturdier dye-transfer printing. Therefore many films in America billed as “Technicolor” actually have an Eastmancolor base, but would retain their colour fidelity over the years. This is also true of the climax of Mughal-e-Azam which was also shot in and processed by Technicolor and has therefore remained brilliant over the years (helped, of course, also by the recent restoration project). The colours of that film look far different than the colours of classic Eastmancolor Bollywood films like Caravan (1978), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), or Jewel Thief (1967). Sigh. A little investment would have gone a long way.

Madhubala glitters in K. Asif’s true Technicolor masterpiece Mughal-e-Azam (1961). Now THAT’s colour, people.

Satisfied? More information than you really wanted? I hope everyone’s burning curiosity has been slaked at last. The next time you and your hip friends watch an Eastmancolor film, you’ll be the cool cat who knows the full story. Impress the crowd with your knowledge, and poo-poo those provincial fools who think Eastmancolor simply meant Indian men making films! Fun fact: Eastman is actually the name of George Eastman who founded Kodak Photography in 1889!

This Bollywood Mystery request was submitted by faithful fan Pankaj. As always, shoot us an email and keep those requests coming!

-Mrs. 55

In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rekha gives a career-defining performance as a courtesan and poetess in Umrao Jaan (1981)

I recently rewatched Muzaffar Ali’s masterpiece Umrao Jaan (1981), a film that is so brilliantly crafted that it deserves multiple posts on this blog like Pakeezah and Mughal-e-AzamThe film is based on an Urdu novel written by Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa that recounts the life of one of South Asia’s most influential literary figures: Umrao Jaan. Born in Faizabad, a young girl named Amiran is kidnapped and sold to a brothel in Lucknow. As she grows older, Amiran is grooomed by the brothel’s madam until she becomes Umrao Jaan (played by Rekha), one of Lucknow’s most desirable courtesans.  Misfortune after misfortune falls upon Umrao Jaan, but the film ultimately portrays her as a resilient woman whose beautiful mujras and poetry serve as a lasting legacy to her indomitable spirit.

In addition to Rekha’s stunning performance as the tawaif Umrao Jaan, this film is especially memorable for its portrayal of the richness of Lucknow’s cultural heritage. The indulgent life of nawaabs around the turn of 20th century is visually apparent in the film’s costumes, artwork, and set design, but the luxurious atmosphere in the film is taken to a new level by the soundtrack composed by Khayyam and penned by Shahryar. Here, I’ve chosen to translate one of the unforgettable mujra numbers from this film: in aa.nkho.n kii mastii.

She’s not lying when she says her eyes are intoxicating…

In this song, Umrao Jaan engages in some self-indulgent vanity. She mildly chides her lover Nawab Sultan (played by Farooq Shaikh) by saying there are thousands of other madmen in Lucknow that admire her charm and beauty. In the third verse, she continues to brag by saying that all the taverns in the world cannot serve wine as intoxicating as the wine that she serves from her glances. Finally, in the last verse, Umrao makes a warning against those that attempt to suppress her grandeur using a common symbol found in Urdu-Hindi poetry: the moth. Like moths to a flame, she claims that there are thousands of admirers in the city who would sacrifice their lives to protect her. The poetry in this song is not overly complex, but there is a subtle beauty to it that is enhanced by Asha Bhonsle’s beautiful rendition and Rekha’s graceful expressions on screen. I managed to find a very high-quality print of this song on YouTube, so please do watch the link provided above and follow along with the translation/glossary–enjoy!

–Mr. 55

P.S. Whatever you do, please do not waste three hours of your life (like I did) watching J.P. Dutta’s 2006 remake of this movie starring Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bacchan. It is a travesty of a film that completely disrespects the beauty of the original. I think one of the worst parts is the atrocious Urdu pronunciations. I mean, even I can get the guttural khe sound right when I say “khudaa haafiz,” and they don’t pay me the big bucks. Why can’t Aishwarya or Abhishek? And let’s not even get started on Anu Malik’s tired and stale soundtrack…

The camera adds to the meaning of the lyrics here by bringing candles into the shot when Rekha sings “is shamm-e-farozaa.n…

In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke Lyrics and Translation

in aa.nkho.n kii mastii ke mastaane hazaaro.n hai.n
The intoxicating beauty of these eyes attracts thousands of admirers. 
in aa.nkho.n se vaabastaa afsaane hazaaro.n hai.n
Indeed, there are thousands of stories associated with these eyes. 

ek tum hii nahii.n tanhaa ulfat me.n merii rusvaa
You are not the only one disgraced by your love for me, 
is shahar me.n tum jaise diivaane hazaaro.n hai.n
There are thousands of madmen like you in this city.

ek sirf ham hii mai ko aa.nkho.n se pilaate hai.n
It is only I who can serve you wine with my eyes, 
kahne ko to duniyaa me.n maikhaane hazaaro.n hai.n
Though it is said that there are thousands of taverns in this world.

is shamm-e-farozaa.n ko aa.ndhii se Daraate ho
Although you attempt to scare this bright candle with a storm,
is shamm-e-farozaa.n ke parvaane hazaaro.n hai.n
The light from this candle attracts thousands of moths. 

in aa.nkho.n kii mastii ke mastaane hazaaro.n hai.n
The intoxicating beauty of these eyes attracts thousands of admirers. 

Glossary

mastii: intoxication; mastaane: admirers; vaabasta: associated with; ulfat: love; rusvaa: disgraced; mai: wine; maikhaane: taverns; shamm-e-farozaa.n: bright candle; aa.ndhii: storm; parvaane: moths.

Farooq Shaikh, as Nawab Sultan, watches the mujra in admiration.

Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat Aazmaakar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

The mehfil for the qawwali looks particularly vibrant in the recolored version of Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

Directed by K. Asif, Mughal-e-Azam (1962) is one of the most cherished films in the history of Bollywood cinema. Although several films have been made around the same premise, Mughal-e-Azam is by far the most well-known depiction of the forbidden love story between Prince Salim and courtesan Anarkali.  We could write (and probably will) at least ten different posts to describe all the things we love about this movie: the intricate Urdu dialogue, the beautiful soundtrack composed by Naushad, the elaborate costumes and set design, the heartwrenching plot, and so on. Here, I’d like to  share the lyrics and translation for one of many gems found in this film’s soundtrack: terii mahfil me.n qismat aazmaakar.

This qawwali is set between Anarkali (played by Madhubala) and her chief rival Bahar (played by Nigar Sultana) as a musical debate on the nature of love. As both women fight for his affections, Prince Salim (played by Dilip Kumar) watches the performance and is supposed to give a rose to the winner of the debate at its conclusion.The back-and-forth debate style of these lyrics is quite a rare find in Bollywood cinema, and it is even rarer to encounter such lyrics (penned by Shakeel Badayuni!) as a female-female duet. Despite being a female-female duet, there is still a subtle division of gender roles if you pay close attention to the song. From her costume, mannerisms, and lines, it could be argued that Bahar is taking on the more masculine role in this qawwali. In fact, her singing part is rendered by the more masculine of the two voices:  Shamshad Begum.

Although the lyrics of this qawwali can be interpreted as universal statements about love, there are a couple of interesting things to point out here with the context of the film’s plot in mind. For example, Bahar introduces a pun on her name when she sings “bahaare.n aaj paigham-e-muhabbat leke aayii. hai.n” (the spring has brought a message of love). Moreover, Bahar snarkily calls attention to the secret love affair between Salim and Anarkali when she claims, “kisii din yeh tamasahaa muskuraakar ham bhii dekhe.nge” (we shall smile one day and watch this spectacle). Aware that her affair with Salim is unacceptable by society’s standards, Anarkali admits that love can be hard when she sings, “muhabbat hamne maanaa zindagi barbaad kartii hai” (we admit that love can destroy one’s life”). She then posits, however, that suffering for the sake of love is worth it because lovers can leave a lasting legacy on the world after they die: “yeh kyaa kam hai ki mar jaane pe duniyaa yaad kartii hai?” Even though she’s being a little dramatic with her lines here, it’s hard not to be rooting for Anarkali over Bahar.

Salim, played by Dilip Kumar, judges the musical debate between Anarkali and Bahar.

At the end of the qawwali, Salim actually declares Bahar the winner of the debate by giving her the rose. This isn’t really a genuine victory because we know that even though Bahar wins the rose, Anarkali has already won Salim’s heart. Also, who could really lose when you have Madhubala and Lata Mangeshkar on your team at their peak of their careers? Come on, Salim, keep it real.

-Mr. 55

Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat Aazmaakar Lyrics and Translation:

Shamshad: terii mahfil me.n qismat aazamaakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
In the gathering of your court, we will test our fate. 
ghaDii bhar ko tere nazdiik aakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
We shall come close to you fleetingly and watch this spectacle. 
ajii haa.n ham bhii dekhe.nge
Yes, we shall watch this spectacle.  

Bahar, played by Nigar Sultana, being sassy as she sings a classic qawwali in Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

Lata: terii mahfil me.n qismat aazamaakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
In the gathering of your court, we will test our fate. 
tere qadamo.n pe sar apanaa jhukaa kar ham bhii dekhe.nge
We shall bow our heads at your feet and watch this spectacle 

ajii haa.n ham bhi dekhe.nge
Yes, we shall watch this spectacle.  

Madhubala charms all of us with her beautiful smile in Mughal-e-Azam (1960).

Shamshad: bahaare.n aaj paighaam-e-muhabbat leke aayii hai.n
The spring has brought a message of love.
baDii muddat me.n ummiido.n kii kaliyaa.n muskuraayii hai.n
The flowerbuds of hope have smiled  after  a long time. 

gham-e-dil se zaraa daaman bachaakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
We shall protect ourselves from heartache and watch this spectacle.
ajii haa.n ham bhii dekhe.nge
Yes, we shall watch this spectacle.   

 Lata: agar dil gham se khaalii ho to jiine kaa mazaa kyaa hai?
If the heart is empty of pain, then what pleasure can one find in living?
na ho khuun-e-jigar to ashq piine kaa mazaa kyaa hai?
If the heart does not bleed, then what pleasure can one find  in swallowing tears? 

muhabbat me.n zaraa aa.nsuu bahaakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
We shall shed a few tears in love and watch this spectacle. 
ajii haa.n ham bhii dekhe.nge
Yes, we shall watch this spectacle.  

Shamshad: muhabbat karnevaalo.n kaa hai bas itnaa hii afasaanaa
Such is the story of lovers: 
taDapnaa chupke chupke aahe.n bharnaa ghuT ke mar jaanaa
They quietly suffer; their eyes fill with tears; they  suffocate and die. 
kisii din yeh tamaashaa muskuraakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
We shall smile one day and watch this spectacle.  

ajii haa.n ham bhii dekhe.nge
Yes, we shall watch this spectacle.   

Lata: muhabbat hamne maanaa zindagii barbaad kartii hai
We admit that love can destroy one’s life.  
yeh kyaa kam hai ki mar jaane pe duniyaa yaad kartii hai?
But, is it unworthy if the the world remembers lovers after they die? 
kisii ke ishq me.n duniyaa luTaakar ham bhii dekhe.nge
We shall sacrifice the world for someone’s love and watch this spectacle. 
ajii haa.n ham bhii dekhe.nge
Yes, we shall watch this spectacle.  

terii mahfil me.n qismat aazamaakar ham bhi dekhe.nge
In the gathering of your court, we will test our fate. 

Glossary

qismat: fate;  aazamaanaa: to test; ghaDii bhar ko: fleetingly; nazdiik: close; qadam: feet; paighaam-e-muhabbat: message of love; baDii muddat me.n: after a long time; ummiid: hope; daaman bachaanaa: to protect; khuun-e-jigar: blood of the heart; ashq piinaa: to swallow tears; aa.nsuu bahaanaa: to shed tears; afasanaa: story; aahe.n: eyes; ghuTnaa: to suffocate; tamaaashaa: spectacle; barbaad: destroyed; luTaanaa: to sacrifice.