Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz nose rub in Aap Ki Kasam
Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz’s chemistry is palpable in a cutesy nose rub from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974). What started as an innocent trip to the temple by newlyweds Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz to pray for a child together turns quickly into a hippie dance party (complete with bhang). The irony-laced, quasi-devotional “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” that ensues is one of the 1970s most memorable duets.

When I was younger, my sister and I used to obsessively watch these VHS tapes with collections of old Bollywood songs (thanks, Mom). On one such tape, dubbed “Greatest Hits of Kishore-Lata,” this number appeared, completely out of context. While we loved the beat of the song and Rajesh Khanna’s striking powder blue bell-bottoms, we HATED Mumtaz and everything about her. First of all, orange is not her colour, and her side burns-turned-curly-Qs would scar any pre-teenage girl. But worse than all her sartorial transgressions was her buffoonery in the opening! Can you imagine the heroine of any of other film stumbling down a staircase in front of everyone? At that time, we had no idea Mumtaz had supposedly just gotten high (much less what bhang even was) and fully intended to come across as comically intoxicated. It took years for us to heal and finally come around to her merits as an actress.

Still, while “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” is a strong competitor in the marijuana trip-themed category of 1970s Bollywood songs, it loses narrowly to “Dum Maro Dum” from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971). To my fellow Hindi film fanatics, I’m sorry, but the gold standard in this particular regard remains Asha.

Mumtaz high in Aap Ki Kasam.png
Mumtaz nails that marijuana-induced euphoria in “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Aap Ki Kasam boasts an incredible soundtrack by R.D. Burman that spans the breadth of human experience–from the love ballad “Karvaten Badalte Rahe” to the philosophic “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar.” I may never be able to explain some things about “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar,” but it’s a huge highlight of the film. Like who on earth is that random old guy who starts singing halfway through? Do his grandkids watch this video too and point out his cameo with pride to all their American friends at school? Because I would.

Rajesh Khanna posing at Natraj in jai jai shiv shankar.png
Rajesh Khanna attempts a Natraj pose in the field during “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

We hope you enjoy our English translation of “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” below! While this playful song is rarely celebrated for the profundity of its lyrics, I hope you take a moment to appreciate Anand Bakshi’s poetic genius. Let’s face it: he was kind of backed up against a wall with the opening line ending in “Shankar.” After all, when was the last time you heard the word “kankar” used in a Bollywood song? I thought as much.

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and English Translation:

Kishore: Hey jai jai Shiv Shankar!
Victory to Lord Shiva!
Kaa.NTaa lage na kankar
Let neither thorn nor rock befall us
Ke pyaalaa tere naam ka piyaa
For I drink this glass is in your name, sweetheart

Lata: Ho gir jaauu.Ngii! mai.N mar jaauu.Ngii!
Oh, I will fall! I will die!
Jo tune mujhe thaam na liyaa
Unless you hold me
Ho sau Rab dii
Oh I swear to God

Lata: Ek ke do, do ke chaar, mujhko to dikhte.N hai.N
I am seeing one as two, and two as four
Kishore: Aisaa hii hotaa hai.N jab do dil milte hai.N
This is what happens when two hearts meet
Lata: Sar pe zameen, paao.N ke niiche hai aasmaa.N, ho!
Th earth is on my head, and beneath my feet is the sky, oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Rando [in Braj bhashaa]: O Bansii bhaiyaa!
Oh musical brother!
O more raajaa, baDe jaTnaa se
Oh my King, you are very blessed
Ke chuure terii phulwaarii re…
To have found a flower garden like her

He he he he he he! [maniacal laughter]

Lata: Kandhe pe sar rakhe tum mujh ko sone do
Let me lay head on your shoulder and sleep
Kishore: Masti mei.N jo chaahe.N ho jaaye hone do
In this intoxication, do whatever you want to do!
Lata: Aise mei.N, tum ho gaye ho baDe be-iimaan…ho!
In my state, you seem very dishonest…oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Kishore: Raste.N mei.N hum dono ghar kaise jaaye.Nge?
How can the two of us return home on this path?
Lata: Gharwaale ab humko khud lene aaye.Nge
Our families will have to come bring us back themselves
Kishore: Kuch bhii ho lekin mazaa aa gayaa, merii jaan…ho!
Anything may happen, but my dear, I had a great time…oh!

Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Lata: Sau Rab di
I swear to God
Kishore: Sau Rab di
I swear to God

Kishore: Are, bajaao re, bajaao, imaandaarii se bajaao
Hey! Play on, play with honesty
Are bajaao, pachaas hazaar kharchaa kar diyaa
Hey! Play on, we have spent fifty thousand rupees on this
Are imaandaari se bajaao, beta
Hey! Play with honesty, son

Glossary:

Jai: victory; Shiv Shankar: Lord Shiva in supreme and deity form; kaa.Ntaa: thorn; kankar: rock; pyaalaa: glass/goblet; naam: name; piyaa: beloved; gir jaanaa: to fall; mar jaanaa: to die; thaam lena: to hold; Rab dii sau: swear by God (Panjabi); ek: one; do: two; chaar: four; jab: when; dil: heart; milnaa: to meet; sar: head; zamee.N: earth; paao.N: feet; niiche: beneath; aasmaa.N: sky; bansii bhaiyaa: musical brother [bansii is a reference to Lord Krishna’s flute]; raajaa: king; phulwaari: garden; khande: shoulders; sonaa: to sleep; mastii: intoxication; be-iimaan: dishonest; raastaa: path; hum dono: the two of us; ghar: home; gharwaale: (literally) the people at home; khud: self; kuch bhii: anything; lekin: but, yet; mazaa aanaa: to enjoy [oneself], to have fun; jaan: life (used as a term of endearment); bajaanaa: to play [an instrument]; imaandaarii: honesty, integrity; pachhaas: fifty; hazaar: thousand; kharch karnaa: to spend

Stoned Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz Jai Jai Shiv Shankar.png
Who would you bet is higher right now, Rajesh or Mumtaz?

Thank you Garima Singh for this awesome request! Did you know Aap Ki Kasam is a remake of a 1970 Malayalam film Vaazhve Mayam? In the original, the ending is way darker, fulfilling stereotypes about the role of women in traditional society that I resent. I won’t spoil the outcome of Aap Ki Kasam for those who haven’t seen this legitimately great film, but just know that Rajesh Khanna plays a fool you will want to smack upside the head repeatedly–an urge that dissipates satisfyingly when he spirals tragically into self-destruction. Karma, baby.

– Mrs. 55

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Khiza Ke Phool Pe Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

khiza-ke-phool-rajesh-khanna-do-raaste
Rajesh Khanna plays a hard-working college student from a poor family in Do Raaste (1969).

Today we highlight the poignant lyrics and our English translation of “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” from Do Raaste (1969). Do Raaste is a classic family drama that hits hard on the tension between Eastern and Western values through an exploration of the dissolution of a joint family household. When one of the sons marries a rich “modernized” Indian girl who refuses to allow him to help pay off his family debt, the remaining relatives fall into poverty. The youngest son, played to perfection by Rajesh Khanna, must compromise his education by dropping out of college in order to support the family. He arrives at the birthday party of his wealthy girlfriend, played by Mumtaz (whose cutesy performance will at times make you want to hang yourself on the chandelier), and realizes that he no longer belongs in her world. The ensuing flood of feelings results in the beautiful ballad “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” written by Anand Bakshki with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelaal. Kishore Kumar’s voice takes on an initially softer, velvety shade that transitions fluidly to a powerful angst at the end of each antra. I dare you not to sigh when he croons, “mai.N roz lab pe naii ek aah taktaa huu.N.”

Though she says nothing that would disrupt the song, Mumtaz appears quite understandably mortified at his public display and rejection. For more uncomfortable dinner parties in Bollywood films, refer to our how-to guide on how to play the awkward miffed lover.

do-raaste-mumtaz-khiza-ke-phool
Mumtaz is heartbroken as Rajesh Khanna announces at her birthday party that they cannot be married in Do Raaste (1969).

Reminiscent of the hallowed “Waqt Ne Kiya” cinematography, in “Khiza Ke Phool Pe,” the camera simply soars with the gloriously endless dolly-ins and dolly-outs to accentuate each poetic moment, as if everyone weren’t already emotionally fragile after seeing Rajesh Khanna fight back tears. I applaud the film director Raj Khosla, despite the kitsch film set. The decor screams of the 1970s–emphasizing all those quasi-luxurious domestic ornaments that would in no way possibly make your life any better. The tinted glass cutout room divider is a textbook case in point. Still, the film crew made lemonade out of life’s interior design lemons.

chintzy-60s-decor-colored-glass-rajesh-khanna-mumtaz
Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz are separated by a bizarre art deco glass structure in her living room in the shot-reverse-shot sequence above. Note how in order to achieve this sequence with the actors seemingly continuing to face each other, Rajesh Khanna must move from the yellow panel to the blue panel on Mumtaz’s right for the reverse shot (below), breaking true visual continuity.

Check out the music video here and keep a box of tissues handy. We invite you join us below in our English translation and lyrics of “Khiza Ke Phool Pe” below:

Khiza Ke Phool Pe Lyrics and Translation:

Khizaa ke phuul pe aati kabhii bahaar nahii.N
The flower of Autumn never sees the Spring
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Na jaane pyaar mei.N kab mai.N zubaa.N se phir jaauu.N
I do not know when in love I may go back on my words
Mai.N ban ke aa.Nsuu khud apnii nazar se gir jaauu.N
By becoming tears, I may fall in my own eyes
Terii qasam hai meraa koii aitbaar nahii.N
I swear by you, I have no confidence
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Main roz lab pe nayii ek aah taktaa huu.N
Every day, a new sigh reaches my lips
Main roz ek naye gham kii raah taktaa huu.N
Every day, I await the arrival of a new sorrow
Kisii khushii kaa mere dil ko intezaar nahii.N
My heart is not waiting for any joy
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Ghariib kaise mohabbat kare amiiro.N se?
How can someone poor love someone rich?
BichhaD gaye hai.N kaii Raanjhe apnii Heero.N se
Many legendary heroes have been separated from their heroines
Kisi ko apne muqaddar pe ikhtiyaar nahii.N
No one has a choice over their fate
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Khizaa ke phuul pe aati kabhi bahaar nahii.N
The flower of Autumn never sees the Spring
Mere naseeb mei.N, aye dost, teraa pyaar nahii.N
Your love is not in my destiny, oh friend

Glossary:

khizaa: Autumn; phuul: flower; bahaar: Spring; kabhii nahii.N: never; naseeb: destiny, fortune; dost: friend; pyaar: love; na jaane: [I] do not know, [who] knows; kab: when; zubaan.N: word, language; phir jaanaa: go back; aa.Nsuu: tears; khud: self; nazar: eyes, gaze; girnaa: to fall; qasam: swear; aitbaar: confidence, trust; roz: every day; lab: lip; nayii: new; aah: sigh; gham: sorrow; raah taknaa: to await; khushii: happiness; [kisi ka] intezaar hona: to wait [for something]; ghariib: poor; mohabbat: love; amiir: rich; bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; Raanjhaa: hero of a classic Hindustani tale of star-crossed lovers (Heer-Ranjha); Heer: heroine of a classic Hindustani tale of star-crossed lovers (Heer Ranjha); muqaddar: fate; ikhtiyaar: choice

Now go cheer yourself up with a pumpkin spice latte and wipe those tears off your face by indulging in a symphony of Rajesh Khanna winks.

– Mrs. 55

 

Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna regret aap ki qasam
Rajesh Khanna reflects on the choices he made and the love he lost in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Happy New Year’s to all our fans and lovers of classic Bollywood! In the spirit of the holiday, we present the lyrics and full English translation to the thought-provoking “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974). In this song, lyricist Anand Bakshi explores the regret of one man who loses his chance to spend time with the people he loves. Rajesh Khanna plays a successful businessman who neglects and mistrusts his loving wife Mumtaz, ultimately costing him his marriage and family. Wanting desperately to make amends, Khanna soon realizes he is unable to change the past. For anyone still thinking of a New Year’s Resolution, this Kishore Kumar hit is sure to inspire!

happier times with mumtaz in aap ki kasam
Ignoring the eyesore of Delhi that is Mumtaz’s horrendous puffy orange sari blouse, happier times once reigned for the estranged couple in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Like time itself, linear movement is the emphasis of director J. Om Prakash’s gorgeous mis-en-scène. From symbolic train tracks or plodding footsteps to fantasy-pixie Mumtaz’s unidirectional trajectory through the woods, Kishore Kumar’s rich vocals are underlined by a feeling of racing forward with no way of turning back. “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein” shines in stark contrast to the romantic “Karvaten Badalte Rahe” duet sung during a high-key moment of the film. Of equal importance, the song is also a textbook example of the Bollywood cliche demonstrating a strong correlation between despondency of the hero’s love life with the length of the hero’s beard.

rajesh khanna beard aap ki qasam
By the time “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein” finishes, Rajesh Khanna has spiraled into total despondency as evidenced by his increasing length of beard.

We hope that listening to this song may inspire you to appreciate the moments you have with your loved ones over the holidays. So take a break from the daily grind and let those people know how much you care–don’t be a Rajesh Khanna! You’ll find the lyrics and our English translation of the sentimental hit “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hai” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974) below. Follow along with the video on youtube and let us know YOUR New Year’s resolution in the comments!

Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hai Lyrics and Translation:

Zindagii ke safar mei.N guzar jaate hai.N jo maqaam
Those places you pass in the journey of life
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

Phuul khilte hai.N, log milte hai.N
Flowers bloom, people meet
Magar patjhaD mei.N jo phuul muDjhaa jaate hai.N
But that flower which dies in Autumn
Woh bahaaro.N ke aane se khilte nahii.N
It does not bloom with the coming of Spring
Kuch log ek roz jo bichhaD jaate hai.N
Those people from whom you are separated one day
Woh hazaaro.N ke aane se milte nahii.N
A thousand others may come, but you will not meet them again
Umr bhar chahe koi pukaaraa kare unkaa naam
Even though you may call their names the rest of your life
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

rajesh khanna wanders aimlessly in aap ki qasam
Overcome with regret, Rajesh Khanna wanders aimlessly in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Aa.Nkh dhokaa hai, kya bharosaa hai?
Your eye deceives you, what is the truth?
Suno, dosto.N, shak dostii kaa dushman hai
Listen, friends, doubt is the enemy of friendship
Apne dil mei.N ise ghar banaane na do
Do not let doubt reside in your heart
Kal tadapnaa paDe yaad mei.N jinkii
Those people whose memories will torment you tomorrow
Rok lo rooThkar, unko jaane na do
Stop them when they are upset, do not let them leave
Baad mei.N pyaar ke chahe bhejo hazaaro.N salaam
For later, even though you may wish to greet them with love a thousand times
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

mumtaz fantasy
In epic slow-motion, Mumtaz prances through the forest of Rajesh Khanna’s fantasy, chunni billowing in the wind.

Subaah aatii hai, raat jaatii hai
Morning comes, the night departs
Yuu.n hii waqt chaltaa hii rehtaa hai, ruktaa nahii.N
In this manner, time marches on, it does not stop
Ek pal mei.N yeh aage nikal jaata hai
In a single moment, time moves forward
Aadmi Theek se dekh paataa nahii.N
Man is unable to see this well
Aur parde pe manzar badal jaata hai
And the view continues to change
Ek baar chale jaate hai jo din raat subaah shaam
But once those days and nights, and those mornings and evenings pass
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

Zindagii ke safar mei.N guzar jaate hai.N jo maqaam
Those places you pass in the journey of life
Woh phir nahin aate
They never return
Woh phir nahin aate
They never return

Glossary:

zindagii: life; safar: journey; guzar jaanaa: to pass, maqaam: place, landmark, milestone; phuul: flower; log: people; patjhaD: Autumn; muDjhaanaa: to become destroyed; bahaar: Spring; khilnaa: to bloom; ek roz: one day; bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; hazaar: a thousand; umr bhar: whole life; pukaarnaa: to call; naam: name; aa.Nkh: eye; dhokaa: deception, trick; bharosaa: trust; shak: doubt; dostii: friendship; dushman: enemy; ghar: home; taDapnaa: to torment, to flutter; yaad: memory; roknaa: to stop; rooThna: to be upset; jaanaa dena: to let someone leave; baad mei.N: later on, bhejnaa: to send; salaam: greeting; subaah: morning; raat: night; yuu.N hii: in this manner, like this; waqt: time; pal: moment; aadmi: man; thiik se: properly, well; pardaa: veil, [in this case, a movie screen]; manzar: view; badal jaanaa: to change; ek baar: once, one time; din: day; shaam: evening

Rajesh Khanna walks away from the camera
In my favorite shot of the film, Rajesh Khanna walks away from the camera, leaving the viewer alone in the cold Winter morning in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

For the Urdu snobs, you may note that the plural of the multi-layered term maqaam is technically maqaamaat. The suffix –aat is necessary to denote plurality of certain vocabulary with an Arabic origin, however modern Hindustani often omits this mark of purist pretension–particularly when it would throw off a song’s rhyming scheme! But if you’re quick, you’ll still hear it used in classic film dialogues. Other examples include:

kaaghazaat (pieces of paper)
zevaraat (jewels)
makaanaat (stores)
jawaharaat (rubies)
ma’luumaat (information)

Zindagi Ke Safar Mei.N” was requested by fan Agar Raheem. Our resolution for the New Year is to keep up quicker with requests from fans! If you haven’t seen your request in one of our blog posts yet, don’t worry–it’s coming! Thank you for the fantastic year we’ve had together, and our best wishes for a joyful and prosperous 2014!

Old Classic Bollywood Save the Date!
2014 is going to be a particularly memorable year for us because Mrs. 55 is getting married! Get ready because, you guessed correctly, it’s going to be a classic Bollywood-themed wedding!

-Mrs. 55

Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Neele Gagan Ke Tale 2
Rajkumar gets romantic with his co-star Vimi in “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” from Humraaz (1967)

Next we showcase the lovely lyrics and English translation of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” from Humraaz (1967). Set against a peaceful blue sky, Rajkumar and Vimi express their young love for each other as the voice of Mahendra Kapoor floats above. Because of this, the song carries a timeless quality marked by omniscience, as if everything we see is approved by Heaven. Whether a gentle horseback ride or riverside rendez-vous, “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” focuses just as much attention on the protagonists as it does on the wonder of nature. With an opening number as famously idyllic as this, Humraaz effectively lulls the viewer into a false sense of security. A highly underrated mystery thriller, the film shifts gears radically, filled with exciting turns and unexpected cameos until the shocking, but artistically very satisfying end. But that Elysian paradise of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” where lovers dream and Earth is in bloom will continue to live on forever.

Rajkumar Vimi Neele Gagan ke Tale Humraaz 1967
Mahendra Kapoor’s  “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” is appropriately filmed against a beautiful deep blue sky.

Humraaz is also a rare showcase of Mahendra Kapoor’s talent as a singer. Music director Ravi is often credited as making Kapoor’s career with opportunities and expressiveness that other music directors famously denied him. A devoted Mohammed Rafi disciple, Mahendra Kapoor was often brushed aside by music directors like O.P. Nayyar, who unfairly referred to Kapoor as “besuraa” or “tuneless” in comparison! Ravi, however, believed in Kapoor’s unique talent and freely demonstrated his ability with Sahir Ludhianvi lyrics from the tragic “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se” to the romantic “Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se” also from Humraaz. The evergreen hit “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” won Kapoor the filmfare award for Best Playback Singer in 1967! And indeed, one listen of Kapoor’s resonant, tender vocals in this sweet ballad will quickly quell any dissent (which, coming from myself, a fight-to-the-death Rafi groupie, says a lot)! Paired with the blissfully romantic landscapes of India’s beloved tea estates in Darjeeling, the song is truly one of the most gorgeous classic Bollywood has to offer.

Rajkumar Vimi darjeeling Humraaz
Rajkumar and Vimi enjoy the peaceful Darjeeling landscapes in Humraaz (1967).

We hope you enjoy the full lyrics and English translation of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” below. Follow along with the video and let us know how much you love the escapist fantasy of it all in the comments!

Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation:

Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ka pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms
Aise hii jag mei.N aate hai.N subahe.N
In this place the morning arrives
Aise hii shaam Dhale
In this place the evening falls
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Shabnam kii motii phoolo.N pe bhikre
The pearls of morning dew spread upon the flowers
Dono.N kii aas phale
And both of their desires flourish
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Bhalkaatii bele.N mastii mei.N khele
The sprawling branches play joyfully
PeDo.N se milke gale
And meet the embrace of the trees
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Nadiyaa kaa paanii dariyaa se milke
The water of the stream meets the river
Saagar kii or chale
And travels toward the ocean
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Glossary:

neelaa: blue; gagan: sky; tale: below; dhartii: earth; pyaar: love; phalna: to blossom; jag: place; subaah: morning; shaam: evening; Dhalnaa: to set, to diminish; shabnam: dew; motii: pearl; aas: desire; bhalkaatii: sprawling, winding; bel: branch; mastii: intoxication, joy; peD: tree; gale: embrace; nadiyaa: stream: paanii: river; dariyaa: river; saagar: ocean; or: toward, direction

Rajkumar Vimi Humraaz Neele gagan ke tale
Rajkumar is one heck of a handsome soldier as he bids a tender farewell to Vimi in Humraaz (1967).

Fun fact: “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” also makes our list of favorite “horse songs” found in Bollywood films because of its opening trot!

-Mrs. 55

A Beginner’s Guide to Bollywood Tree Courtship: The Best Tree Songs of Classic Films

Rajesh Khanna tree Mumtaz Aap Ki Qasam
Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz engage in a playful treeside encounter in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

A tree is the ideal wingman. It’s an insider trick Bollywood heroes and heroines learned early on that rarely fails to end in matrimonial bliss. Many of the best songs of Bollywood occur in a forest, taking full advantage of that lovable prop whose stability is matched only by its generosity. In honor of Van Mahotsav, the annual Indian tree-planting festival taking place this week, we too would like to honor the cultural importance of the all-mighty tree in the greatest reflection of our society: film. Why a tree? Newcomers to classic Bollywood may ask with due naivite. The archetypal significance of entering the forest–delving deep into the mysteries of the mind and soul–do have some place in the escapism of romantic fantasy, but the logic of singing and dancing around a tree is actually quite simple.

sharmila tagore kashmir ki kali
Sharmila Tagore hugs a tree for emotional stability in Kashmir Ki Kali (1964).

In most romantic-dramas of the Golden Age, emotions are just brimming over with adorable intensity. With a tree as a wingman, you can simultaneously practice your moves with a literal tree hug while catching your breath from a potentially close encounter with the real object of your desire. See, the tree doesn’t judge. The tree doesn’t ask for a return favor next Friday. The tree is neutral ground–a seemingly innocent bystander in the forest of love to which both parties have full claim. Sometimes the woman peeks behind the tree, sometimes the man. As a friendly chaperone, the tree legitimizes everyone’s behavior in that bashful innocence of bygone romance. Yes, censorship laws may prevent you from making real moves on your loved one, but they won’t stop you from snuggling a tree.

Dilip Kumar Vijayantimala dil tadap tadap ke tree
Although Vijayantimala tightly embraces a forgiving tree trunk, it’s clear who she really wants to be hugging in Madhumati (1958).

Bollywood has been perfecting the tree ritual since time immemorial. It’s a cinematic institution, particularly for the benefits of discreet pans to the sunlit treetops or a calming mountainside when a love scene threatens to quickly advance from G to PG. We even emulated basic tree positioning in a photograph on our “About Us” page!

Enjoy our list of classic Bollywood’s best tree songs below. Study them thoroughly and know your part well before embarking on your next trip to the forest. While this list could honestly go on forever, we’ve chosen our top 15 tree songs based on creativity of tree choreography. Which of YOUR favorite tree numbers would you add? Share your thoughts in the comments!

1. Dekho Kasam Se (Tumsa Nahin Dekha 1957)

2. Dil Tadap Tadap (Madhumati 1958)

3. Deewana Mastana Hua Dil (Bombai Ka Babu 1960)

4. Do Sitaron Ka Zameen (Kohinoor 1960)

5. Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar (Hum Dono 1961)

6. Isharon Isharon Mein (Kashmir Ki Kali 1964)

7. Jaiye Aap Kahan Jaayenge (Mere Sanam 1965)

8. Baharon Phool Barsao (Suraj 1966)

9. In Baharon Mei.N Akeli (Mamta 1966)

10. Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe (Kanyadaan 1968)

11. Bekhudi Mein Sanam (Haseena Maan Jayegi 1968)

12. Jaane Jaan DhoonDta (Jawani Diwani 1972)

13. Suno Kaho Suna (Aap Ki Kasam 1974)

14. Is Mod Se Jaate Hain (Aandhi 1975)

15. Tune O Rangile (Kudrat 1981)

Shammi Kapoor Dekh Kasam Se
Shammi Kapoor coyly assesses the romantic situation from the comfort of his engraved tree in Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957).

Feeling like a pro already? Perhaps you’re ready for the big time: spitting game around a tree in the rain! Check out our compilation of Bollywood’s best monsoon songs, and you’ll be walking down the aisle in no time.

-Mrs. 55