Allah Tero Naam Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Nanda prays for her husband in the army in Hum Dono (1961).
Nanda prays for her husband in the army in Hum Dono (1961).

Happy New Year’s to all our readers! What an incredible year it’s been for us to write this blog and to have enjoyed discovering so many fellow fans of classic Bollywood cinema! I grew up in a Hindu Punjabi family, and in my house, we always celebrate the New Year’s with a havan the morning of January 1st with friends in the community. There’s something calming and cozy about these annual gatherings–we keep it casual where I’m from while taking a break to reflect on the year behind on us and what lies ahead. In the spirit of auspicious beginnings, we shall present the lyrics and full English translation to one of Bollywood’s greatest bhajansAllah Tero Naam” from Hum Dono (1961). Rendered impeccably by Lata Mangeshkar, “Allah Tero Naam” soars with bi-partisan Hindu-Muslim appeal in a humble call to God for wisdom and strength. The iconic number is one of Lata’s personal favorite Jaidev compositions!

nanda allah tero naam 3
Nanda sings the gentle bhajan “Allah Tero Naam” in Hum Dono (1961) as a special expression of bipartisan devotion in Hindi films.

For me, Hum Dono (1961) is one of the finest films of Dev Anand’s illustrious career: it glows with a constantly-twisting plot and a golden soundtrack that places the film among the legends of cinematic history. Dev Anand was well-known for pushing the envelope of societal norms as a director, and the troubling predicaments his characters find themselves in always astound–whether falling in love with a woman who thinks he’s her brother (Bombay Ka Babu), conducting whirlwind affairs with three women at once (Teen Devian) or romancing another man’s wife who believes he’s her real husband (Hum Dono). The plots are scintillating and the acting invariably superb. Furthermore, did I mention Hum Dono a quasi-twin movie too? Couple that with a war-time theme and you can readily imagine the opportunities for confusion of epic Bollywood proportions. See our earlier translation of “Main Zindagi Ka Saath” from the same film!

The Lata Mangeshkar solo is one of the film’s many high points, arriving midway through the film as Nanda prays for her husband’s safe return from the war. The time period was arguably when Lata’s voice was at her most angelic, and the graceful, gentle maneuvers of this song will leave you breathless for more!

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects to “Allah Tero Naam” is the Hindu-Muslim crossover lyrics. Reminiscent of “Ishwar Allah Tero Naam” later rendered by Mohammed Rafi in Nayaa Raastaa (1970), this bhajan encompasses an important and unique aspect of Indian spirituality–the transcendence of religious barriers (which holds a particular intrigue in a war-time themed filmed!) You guessed it, the lyrics are penned by that sensitive soul Sahir Ludhiviani, who’s feelings against war and it’s horrors are a theme in many later works (“Khuda-e-bartar,” anyone?). So whether you adore this song for the lyrics, the rendition, or just for Nanda’s emotive eye-batting, we hope you enjoy the lyrics and our English translation to “Allah Tero Naam” and wish you a happy New Year!

Allah Tero Naam Lyrics and Translation:

Allah tero naam, Ishwar tero naam
Your name is Allah, your name is Ishwar
Sab ko sanmatii de, Bhagwan
Bless everyone with equanimity, God

Maango.N kaa sindoor na chhuuTe
Do not let the sindoor disappear from the part of our hair [Let us not be widowed]
Maa.N bahano.N kii aas na TuuTe
Do not shatter the hopes of mothers and sisters
Deha binaa, Daataa
Without a body, Lord…
Deha binaa bhaTake na praan
Let the soul not wander without a body

O saare jag ke rakhwaale
O keeper of the whole world
Nirbal ko bal denewaale
The giver of strength to the weak
Balwaano.N ko
To the strong…
Balwaano.N ko de de gyaan
Bestow wisdom to the strong

Glossary:

Allah: God [Muslim]; Ishwar: God [Hindu]; sanmatii: equanimity, advise; maaNg: the parting line in a woman’s hair; sindoor: red powder worn in a woman’s hair part to signify marriage; maa.N: mother; bahan: sister; aas: hope; TuuTnaa: to break, to shatter; deha: body; Daataa: Lord; bhataknaa: to wander; praan: soul, life; rakhwaalaa: the keeper; nirbal: weak; bal: strength; balwaan: one who is strong, a warrior; denewaalaa: the giver; gyaan: wisdom, knowledge

dev anand hum dono allah tero naam
Dashing as always Dev Anand is torn from his family and caught in a moral dilemma in Hum Dono (1961).

Ever wondered why some songs use the term “tero” instead of “teraa” such as in this devotional? It’s a grammatical exception in the Hindustani language that you’ll only find in a direct address to God! It’s always nice to start a new year with linguistic trivia. Here at Mr. and Mrs. 55, our New Year’s resolution is to blog more often–we’re almost nearing our 100th post!

– Mrs. 55

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Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Nanda runs in two directions at once, coming and leaving, in “Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hai” from Shor (1972).

We next present the lyrics and full English translation to the eternal love ode “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” from Shor (1972). What makes “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” so timeless? It is on everyone’s list of favorites. Part of it is that the lyrics are some of the best poetry written in accessible language (don’t get me wrong, personally if someone wants to burst into the Urdu-textbook “Mere Mehboob Tujhe,” I’m down for that too!). “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” is rendered with almost magical emotion by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh–simultaneously a song of dream-like ecstasy and of tender nostalgia. It’s incomparable. The song speaks to a deep love between two souls undergoing hardship, to cherishing those brief precious moments spent together in happiness, and most of all, to remaining hopeful. The song is simple and evocative–and one of the most beautiful you’ll ever hear.

Manoj Kumar picturizes the famous violin introduction to “Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma” at a family beach outing.

Arriving about midway through the politcally-charged film, Shor, the song is partly told in golden-hued flashback of a family trip to the beach. Manoj Kumar plays a hard-luck activist and single father who’s wife, Nanda, is killed in a train accident.

Now some of you may at first be confused, if not disturbed, by Manoj Kumar’s radical cinematography in this sequence, typical of his edgy style. He experiments with several epigenetic, if you will, modifications at once that create an entirely signature effect: slow-motion, still photography inserts, split mirror screens. It was the 70s, and it was the time to experiment–and he’s one of the few Indian directors who did indeed drizzle these new techniques into his big screen productions. It’s unexpected, but upon closer analysis, I’ll argue works brilliantly. Manoj Kumar is no fool. To picturize a song about ephermal bliss, of prolonging a brief moment–he actually freeze frames his film to highlight the transience and importance of memory. His split frames, showing Nanda walking in and out of the center of the screen, of two halves of the beach merging, capture the duality of life that the lyrics speak of. In context, these techniques actually bring together the reflective themes of the film itself and of the love shared between its protagonists. For it, Manoj Kumar won the Filmfare Award Best Editing in 1972!

Nanda’s own reflection stares back at her as a symbolic representation of past and future in Manoj Kumar’s radical cinematography of Shor (1972).

So follow along below with our English translation of this lovely ode to carpe diem and unconditional devotion, “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” and watch the youtube version here!

Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai Lyrics and Translation

Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai
Life is a tale of love
Maujo.N kii ravaani hai
Life is the flowing of waves
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story

Kuch paakar khonaa hai
In gaining something, we lose something
Kuch khokar paanaa hai
In losing something, we gain something
Jeevan ka matlab to aanaa aur jaanaa hai
The meaning of life is to come and to go
Do pal ke jeevan se, ek umr churaani hai
From a few moments of existence, we must steal a whole lifetime
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story
Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai…
Life is a tale of love…

Tu dhaar hai nadiyaa kii
You are the waters of a river
Mai.N teraa kinaaraa hoo.N
I am your shore
Tu meraa sahaaraa hai, mai.N teraa sahaaraa hoo.N
You are my support, I am your support
Aankho.N mei.N samandar hai, aashaao.N ka paanii hai
In my eyes is an ocean, it contains the water of hopes
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story
Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai…
Life is a tale of love…

Toofaan to aanaa hai
Storms will come
Aakar chale jaanaa hai
But in the end, they will pass
Baadal hai yeh kuch pal kaa, chhaakar dhal jaanaa hai
These clouds are only momentary, after rising they will diminish
Parachhaaiiyaa.N reh jaatii, reh jaatii nishaanii hai
But these shadows remain, these symbols of you remain
Zindagii aur kuch bhi nahii.N, terii merii kahaanii hai
Life is nothing more than your and my story
Ek pyaar kaa naghmaa hai…
Life is a tale of love…

Glossary:

naghma: tale, ravaani: flowing, turning; zindagi: life; kahaanii: story; matlab: meaning; umr: age, lifetime, dhaar: water; nadiyaa: river; kinaaraa: shore; sahaaraa: support; samandar: ocean; aashaa: hope, wish; paanii: water; toofaan: storm; baadal: cloud; parchaaii: shadow; nishaanii: symbol, sign

Manoj Kumar remembers his dead wife and the love she left behind in Shor (1972).

The film, as in many Manoj Kumar patriotic hits, ends on a defiantly tragic note. Like Shaheed (1965), in which he is martyred with pride, or Upkar (1967) in which he loses his limbs for the glorious cause, in Shor too, Manoj Kumar becomes deaf–a poetic price for his son to gain back his lost voice. The film is a must-see for many reasons, if only to complete your understanding of the role Manoj Kumar played in Bollywood and defining the political tensions of his era. Although Manoj Kumar can no longer hear his late wife sing “Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai” to him, and from now on will no longer be able to hear his son, he remains hopeful and comforted by memories of the moments he once spent in happiness.

– Mrs. 55

The Glorification of Alcohol in Hindi Cinema

A study released in April of this year claimed that Indian adolescents aged 12-16 exposed to alcohol consumption in films were nearly three times more likely to drink than their peers who did not watch Bollywood movies. While this study most likely pertains to the movies released in the industry today, I would venture to say that the origins of this trend can be traced back to films from the Golden Era of Bollywood cinema. Indeed, the consumption of alcohol has been glorified on India’s silver screen for decades, especially through portrayal of sharaab (alcohol) songs in films. Here, I’ve compiled a list of my five favorite male and female sharaab numbers from the Golden Era–let’s take a closer look at these examples to examine how the consumption of alcohol has been portrayed cinematically and its implications on Indian culture.

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

In Bollywood’s earliest days, drinking alcohol in films was portrayed as a strictly masculine activity, à la Devdas and other Bollywood heroes who have famously drowned their sorrows in liquor. In contrast, the idealized image of the traditional Indian woman did not permit the depiction of female alcohol consumption in the media.  This trend began to change in the 60s when films depicted heroines and female actresses playing roles in which they partook in the consumption of the Devil’s nectar, just like their male counterparts. As you can see below, the contexts in which female characters drink vary from film to film: alcohol has been used by the women of Bollywood as a coping mechanism, a means of revenge, or just a way to have a good time.

na jaao saiyaa.n (Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, 1962): In this film based on a Bengali novel by Bimal Mitra, Meena Kumari gives one of her career’s best performances as Chhoti Bahu. Chhoti Bahu is married to young zamii.ndar (played by Rehman), who neglects his wife at home in order to take part in debauchery at local brothels on a nightly basis. In desperate need of her unfaithful husband’s companionship, she decides to take up drinking in order to keep him away from those pesky courtesans at night. In this heartbreaking song sung by Geeta Dutt, Chhoti Bahu drunkenly entreats her husband to stay at home and spend the night with her. In a truly unfortunate example of art mimicing real life, both Geeta and Meena would succumb to alcoholism as a way to cope with their unhappy marriages in the coming years. For those of you who enjoy this song, be sure to check out Hemant Kumar’s Bengali version of the same tune: “olir katha shune.

Meena Kumari, as Chhoti Bahu, tragically turns to alcoholism in Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (1962).

piike hum tum jo chale aaye hai.n (Gumnaam, 1965): This film (reviewed by us here) is a suspense thriller loosely based on the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None. The story revolves around seven vacationers who find themselves on a remote island in the middle of nowhere after a plane crash. One by one, they are murdered off and the big question is, of course: whodunnit? In the midst of all this tension, two of the vacationers, Miss Kitty (played by Helen) and Asha (played by Nanda), decide to loosen up and have some fun with a few drinks. In this comical duet sung by Asha Bhonsle and Usha Mangeshkar, the two actresses appear to be having the time of their lives in a drunken stupor on screen. I mean, who wouldn’t be having a good time if they were getting drunk with Helen?

Helen and Nanda get sloppy together in Gumnaam (1965). If you excuse the stumbling, Helen actually looks quite sophisticated in this scene because she’s not wearing one of her characteristically outrageous wigs/outfits.

aao huzuur tum ko (Kismat, 1968): This Asha-OP Nayyar collaboration is an all-time classic from the soundtrack of Kismat (along with “kajraa muhabbatvaalaa“). The film’s narrative is so outrageous that it’s not even worth summarizing here, but this song is picturized on the actress Babita, who is the mother of Karisma and Kareena Kapoor. Babita never managed to gain much success as a heroine, and that’s not surprising given that it’s unclear whether she is drunk or undergoing eplipetic fits in this particular scene. She certainly does make a statement though and manages to embarass the hero Biswajeet with her public intoxication at this party. Regardless of the picturization, Asha Bhonsle adds all the right expressions here to make this an unforgettable sharaab number on the basis of the song alone. Her vocal control in the extended introduction (“ham se raushan hai chaa.nd aur taare...”) before the song’s first stanza is especially commendable. 

Babita has probably had one too many in this scene from Kismat (1968)

kaise rahuu.n chup (Inteqaam, 1969): Inteqaam is an entertaining (but occaisionally illogical) thriller that stars Sadhana as a woman who seeks revenge against her former boss because he framed her for a theft that she did not commit. As part of her elaborate plan for revenge, she intends to marry her boss’s son (played by Sanjay Khan) and bring shame to his entire family by revealing that the new bahu is, in fact, a convicted criminal! In this song, Sadhana further embarasses her boss’s family by  acting extremely intoxicated under the influence of alcohol at a public gathering. (Technically, this might not be considered a genuine sharaab song because Sadhana is putting on a facade of being drunk without actually consuming, but I liked this song too much to pass up putting it on the list.) This soundtrack composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal is particularly memorable today because it casts a different light on Lata Mangeshkar, who was considered to be staunchly conservative and traditional in her playback output.  Lata surprises us all by agreeing to sing two sizzling cabaret numbers in addition to this drinking song for the film–listen to her nail those hiccups during the interludes!

Helen serves Sadhana another glass in Inteqaam (1969)

piyaa tuu ab to aajaa (Caravan, 1971): Asha Bhonsle and R.D. Burman come together to produce one of their biggest musical hits together with this classic item number from Caravan. Asha’s performance here solidified her status as the queen of cabaret singing in Hindi cinema. Furthermore, Helen’s portrayal of a nightclub dancer on screen during this song is considered the quintessential Bollywood cabaret performance. Helen’s dance moves are completely outrageous here but she makes it work somehow (see Mrs. 55’s step-by-step breakdown here). Given the ridiculousness of the situation here, you can’t really blame Helen for the heavy drinking…it certainly doesn’t stop her from completely owning the stage during her performance!

Helen gives one of the best cabaret performances of her career in Caravan (1971)

“Alcohol May Be Man’s Worst Enemy…”

Unlike their female counterparts, the men of Bollywood cinema have been imbibing alcohol since the industry’s earliest days. The most popular context for male drinking in Hindi films occurs when the hero resigns himself to heavy drinking in order to drown his sorrows, usually caused by woman-related heartbreak. While female characters are often stigmatized for their drinking and public intoxication, it is more acceptable for men of the silver screen to use alcohol consumption to deal with their grief.  Other contexts where actors are depicted consuming alcohol include scenes of male-male bonding (bromances, anyone?) and seduction of heroines and courtesans. Though Bollywood has glamorized the consumption of alcohol for both genders, the effect is far more pronounced for males, as evident in the examples I’ve selected below.

mujhe duniyaavaalo sharaabii na samjho (Leader, 1964): Even though its soundtrack is full of gems like “tere husn kii kyaa tariif karuu.n” and “ek shahanshah ne banvaa ke ek hasii.n taaj mahal,” Leader is one mess of a film starring Dilip Kumar and Vijayantimala. Dilip Kumar stars as a law graduate and aspiring political revolutionary who falls in love with a princess (played by Vijyantimala). The script has so many holes that it’s difficult to discern the overall message of this film, but there are some scenes of comic relief between Vijayantimala and Dilip Kumar that are worth remembering. By far, however, the main attraction here is the soundtrack composed by Naushad. In this particular number, an intoxicated Dilip Kumar claims that he has been forced to take up drinking to grapple with society’s evils.

Vijayntimala tries to stop a drunk Dilip Kumar from embarassing himself too much at this party in Leader (1964).

din Dhal jaaye (Guide, 1965): Where do I even begin with the praise for Vijay Anand’s Guide? Mrs. 55 and I both love everything about this film: the unique story written by R.K. Narayan, the stellar performances by Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman, and of course, the unforgettable soundtrack composed by S.D. Burman. Each and every song from this film is an absolute gem. In this particular Rafi solo picturized on Dev Anand, the hero drowns his sorrows about lost love in alcohol. The melancholic expression that pervades throughout this scene is enhanced by the beautifully crafted lyrics and tune.

Dev Anand turns to the bottle when love goes sour in Guide (1965).

chuu lene do naazuk ho.nTho.n ko (Kaajal, 1965): With this Rafi number penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Ravi, Raaj Kumar tries to get Meena Kumari, his on-screen shaadi-shudhaa (virtuous) wife, to come to the dark side by having a drink. Alcohol glorification occurs is at its finest in these lyrics: it is referred to as “mubarak cheez,” or a blessed thing.  Meena Kumari excels, as usual, at looking incredibly uncomfortable and disturbed by Raaj Kumar’s advances in this scene.

A drunk Raaj Kumar tries to get Meena Kumari on his team in Kaajal (1965).

jo unkii tamanna hai barbad ho jaa (Inteqaam, 1969): This film certainly features a lot of alcohol consumption on screen. In addition to the drunk Lata number discussed above, this Rafi solo from Inteqaam is picturized on Sanjay Khan as he laments being a mere object in Sadhana’s plans for revenge. Rajinder Krishan’s lyrics are exquisite in their ability to capture the essence of being deceived in love.

Handsome Sanjay Khan turns to alcohol to get over Sadhana’s deception in Inteqaam (1969)

yeh jo muhabbat hai (Kati Patang, 1970): Directed by Shakti Samanta, this film features an evergreen soundtrack composed by R.D. Burman. This particular number sung by Kishore Kumar is one of Bollywood’s most treasured drinking songs, and it features a handsome and bitter Rajesh Khanna drinking the night away because he was stood up at the altar by his wife-to-be.  Asha Parekh watches from a distance, not yet aware of the fact that she is the woman responsible for his heartache.

Rajesh Khanna drinks another glass of liquid courage before singing about the pain of disloyal love in Kati Patang (1970).
What are some of your favorite sharaab/daaru songs from Bollywood films? Let us know in the comments! We’ll understand if your typing is a little bit off…
Mr. 55