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 haaththaamlo, ek nazar ka jaam lo
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

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Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil Ki Kahani Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

 

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Amitabh Bacchan and Zeenat Aman share a romantic moment during a glamorous gondola ride shot in Venice, Italy for The Great Gambler (1979).

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to an all-time hit song from The Great Gambler (1979): do lafzo.n kii hai dil kii kahaanii. Directed by Shakti Samanta, this action film starring Amitabh Bacchan in a dual role takes the audience on a cosmopolitan journey through a variety of exotic locales including Cairo, Rome, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Egypt. While the film itself has not much to offer over other masala films released during this period of Hindi cinema, the soundtrack’s crowning gem do lafzo.n kii hai dil kii kahaanii is cherished by audiences to this day. In fact, watch Asha Bhonsle (at the age of 80!) dazzle the audience with this song here accompanied by the Metropole Orchestra at The Hague in 2013.

do lafzon kii hai dil kii kahaanii can be considered a natural successor to previous boat songs directed by Shakti Samanta, such araat ke humsafar  (An Evening in Paris, 1967) and chingaarii koii bhaDke (Amar Prem, 1972). The exotic picturization as well as the exquisite lilting melody make this song a stand-out among the other lackluster items found on the film’s soundtrack, which was composed by R.D. Burman and penned by Anand Bakshi. To infuse a dose of authentic Italian charm, the lyricist has included a few words of Italian in the song’s introduction–I’m certainly not an Italian expert, but my attempt at translating these lines is also presented below.

While the choice of veteran songstress Asha Bhonsle as the playback singer for heroine Zeenat Aman is no surprise, the choice of Sharad Kumar as the voice of the gondolier is rather interesting. Sharad Kumar Bader is an actor/singer who achieved fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s for his imitative renditions of songs originally performed by the one and only Elvis Presley. In addition to touring the globe for concerts where he sang Elvis numbers decked out in The King’s trademark jumpsuits, Sharad also received a break in Bollywood as an actor in films such as Paisa Ya Pyar (1969) and Zameen Aasman (1972) with the support of Shobhana Samarth (mother of actresses Tanuja and Nutan).  After his brief stint in the film industry, Sharad moved to Canada where he worked as an insurance agent and opened a vegetarian Indian food company called Zara’s Gourmet Kitchen with his wife Gita Bader. A colorful career path indeed!

What is your favorite foreign destination featured in a vintage Bollywood song? Let us know in the comments! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
Venice

Venice’s Grand Canal and its rich tradition of gondoliering are featured prominently in this all-time fan favorite song.

Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil Ki Kahani: Lyrics and Translation

Sharad Kumar: laa, laa, laa… amore mio, dove sei tu?
My love, where are you?
ti sto cercando, tesoro mio!
I am searching for you, my treasure!

Amitabh Bacchan: “amore mio, dove sei tu..”
ai kyaa gaa rahaa hai?
What is he singing?

Asha Bhonsle: apne pyaar ko yaad kar rahaa hai aur kah rahaa hai ki…
He is remembering his love and saying…

Amitabh Bacchan: na, na, na aise nahii.n! gaa ke sunaao na?
No, not like this! Sing it for me, won’t you?

Asha Bhonsle: gaa ke? acchhaa!
Sing it? Okay!

do lafzo.n kii hai dil kii kahaanii
The tale of my heart is only two words long.
yaa hai muhabbat, yaa hai javaanii
Is it love or is it youth?

Sharad Kumar: amore mio, il tempo vola
My love, time flies.
prendilo, prendilo, amore mio!
Catch it, catch it, my love!

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The on-screen chemistry shared by the leading pair serves as the backbone for this lighthearted, action-packed, and often nonsensical film.

Asha Bhonsle: dil kii baato.n kaa matlab na puuchho
Please don’t ask me the meaning of my heart’s words.
kuchh aur ham se bas ab na puuchho
Please don’t ask me anything now.
jis ke liye hai duniyaa diivaanii
What the world has gone mad for,
yaa hai muhabbat, yaa hai javaanii?
Is it love or is it youth?

yah kashTiivaalaa kyaa gaa rahaa thaa?
What was that gondolier singing about?
koii ise bhii yaad aa rahaa thaa
He was reminded of someone special
qisse puraane, yaade.n puraanii
along with old tales and old memories.
yaa hai muhabbat, yaa hai javaanii?
Is it love or is it youth?

is zindagii ke din kitne kam hai.n
The days of this life are limited in number.
kitnii hai.n khushiyaa.n aur kitne gham hai.n
they are filled with so much joy and so much sorrow.
lag jaa gale se, rut hai suhaanii
So embrace me, in this beautiful season.
yaa hai muhabbat, yaa hai javaanii
Is it love or is it youth?

do lafzo.n kii hai dil kii kahaanii
The tale of my heart is only two words long.
yaa hai muhabbat, yaa hai javaanii
Is it love or is it youth?

Glossary

lafz: word; kahaanii: tale; muhabbat: love; javaanii: youth; matlab: meaning; duniyaa: world; kashTiivaalaa: gondolier; qisse: tales; yaade.n: memories; khushiyaa.n: joy; gham: sorrow; gale se lag jaanaa: to embrace; rut: season; suhaanii: lovely, beautiful. 

venetian

A glimpse of Italy at The Venetian hotel from my recent vacation to Las Vegas.

gondola

Vegas’s replica of the Grand Canal–complete with gondolier and Italian serenades!

 

 

Five Anti-Feminist Bollywood Songs That Will Make You Cringe

Nutan Khandan 1965

Nutan literally worships the ground beneath her husband’s feet in Khandan (1965).

There is a careful line to be drawn in classic Bollywood cinema between love for a man and all-out worship. The songs below represent that unfortunate relic of Bollywood songs that transformed the excitement and bliss of romantic love into something plain unhealthy. We all know the genre I refer to. The trouble is, the songs are so good on a purely artistic level that we can’t help but keep playing them over and over again. Most of them were smash hits at the time of their release and continue to keep a significant slice of Indian audiences captivated, despite shifting social norms.

It’s easy to oversimplify this phenomena by saying, “it’s cultural” or “that was the way of thinking back then.” Yes, in India as in many countries, many women were raised to believe their ultimate role was in service to their husband and the framework for sexuality revolutionized worldwide in the 60s and 70s. But you can’t let it go at that for any similar explanation undermines the contradictory evidence within Indian history and the inherent wrong of this mindset. I don’t care if you lived in the 17th century or were born yesterday, we can’t raise our daughters like this. India is a country famous for electing the first female Prime Minister, for revering the strength and wisdom of its many awe-inspiring female gods, and where women become IT specialists and make salaries equivalent to their male counterparts. But there’s an uglier side too, and hopefully today we all feel a collective awkwardness when reminded of it in that great reflection of culture: film.

You’ll notice that all the songs on our cringe-tastic list are Lata Mangeshkar (half of them Nutan) hits, and it’s no surprise. Of course, it would be the heroine, not the bad modern girl left with an Asha side number, that would sing the song of self-flagellistic devotion. It’s a bad sign that some of these lines were thought to be representative of the “ideal” woman or wife–have we really improved anything by turning women into half-naked screens sirens instead? You decide.

Nutan just loves doing household chores and singing about her god-like husband in Saudagar (1973).

Personally, I have a violent reaction hearing some of these words come out of these actresses. Have a gander yourself and listen carefully to so-called Indian love of the 1950s and 1960s. Can you make it to the bottom of this list without squirming?

1. Tumhi Mere Mandir (Khandan 1965)

Cringe-worthy line: “Tumhi mere mandir, tumhi mere pujaa, tumhi devta ho.” (“You alone are my temple, you alone are my prayer, you alone are my God.”)

Gurrl, please stop it. This is seriously not healthy. Husbands should not take the place of God in your day-t0-day logic. How are you even functioning right now?

2. Aap Ki Nazaro.n Ne Samjha (Anpadh 1962)

Cringe-worthy lines: “Aap ki nazaro.n ne samjha pyaar ke qaabil mujhe…Keh rahi hai har nazar, banda parwar shukriya.” (“Your glances deemed me worthy of your love…every glance of mine says ‘Thank you, Lord.'”)

AAAAAAAAAAH. I’m in so much pain right now. So you’re telling me, you’re grateful that your husband “deemed you worthy” of his love? Help me. Check out our full translation if you’re in the mood for punishment!

3. Tera Mera Saath Rahe (Saudagar 1973)

Cringe-worthy line:”Tu kabhi mere khuda, mujhse bezaar na ho.” (May you never become angry with me, my revered God!)

Although this film is actually really good and takes some unexpected twists that make you love Nutan, I can’t deal with her in this song. She frolics around doing the chores with a pep in her step, just wishing and hoping that her GOD, oh wait, sorry, that man you married, will never be angry at her.

4. Hum Tere Pyaar Mei.N (Dil Ek Mandir 1963)

Cringe-worthy line: “Is tere charan kii dhuul se ham ne apnii jiivan maa.ng bharii…Ab in charano.n me.n dam nikle bas itnii aur tamannaa hai.” (“I put sindoor on my forehead from the dust at your feet…now I have but one more wish, which is to die at your feet.”)

OMG, calm down, girlfriend. You are legit scaring me. I don’t care if you’re being figurative, go take a cold shower and re-evaluate yourself!!! Our English translation of this monster is here.

5. Dheere Dheere Machal (Anupama 1966)

Cringe-worthy line: “Mujhko karne de! Karne de! Solah sringar! Koi aataa hai!” (Oh let me, let me, let me adorn myself and put on full-make up! He is coming!”)

OK I get it, we all try to look good for our man, but it’s the sheer frenzied desperation here that bothers me. Do you think your man gets that crazy to straighten his tie and brush his hair when he hears your painted toenails pattering on the ground in approach??

So how’d you do? Survived? Well done! Sorry about my rant, I just prefer a little equality in a relationship. For a rebuttal (and there are plenty to choose from), be sure to read our post on Mukesh’s “Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday” just in case you were afraid it was only women who knew how to grovel. Did we miss any cringe-worthy gems that always rankle your bones? Let us know in the comments!
-Mrs. 55

Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahta Hai Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Who wouldn’t want to exchange glances with those eyes?

For today’s post, we showcase the lyrics and English translation of “Nigahen Milane To” from the film Dil Hi To Hai (1963). If I had to name my favorite actress from the Golden Era of Bollywood cinema, I think that I would pick Nutan.

As one of the beloved goddesses of India’s silver screen, Nutan starred in many evergreen films from the 1950s and 1960s, including Paying Guest (1957), Anari (1959), Bandini (1963), and Milan (1967), just to name a few. In my opinion, there’s something special about Nutan’s performances that sets her apart from her peers. She played her roles with a dignified beauty, a restrained grace, and an acute intelligence that was difficult to find in other actresses of the time. Here, I’ve chosen to translate a song from Dil Hi To Hai (1963), a charming Bollywood romance that is enjoyable to watch even though it is one of Nutan’s lesser-known films.

Nutan stars in Dil Hi To Hai as Jamila, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy London-based banker. Here, Raj Kapoor departs from the image established in his previous films by playing a comic double role as Jamila’s love interest Chand and Jamila’s aged music teacher Khan Sahab. While the film features some memorable performances by Nutan and Raj Kapoor, this film is probably even more memorable today for its soundtrack composed by music director Roshan. Two gems from this soundtrack have survived the test of time. The first is the Bhairavi-based classical number “laagaa chunarii me.n daag,” which is regarded as one of the best songs of Manna De’s career. The other gem is Asha Bhonsle’s exquisitely rendered Yaman qawwalinigaahe.n milaane ko jii chahtaa hai,” which I have translated here.

Penned by Sahir Ludhianvi, this qawwali centers around a woman’s desire to exchange glances with her beloved. The romanticization of eyes and sight is a common theme found in Bollywood films, and the poetry in this song is one of this era’s most cherished portrayals of this theme. The song’s charm is enhanced by the use of Urdu vocabulary (e.g. tahumat and tamhiid) and Asha Bhonsle’s immaculate rendition. Don’t you just love the way she owns those octave glides during the sargam passage?

Mrs. 55 and I actually performed this qawwali at Harvard during the annual South Asian cultural show Ghungroo two years ago. One thing that we noticed after listening carefully to these lyrics during rehearsal is that there is some ambiguity in gender. While most of the song appears to be from a female perspective, we thought that lyrics take on a masculine role for the line starting with “jab kabhii mai.ne teraa chaand-saa chahraa dekhaa…” (Whenever my eyes have fallen upon your moon-like face…). In addition to the fact that the moon is traditionally used by males to describe feminine beauty (e.g. Mohammed Rafi’s “yeh chaa.nd-saa roshan chahraa“), Nutan’s gestures and body language become more masculine in nature in this segment of the song. In fact, as she sings these two lines, Nutan begins to walk with a manly gait and and then flirts with a female friend as if she is her male lover. We may have totally made this up in our heads, but it was not uncommon for such gender-bending to occur in Bollywood songs–a full post on this trend will be coming up soon! In any case, please enjoy this timeless qawwali while following along with our translation/glossary provided below, and remember to send us your requests for any other songs that you would like translated.

-Mr. 55

Nutan takes on the masculine role for a few lines in this qawwali

Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahta Hai Lyrics and Translation

raaz kii baat hai, mahfil me.n kahe yaa na kahe?
It is a secret matter; shall I share it in this gathering?
bas gayaa hai koii is dil me.n, kahe yaa na kahe?
Someone has begun to reside in my heart; shall I reveal this here?

nigaahe.n milaane ko jii chahtaa hai
I yearn to exchange glances with my beloved. 
dil-o-jaa.n luTaane ko jii chahtaa hai
I yearn to give away my heart and soul to him.  

woh tahumat jise “ishq” kahtii hai duniyaa
The allegation that the world calls “love,”
woh tahumat uThaane ko jii chahtaa hai
I yearn to accept that allegation.  

kisii ke manaane me.n lazzat woh paayi
Although I have experienced the pleasure of being appeased,   
ki phir ruuTh jaane ko jii chahtaa hai
I yearn to once again engage in a lovers’ tiff. 
 
woh jalvaa jo ojhal bhii hai saamne bhii
The splendor that vanishes and reappears in love, 
woh jalvaa churaane ko jii chahta hai
I yearn to steal that splendor.  
 
jis ghaDii merii nigaaho.n ko terii diid huii
The moment when our eyes first met,  
woh ghaDii mere liye aish kii tamhiid huii
That moment served as a prelude to happiness for me.  
jab kabhii mai.ne teraa chaa.nd-saa chahraa dekhaa.
Whenever my eyes have fallen upon your moon-like face, 
Eid ho ya ki na ho mere liye Eid huii
it is as if I am celebrating the holiday of Eid.  

ni re ga, ga re ga ni re ma, ma ga ma ni re ga
ga re ga ni ga re, re ga, ga ma, ma dha ni
sa sa ni ni dha dha pa pa ga re
sa ni dha pa ma ga re,
ni dha pa ma ga re sa ni, re ga 

mulaaqaat
kaa koii paighaam diije
Please send me a message about our next rendez-vous, 
ki chhup-chhup ke aane ko jii chahtaa hai
Because I yearn to visit you secretly, 
aur aake na jaane ko jii chahtaa hai
And upon visiting you, I hope to never leave.  

nigaahe.n milaane ko jii chahtaa hai
I yearn to exchange glances with my beloved. 


Glossary

raaz: secret; mahfil: gathering; nigaahe.n: eyes; dil-o-jaan: heart and soul; tahumat: allegation; manaanaa: to appease; lazzat: pleasure; jalvaa: splendor,charm; ojhal: vanished; diid: sighting, gaze; aish: joy, happiness; tamhiid: prelude, preamble; Eid: Islamic festival celebrating the end of Ramadan; mulaaqaat: meeting, rendez-vous; chhup-chhup ke: secretly; paighaam: message.

Nutan leads the chorus with an enchanting smile in Dil Hi To Hai (1963)

Rabindranath Tagore’s Influence on S.D. Burman

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and S.D. Burman (1906-1975)

Due to my upbringing in a Bengali household, I am intimately familiar with Rabindra-sangeet: the genre of songs written and composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. As a composer, artist, novelist, playwright, poet, and philosopher, Tagore has left a lasting legacy on Indian culture through his vast collection of works in a variety of mediums. Although the purism and simplicity of Tagore’s style might suggest that Bollywood is an inappropriate forum to celebrate his art, several music directors from the Golden Age of Hindi cinema have been known to use Tagore songs as inspirations for their musical compositions. The music director who is most well-known for this practice is none other than the illustrious S.D Burman. S.D. Burman is one of the most succesful music directors in the history of the Bollywood industry, and his songs from films such as Bandini (1963), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967), and Aradhana (1969) are still considered all-time classics today. His filmi compositions tend to draw upon inspiration from Bengali folk traditions (e.g. bhatiaalii, saari, etc. ), but here I’d like to draw your attention to a collection of S.D. Burman compositions that are derived from Rabindra-sangeet:

meraa sundar sapnaa biit gayaa (Do Bhai, 1949): From one of S.D. Burman’s first hit scores in the Bollywood industry, this song is considered to be Geeta Dutt’s breakthrough as a playback singer in Hindi films. The mukhDaa of this song is inspired by a Bilaaval-based Tagore composition called “radono bharaa e basonto.” Geeta does an excellent job of expressing the sorrow and pain of this song with her voice, and it is truly unfortunate that the lyrics here would become a reality for her during her tumultuous marriage to Guru Dutt in the next decade.

Playback singer Geeta Dutt (1930-1972) with her husband Guru Dutt (1925-1964)

nain diivaane (Afsar, 1950): This Pilu-based composition is skilfully rendered by Suraiyya, a leading singer/actress who became a huge sensation in Bollywood during the 1940s. Bollywood as we know it today relies on actors and actresses lip-syncing songs sung by playback singers; however, in its very early days, actresses like Suraiyya used to sing their own songs for films. In spite of their dual talents, singer-actresses were not able to survive the onslaught of the Mangeshkar monopoly in the 1950s, and the playback singing paradigm became the standard that is still maintained today in the industry. In any case, this song is based on an extremely popular Tagore composition called “sediin duujane duulechhiinuu bone.” S.D. Burman literally did a copy-paste job here, as the melody of the entire Hindi song is identical to the Bengali original. While loosely basing a mukhDaa on a previous composition is somewhat acceptable, recycling a whole song written by another composer begs the question: should S.D. Burman have given credit to Tagore for this composition?

Singer/actress Suraiyya (1929-2004)

 

 jaaye.n to jaaye.n kahaa.n? (Taxi Driver, 1954): S.D. Burman won his first Filmfare Award for Best Music Director for this song from Taxi Driver in 1954. As is often the case, the male version of the song (sung by Talat Mehmood) is more popular than the female version (sung by Lata Mangeshkar). Although S.D. Burman modified the raga of his composition to more closely resemble Jaunpuri, the first line of the mukhDaa is instantly recognizable as the main phrase from Tagore’s Bhairavi-based classic  “ he khoniiker otiithhii.” Note that the Tagore original that I have provided here is sung by Hemanta Mukherjee (a.k.a Hemant Kumar), who, in addition to achieving fame as a Hindi playback singer/music director, was known for his beautiful renditions of Rabindra-sangeet in Bengali.

jalte hai.n jiske liye: (Sujata, 1959): This probably qualifies as my favorite “telephone song” from a Hindi film. Here, Sunil Dutt woos Nutan over the phone with this gem as he croons to Talat Mehmood’s silky vocals on playback (notice the characteristic quiver that we know and love!). Although this composition is often considered an all-time classic song of romance, fans of this song may be surprised to know that the mukhDaa is taken directly from a Tagore composition named “ekodaa tumii priye.”

Sunil Dutt serenades Nutan over the telephone with “jalte hai.n jiske liye” in Sujata (1959)

meghaa chhaye aadhii raat (Sharmilee, 1971): Out of all the compositions listed here, the inspiration from Tagore is the most difficult to hear in this song because it does not involve the mukhDaa. Rather, S.D. Burman seems to have inserted a small segment of  laho laho tuule laho (0:26-0:40) into the antara of this raga Patdeep-based classic from Sharmilee. What a trickster, huh?

tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa (Abhimaan, 1973): By far, this is the most famous example where  S.D. Burman has been inspired by Rabindra-sangeet.  In his last hit film score (for which he won his second  Filmfare Award for Best Music Director), S.D. Burman recycles the mukhDaa from Tagore’s Mishra Khamaj-based “jodii taare nai chiinii go sekii?” in this evergreen duet of Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. Burman’s antaras are a beautiful addition to the original composition, so we won’t give him too much trouble for his rehashing of Tagore here. Note that the Bengali original that I have linked to here is sung by Kishore Kumar, another Hindi playback singer who was famous for his renditions of Rabindra-sangeet in Bengal.

Amitabh and Jaya Bacchan sing the duet “tere mere milan kii yeh raina” on stage during the climax of Abhimaan (1973).

Although S.D. Burman was often inspired by Tagore in his compositions, he never recorded or sang a single piece of Rabindra-sangeet throughout his career. The reason behind this is, of course, family feuding–an unavoidable staple of all things related to Indian culture. Here’s the story: S.D Burman’s father Nabadwip Chandra Dev Burman was set to be the direct heir to the throne of Tripura when the current king passed away in 1862. However, the crown went to Nabadwip’s paternal uncle Birchandra Dev Burman due to some dirty palace politics. Because Rabindranath Tagore had a very close relationship with Birchandra Dev Burman, S.D. Burman avoided meeting Tagore throughout his lifetime and refused to perform Rabindra-sangeet out of principle. Nevertheless, in spite of this tiff, it is undeniable that S.D. Burman had a great deal of respect for Tagore as a musician given the influence of Rabindra-sangeet on his compositions.

–Mr. 55