Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Priya Rajvansh Heer Raanjha
Priya Rajvansh, as Heer, displays her usual limited range of emotion as a beautiful Panjabi maiden in Heer Raanjha (1970).

Today we showcase the full lyrics and English translation to “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” from Heer Raanjha (1970). Heer Raanjha tells the famous story of two star-crossed lovers, immortalized by the epic poem by Panjabi Sufi Waris Shah (1722-1798) . So handsome it hurts, Rajkumar is a perfect romantic hero as the charming Ranjha of the tale. When he falls for Heer, the daughter of a wealthy Jat family from a neighboring village (played by Priya Rajvansh), jealous relatives scheme to end their courtship. As she is married off against her will to another man, Rajkumar is overcome with devastation.

Like other great poems steeped in the Sufi tradition, Heer Ranjha has multiple layers of interpretation, one of which is man’s eternal quest for God. This is exemplified by the film’s most famous song, “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” sung by the great Mohammed Rafi. At once a song of lament for the love he has lost as well as an ode to yogic renunciation, “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” manages to express a yearning for a connection while embracing the search for a higher meaning.

The beautifully-written story of Heer Ranjha is a fundamental part of classical Panjabi literature, a poem my grandparents growing up in pre-partition Panjab were made to read and analyze in school. Waris Shah’s detailed and authentic description of rural Panjabi life around the turn of the 16th century is a pleasure to study today. To convert this leviathan of a poem to film was a daunting challenge met by the great modern Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi. He wrote the entire script for the 1970 film entirely in verse. Every line gleams with ornamentation, and only Rajkumar with his characteristically mesmerizing dialogue delivery can lend it the stateliness it deserves. One of my favorite verses from the film is below:

Us se kehna ki tum meraa ek khwab ho, jo chamakta hai dil mei.N woh mahataab ho. [Tell her that you are a dream of mine, that you are the moonlight glittering in my heart.]

Us se kehna ki gehuyo.N ke kheto.N ka rang, tilmatii huii titliyo.N kii umang. [Tell her that she is the is the color of wheat fields, that she is the joy of the fluttering butterflies.]

Us se kehna ki jharno.N kaa chanchal shabaab, ghat ki taazgii, aabroo-e-janaab. [Tell her that she is the the playful youth of the waterfalls, the freshness of a mountain pass, and the honour of our elders.]

Us se kehna ki jhoolo.N kii angdaiyaa.N aur uDhte dupatto.N kii shenaiyaa.N. [Tell her that she is the movement of swings and the music of flying dupattas.]

Us se kehna ki chakki ke geeto.N kii aag, ladkhadatii jawaanii, machaltaa suhaag. [Tell her that she is the fire of the song of the mills, the trembling youth, the excitement of a wedding night.]

Us se kehna ki dulhano.N ke kaajal kii pyaas, pehle bauchhaar kii garam aur Thandii miithaas. [Tell her that she is the thirst of a bride’s kajal and the hot and cold sweetness of the first rain.]

Itnii ra.Nginiyo.N ko jab ek jaa kiyaa, Heer kudrat ne tab tujhko paida kiyaa. [When all this colors were made into one, then nature created you, Heer.]

Your heart’s fluttering, right? “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” also a brilliant example of the classic Bollywood cliche about men’s facial hair. The more manscaping that needs to be done, the more the hero has fallen out of touch with reality. Check it out:

Rajkumar 5 o'clock shadow
At first Ranjha displays an appropriately  manly 5 o’clock shadow. However, his depression takes a nosedive from bad…

Rajkumar lumbarjack beard
…to worse with a full on lumberjack look. This get-up quickly transitions to…

Rajkumar yogi beard
…WHAT THE…where did Ranjha go??!

But before you rush to give your own facial hair a much-needed trim, allow us to share our English translation and lyrics of “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” below! Follow along with the video and let us know how much you love a good song of self-pity in the comments!

Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil Lyrics and Translation:

Yeh duniyaa yeh mehfil mere kaam ki nahii.N
This world and these people are not for me

Kisko sunaaoo.N haal dil-e-beqaraar kaa?
Whom should I tell the state of my restless heart?
Bujhtaa huaa chiraagh hoo.N apne mazaar kaa
I am the extinguished flame of my own mausoleum
Aye kaash bhool jaaoo.N, magar bhooltaa nahii.N
If only I could forget, but I am unable to forget
kis dhoom se uthaa thaa janaazaa bahaar kaa
with what uproar marched the funeral of Spring

Apnaa pataa mile, naa khabar yaar kii mile
I know neither my own whereabouts nor have I heard news from friends
Dushman ko bhii naa aisii sazaa pyaar kii mile
Even enemies do not receive such a punishment for love
Unko khudaa mile hai.N khudaa kii jinhe talaash
Others meet the God for whom they have searched
Mujhko bas ek jhalak mere dildaar kii mile
Let me have just one glance from my beloved

Saharaa mei.N aake bhii, mujhki Thikaanaa na milaa
Even as I enter the wilderness, I found no shelter
Gham ko bhoolaane kaa koii bahaanaa naa milaa
I found no pretense to erase the memory of my sadness
Dil tarase jis mei.N pyaar ko, kyaa samajhoo.N us sansaar ko?
What can I understand about the world in which my heart remains longing for love?
Ek jiitii baazii haar ke, mai.N DhuunDhuu.N bichhaDe yaar ko
Upon losing a winning gamble, I must search for my lost friend

Duur nigaaho.N se aa.Nsuu bahaataa hai.N koii
Far from my gaze, someone is shedding tears
Kaise na jaaoo.N mai.N, mujhko bulaataa hai.N koii
How can I resist going when someone calls to me?
Yaa TuuTe dil ko joD do, yaa saare bandhan toD do
Either let me mend this broken heart or let me break all ties
Aye parbat, rastaa de mujhe! Aye kaanto.N, daaman chhoD do!
Oh mountains, show me the path! Oh thorns, let go of my embrace!

Yeh duniyaa yeh mehfil mere kaam ki nahii.N
This world and these people are not for me

Glossary:

duniyaa: world, society; mehfil: company, gathering of people; haal: state, health; dil: heart; beqaraar: restless; bhujnaa: to extinguish; chiraagh: lamp; mazaar: mausoleum; kaash: if only, would that; bhoolnaa: to forget; dhoom: noise, uproar; janaazaa: funeral; bahaar: Spring; pathaa: whereabouts, address; khabar: news; yaar: friend; dushman: enemy; sazaa: punishment; pyaar: love; khudaa: God; [kisii kii] talaash: in search [of someone]; jhalak: glance; dildaar: beloved; saharaa: wilderness; Thikaanaa: shelter; gham: sadness; [kisi ko] bhoolaanaa: to make [something] forgotten; bahaanaa: excuse, pretense; [kisi ko] tarasnaa: to long [for something], samajhnaa: to understand; sansaar: world; baazi: a hand (ie. in a game of cards or a gamble); haarnaa: to lose; DhuunDhnaa: to search; bichhaDnaa: to be separated; duur: far; nigaahe.N: gaze; aa.Nsuu bahaanaa: to shed tears; bulaanaa: to call; yaa: either, or; TuuTaa: broken; joDnaa: to mend, to bring together; bandhan: tie, knot; toDnaa: to break; parbat: mountain; rastaa: path; kaa.Ntaa: thorn; daaman: embrace; chhoDnaa: to leave, to let go

Rajkumar yogi heer raanjha
Rajkumar goes rogue and renounces the world as a yogi upon learning that his beloved has married another. Epic shots like these earned Jal Mistry the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematography in 1971!

The line “mere kaam ki nahii.N” is particularly difficult to translate. The word “kaam” is in its simplest form translated as “work.” However, the word has numerous subtleties in Hindustani. With this line, Kaifi Azmi is expressing his dissatisfaction with and inability to function in the world and society as he has experienced them.

This song was requested by our fan Raju! Thank you for the brilliant Urdu treat!

– Mrs. 55

 

Hum Tere Pyar Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Meena Kumari expresses ultimate devotion to her husband through song in Dil Ek Mandir (1963).

Today, we provide the lyrics and English translation to a memorable song from C.V. Sridhar’s Dil Ek Mandir (1963): ham tere pyaar me.n .  Starring Meena Kumari, Rajendra Kumar, and Raaj Kumar, Dil Ek Mandir is a Hindi remake of the Tamil film Nenjil Ore Alayam (1962). Dil Ek Mandir was a box-office hit at the time of its release, and it even garnered Raaj Kumar a Filmfare Award for his performance in the film.

When oncologist Rajendra Kumar returns from abroad, he is shocked to learn that his former love Meena Kumari has been married off to another man in a cruel twist of fate. Grief-stricken, he devotes the rest of his life to caring for cancer patients at a nursing home. One day, Meena Kumari brings her husband Raaj Kumar to the nursing home because he has fallen critically ill. When she realizes that Rajendra Kumar will be his doctor, she wants to take her husband elsewhere out of fear that Rajendra Kumar will be unable to offer him unbiased medical care.  As Rajendra Kumar prepares to perform a technically demanding operation to save the life of his former lover’s husband, he is faced with an uncomfortable ethical dilemma: should he save Raaj Kumar’s life by performing the surgery to the best of his abilities or should he use this opportunity to rekindle his love with Meena Kumari after Raaj Kumar’s impending death? Watch the movie to find out if he does the right thing!

Placed into the context of this film, “ham tere pyaar me.n” is picturized on Meena Kumari singing to Raaj Kumar in reaction to his suggestion that she should marry Rajendra Kumar after his death. Staunchly adhering to the pativrata norms that defined ideal female behavior at the time, she rejects this proposal as immoral and absurd. In this song, she expresses ultimate devotion to her husband by declaring that she can only understand the true meaning of love through him. While devotion and commitment are certainly admirable, many would argue that the poetry of this song penned by Hasrat Jaipuri errs on the side of misogyny and anti-feminism. When a male poet makes a female protagonist start singing about loving cages instead of people (“yah pyaar kaa pinjraa man bhaayaa“) or about harboring a wish to die at her husband’s feet (“ab in charano.n me.n dam nikle, bas itnii aur tamanna hai“), you can’t help but think that something’s not quite right.

However, two things are definitely right about this song: Lata Mangeshkar’s angelic rendition and Shankar-Jaikishan’s exquisitely crafted melody. Even if the lyrics are too extreme for your liking, the artistic beauty of this song is still preserved in the way Lata’s voice drips with pathos as she navigates through this delicate tune. Meena Kumari’s on-screen portrayal is suitably melodramatic, and I am especially fond of the way in which the beautiful sitar interludes have been highlighted by including the instrument in the song’s picturization.

Finally, as an aside, some of you may remember that Sonu Nigam sang the mukhDaa of this song on the very first episode of SaReGaMa, the televised singing competition that went on to discover many notable talents such as Shreya Ghosal. This song is certainly an interesting choice to open a show with, and the rendition by a male singer casts a new light upon the discussion of this song’s underlying subtext of misogyny. Enjoy, and share your thoughts with us in the comments! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
Raaj Kumar won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a cancer patient in Dil Ek Mandir (1963)

Hum Tere Pyar Mein: Lyrics and Translation

ham tere pyaar me.n saaraa aalam kho baiThe hai.n, kho baiThe
I have lost the entire world by loving you. 
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

panchhii se chhuDaa kar uskaa ghar tum apne ghar par le aaye
You took a cage from the birds and brought it to your own house.
yah pyaar kaa pinjraa man bhaayaa, ham jii bhar bhar kar muskaaye
This cage of love pleased me, and I smiled to my heart’s content. 
jab pyaar huaa is pinjre se tum kahne lage aazaad raho
When I fell in love with this cage, you told me to remain free. 
ham kaise bhuulaaye pyaar teraa? tum apnii zubaa.n se yah na kaho
But how can I forget this love? Please don’t tell me this in your own words. 
ab tum saa jahaa.n me.n koii nahii.n hai, ham to tumhaare ho baiThe
No one else like you exists in this world, and I will remain yours forever. 
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

is tere charan kii dhuul se ham ne apnii jiivan maa.ng bharii
From the dust at your feet, I have marked the parting of my hair.
jab hii to suhaagan kahlaayii, duniyaa kii nazar me.n pyaar banii
When I considered myself a married woman, the world witnessed the creation of love.
tum pyaar kii sundar muurat ho aur pyaar hamaari puujaa hai
You are a beautiful idol of love, and love is my form of worship.
ab in charano.n me.n dam nikle bas itnii aur tamannaa hai
Indeed, I harbor one parting desire: I hope to die at your feet.
ham pyaar ke ganga jal se, balam jii, tan-man apna dho baiThe
My beloved, I have cleansed my body and soul with water from the Ganges of love.
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

sapno.n kaa darpan dekhaa thaa, sapno.n ka darpan toD diyaa
I saw a mirror of dreams, and then I shattered it.
yah pyaar kaa aa.nchal ham ne to daaman se tumhaare baa.ndh liyaa
I tied the end of this sari of love to the tail of your shirt.
yah aisii gaa.nTh hai ulfat kii, jis ko na koii bhii khol sakaa
This knot of romance is tied so tightly that no one can untie it.
tum aan base jab is dil me.n, dil phir to kahii.n na Dol sakaa
Since you began to reside in my heart, it has been unable to frolic elsewhere.
o pyaar ke saagar, ham terii laharo.n me.n naav Dubo baiThe
Oh, the ocean of love! I have drowned a boat in your waves.
tum kahte ho ki aise pyaar ko bhuul jaao, bhuul jaao
Yet, you tell me to forget this love.

ham tere pyaar me.n saaraa aalam kho baiThe hai.n, kho baiThe
I have lost the entire world by loving you.

Glossary

aalaam: world; chhuDaaanaa: to take, remove; pinjraa: cage; man bhaanaa: to please the mind; jii bhar kar:  wholeheartedly;  aazaad: free; zubaa.n: language, words; jahaa.n: world;  maa.ng bharnaa: to apply vermillion to the parting of a woman’s hair (a Hindu ritual signifying wedded status); suhaagaan: a married individual; kahlaanaa: to call oneself; dam nikalna: to lose one’s breath, to die; tamanna: desire; ganga: the Ganges, a sacred Indian river; tan-man: body and soul; darpan: mirror; aanchal: decorative end of a sari; Dolnaa: to frolic, to swing; daaman: tail of a garment; gaa.nTh: knot; ulfat: love; lahar: wave; naav: boat.

Meena Kumari’s image is reflected upon Raaj Kumar’s pupils in the picturization of this song. How melodramatic!

Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Sunil Dutt serenades Vimmi at an evening soiree in Hamraaz (1967)

The soundtrack of B.R. Chopra’s Hamraaz (1967) is remembered today for its showcasing of Mahendra Kapoor’s voice. Music director Ravi composed some unforgettable tunes for Mahendra Kapoor in this film, including “niile gagan ke tale,” “tum agar saath dene kaa vaadaa karo,” “na muu.nh chhupaake jiiyo,” and the gem that I’ve chosen to translate today: “kisii patthar kii muurat se.

This song is found toward the beginning of Hamraaz, an entertaining murder mystery starring Sunil Dutt and newcomer Vimmi among a supporting cast of well-known names like Balraj Sahni, Helen, Mumtaz, Madan Puri, and Raaj Kumar. In the film, Sunil Dutt plays the role of a popular stage actor who falls in love with Vimmi, the daughter of a wealthy contractor, during a trip to Darjeeling. With this particular song, he serenades Vimmi around the piano at an evening soiree.

Sahir Ludhianvi was right on point when he described the film’s heroine Vimmi as a “patthar kii muurat” (a statue of stone) in this song. In an otherwise entertaining and well-produced film, Vimmi sticks out as a sore thumb for her tepid and expressionless acting. While Vimmi certainly had the beauty to make it in films, it is clear from her debut performance here that she was not cut out to become an actress. Introduced to B.R. Chopra by music director Ravi after meeting at a dinner party in Calcutta, Vimmi struggled immensely during the production of Hamraaz. Next to some of the stalwarts involved with film, Vimmi appeared to be a novice as she struggled to deliver her lines and required take after take to complete the simplest scenes. Interestingly, in spite of Vimmi’s lackluster performance, Hamraaz was a big hit when it was released. Unfortunately, Vimmi could not capitalize on the success of her debut and she failed to make a successful career for herself in the industry. Like many individuals associated with Bollywood, Vimmi’s life ended in tragedy: her family disowned her after she signed Hamraaz, her marriage fell apart a few years later, and it is said that she even turned to prostitution to finance an addiction to alcohol before her death. Quite sad, indeed. You can learn more about her tragic life by reading a surprisingly detailed Wikipedia biography here.

In any case, this song is a pure delight to listen to because of Sahir’s exquisite use of Urdu poetry combined with Mahendra Kapoor’s silky vocals. For a seemingly simple song, some of the Urdu here is quite advanced–do you know what the words parastish, taqalluf, and baghaavat mean? If not, find out by reading the glossary and translation that we’ve provided below! To learn more about another classic song produced by the Mahendra Kapoor-Sahir-Ravi combo, see our previous post on “chalo ek baar phir sehere.

-Mr. 55
Songs picturized around the piano are so classy.

Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se Lyrics and Translation

kisii patthar kii muurat se muhabbat kaa iraadaa hai
I have intentions of loving a statue of stone.
parastish kii tamanna hai, ibaadat kaa iraadaa hai
I desire to worship it; I intend to pray to it.

jo dil kii dhaDakane.n samajhe, na aa.nkho.n kii zubaa.n samajhe
She understands neither the beating of my heart nor the language of my eyes.
nazar kii guftaguu samajhe, na jazabo.n kaa bayaa.n samajhe
She understands neither the dialogue of my glances nor the expression of my emotions.

usii ke saamane uskii shikaayat kaa iraadaa hai
I intend to air my grievances about this woman in her presence.

sunaa hai har javaan patthar ke dil me.n aag hotii hai
I have heard that a flame resides in the hearts of these young stones.

magar jab tak na chheDo, sharm ke parde me.n sotii hai
Yet, until you inflame it further, it remains asleep behind a veil of modesty.
yeh sochaa hai ki dil kii baat uske ruubaruu kah de.n
I have resolved to express my heart’s feelings to her face-to-face.

natiija kuch bhii nikale aaj apanii aarazuu kah de.n
Regardless of the outcome, I will reveal my desires to her. 

har ek bejaan taqalluf se baghaavat kaa iraadaa hai
I intend to rebel against every spiritless formality today.

muhabbat berukhii se aur bhaDakegii voh kyaa jaane
Little does she know that her indifference will further arouse my love,
tabiiyat is adaa pe aur phaDakegii voh kyaa jaane
Little does she know that my disposition will be further agitated by her charm,
voh kyaa jaane ki apnaa kis qayaamat kaa iraadaa hai
And little does she know of my disastrous intentions. 

kisii patthar kii muurat se muhabbat kaa iraadaa hai
I have intentions of loving a statue of stone.

Glossary

muurat: statue; iraadaa: intention; parastish: worship; tamanna: desire; ibaadat: worship; zubaa.n: language; guftaguu: dialogue, conversation; jazbaa: emotion; bayaa.n: expression; shikaayat: complaint; chheDnaa: to tease, inflame; ruubaru: face-to-face; natiija: outcome; aarazuu: desire; bejaan: spiritless; taqalluf: formality; baghaavat: rebelion; berukhii: indifference; bhaDakanaa: to arouse, flare up; tabiiyat: disposition; adaa: charm; phaDakanaa: to quiver, agitate; qayaamat: disaster.

Despite her looks, Vimmi falls very flat in her debut role as Meena in Hamraaz (1967)

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

Paaon Choo Lene Do Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Bina Roy, as Mumtaz Mahal, shys away from Pradeep Kumar in Taj Mahal (1963)

Today we discuss the lyrics and English translation of “paaon choo lene do” from the film Taj Mahal (1963). Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi and music director Roshan both won Filmfare Awards for their work in Taj Mahal (1963), so it’s not surprising that we’ve decided to discuss a third song from this soundtrack here today (see our previous translations of “jurm-e-ulfat pe” and “khudaa-e-bartar“). “paa.nv chuu lene do” is a duet rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi that was picturized on Bina Roy as Mumtaz Mahal and Pradeep Kumar as Shah Jahan in the film. While “jurm-e-ulfat pe” had some political undertones and “khudaa-e-bartar” was a pacifist statement against war, Sahir’s lyrics in this song from Taj Mahal are purely romantic. The male and female leads flirt back and forth using a savaal-javaab (question-response) structure that focuses on idealizing the heroine’s feet. The female foot has been fetishized in Indian culture and Bollywood cinema over the years, and perhaps the most notable example of this phenomenon occurs in Kamal Amrohi’s magnum opus, Pakeezah: Raaj Kumar is completely smitten after one glance at Meena Kumari’s delicate feet during a train ride.

Krishna decorates Radha’s feet with alta.

What are the origins of the Indian obsession with the foot? Part of this obsession can perhaps be attributed to the importance placed on foot worship in Hindu traditions. For instance, religious imagery in temples and paintings has depicted numerous examples of Krishna painting Radha’s feet or Lakshmi massaging Vishnu’s feet.  Moreover, it is a tradition for women in North India to adorn their feet with a bright red dye called alta during marriages, dances, and religious festivals, like Durga Puja. In fact, during some weddings, brides step into a plate of alta before entering their in-law’s house and leave colored footsteps behind them as they walk. Finally, any child growing up in a Hindu household can attest to the fact that greeting one’s elders by touching their feet is an expected gesture of respect.

Regardless of how you feel about feet, you should definitely take a listen to this duet from Taj Mahal and follow along with our translation/glossary provided below. Indeed, Ludhianvi’s use of language here to highlight the contrast between the hero’s unabashed romantic desires and the heroine’s hesistant modesty is exquisite. As a final note, I just wanted to say that this song was requested by one of our readers Vasuki! We love receiving requests, so please let us know if there is a song you’d like translated, a movie you’d like reviewed, or any other topic you’d like discussed by leaving us a comment here or sending an e-mail to themrandmrs55@gmail.com. Enjoy!

–Mr. 55

The camera fetishizes Bina Roy’s feet in Taj Majal (1963)

Paaon Choo Lene Do Lyrics and Translation

Rafi: paa.nv chhuu lene do, phuulo.n ko inaayat hogii
Please let the flowers touch your feet, it will be favor of kindess to them. 
varnaa ham ko nahii.n, inko bhii shikaayat hogii
Or else, not only I, but they too will protest. 

Lata: aap jo phuul bichhaaye.n unhe.n ham Thukaraaye.n
As I reject the flowers that you have picked for me,
ham ko Dar hai ki yah tauhiin-e-muhabbat hogii
I fear that this will be an insult to love.  

Rafi: dil kii bechain umango.n pe karam faramaao
Please have mercy on the restless yearnings of my heart. 

itnaa ruk ruk ke chalogii to qayaamat hogii
If you walk toward me so hesitatingly, it will be a disaster. 

Lata: sharm roke hai idhar, shauq udhar khii.nche hai
Modesty has held me back here, while desire has drawn me over there.  
kyaa khabar thii kabhii is dil kii yah haalat hogii?
Who knew that my heart would ever be in such a state? 

Rafi: sharm ghairo.n se huaa kartii hai apano.n se nahii.n
One should be modest in the presence of strangers, not with loved ones. 
sharm ham se bhii karogii to musiibat hogii
If you shy away from me, there will be trouble.  

paa.nv chhuu lene do, phuulo.n ko inaayat hogii
Please let the flowers touch your feet, it will be favor of kindess to them.  

Glossary

inaayat: favor; varnaa: or else; shikaayat: complaint; Thukaranaa: to reject; tauhiin-e-muhabbat: insult to love; bechain: restless; umang: hope, yearning; karam faramanaa: to have mercy; ruk ruk ke: hesitatingly; qayaamat: disaster; sharm: modesty; shauq: eagerness, desire; haalat: state, condition; ghair: stranger; musiibat: trouble

Pradeep Kumar as Emperor Shah Jahan in Taj Mahal (1963)