Ek Radha Ek Meera Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mandakini
Mandakini made her controversial debut as the heroine in Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi (1985).

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to ek radhaa ek miiraa from Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi (1985), the last film directed by the legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi served as the debut for actress Mandakini, who was featured in two controversial scenes that raised eyebrows at the time of the film’s release. In true Raj Kapoor fashion, one of these scenes depicts a scantily clad Mandakini under a waterfall in a transparent white sari. Given all of the recent controversy over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat (2018), it makes you wonder what Raj Kapoor had to do to get such a scene approved by the Censor Board?

In this film, the River Ganges serves as a metaphor for the corruption of Indian society, as it flows from the pure heights of the Gangotri Glacier down to the devastatingly polluted banks of Calcutta. When the film’s heroine (naturally named Ganga) makes her journey from Gangotri to Calcutta, her honor is symbolically tainted at every step – by a woman who leads her to a brothel, a priest who attempts to ritually rape her, and a blind man who coerces her into life as a courtesan. In parallel to the pollution of the River Ganges, Ganga’s innocence is sullied by behavior that reflects the darkest facets of human nature.

The film’s soundtrack composed by Ravindra Jain features several hits by Lata Mangeshkar and Suresh Wadkar, but the Raga Kirwani-based ek radhaa ek miiraa is arguably the most memorable song of the group.  This song highlights a common trope employed in the realm of Hindi films: the mythological juxtaposition of Lord Krishna’s consort Radha against 16th-century mystic poet Meera Bai. Although both women are known for their utmost devotion to Lord Krishna, the lyrics of this song beautifully capture the nuances that set their feelings apart.

One more song that depicts the Radha versus Meera juxtaposition is another Ravindra Jain favorite shyam terii bansii pukare radhaa naam sung by Arati Mukherjee in Geet Gata Chal (1975).

At the end of the day, we’re dying to know one thing: are you #TeamMeera or #TeamRadha? Tell us in the comments!

-Mr. ’55
Mandakini
Born Yasmeen Joseph, she was given the stage name Mandakini by Raj Kapoor for her  film debut.

Ek Radha Ek Meera: Lyrics and English Translation

ik raadhaa ik miiraa, dono.n ne shyaam ko chaahaa
Radha and Meera both loved Krishna.
antar kyaa dono.n kii chaaha me.n bolo?
What was the difference in their love?
ik prem divaanii, ik daras diivaanii
One desired his love, the other desired his glance.

raadhaa ne madhuban me.n DhuunDaa
Radha searched for Krishna in the honey gardens,
miiraa ne man me.n paayaa
while Meera found him in her heart.
raadhaa jise kho baiThii voh govind
When Radha lost Krishna, 
miira haath bik aaya
he fell into Meera’s hands. 
ik murlii ik paayal, ik paglii ik ghaayal
One flute and an anklet, one madwoman and a wounded lover.
antar kyaa dono.n kii priit me.n bolo?
What was the difference in their love?
ik suurat lubhaanii, ik muurat lubhaanii
One desired his beautiful face, the other admired his idol.

miira ke prabhuu girdhar naagar, raadhaa ke manmohan
Krishna was Meera’s Lord and Radha’s beloved consort

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

miira ke prabhuu girdhar naagar, raadhaa ke manmohan
Krishna was Meera’s Lord and Radha’s beloved consort
raadhaa nit shringaar kare aur miiraa ban gayii jogan
While Radha adorned herself with ornaments, Meera became an ascetic.  
ik raanii ik daasii, dono harii prem kii pyaasii
One queen and one maid, both longed for Krishna’s love.
antar kyaa dono.n kii triptii me.n bolo?
What was the difference in their fulfillment?
ik jiit na maane, ik haar na maane
One could not accept victory, the other could not accept defeat.

ik raadhaa ik miiraa dono.n ne shyaam ko chaahaa
Radha and Meera both loved Krishna.

Glossary:

raadhaa: Lord Krishna’s mythological consort; miiraa: 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Lord Krishna; shyaam: dark-skinned one, a name for Lord Krishna; antar: difference; daras: glimpse, glance; madhuban: honey garden; khonaa: to lose; govind: a name for Lord Krishna; murlii: flute; paayal: anklet; paglii: madwoman, ghaayal: wounded; suurat: face; lubhaanaa: to desire, admire; muurat: idol; prabhuu: lord; girdhar: one who lifts the mountain, a name for Krishna; manmohan: one who pleases the mind, a name for Lord Krishna; nit: always; shringaar karnaa: to adorn, often with ornaments; jogan: female ascetic; raanii: queen; daasii: maid, slave; harii: a name of Lord Krishna; triptii: fulfillment, satisfaction; jiit: victory; haar: defeat, loss.

Rajiv Kapoor
Rajiv Kapoor, Raj Kapoor’s youngest son, stars as the hero who falls in love with Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili Ho Gayi (1985).
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Mata Saraswati Sharda Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Saraswati
Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and music, is worshipped each year on Basant Panchami.

Basant Panchami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of Spring through the worship of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and music. On this day, Ma Saraswati is worshipped with great fervor and devotion, especially by students in educational institutions across India.  In addition, many young children are given their first lesson in writing on this holiday through a ritual called haathe-korii. Since this auspicious holiday is coming up in just a few days on Friday, we are presenting the lyrics and English translation to one of Bollywood’s  only homages to goddess Saraswati: maataa sarasvatii shardaa from Alaap (1977).

As many of you probably know, bhajans dedicated to Saraswati are a rare commodity in the arena of Bollywood cinema. The majority of the film industry’s references to Hinduism focus on Vishnu in the form of Krishna and his consort Radha. What is the reason behind Bollywood’s obsession with Radha and Krishna? The most obvious answer is that the love stories presented in Hindi films lend themselves easily to comparisons to the romance shared between these two figures of Hinduism. Bollywood heroes can identify with flirtatious Krishna who uses his charm to seduce Radha whose delicate coyness resembles that of Bollywood heroines.  An austere deity like Saraswati, symbolizing wisdom and education, finds little glamor in an industry that is driven primarily by themes based on love and romance. 

In what context does Saraswati receive prominence in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Alaap (1977)? Tuned by Jaidev in Raga Bhairavi, a version of this bhajan sung by Yesudas, Madhurani, and Dilraj Kaur opens the film as Amitabh Bachhan prays to Saraswati for her blessings at the music school where he studies classical vocal. This bhajan also concludes the film when a version sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Dilraj Kaur is reprised on Rekha singing along with her son for her husband Amitabh who has contracted a severe case of tuberculosis.  The homage to Saraswati is fitting in Alaap because the film’s plot is driven in part by music. In Alaap, Amitabh Bachhan desires to become a classically trained vocalist against the wishes of his conservative father Om Prakash who refuses to accept music as a legitimate profession. He pressures Amitabh to become a lawyer like himself and the ensuing resentment leads to a bitter conflict between father and son that culminates in a tragic conclusion.

As the holiday of Basant Panchami approaches with its celebration of learning and new beginnings, we hope that you enjoy this beautiful bhajan and our English translation provided below. May Ma Saraswati bless all of us in our academic and musical pursuits during the upcoming year. Until next time…

-Mr. 55

P.S. This non-filmi Saraswati Vandana recorded by Lata is also divinely enchanting: yaa kundendu tushaar haar dhavalaa

AB
Amitabh Bacchan looks pious in white during prayers to Ma Saraswati in a music school in Alaap (1977)

Mata Saraswati Sharda: Lyrics and Translation

maataa sarasvatii sharadaa,
Mother Saraswati,
he maataa sarasvatii sharadaa!
Oh mother Saraswati!
vidyaadaanii dayaanii dukh-harinii
You are the giver of knowledge, the goddess of compassion, and the remover of sorrow.
jagatajananii jvaalaamukhii
You are the fire-mouthed mother of this world.
maataa sarasvatii sharadaa!
Mother Saraswati!

kiije sudrishTi
Please cast an auspicous glance upon us,
sevak jaan apnaa
and know us as your humble servants.
itnaa vardaan diije
Please grant us these boons:
taan, taal, aur aalaap
musical mastery of passagework, rhythm, and preludes.
buddhii ala.nkaar, sharadaa
Knowledge is your jewel, Saraswati.

he maataa sarasvatii shardaa!
Oh mother Saraswati!

Glossary

maataa: mother; sarasvatii: Hindu goddess of learning and music; sharadaa: another name for Saraswati; vidyaadaanii: giver of knowledge; dayaanii: goddess of compassion; dukh-harinii: remover of sorrow; jagatjananii: mother of the world; jvaalaamukhii: fire-mouthed; sudrishTii: auspicious glance; sevak: servant; vardaan: boon; taan: musical passagework; taal: rhythm; aalaap: prelude to a raagbuddhii: knowledge; ala.nkaar: jewel, ornamentation.

Rekha
Rekha sings a reprise of this bhajan with her son for her ailing husband Amitabh in the conclusion of Alaap (1977)

Dost Dost Na Raha Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Raj Kapoor sings about betrayal in love and friendship at the piano in Sangam (1965)

Our next translation comes from Sangam (1965), a film starring Raj Kapoor as Sundar, Vijayntimala as Radha, and Rajendra Kumar as Gopal in a classic love triangle story gone wrong. The plot of Sangam is somewhat complex, but it can be boiled down to a few key points:

  • From a young age, Sundar has been attracted to his childhood friend Radha. However, Radha only has eyes for another friend Gopal and persistently rejects Sundar’s advances.  In secret, Gopal reciprocates Radha’s feelings for him.
  • To prove his worthiness as a man and impress Radha, Sundar enlists in the Indian Air Force. Before his departure, Sundar asks Gopal to make sure no man comes in between him and Radha while he is gone.
  • One day, Gopal and Radha receive the terrible news that Sundar is presumed dead after a plane crash. Although they are deeply saddened, this news means that Gopal and Radha can pursue their feelings for each other with a clear conscience. During their courtship, Gopal writes an unsigned love letter to Radha that will become important later in the story.
  • Much to Gopal and Radha’s surprise, Sundar returns happy and healthy from the Air Force–the rumors of his death were inaccurate. The self-sacrificing Gopal keeps his word and steps out of the picture so that Sundar can woo Radha.
  • Eventually, Radha and Sundar get married. It is difficult for Radha to reject Sundar now because his heroic accomplishments in the Air Force have elevated his status to that of a worthy suitor. The newly wedded couple have an extravagant European honeymoon.
  • After their return, the couple enjoy marital bliss. Yet, their happiness is short-lived: Sundar finds the unsigned love letter and assumes that Radha has been an unfaithful wife (although she has stopped all relations with Gopal post-marriage).
  • In the days that follow, Sundar becomes insane with jealousy and makes Radha’s life miserable with constant threats and aggression. Radha flees to Gopal’s house for refuge without knowing that Sundar will end up doing the same thing.
  • The three characters now have a dramatic confrontation where Gopal admits that he is the author of  the unsigned love letter. Tensions flare, and to avoid giving too much away, I’ll just say that the movie ends with a tragic death….

Placed into the context of this film,  Sundar pours his heart out by singing “dost dost na rahaa” after discovering the unsigned love letter that Radha has hidden from him.  With heart-wrenching lyrics penned by Shailendra and a touching melody based on Raga Bhairavi composed by Shankar-Jaikishan, this song is Bollywood’s quintessential anthem for those who have been betrayed in love or friendship. Mukesh’s pathos-laden voice is perfectly suited to express the pain that Sundar must feel after he comes to believe that his two closest companions in life have been unfaithful to him. The intensity of emotion is heightened by this song’s picturization: the camera captures close-up shots of facial expressions when Sundar sings the antara addressed to Gopal followed by the one addressed to Radha.  From watching this scene, it seems like you can cut the tension in the air with a knife! Although no one should ever have to endure being spurned like this in real life, we hope that the lyrics and English translation provided below will allow you to acquire a greater appreciation for one of Hindi cinema’s finest expressions of angst and betrayal that is still a fan-favorite today.

-Mr. 55
Vijayantimala quietly endures Raj Kapoor’s misguided accusations of infidelity in Sangam (1965)

Dost Dost Na Raha: Lyrics and Translation

dost dost na rahaa, pyaar na pyaar rahaa
My friend no longer remains a friend; my love no longer remains love.
zindagii, hame.n teraa aitbaar na rahaa 
Life, I have lost my faith in you.

amaanate.n mai.n pyaar kii gayaa thaa jisko sau.np kar
The one to whom I entrusted my belongings of love,
vah, mere dost, tum hii the, tum hii to the 
My friend, you were him. Only you.
jo zindagii kii raah me.n bane the mere hamsafar 
The one who had become my fellow traveler in the journey of life,
vah mere dost tum hii the, tum hii to the 
My friend, you were him. Only you.
saare bhed khul gaye, raazdaar na rahaa 
All my secrets are now exposed, the secret-bearer no longer remains.
zindagii, hame.n teraa aitbaar na rahaa
Life, I have lost my faith in you.

gale lagii saham saham, bhare gale se boltii
The one who embraced me fearfully while speaking in a somber voice,
vah tum na thii.n to kaun thaa? tum hii to thii.n
If she wasn’t you, then who was she? It was only you. 
safar ke vaqt me.n palak pe motiyo.n ko toltii 
The one who shed tears of pearls at the parting hour,
vah tum na thii.n to kaun thaa? tum hii to thii.n 
If she wasn’t you, then who was she? It was only you. 
nashe kii raat Dhal gayii, ab khumaar na rahaa
The night of intoxication is over, the inebriation no longer remains.
zindagii, hame.n teraa aitbaar na rahaa
Life, I have lost my faith in you.

vafaa kaa leke naam jo dhaDak rahe the har ghaDii
The one who beat each moment in the name of faithfulness
vah, mere nek nek dil, tum hii to ho
My good heart, you are it.
jo muskuraake rah gaye zahar kii jab suii gaDii
The one who continued to smile when pierced with a needle of poison
vah, mere nek nek dil, tum hii to ho
My good heart, you are it.
ab kisii kaa, mere dil, intazaar na rahaa
Now, my heart, I am not waiting for anyone.
zindagii, hame.n teraa aitbaar na rahaa
Life, I have lost my faith in you.

dost dost na rahaa, pyaar na pyaar rahaa
My friend no longer remains a friend; my love no longer remains love.

Glossary

aitbaar: trust, faith; amaanat: property, belongings; sau.npnaa: to entrust, hand over; hamsafar: traveler, companion; bhed: secret; raazdaar: secret-bearer; gale lagnaa: to embrace; saham: fearfully; bharaa galaa: somber voice; palak: eyelid; motiyaa.n: pearls; tolnaa: to weigh; nashaa: intoxication; khumaar: inebriation; vafaa: faithfulness; dhaDaknaa: to beat; nek: good, worthy; zahar: poison, suii: needle; gaDnaa: to pierce, thrust in; intazaar: wait.

Rajendra Kumar, with a distressed and guilty expression, listens to Raj Kapoor’s allegations of disloyalty during this song from Sangam (1965).

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)