Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman in Ek Anjabi Haseena Se
Sauve but poor boy Rajesh Khanna woos rich girl Zeenat Aman in “Ajnabee” (1974) as her family plots to break up the romance.

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation of “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” from the 1974 Rajesh Khanna-Zeenat Aman film Ajnabee, whose evergreen soundtrack far outshined its earnings at the box office. The film initially follows the well-worn Bollywood playbook of a poor boy falling for a rich girl, fighting against her greedy, scheming family.

As the first song in the film, “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” sets the bar incredibly high for the musical numbers to follow. With Kishore Kumar’s strong vocals, R.D. Burman delivers one of the most charming ballads of the 1970s. In “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se,” Rajesh Khanna weaves the tale of how he met and fell in love with a stranger in the middle of party attended by said “stranger.” Tension rises during the song as she wonders if he will publicly give her away as the object of his love (I mean, what could be more humiliating for a conservative Bollywood heroine)?

So naturally, halfway through the song, he makes all the women line up, bend over, and he circles behind them to pin a handkerchief on the one he is singing about.

Umm

What the…?

Rajesh Khanna Ajnabee 1974
Rajesh Khanna charms the crowd by singing “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” from Ajnabee (1974). I can’t say I love the pentagonal shape of Rajesh Khanna’s hair for most of the 1970s, but obviously I’ll still take it.

Oh, you read that correctly. The ensuing game of “pin the tail on the party guest” is every moment as bizarre as you imagine. Luckily, after these flirtatious antics, the couple eventually does get together and the film pivots in its second half to a more sophisticated tone. The film makes a nice attempt to tackle changing gender roles in a modern marriage, and even broaches the subject of the right to choose (regarding abortion). Not at all what you were expecting, right??

With romantic lyrics by Anand Bakshi, this song smoothly overcomes the brief lapse in sanity of its picturization. Check out our English translation and lyrics of “Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se” from Ajnabee (1974) below:

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se Lyrics & English Translation:

Ek ajnabii hasiinaa se yuu.N mulaaqaat ho gayii
I met a beautiful girl this way
Phir kyaa huaa, yeh na puuchho, kuch aisii baat ho gayii
Do not ask what happened next, something like this happened

Woh achaanak aa gayii, yuu.N nazar ke saamne
She came suddenly before my eyes 
Jaise nikal aayaa ghaTaa se chaa.Nd
As if the moon had emerged from a cloud
Chehre pe zulfe.N bikharii hui thii
Her hair billowed across her face
Din mei.N raat ho gayii
And day turned into night

Jaan-e man jaan-e jigar, hotaa mai.N shaair agar
Life of my soul, life of my heart, if I had been a poet
Kehtaa ghazal terii adaao.N par
I would recite poems about your grace
Mai.N ne yeh kaha to mujhse khafaa woh
I told her this, but she became angry with me
Jaane hayaa ho gayii
Who knows what shame she felt

Khuubsurat baat yeh, chaar pal kaa saath yeh
These are beautiful words, but this was a fleeting union
Saari umar mujhko rahegaa yaad
Those memories will stay with me my whole life
Mai.N akelaa thaa magar, ban gayii woh hamsafar
I was alone, but she became my life companion
Woh mere saath kho gayii
We became lost together

Ek ajnabii hasiinaa se yuu.N mulaqaat ho gayii
I met a beautiful girl this way
Phir kyaa huaa, yeh na puuchho, kuch aisii baat ho gayii
Do not ask what happened next, something like this happened

Glossary:

ajnabii: stranger; hasiinaa: beautiful woman; mulaaqaat: meeting; phir: then, next; puuchhnaa: to ask; achaanak: suddenly; nazar: gaze, eyes; nikal aanaa: to come out, to emerge; ghaTaa: cloud; chaa.Nd: moon; chehraa: face; zulf: hair; bikharnaa: to billow; din: day; raat: night; man: soul; jigar: liver (I wrote ‘heart’ above for simplicity, but technically, this is a Farsi-derived term for liver, another vital organ and term of endearment); shaair: poet; ghazal: couplet; adaa: grace, style; khafaa: angry; hayaa: shame; khuubsurat: beautiful; chaar pal: a few moments (four moments); saaraa: entire; umar: lifetime; yaad: memory; akelaa: alone; hamsafar: fellow traveler, companion; saath: together; kho jaanaa: to become lost

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se awkward game
In this uncomfortable and wholly unnecessary party game, Rajesh Khanna acts as though he’s about to pin the tail on the donkey, I mean, on his secret crush…?? UGH. Why.

We know monsoon season has come to an end, but it’s worth noting that these two had another famous moment in this film that made our list of the top 15 Bollywood rain songs! It’s mildly awkward for other reasons, but after watching this number, I know you’ll be ready.

– Mrs. 55

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O Mere Dil Ke Chain Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Mere jeevan saathi o mere dil ke chain.png
In “Mere Jeevan Saathi” (1972), a film that is peak Rajesh Khanna, our dashing hero serenades us all with “O Mere Dil Ke Chain.”

Today we present the lyrics and English translation to the palpably romantic Kishore Kumar hit “O Mere Dil Ke Chain” from Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972).

Starring silver-screen gold Rajesh Khanna and Tanuja, Mere Jeevan Saathi will scar you  for life if you are not careful. Along with Pakeezah and Kabhi Kabhi, Mere Jeevan Saathi  was one of the favorite films my sister and I watched on the daily as two perfectly normal, socially-adept kids in suburban America. Although often billed as a romantic-comedy, the film at times foreshadows the Stephen King novel “Misery” and in the finale, showcases a miraculous eye surgery with horrific POV shots that is probably the reason I can never wear contacts.

These necessary warnings aside, I highly recommend this film for the sublime music and superstar Rajesh Khanna’s hypnotizing performance, which kept luring me and my sister back despite our PTSD. R.D. Burman’s creative soundtrack with Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar at the helm is precisely the type of music that makes your parents sigh at dinnertime and wonder where the good olden days have gone.

Rajesh Khanna Tanuja o mere dil ke chain.png
Rajesh Khanna’s billowing puffy sleeves fail to deter Tanuja from biting the sweet bait in Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972).

For a hot minute,  I was tempted to describe this song as evergreen, and then checked myself. “O Mere Dil Ke Chain” has unquestionable timeless appeal, but the blaring hallmark of the 1970s steamrollered this song. Do I love it even more because of it? Obviously. Jim Morrison himself would have smiled from heaven had he lived to hear R.D. Burman’s genius use of the cathedral-like organ as a primary instrumental. And sure, the size Rajesh Khanna’s shirt collar warrants its own zipcode and maybe Tanuja could easily hide a dead body in the folds of her ginormous wigs, but one smoldering wink is all it ever takes to forgive and forget the excesses of that psychedelic decade.

Rajesh Khanna Tanuja o mere dil ke chain.png
Tanuja’s perfectly wing-tipped eyeliner punctures the romantic tension in “O Mere Dil Ke Chain.”

“O Mere Dil Ke Chain” is undeniably one of Rajesh Khanna’s most seductive and romantic hits, nestling into history amongst the likes of “Roop Tera Mastana” or “Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi.” Without further ado, check out the lyrics and English translation of “O Mere Dil Ke Chain” below! And please describe how much you love Tanuja’s cat-eyeliner in the comments!

O Mere Dil Ke Chain Lyrics and English Translation:

O mere dil ke chain
Oh, one who calms my heart
Chain aaye mere dil ko duaa kijiye
Pray that calmness comes to my heart

Apnaa hii saayaa dekh ke tum, jaan-e jahaa.N, sharam aa gaye
Seeing your own shadow, my dear, makes you shy
Abhii to yeh pehlii manzil hai, tum to abhii se ghabaraa gaye
Now is merely the first destination, and you have already become nervous
Mera kyaa hogaa? Socho to zaraa
What will happen to me? Think about that a little bit
Haaye, aise na aahe.N bharaa kijiye
Sigh, do not sigh like this

O mere dil ke chain…
Oh one who calms my heart…

Aap ka armaa.N, aap ka naam, meraa taraanaa aur nahii.N
Your desire and your name, my song is about nothing more than these things
In jhuktii palko.N ke sivaa, dil ka Thikaana aur nahii.N
Beyond these lowered eyelids of yours, my heart has no other dwelling
Jachtaa hii nahii.N, aankho.N mei.N koii
It does not seem right to behold anyone else in my eyes
Dil tumko hii chaahe, to kyaa kijiye?
My heart wants only you, so what should I do?

O mere dil ke chain…
Oh comfort of my heart…

Yuu.N to akelaa bhii aksar, gir ke sambhal saktaa huu.N mai.N
I am alone often, and can steady myself when I fall
Tum jo pakaD lo haath meraa, duniyaa badal saktaa huu.N mai.N
But if you were to hold my hand, I could change the world
Maa.Ngaa hai tumhe, duniyaa ke liye
I asked for you in exchange for the world
Ab khud hii sanam faislaa kijiye
Now you yourself make a decision, my darling

O mere dil ke chain
Oh, one who calms my heart
Chain aye mere dil ko duaa kijiye
Pray that calmness comes to my heart

Glossary:

chain: rest, calmness; duaa: prayer; saayaa: shadow; jaan-e jahaa.N: life of the world [an Urdu-Hindi term of endearment]; sharam aanaa: to become shy, to feel embarrassed; abhii: now; pehlaa: first; manzil: destination; ghabaraanaa: to become nervous, to feel worried; zaraa: a little bit; aah: sigh; armaa.N: desire; naam: name; taraanaa: song; jhuknaa: to lower; palke.N: eyelids; Thikaanaa: shelter; jachtaa: correct; aa.Nkhe.N: eyes; akelaa: alone; aksar: often; girnaa: to fall: sambhalnaa:  to steady [oneself]; haath pakaDnaa: to hold hands; duniyaa: world; badalnaa: to change; maa.Ngnaa: to ask; khud: self; faislaa karna: to make a decision

Tanuja and Rajesh Khanna in Mere Jeevan Saathi
Tanuja feels shy as Rajesh Khanna croons to her in Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972), wondering if anyone noticed her ringlets are the wrong length.

This song was requested by obsessed fans Mohandas and Venkatesan! Thank you both for giving us an excuse to deliver a little extra Rajesh Khanna to people’s lives this holiday season.

-Mrs. 55

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore clasp hands against the beautiful Darjeeling countryside in the film Aradhana (1969).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Bollywood’s favorite love duets “Kora Kaagaz Tha” from Aradhana (1969). The song is a welcome introduction to Autumn, filmed on location on the hilltops of Darjeeling where the only thing cozier than a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance is Rajesh Khanna in a red turtleneck.

Aradhana has rightfully earned widespread acclaim as a monumental Bollywood masala flick that really epitomizes India’s Golden Age of filmmaking. Songs like “Kora Kaagaz Tha” remind us how romance could once be spun from the magic in the air rather than from the dwindling lengths of the heroine’s skirt or from 6,000,000 back-up dancers bumping to an added techno beat. Very few love duets get everything right like this one does, immersing their audience in the beauty of India’s natural landscapes while allowing the Urdu and music to speak for themselves. Sharmila Tagore with her dimpled smile and Rajesh Khanna winking his legendary wink are pure, no-added-hormones or preservatives-required bliss.

I can think of a few other songs that defrost my lifeless heart similarly: “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and “Abhi Na Jao Chhod” from Hum Dono (1961) come to mind.

Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Sharmila Tagore’s spotlight-hogging wig takes no prisoners in Aradhana (1969).

Film director Shakti Samanta famously recalled that after pitching the brief summary of Aradhana to lyricist Anand Bakshi, Bakshi was inspired to write the lyrics to “Kora Kaagaz Tha” within seconds. Who would’ve guessed almost 50 years later, those same poetic ideas would be resurrected in mainstream American pop music with Taylor Swift’s popular “Blank Space“? (OK, maybe T. Swizzle has never seen Aradhana before…but I bet if she did, her eyeliner would drip onto the floor from happy tears.)

The best advice I can give you is to put on your best plaid flannel, wrap a wool throw around you and the one you love, and take a long sip of apple cider before starting this one. I have your back, trust me. As you listen, soak in the full glory of the Urdu “ghain” that punctuates Kishore Kumar’s “kaaghaz” or the blissful pop of the Urdu “qaaf,” adorning Lata Mangeshkar’s “mulaaqaat.” These are elegant linguistic subtleties that are fast disappearing from Bollywood music today. Lyrics and English translation to “Kora Kaagaz Tha” are below!

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation:

KISHORE: Hey hey (hey hey) aahaa hmm hmm (hmm hmm) aahaa haa (haa) haa haa (hmm hmm)

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa (meraa meraa)
My mind was a blank sheet of paper 
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa (teraa teraa)
Until I wrote your name upon it

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Suunaa aa.Ngan thaa jiivan meraa
My life was a lonely courtyard
Bas gayaa pyaar is mei.N teraa
Until your love resided within it

KISHORE: TuuT na jaaye sapne mai.N Dartaa huu.N
I am afraid that my dreams may shatter
Nis din sapno.N mei.N dekhaa kartaa huu.N
I keep seeing you in my dreams all day and night
Nainaa kajraa re, matvaale yeh ishaare
Oh, those kaajal-lined eyes, those intoxicating signals
Khaalii Darpan thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was an empty mirror
Rach gayaa ruup is mei.N teraa
Until your beauty manifested within it

LATA: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Chain ga.Nvaayaa mai.N ne, ni.Ndiiyaa ga.Nvaayii
I lost all peace of mind, I lost sleep
SaaDii saaDii raat jaaguu.N, duu.N mai.N duhaayii
I remain awake all night long and I pray
Kahuu.N kyaa mai.N aage? Nehaa laage, jee na laage
What should I say next? I have fallen in love, my soul is restless
Koii dushman thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was an enemy
Ban gayaa miit jaa ke teraa
Until it became your beloved

KISHORE: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

KISHORE: Baagho.N mei.N phuulo.N ke khilne se pehle
Before the flowers bloomed in the gardens
LATA: Tere mere naino.N ke milane se pehle
Before your and my eyes met
KISHORE: Kahaa.N thii yeh baate.N?
Where were words like these?
LATA: mulaaqaate.N?
Meetings like these?
KISHORE: aisii raate.N?
Night like these?
LATA: TuuTaa taaraa thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a shooting star
KISHORE: Ban gayaa chaa.Nd hoke tera
It turned into a moon when I became yours

BOTH: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Aa aa aaa aa
KISHORE: Aaa aa aaa
LATA: O hooo hoo hoo
KISHORE: O hooo hoo hoo
LATA: Hmm hmm mmm mmm
KISHORE: Hmm hmm mmm mmm

Glossary:

koraa: blank; kaaghaz: piece of paper; man: mind; likhnaa: to write; naam: name; suunaa: lonely, empty; aa.Ngan: courtyard; jiivan: life; basnaa: to reside, to settle; pyaar: love; TuuTnaa: to break; sapnaa: dream; Darnaa: to be afraid; nis-din: day and night; nainaa: eyes, kajraa: black eye-liner, re: an expression of emphasis, such as “oh!”; matvaalaa: intoxicated; ishaaraa: signal; khaalii: empty, Darpan: mirror; rachnaa: to create, to manifest; ruup: beauty; chain: peace of mind; ga.Nvaanaa: to waste, to ruin; ni.Ndiiyaa: sleep; saaDii: entire, whole; jaagnaa: to awaken; duhaaii denaa: to pray, to request; aage: next, future; nehaa: love; dushman: enemy; miit: loved one; baagh: garden; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to blossom; milnaa: to meet; baat: words; mulaaqaat: meeting; TuuTaa taaraa: shooting star; chaa.Nd: moon

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo
Why, hello, cozy red turtleneck. Rajesh Khanna (of perfect human being fame) induces a sense of lightheadedness that the mountain’s altitude could never achieve alone.

Aradhana takes a turn for the spicy a few scenes later with Kishore Kumar’s solo “Roop Tera Mastana” because, after all, you can’t make a masala film without the masala. But those who would forever rather stick to the old fashioned tree-frolicks of classic Bollywood, stay here in safe territory with me as long as the season lasts.

– Mrs. 55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Lyrics and English Translation:

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

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

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

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

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

He he he he he he! [maniacal laughter]

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

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

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

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

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

Glossary:

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

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

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

– Mrs. 55

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore clasp hands against the beautiful Darjeeling countryside in the film Aradhana (1969).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Bollywood’s favorite love duets “Kora Kaagaz Tha” from Aradhana (1969). The song is a welcome introduction to Autumn, filmed on location on the hilltops of Darjeeling where the only thing cozier than a view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance is Rajesh Khanna in a red turtleneck.

Aradhana has rightfully earned widespread acclaim as a monumental Bollywood masala flick that really epitomizes India’s Golden Age of filmmaking. Songs like “Kora Kagaz Tha” remind us how romance could once be spun from the magic in the air rather than from the dwindling lengths of the heroine’s skirt or from 6,000,000 back-up dancers bumping to an added techno beat. Very few love duets get everything right like this one does, immersing their audience in the beauty of India’s natural landscapes while allowing the Urdu and music to speak for themselves. Sharmila Tagore with her dimpled smile and Rajesh Khanna winking his legendary wink are pure, no-added-hormones or preservatives-required bliss. I can think of a few other songs that defrost my lifeless heart similarly: “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and “Abhi Na Jao Chhod” from Hum Dono (1961) come to mind.

Sharmila Tagore Aradhana kora kagaz
Sharmila Tagore’s spotlight-hogging wig takes no prisoners in Aradhana (1969).

Film director Shakti Samanta famously recalled that after pitching the brief summary of Aradhana to lyricist Anand Bakshi, Bakshi was inspired to write the lyrics to “Kora Kagaz Tha” within seconds. Who would’ve guessed almost 50 years later, those same poetic ideas would be resurrected in mainstream American pop music with Taylor Swift’s popular “Blank Space“? (OK, maybe T. Swizzle has never seen Aradhana before…but I bet if she did, her eyeliner would drip onto the floor from happy tears.)

The best advice I can give you is to put on your best plaid flannel, wrap a wool throw around you and the one you love, and take a long sip of cider before starting this one. I have your back, trust me. And as you listen, soak in the full glory of the Urdu “ghain” that punctuates Kishore Kumar’s “kaaghaz” or the blissful pop of the Urdu “qaaf,” adorning Lata Mangeshkar’s “mulaaqaat.” These are elegant linguistic subtleties that are fast disappearing from Bollywood music today. Lyrics and English translation to “Kora Kagaz Tha” are below!

Kora Kaagaz Tha Lyrics & English Translation:

KISHORE: Hey hey (hey hey) aahaa hmm hmm (hmm hmm) aahaa haa (haa) haa haa (hmm hmm)

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa (meraa meraa)
My mind was a blank sheet of paper 
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa (teraa teraa)
Until I wrote your name upon it

Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Suunaa aa.Ngan thaa jiivan meraa
My life was a lonely courtyard
Bas gayaa pyaar is mei.N teraa
Until your love resided within it

KISHORE: TuuT na jaaye sapne mai.N Dartaa huu.N
I am afraid that my dreams may shatter
Nis din sapno.N mei.N dekhaa kartaa huu.N
I keep seeing you in my dreams all day and night
Nainaa kajraa re, matvaale yeh ishaare
Oh, those kaajal-lined eyes, those intoxicating signals
Khaalii Darpan thaa yeh man meraa
My mind was an empty mirror
Rach gayaa ruup is mei.N teraa
Until your beauty manifested within it

LATA: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Chain ga.Nvaayaa mai.N ne, ni.Ndiiyaa ga.Nvaayii
I lost all peace of mind, I lost sleep
SaaDii saaDii raat jaaguu.N, duu.N mai.N duhaayii
I remain awake all night long and I pray
Kahuu.N kyaa mai.N aage? Nehaa laage, jee na laage
What should I say next? I have fallen in love, my soul is restless
Koii dushman thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was an enemy
Ban gayaa miit jaa ke teraa
Until it became your beloved

KISHORE: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

KISHORE: Baagho.N mei.N phuulo.N ke khilne se pehle
Before the flowers bloomed in the gardens
LATA: Tere mere naino.N ke milane se pehle
Before your and my eyes met
KISHORE: Kahaa.N thii yeh baate.N?
Where were words like these?
LATA: mulaaqaate.N?
Meetings like these?
KISHORE: aisii raate.N?
Night like these?
LATA: TuuTaa taaraa thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a shooting star
KISHORE: Ban gayaa chaa.Nd hoke tera
It turned into a moon when I became yours

BOTH: Koraa kaaghaz thaa yeh man meraa
My soul was a blank sheet of paper
Likh liiyaa naam is pe teraa
Until I wrote your name upon it

LATA: Aa aa aaa aa
KISHORE: Aaa aa aaa
LATA: O hooo hoo hoo
KISHORE: O hooo hoo hoo
LATA: Hmm hmm mmm mmm
KISHORE: Hmm hmm mmm mmm

Glossary:

koraa: blank; kaaghaz: piece of paper; man: mind; likhnaa: to write; naam: name; suunaa: lonely, empty; aa.Ngan: courtyard; jiivan: life; basnaa: to reside, to settle; pyaar: love; TuuTnaa: to break; sapnaa: dream; Darnaa: to be afraid; nis-din: day and night; nainaa: eyes, kajraa: black eye-liner, re: an expression of emphasis, such as “oh!”; matvaalaa: intoxicated; ishaaraa: signal; khaalii: empty, Darpan: mirror; rachnaa: to create, to manifest; ruup: beauty; chain: peace of mind; ga.Nvaanaa: to waste, to ruin; ni.Ndiiyaa: sleep; saaDii: entire, whole; jaagnaa: to awaken; duhaaii denaa: to pray, to request; aage: next, future; nehaa: love; dushman: enemy; miit: loved one; baagh: garden; phuul: flower; khilnaa: to blossom; milnaa: to meet; baat: words; mulaaqaat: meeting; TuuTaa taaraa: shooting star; chaa.Nd: moon

Rajesh Khanna Aradhana mountain echo
Why, hello, cozy red turtleneck. Rajesh Khanna (of perfect human being fame) induces a sense of lightheadedness that the mountain’s altitude could never achieve alone.

Aradhana takes a turn for the spicy a few scenes later with Kishore Kumar’s solo “Roop Tera Mastana” because, after all, you can’t make a masala film without the masala. But those who would forever rather stick to the old fashioned tree-frolicks of classic Bollywood, stay here in safe territory with me as long as the season lasts.

– Mrs. 55