Aye Mere Pyare Watan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

IndianIndependenceDay

In honor of India’s 67th Independence Day on August 15th, we offer the lyrics and English translation to a patriotic classic from Kabuliwala (1961): ai mere pyaare vatan.

Inspired by a Tagore short story of the same name, Hemen Gupta’s Kabuliwala (1961) narrates the story of a dry fruit seller named Rehman (played by Balraj Sahni) who leaves Afghanistan to come do business in India. Missing the daughter he was compelled to leave behind in his homeland, Rehman finds comfort in befriending a young Bengali girl named Mini in Calcutta.

This emotionally stirring film is accompanied by an equally beautiful soundtrack composed by Salil Chowdhury and penned by Prem Dhawan. By all accounts, the most memorable song from this soundtrack is ai mere pyaare vatan. Sung with incredible pathos by Manna De, this song has become one of the filmi world’s greatest contributions to the oeuvre of Indian patriotic music. The prominence that this song has gained in the desh-bhakti genre of Indian music is somewhat ironic given its context in the film: it is picturized on Rehman, an alienated Pathan in India who yearns for his homeland of Afghanistan.

In the sphere of Hindi film music, ai mere pyaare vatan is considered one of the most beautiful expressions of love for one’s homeland–a universal force that can transcend all cultural boundaries. On this special day, let us embrace the patriotic spirit of these lyrics and remember always to treat our homelands with honor, love and respect.

-Mr. 55
Balraj Sahni befriends a young girl who reminds him of his daughter back home in Afghanistan in Kabuliwala (1961)

Chhabi Biswas befriends a young girl who reminds him of his daughter back home in Afghanistan in the Bengali version of Kabuliwala (1957)

Aye Mere Pyare Watan: Lyrics and Translation

ai mere pyaare vatan, ai mere bichhDe chaman
Oh my dearest homeland, oh my lost garden!
tujh pe dil qurbaan
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.
tuu hii merii aarzuu, tuu hii merii aabruu 
You are my desire, you are my honor.
tuu hii merii jaan 
You are my life.

tere daaman se jo aaye un havaao.n ko salaam
I shall salute the winds that pass through your foothills.
chuum luu.n mai.n us zubaa.n ko jis pe aaye teraa naam
I shall kiss those lips that take your name. 
sab se pyaarii subaah terii sab se ra.ngii.n terii shaam 
You have the most beautiful of dawns and the most colorful of evenings.
tujh pe dil qurbaan 
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.

maa.n kaa dil ban ke kabhii siine se lag jaataa hai tuu
Sometimes you cling to my chest as my mother’s heart,
aur kabhii nanhii.n sii beTii ban ke yaad aataa hai tuu
and sometimes I remember you as my little daughter.
jitnaa yaad aataa hai mujhko utnaa taDpaataa hai tuu
The more I remember you, the more you torment me.
tujh pe dil qurbaan
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.

chho.D kar terii zamii.n ko duur aa pahu.nche hai.n ham
Having left your land, I have arrived somewhere far from home.
phir bhii hai yahii.n tamannaa tere zarro.n kii qasam
Swearing by every particle of your essence, I still harbor the desire
ham jahaa.n paidaa hue us jagah pe nikle dam
to take my last breath where I was born.
tujh pe dil qurbaan 
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.

ai mere pyaare vatan, ai mere bichhDe chaman
Oh my dearest homeland, oh my lost garden!
tujh pe dil qurbaan
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.

Glossary

vatan: homeland; bichhaDnaa: to be separated, lost; chaman: garden; qurbaan: sacrifice; aarzuu: desire; aabruu: honor; daaman: foothills; zubaa.n: tongue, lips, language; rangii.n: colorful; siinaa: chest; nanhii.n: little, young; taDpaanaa: to torment; tamanna: desire; zarra: particle; dam: breath.

Balraj Sahni on-screen with producer Bimal Roy in Kabuliwala (1961)

Balraj Sahni on-screen with producer Bimal Roy in Kabuliwala (1961)

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Karvaten Badalte Rahe Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

 

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Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz frolic in pre-marital bliss in the title track from Aap Ki Qasam (1974)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to the title track from Aap Ki Qasam (1974): karvate.n badalte rahe.n.  Directed by J. Om Prakash, this film stars Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, and Sanjeev Kumar in a story that illustrates how suspicion can be the ultimate enemy to marital bliss. 

As Mumtaz’s jealous husband, Rajesh Khanna begins to doubt his wife’s fidelity when his best friend Sanjeev Kumar comes into the picture. Although Mumtaz and Sanjeev Kumar share a platonic brother-sister friendship, Rajesh Khanna’s suspicion blinds him from reality until he destroys his own marriage.  Refusing to dignify the false accusations of infidelity placed on her with a response, Mumtaz leaves him and returns to her father’s home.  When she realizes that she is pregnant with Rajesh Khanna’s daughter, she enters a second marriage (with her father’s blessings!) so that her child can be raised in a loving home.  In the mean time, Rajesh Khanna comes to his senses and realizes that his suspicion towards his wife was misguided. Unable to apologize properly to Mumtaz for his unacceptable behavior, guilt drives Rajesh Khanna to become a homeless wanderer. Several years later, Mumtaz invites him to his daughter’s wedding where all parties receive closure of sorts. However, a tragedy strikes to create an ending that seeps with melodrama in true Bollywood fashion. 

Aap Ki Qasam is remarkable in its portrayal of marital suspicion for avoiding the chauvinistic bias present in similar films of this era. Typically, female characters accused of infidelity were vilified and forced to appease their husbands regardless of whether the accusations placed upon them were were valid or not. This film breaks the patii-parameshvar (husband is God) mold by supporting a woman’s right to leave an unhappy marriage in which she is treated disrespectfully by her husband. In particular, the support that Mumtaz receives from her father (played by Rehman) in divorcing her husband and entering a second marriage is unusually refreshing for this period of cinematic history. Although it can be argued that Mumtaz’s father makes much of the decisions for her, the fact that she is not compelled to beg for forgiveness at her husband’s feet is sufficiently progressive to merit attention. Indeed, valuing a woman’s dignity and self-worth over her duty to preserve a dysfunctional marriage is the ground-breaking message that makes Aap Ki Qasam stand out among other movies from this time.

In addition to being a cherished Rajesh Khanna-Mumtaz hit, this film is remembered today for its fantastic soundtrack composed by R.D. Burman. Aside from the  Pahadi-based duet sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar presented here, this album contains the popular duets “suno, haa.n kaho,” “jai jai shiv sha.nkar,” “paas nahii.n aanaa,” the beautiful Lata solo “chorii chorii chup ke chup ke,” and the philosophical Kishore solo “zindagii ke safar me.n.”  Anand Bakshi’s lyrics in “karvate.n badalte rahe.n” are marked by simplicity in their expression of the romance and trust shared between two lovers as they yearn in separation. Moreover, the beautiful snow-filled Himalayan landscape and the on-screen chemistry exhibited by Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz add to the appeal of this duet. 

Finally, as an aside, the 1973 BBC documentary Bombay Superstar profiling Rajesh Khanna and his influence on Hindi cinema actually features a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Aap Ki Qasam through interviews with the superstar himself,  director J. Om Prakash, and co-star Mumtaz. My favorite part of this documentary is the scene that depicts the amount of work that went into picturizing a playback song for a Bollywood film (the filming of “suno, haa.n kaho” is shown in the documentary).  Check out the full documentary here on YouTube if you haven’t seen it yet! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
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The on-screen chemistry between Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz allowed this pair to dominate the box office during the early 1970s.

Karvaten Badalte Rahe: Lyrics and Translation

karvate.n badalte rahe.n saarii raat ham
Tossing and turning in bed, I have been restless the entire night.
aap kii qasam, aap kii qasam
I swear by you.
gham na karo, din judaayii ke bahut hai.n kam
Do not be sad; the days of our separation are very limited.
aap kii qasam, aap kii qasam
I swear by you.

yaad tum aate rahe ek huuk sii uThtii rahii
As I remembered you, a sharp pain kept arising in my heart.
nii.nd mujhse, nii.nd se mai.n, bhaagtii chhuptii rahii
Sleep and I kept fleeing and hiding from each other.
raat bhar bairan nigoDii chaa.ndnii chubhtii rahii
The hostile, wretched moonlight continued to pierce through the entire night.
aag sii jaltii rahii, girtii rahii shabnam
A fire kept burning, as the dew continued to fall.
aap kii qasam, aap kii qasam
I swear by you.

jhiil sii aa.nkho.n me.n aashiq Duub ke kho jaayegaa
Your beloved will get lost by drowning in the loch of your eyes.
zulf ke saaye me.n dil armaan bharaa so jayegaa
Under the shadows of your tresses, his hope-filled heart will fall into slumber.
tum chale jaao, nahii.n to kuchh na kuchh ho jaayegaa
Please go away, or else something will happen between us.
Dagmagaa jaaye.nge aise haal me.n qadam
Our steps will falter out of control under these circumstances.
aap kii qasam, aap kii qasam
I swear by you.

ruuTh jaaye.n ham to tum ham ko manaa lenaa sanam
Should I sulk, please console me, oh beloved.
duur ho.n to paas ham ko tum bulaa lenaa sanam
Should you be far away, please call me to your side, oh beloved.
kuchh gilaa ho to gale ham ko lagaa lenaa sanam
Should I make a mistake, please embrace me in forgiveness, oh beloved.
TuuT na jaaye kabhii yah pyaar kii qasam
May this vow of love never be broken by us.
aap kii qasam, aap kii qasam
I swear by you.

Female lines in red are sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Male lines in green are sung by Kishore Kumar. Lines in black are sung together by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. 

Glossary

karvate.n badalnaa: to toss and turn in bed  (i.e. to be restless at night); qasam: a sworn oath or vow; gham karnaa: to be sad; judaayii: separation; huuk: a sharp pain; nii.nd: sleep; bhaagna: to flee; chhupnaa: to hide; bairan: hositle, cruel; nigoDii: wretched; chubhnaa: to pierce; aag: fire; shabnam: dew; jhiil: loch, lake; aashiq: beloved; zulf: tresses; saaye: shadows; armaan: hope; Dagmagaaanaa: to falter, stagger; haal: circumstances, state; qadam: steps, feet; ruuTh jaanaa: to sulk; manaa lenaa: to console; sanam: beloved; paas bulaa lenaa: to call to one’s side; gilaa: mistake; gale lagaa lenaa: to embrace; TuuT jaanaa: to be broken.

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The snowy Himalayan foothills provide the ideal backdrop for this romantic duet from Aap Ki Qasam (1974).

Jaane Woh Kaise Log Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Guru Dutt evokes classic Christ-like imagery in his depiction of Vijay the struggling poet in Pyaasa (1957).

We now present the lyrics and full English translation to one of my all-time favorite Guru Dutt songs “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957). I think my undying love for Guru Dutt is pretty evident at this point, but in case you need some convincing to get over the bold Clark Gable ‘stache, start here. Pyaasa is no ordinary film. When released to roaring accolades in 1957, Pyaasa broke precedent upon precedent in both impact and style. Notice how every song in this film seems to flow naturally as a consequence of the plot, as if the lyrics of the songs were a poetic continuation of the spoken dialogue? It was a technique pioneered by Guru Dutt that was later emulated by every great director in Bollywood. And the film hit some hard topics. I discuss more of the political stance of the film and the fascinating struggle Guru Dutt faced behind-the-scenes earlier, but now let us look instead to the classic “Jaane Woh Kaise” hit from the immortal pen of Sahir Ludhviani. It’s a mixture of everything right in the world: Guru Dutt as actor, Hemant Kumar with vocals, S.D. Burman composing, and Sahir in the back with the words of wisdom. This Hemant Kumar gem is truly the industry standard for awkward dinner party songs–even copied in modern times by Mira Nair in her film Vanity Fair (2004)!

Guru Dutt is employed as a dinner party waiter for his rich boss, Rehman, where he is confronted by the reality of his former lover, Mala Sinha, having abandoned him for wealth by marrying none other than the man currently employing him. The injustice of it all gets to him, and by chance, he’s a poet at heart who does what any other tragic poet would do in the situation: drop everything and throw a pity party.

Mala Sinha plays a cold-hearted social climber in Pyaasa (1957).

I love the cinematography in this song–Guru Dutt and his brilliant Director of Photography V.K. Murthy were known for their overblown yet graceful dolly-ins (watch the camera fly in “Waqt Ne Kiya“!), and so too in this song, the camera acts as a silent messenger of emotional turmoil, extracting a beautifully devastating toll on each of the key players in the room. And Guru Dutt holds his ground with arms outstretched as if crucified–a soft-spoken martyr against a background of bookshelves in which his own spoken words will later be immortalized and massacred. Again, you really need to see the film to appreciate the poetic genius of Guru Dutt film-making.

So enough talk, onto the lyrics and English translation of “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957)! Check out the picturization on youtube and let us know what you think in the comments!

Jaane Woh Kaise Log Lyrics and Translation

Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated
Humne to jab kaliyaa.N maangii kaa.NTo.N kaa haar milaa
Whenever I asked for flowers, I received a garland of thorns

Khushiyo.N kii manzil DhoonDii to gham kii gard milii
I searched for a destination of joy, but I found a circle of sadness
Chaahat ke naghme chaahe to aahe.N sard milii
I desired tales of love, but I received only the coldness of sighs
Dil kii bojh ko duunaa kar gayaa, jo ghamkhwaar milaa
The burdens of my heart only doubled if I met someone meant to relieve my sorrow

BichhaD gayaa har saathii dekar pal do pal kaa saath
Every companion gave me a few moments of company, and left
Kisko fursat hai jo thaame diiwaano.N kaa haath
After all, who has the free time to hold a crazy man’s hand?
Humko apnaa saayaa tak aksar bezaar milaa
Even my own shadow is often weary of me

Isko hii jiina kehte hai.N to yuu.N hii jii le.Nge
If this is what they called life, then I will live like this
Uff na kare.Nge, lab sii lenge, aa.Nsuu pii lenge
I will not sigh, I will seal my lips, and swallow my tears
Gham se ab ghabraana kaisaa, gham sau baar milaa
After all, how can I be concerned by sadness? I have met sadness a hundred times

Humne to jab kaliyaa.N maangii.N kaaTo.N kaa haar milaa
When I asked for flowers, I found a garland of thorns
Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila
I wonder what kind of people find their love reciprocated

Glossary:

kali: flower; kaanTaa: thorn; haar: garland; manzil: destination; gham: sadness; gard: circle; chaahat: love, desire; naghma: tale; aah: sigh; sard: chilly, cold; bhoj: burden; duunaa karna: to double; ghamkhwaar: a remover of sadness (note: the w is silent, as in khwaab); bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; saathi: companion; fursat: free time; haath thaamnaa: to hold hands; saayaa: shadow; bezaar: fed up, weary; lab: lips; aa.Nsuu: tears; gham: sadness: ghabraanaa: to become anxious, concerned

Singing his heart out, Guru Dutt transforms Rehman’s classy dinner gathering into a awkwardly personal pity party in Pyaasa (1957).

Guru Dutt revives the martyr-style mis-en-scene in the reprise of “Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye” at the famous finale of the film! The scene has got to be one of the all-time greatest of Hindi cinematic history. For this and about a million other reasons, Pyaasa is absolutely mandatory classic Bollywood viewing!

-Mrs. 55

How to Play the Awkward Miffed Lover

It happens to everyone at some point. We all hate this situation. You land the girl of your dreams, you take her to a fancy dinner party, and just when everything is going your way, her ex-lover crashes the scene. With the heavenly voice of a playback singer, the new contender bursts into dramatic song, calling out his passion with your girl in front of EVERYONE.

Plus, the more the song goes on, the more you realize you’re trapped–any interruption would only backfire. And on top of it, your girl is getting embarrassingly emotional.

So what to do? It’s clear everyone in the audience is just cheering for those two to reunite, leaving YOU with the ugly villain label. The rules of the game prevent you from simply cutting the song off short—you have no option but to helplessly be made a fool. It’s such an unfair tactic, and heroes of Bollywood films LOVE to use it.

In times like these, we reflect on the inspiring behavior of greater men. They too were placed in these compromising and uncomfortable situations. Each one had their own style, their own method of handling the filmi fire life dealt them.

As I see it, you have five main options to choose from. Let us examine their protocols below.

The Vinod Khanna: Get Angry

During the beautiful love ode “Koi Nazarana Lekar” from Aan Milo Sajna (1970), Vinod Khanna shoots daggers from his eyes at the shameless flirt Rajesh Khanna.

Option 1. Get angry. It’s bad enough that you showed up to this event in a lime green tuxedo. Complete the look and let your face turn pea green with envy. Who cares who judges you? Be a party-pooper and scowl your way through the song, sucking the joy out of everyone else’s fun.

The Rehman: Blush

Ugh. Nothing worse than having your own crimes turned into public poetry. Although it’s a black-and-white film, you can see Rehman turn a hot pink during Guru Dutt’s classic lament “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957).

Option 2. Blush. You’re guilty and there’s no hiding it. Don’t make eye contact with anyone! Instead, mentally review the cquestionable ethical decisions you took along the path that led you to this debacle. You will realize what a jerk you’ve been, and although you have to stay the course, colour will rise to your cheeks.

The Raj Kapoor: Play it off as a joke

Always a goofball, Raj Kapoor attempts valiantly to make light of the humiliating situation wrought by Dilip Kumar singing “Jhoom Jhoom Ke” from Andaz (1949).

Option 3. Play it off as a joke. You’re at a dinner party, after all and this is no time to aggravate the situation. Keep that bow-tie straight and act casual. With enough non-chalance, maybe the party-goers will think it’s only a bit of fun among friends?

The Rishi Kapoor: Give up

Horror and resignation overwhelm Rishi Kapoor’s face during Tariq’s performance of “Kya Hua Tera Wada” from Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (1979)

Option 4. Give up. Just give up. How could you have not known of this beautiful subverted love story earlier? This is entirely your fault. You’re overwhelmed with moral guilt and regret–do the righteous thing and withdraw your nomination from the ballet entirely. In this way, you can quickly drop the villain label and return to your proper place as hero!

The Pran: Enjoy the show

Pran doesn’t ruffle a feather during Shammi Kapoor’s heartfelt and passionate “Dil Ke Jharoke” from Brahmachari (1968). But hey, when you’re as devastatingly sophisticated as Pran, you wouldn’t have time for these amateurs either.

Option 5. Enjoy the show. After all, who’s worried? This other guy has nothing on you, you suave gift to womankind.  Keep the entertainment coming! Oh, I’m sorry, honey, are you crying? Here, take my silk handkerchief. You might need it.

So the next time you hear the tinkerings of a tragic song start on the piano behind you, don’t panic. There is a way out! Just pick an approach from the textbook of Hindi films. If classic Bollywood has taught us anything about these moments, it’s that they can and will happen all the time. Tell us whose approach YOU prefer!

-Mrs. 55

The Glorification of Alcohol in Hindi Cinema

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

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen serves Sadhana another glass in Inteqaam (1969)

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

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

“Alcohol May Be Man’s Worst Enemy…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rajesh Khanna drinks another glass of liquid courage before singing about the pain of disloyal love in Kati Patang (1970).

What are some of your favorite sharaab/daaru songs from Bollywood films? Let us know in the comments! We’ll understand if your typing is a little bit off…
Mr. 55

Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

What a classy soiree!

I just spent three hours of my life watching Waqt (1965) instead of studying for the MCAT.  Therefore today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Aage Bhi Jane Na Tu.” Was it worth it? Totally.

This 1965 film directed by Yash Chopra features an all-star cast (Balraj Sahni, Achla Sachdev, Sadhana, Raaj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Sharmila Tagore, Shashi Kapoor, Motilal, Rehman, Madan Puri, Leela Chitnis, and Shashikala, among others) along with a compelling storyline that defined the masala genre of Hindi cinema for years to come. The plot tells the story of a family of five who are tragically separated by a natural disaster. Years later, their lives become bizarrely connected through a series of complex entanglements involving romance, misunderstandings, illness, and of course–a murder. I don’t want to ruin the movie by giving away too many details, but its theme can be summarized by the powerful concluding statement made by Balraj Sahni’s character: “waqt hi banata hai aur waqt hi bigaDta hai” (Time creates all, and time destroys all).

Sadhana and Sunil Dutt have a moment in Waqt (1965)

The icing on the cake for this movie is its soundtrack composed by Ravi and penned by Sahir Ludhianvi. One popular song you may know from this film is Manna De’s “ai merii zohraa jabii.n,” but today, I have chosen to translate the soundtrack’s crown jewel: “aage bhii jaane na tu.” Unlike many songs in Bollywood movies that serve as fillers, this song is actually instrumental in advancing the plot. The song is played in the background at a soiree that is attended by many of the film’s major characters. During the course of the song, a lot of important things happen: Sadhana and Sunil Dutt get all romantic together, Rehman orders Raaj Kumar to steal Shashikala’s diamond necklace, Sharmila Tagore seeks Shashi Kapoor’s attention, and Shashi Kapoor is forced to leave the party early to take care of his sick mother. Most importantly, however, Raaj Kumar gets into a fight with a drunk Madan Puri because he makes a pass at Sadhana, and this fight is related to the murder that I eluded to above. I’ll leave it at that for now to keep things suspenseful…

Dashing Raaj Kumar attempts to steal Shashikala’s diamond necklace. Sneaky!

Sahir Ludhianvi is brilliant as always in his poetry, as he transforms a potentially mediocre party song into a beautifully expressed philosophical statement about life. Through his words, he urges listeners to adopt a carpe diem intellectual framework in which decisions should be based on the present instead of relying on the uncertainties of the future and the past. He illustrates that seizing the day is important by saying, “jo bhii hai, bas yahii ek pal hai” (What is here now is only this one moment), and these words are particularly apt for a movie whose title and theme revolve around time. Ravi’s exquisite tune and Asha Bhonsle’s passionate rendition do justice to the depth of Ludhianvi’s words, which all  have contributed to making this gem one of Bollywood’s most treasured songs from the Golden Era.

Shashi Kapoor leaves the party to take care of his ailing mother 😦

Do you recognize the woman on whom this song is picturized in the film? Her name is Erica Lal, but I couldn’t find much biographical information about her except that she was an American woman who married an Indian living in Mumbai at this time. In any case, she looks stunning on screen during this song and captures the spirit and style of the sophisticated ’60s crooner.

–Mr. 55

Erica Lal is the epitome of the stylish ’60s crooner in Waqt (1965)

Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu Lyrics and Translation

aage bhii jaane na tu, piichhe bhii jaane na tu
You may not know what lies ahead of you, nor do you know what lies behind you.

jo bhii hai, bas yahii ek pal hai
What is here now is only this one moment.

anjaane saayo.n kaa raaho.n mein Deraa hai
Unknown shadows camp along the paths ahead,

andekhii baaho.n ne ham sab ko ghera hai
While unseen arms have embraced us all.

yeh pal ujaalaa hai, baaqii andhheraa hai
This moment is shining with light; everything else is darkness.

yeh pal gavaana na, yeh pal hii teraa hai
Do not waste this moment, as only this moment is yours.

jiinevaale, soch le yahii vaqt hai kar le purii aarzuu
Think fast, oh living soul: this is the time to fulfill all your desires.

is pal ke jalvo.n ne mahfil sa.nvaarii hai
The passion of this moment has graced this gathering,

is pal kii garmii ne dhaDkan ubhaarii hai
And the warmth of this moment has accelerated our heartbeats.

is pal ke hone se duniyaa hamaarii hai
The world is ours because of this moment’s existence.

yeh pal jo dekho to sadiyo.n pe bhaarii hai
Take a look at this moment, for its grandeur is to be remembered for centuries.

jiinevaale, soch le yahii vaqt hai kar le purii aarzuu
Think fast, oh living soul: this is the time to fulfill all your desires.

is pal ke saaye me.n apnaa Thikaanaa hai
One’s destination can be found in the shadows of this moment.

is pal ke aage hii har shay fasaanaa hai
Ahead of this moment, all objects become stories of fantasy.

kal kis ne dekhaa hai? kal kis ne jaanaa hai?
Who has seen tomorrow? Who has known tomorrow?
is pal se paayegaa jo tujh ko paanaa hai
From this moment, you shall receive all that you are due.

jiinevaale, soch le yahii vaqt hai kar le purii aarzuu
Think fast, oh living soul: this is the time to fulfill all your desires.

aage bhii jaane na tu, piichhe bhii jaane na tu
You may not know what lies ahead of you, nor do you know what lies behind you.

jo bhii hai, bas yahii ek pal hai
What is here now is only this one moment.

Glossary

pal: moment; anjaane: unknown; Deraa: stop, camp; andekhii: unseen; baahe.n: arms; ghernaa: to encircle, embrace; ujaalaa: light; andhheraa: darkness; jiinevaale: living soul;  aarzuu: desire; jalvaa: passion; mahfil: gathering; sa.nvaaranaa: to grace, adorn; ubhaarnaa: to intensify, accelerate; sadii: century; Thikaanaa: destination, address; shay: object;  fasaanaa: tale, story

Raaj Kumar beats up a salacious drunkard to protect Sadhana’s honor. With the right combination of handsome looks, sophisticated personality, and masculine brawn, he is a model example of the classic Bollywood stud.