Salaam-E-Ishq Meri Jaan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Rekha nails the aadab in the introduction to salaam-e-ishq merii jaa.n from Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978)

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation of “Salaam-E-Ishq Meri Jaan” from Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978).

Directed by Prakash Mehra, the blockbuster film Muqaddar Ka Sikander became the third highest grossing movie of the ’70s (following Sholay and Bobby) for its mass appeal as a classic masala entertainer. With an all-star cast and a convoluted plot, the film portrays the trials and tribulations of Sikander (Amitabh Bacchan) as he navigates through life’s struggles – from an unfortunate childhood as a poor orphan to a troubled young man with a doomed love.

The soundtrack of this film, composed by the underrated duo Kalyanji-Anandji and penned by Anjaan (Lalji Pandey), was a hit when the movie released and remains popular to this day. Notable gems include rote hue aate hai.n sab by Kishore, o saathii re by Kishore/Ashaand dil to hai dil by Lata. However, the highlight of the film’s soundtrack is the Lata-Kishore duet salaam-e-ishq meri jaa.n, whose lyrics have interestingly been credited to the film’s director Prakash Mehra. Although Rekha’s role in the film is small, she shines in her performance of this mujra number and shares great on-screen chemistry with Amitabh. No one can play the sulking courtesan like Rekha can, am I right?

For the musically inclined, this song is based on Raga Yaman Kalyan with a touch of Puriya Dhanashri when Kishore sings the second antara.

This song was requested by one of our dear readers Salma – thank you! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
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Rekha looks great, but what was Amitabh’s costume designer thinking here?

Salaam-E-Ishq Meri Jaan: Lyrics and English Translation

ishqvaalo.n se na puuchho ki unkii raat kaa aalam
Do not ask lovers about how their nights
tanhaa kaise guzartaa hai?
pass in solitude.
judaa ho hamsafar jiskaa voh usko yaad kartaa hai
Those separated from their companions reminisce about them.
na ho jis kaa koii voh milne kii fariyaad kartaa hai
Those who are alone pray to meet their beloved.

salaam-e-ishq merii jaa.n zaraa qubuul kar lo
My dear, accept these greetings of love.
tum ham se pyaar karne kii zaraa-sii bhuul kar lo
Make the small mistake of falling in love with me.
meraa dil bechain hai hamsafar ke liye
My heart is restless for a companion.

mai.n sunaauu.n tumhe.n baat ik raat kii
I shall tell you the story of one night.
chaa.nd bhii apnii puurii javaanii pe thaa
The Moon was shining in full splendor.
dil me.n tuufaan thaa, ik armaan thaa
In my heart, there was a storm, a desire.
dil kaa tuufaan apnii ravaanii pe thaa
This storm in my heart raged with full vigor.
ik baadal udhar se chalaa jhuum ke
A cloud danced its way from afar
dekhte dekhte chaa.nd par chhaa gayaa
and cast its shadow over the Moon.
chaa.nd bhii kho gaya uskii aaghosh me.n
The Moon was lost in its embrace.
uff! yeh kya ho gaya josh hii josh me.n?
Oh! What has happened amidst such passion?
meraa dil dhaDkaa
My heart beat.
meraa dil taDpaa kisii kii nazar ke liye
My heart pined for someone’s glance.

KISHORE: is ke aage kii ab daastaa.n mujh se sun
Now hear the rest of the story from me.
sun ke terii nazar Dab-Dabaa jaayegii
After hearing it, your gaze will fall.
baat dil kii jo ab tak tere dil me.n thii
The innermost thoughts that have resided in your heart,
meraa daavaa hai ho.nTho.n pe aa jaayegi
I guarantee that they will surface to your lips.
tuu masiiha muhabbat ke maaro.n kaa hai
You are the Messiah for the lovestruck.
ham tera naam sun ke chale aaye hai.n
After hearing your name, I have come to your side.
ab davaa de hame.n yaa tuu de de zahar
Now give me your medicine or give me poison.
terii mahfil me.n ye diljale aaye hai.n
Many of your admirers have arrived in this gathering.
ik ahsaan kar apne mahmaan par
Do a favor for your guests,
de.n duaaye.n
for they will give you blessings.
de.n duaaye.n tujhe umr bhar ke liye
They will give you blessings for the rest of your life.

LATA: salaam-e-ishq merii jaa.n zaraa qubuul kar lo
My dear, accept these greetings of love.

Glossary:

aalaam: condition, atmosphere; fariyaad: prayer; salaam-e-ishq: greetings of love; qubuul karnaa: to accept; bhuul: mistake; bechain: restless; hamsafar: companion; javaanii: youth, splendor; tuufaan: storm; armaan: hope, desire; ravaanii: vigor; baadal: cloud; chhaa jaanaa: to cast a shadow; aaghosh: embrace; josh: passion; taDpaanaa: to pine; daastaa.n: story; Dab-Dabaa jaanaa: to sink, fall; daavaa: promise, guarantee; masiiha: Messiah; muhabbat ke maaro.n: the lovestruck; davaa: medicine; zahar: poison; diljale: admirer; ahsaan: favor; mahmaan: guest; duaaye.n: blessings; umr bhar: life-long.

Amitabh_Rekha_SalaamEIshq_MuqaddarKaSikander

Of course, no mujra number is complete without some groveling from a drunk hero.

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Mera Kuch Saamaan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Anuradha Patel plays an impetuous and free-spirited woman who haunts her former lover and his current wife with her gift for poetry. in Ijaazat (1987)

Anuradha Patel plays an impetuous and free-spirited woman who haunts her former lover and his current wife with her gift for poetry in Ijaazat (1987).

Released in 1987, Gulzar’s Ijaazat starring Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha, and Anuradha Patel is a film that falls outside of the time period traditionally associated with the “Golden Era” of Hindi cinema. Although we tend to feature films from the 1950s-1970s on this blog, an exception must be made for this film because of its timeless soundtrack composed by R.D. Burman, penned by Gulzar, and sung by Asha Bhonsle. Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to an ever-haunting gem from Ijaazat (1987): meraa kuchh saamaan

Based on the Bengali story Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh, this film presents the classic love triangle trope often used to excess in Bollywood in a refreshingly subtle and poignant manner that reflects the high caliber of Gulzar’s artistry as a poet-turned-director. The story in this film revolves around the relationships among three main characters: Mahinder (Naseeruddin Shah), Sudha (Rekha), and Maya (Anuradha Patel). Mahinder, a young photographer, has been engaged to his childhood friend Sudha for five years in an arrangement made by his grandfather (Shammi Kapoor). In spite of this arrangement, Mahinder falls passionately in love with the impulsive and free-spirited Maya, but he is too afraid to confide the truth to his grandfather. When pressured to go through with the wedding, the conflicted Mahinder reveals his true feelings to Sudha. However, when Maya suddenly disappears from his life, Mahinder decides to honor his grandfather’s wishes and marries Sudha after all. Even at the end of the film, a lingering question remains: why would Sudha agree to marry a husband who did not truly love her?

Rekha struggles deeply as she is forced to grapple with her husband's history with Anuradha Patel and its effects on their marriage in Ijaazat (1987)

Rekha offers an understated performance as a vulnerable wife forced to grapple with her husband’s history with an ex-lover and its devastating effects on their marriage in Ijaazat (1987)

As the companionship between Sudha and Mahinder begins to grow, the underlying presence of Maya as an unwanted third party in their marriage inevitably leads to marital discord. Mahinder’s unresolved feelings for Maya and Sudha’s awareness of these feelings gradually creates tension that escalates once Maya re-appears in their lives and rekindles a friendship with Mahinder through letters, phone calls, and poems. Mahinder indulges Maya’s attention-seeking actions at each opportunity, deepening the rift that already exists between him and his wife. Despite many efforts to adjust to the very tangible presence of Maya in their lives, Sudha comes to realize that she will never be able to live happily with Mahinder and decides to walk away from her marriage. The turmoil and tragedy of this film goes on to culminate in a conclusion that is surprisingly positive and heart-warming–without completely spoiling the ending here, I will just say that fans of Shashi Kapoor will not be disappointed!

In spite of its portrayal of a relatively ordinary story, Ijazaat stands out from other films in the same vein because of its evocative dialogues, nuanced character development, and, of course, the beautiful music and poetry found in its soundtrack. In the context of the film, meraa kuchh saamaan is a poem addressed to Mahinder from Maya that captures the essence of their troubled relationship with remarkable finesse and sophistication. In this poem, Maya asks Mahinder to return her things back to her–these requests are not for the return of physical objects but rather for memories of their time spent together. Gulzar’s evocative poetry in an unusual free verse format earned him the National Film Award and Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist in 1988, while Asha Bhonsle won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her soulful rendition of this song.

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Anuradha Patel’s character is unique to the version of Jatugriha that is presented in Ijaazat (1987), as the original story depicted the woes of a troubled marriage between a husband and wife without the “other woman” character.

Those of you familiar with this classic already may have wondered why Gulzar chose to use the number 116 in the last stanza of this song to describes the number of moonlit nights spent together by the protagonists. Some have suggested that 116 nights may indicate that Maya and Mahinder were involved in a relationship four months in duration (with four new moons), while others have suggested it is a reference to the number of phases of the moon found in ancient Indian literature. Interestingly, when asked in an interview about the interpretation of this number, Gulzar said: It’s not the number which is important, it’s important that somebody kept the count of the moonlit nights of which they spent together.”  This number went on to carry special significance for Gulzar as he recounts in a 2005 interview that he has written lyrics for exactly 116 of R.D. Burman’s songs during his career. 

Lyrics and Translation:

mera kuchh saamaan tumhare paas paDaa hai
Some of my belongings remain with you.
saavan ke kuchh bhiige bhiige din rakhe hai.n
A few wet monsoon days,
aur mere ek khat me.n lipaTii raat paDii hai
and a night folded into one of my letters.
voh raat bujhaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Extinguish that night, and return my things to me.

patjhaD hai kuchh, hai na?
It was autumn then, no?
patjhaD me.n kuchh patto.n kii girane kii aahaT
The rustling whispers of leaves falling in autumn.
kaano.n me.n ek baar pahan ke lauT aayii thii
I had brought back those whispers once by wearing them as earrings.
patjhaD kii voh shaakh abhii tak kaa.np rahii hai
A branch of autumn still trembles in the breeze.
voh shaakh giraa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Make that branch fall down, and return my things to me.

ek akelii chhatrii me.n jo aadhe-aadhe bhiig rahe the
When we both became drenched in the rain under a single umbrella,
aadhe giile aadhe sukhe, sukhaa to mai.n le aayii thii
half of our things became wet. I had brought the dry half back with me that day.
giilaa man shayad bistar ke paas paDaa ho
But perhaps my drenched heart remained next to the bed.
voh bhijvaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Send that back, and return my things to me.

ek sau solaah chaa.nd kii raate.n, ek tumhaare kaa.ndhe kaa til
One hundred and sixteen moonlit nights, and the single mole on your shoulder.
giillii maha.ndii kii khushbuu, jhuuTh-muuTh ke shikve kuchh
The fragrance of wet henna, and some fake tantrums.
jhuuTh-muuTh ke vaade bhii sab yaad karaa duu.n?
Shall I remind you of all the false promises too?
sab bhijvaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Send all of them back, and return my things to me.

ek ijaazat de do bas, jab isko dafnaauu.ngii
When I bury these these things, just grant me the permission
mai.n bhii vahii.n so jaauu.ngii
To lay myself to sleep among them.
mai.n bhii vahii.n so jaauu.ngii
To lay myself to sleep among them.

Glossary

saamaan: belongings, things; saavan: monsoon; bhiigaa: drenched, wet; khat: letter; lipaTnaa: to wrap, fold; bujhaa denaa: to extinguish; lauTaa denaa: to return; patjhaD: autumn; pattaa: leaf; giranaa: to fall; aahaT: whisper, faint noise; pahanna: to wear; shaakh: branch; giraa denaa: to make something fall; chhatrii: umbrella; aadhaa: half; giilaa: wet; sukhaa: dry; bistar: bed; bhijvaanaa: to have something sent; ek sau solaah: 116; kaa.ndh: shoulder; til: mole; maha.ndii: henna: khushbuu: fragrance; jhuuTh-muuTh: fake, false; shikvaa: complaint, tantrum; vaadaa: promise: yaad karaa denaa: to remind; ijaazat: permission; dafnaanaa: to bury: so jaanaa: to sleep.


In 2005, Asha Bhonsle in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet reprised several of her old songs as a tribute to her late husband R.D. Burman in the album You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood. In recognition of her work on this album, Asha received her second Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary World Music. When asked to name her favorite song from the album, she said it was meraa kuchh saamaan because it “is very close to my heart as it transports me back into time when I was with Pancham.” (Source).

 -Mr. 55

Chain Se Humko Kabhi Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Asha Bhonsle and O.P. Nayyar share a joyful moment together. Photo Credit: indianexpress.com

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to a soul-stirring melody composed by O.P. Nayyar and sung by Asha Bhonsle that has stood the test of time: chain se ham ko kabhiiAlthough this song was supposed to be included in Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974) directed by S. Ali Raza, it never made the final cut! In spite of its prominent absence from a movie, this memorable composition has been treasured by Hindi film music lovers for years ever since it was released. While the profound beauty of this rare song never fails to earn universal appreciation, many fans may be surprised to learn about the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the the making and release of chain se ham ko kabhii.

When Asha Bhonsle was 16 years old, she eloped with her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar’s 31-year-old personal secretary Ganpatrao Bhonsle against the wishes of her family. Over the course of an unhappy marriage, the allegedly abusive Ganpatrao grew suspicious of Asha’s faithfulness to their marriage and eventually cast her out of their home in 1960 . Pregnant with her third child, Asha left the Bhonsle household permanently in order to secure a better future for her children. A few years later, Asha and music director O.P. Nayyar began a nine-year romantic relationship in 1963 that quickly became the talk of the tabloids.  Although both Asha and O.P. were married legally to their spouses, they lived together for many years in O.P.’s penthouse flat at the Miramar building in Mumbai. During this period, the duo churned out a series of memorable musical hits that fans of Hindi film music still hold dear to their hearts: diivaanaa huaa baadal from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), yeh hai reshmii zulfo.n kaa andheraa from Mere Sanam (1965), zaraa haule haule chalo more saajnaa from Sawan Ki Ghata (1966), yehii woh jagah hai from Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966), and aao huzuur tum ko from Kismat (1968), among many other gems.

Sadly, this musical power couple encountered a rough patch in their relationship around 1972. One account of this story claims that Asha decided to leave O.P. when she saw him raising a hand and slapping her grown daughter Varsha. Whatever the reason may have been for their break-up, the couple had one last piece of unfinished business to deal with as they separated: the songs they had made together for the film Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye. Recorded before the couple had decided to part ways, records of these songs had been released several months in advance of the film’s premiere in 1974. Following the tragic break-up, Asha used her clout in the industry to have chain se ham ko kabhii deleted from the movie before it was released in theaters. However, the song had gained such widespread acclaim on its own that it won Asha her sixth Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1975. Since Asha refused to go to the ceremony to receive this award, O.P. Nayyar accepted the trophy on her behalf. It is said that O.P. then tossed the trophy out the window on his car ride home, ending their relationship on a truly sour note.

To this day, Asha refuses to acknowledge O.P. Nayyar publically and does not credit him for her early successes in the playback singing industry. Interestingly, in his old age, O.P. Nayyar overcame the bitterness of the duo’s break-up and admitted that Asha was “the best person I’ve ever met.

Chain Se Humko Kabhi: Lyrics and Translation

chain se ham ko kabhii aap ne jiine na diyaa
You have never let me live in peace.
zahar bhii chaahaa agar, piinaa to piine na diyaa
Yet, even if I asked to die by poison, you would not let me drink it.

chand ke rath me.n raat kii  dulhan jab jab aayegii
When the Night arrives as a bride on the Moon’s chariot,
yaad hamaarii aap ke dil ko taDpaa jaayegii
memories of me will continue to cause you heartache.
pyaar ke jalte zakhmo.n se jo dil me.n ujaalaa hai
The light in your heart emanating from our love’s burning wounds
ab to bicchaD ke aur bhii zyaadaa baDhnevaalaa hai
will continue to shine more brightly now that we are apart.
aap ne jo hai diyaa, vah to kisii ne na diyaa
What you have given to me, no one else has been able to replicate.
zahar bhii chaahaa agar, piinaa to piine na diyaa
Yet, even if I asked to die by poison, you would not let me drink it.

aap kaa gham jo is dil me.n din-raat agar hogaa
To bear your sorrow in my heart all day and night,
soch ke yah dam ghuTataa hai, phir kaise guzar hogaa?
the very thought of this is suffocating. How can I endure it?
kaash na aatii apnii judaayiimaut hii aa jaatii
If only death had come to me instead of this separation,
koii bahaane chain hamaari ruuh to paa jaati
then, under this pretext, my soul could finally rest at peace.
ek pal ha.nsnaa kabhii dil kii lagii ne na diyaa
My heart’s emotions have never let me smile for a moment.
zahar bhii chaahaa agar, piinaa to piine na diyaa
Yet, even if I asked to die by poison, you would not let me drink it.

chain se ham ko kabhii aap ne jiine na diyaa
You have never let me live in peace.

Glossary

chain: peace; zahar: poison; rath: chariot; dulhan: bride; ujaalaa: light; sulagnaa: to smolder; dam ghuTnaa: to suffocate; guzar honaa: to endure, subsist; kaash: if only; judaayii: separation; maut: death; bahaanaa: pretext; ruuh: soul; lagii: emotion, feeling.

In the context of this tumultuous backstory, the lyrics of chain se ham ko kabhii (penned by S.H. Bihari) are aptly fitting as Asha’s final swan song under O.P. Nayyar’s baton. Thank you to our reader Tanushree for requesting a post on this beautiful song and its interesting history–keep those requests coming! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
Pran

A young Rekha stars in Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1964). Since the song was deleted from the released film, details surrounding the picturization of chain se ham ko kabhii remain a mystery to this day.

Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rekha Umrao Jaan Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston

Rekha stars as a courtesan with a heart of gold in Umrao Jaan (1981).

We next present the beautifully tragic lyrics and English translation of “Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston” from Umrao Jaan (1981). Umrao Jaan is a heart-breaking film with depths more profound than the glittery tawaif dances it showcases. Based on the 1899 Urdu novel by Mirza Hadi Ruswa entitled, “Umrao Jaan Ada,” the 1981 film stays largely true to the original text.

Delving into the decadence of 19th century Lucknowi society, Umrao Jaan Ada portrays the rituals of a fascinating culture marked by luxury and oppression. I first read Ruswa’s novel during my junior year of college in Urdu class and fell in in love with the resilience of the story’s heroine.

Rekha in Umrao jaan 1981

Searching for a familiar face in a crowd of strangers, Rekha remains alone in Umrao Jaan (1981).

Interestingly, the framing of the 1981 Muzaffar Ali-directed film differs from the novel, told as a chronological account instead of a reminiscence. For me, this changes the tone of the film entirely: in the novel, the audience knows that although Umrao Jaan has suffered greatly in her lifetime, she eventually finds the peace and independence she deserves.

In the film, however, Umrao Jaan’s fate is unclear. We are left only with the stirring final image of her somber reflection in the mirror of her childhood home—an identity so long defined by others now confronted by its owner. Knowing these alternate endings colours the implications of Asha Bhonsle’s emotional “Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston” preceding them.

Rekha Umrao Jaan 2

Rekha hides a tear as Umrao Jaan sings to a gathering in her hometown of Faizabad.

Just prior to the film’s finale, Umrao Jaan (portrayed by Rekha) is asked to perform a song in her own town of Faizabad where she is now regarded as a pariah or stranger. The poetry that results in “Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston” evokes that sense of loss and confusion—a blameless fall from Eden with no path forward. As her own mother listens quietly outside the tent, Umrao Jaan’s addressing the unfamiliar gathering as “doston” becomes perhaps less ironic and more of an earnest plea.

Written by Shahryar with music by Khayyam, “Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston” is a counterpoint to the film’s earlier musical gems “In Ankhon Ki Masti” and “Dil Cheez Kya Hai.” With no ulterior motives, Umrao Jaan at last sings and dances as herself, voicing the real emotions within her heart. Many consider this song to be the film’s greatest composition.

We hope you enjoy our lyrics and translation to the soulful swansong, “Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston” below! Let us know your favorite Umrao Jaan moment in the comments!

Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston Lyrics and Translation:

Yeh kyaa jagah hai dosto.N?
What place is this, friends?
Yeh kaunsaa dayaar hai?
What kind of world is this?
Had-e-nigaah tak jahaa.N, ghubaar hii ghubaar hai
Where, as far as the eye can see, there are only dust storms

Yeh kis maqaam par hayaat mujhko lekii aa gayii?
To what realm has life brought me?
Na bas khushii pe hai jahaa.N, na gham pe ikhtiyaar hai
In this place I have no control over my happiness, and no choice in my sorrow

Tamaam umr ka hissaa maa.ngtii hai zindagii
Life demands an account of all my years
Yeh meraa dil kahe to kyaa? Yeh khud se sharmasaar hai
What will this heart of mine answer? It is so ashamed of itself

Bulaa rahaa hai kaun mujhko chilmano.N ki us taraf?
Who is calling me from the other side of those blinds?
Mere liye bhi kyaa koi udhaas beqaraar hai?
Is anyone there for me who is restless in sorrow?

Yeh kyaa jagah hai dosto.N?
What place is this, friends?
Yeh kaunsaa dayaar hai?
What kind of world is this?
Had-e-nigaah tak jahaa.N, ghubaar hii ghubaar hai
Where, as far as the eye can see, there are only dust storms

Glossary:

jagah: place; dayaar: world, region; had-e nigaah tak: until the limits seen by the eye; ghubaar: dust storm; maqaam: realm; hayaat: life; bas: power; khushii: happiness; gham: sorrow; ikhtiyaar: choice, tamaam umr: whole life, all the years; hissaa: account; zindagi: life; khud: self; sharmasaar: embarrassed, ashamed; chilman: curtains made of reeds, blinds; udhaas: sorrow; beqaraar: restless

As I read the pages of Ruswa’s novel, I was so struck by his descriptions of the admirable training in classical arts given to students of the kothe. These talents that in today’s society would be so valued as the pinnacle of culture, instead branded these women for a lifetime of ignominy. Today such diligence in the study and practice of classical voice, dance, and poetry is so rare and impressive!

Rekha in Umrao Jaan Yeh Kya Jagah Hai Doston

Ethereal beauty Rekha yearns for acceptance from her long-lost family in Umrao Jaan (1981).

For the grammar junkies among us, you may wonder why the “jagah” in this song is pronounced to rhyme with “yeh” instead of “kyaa.” Strictly speaking, the Lucknowi pronunciation of the word is the long “aah,” however, for poetic fluidity, Asha Bhonsle pronounces it here in the alternate form. Regional variants exist in the Hindustani language for similar words such as subah and vajah!

– Mrs. 55

Neela Aasman So Gaya Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Amitabh Bacchan plays a writer who falls for Rekha’s timeless beauty in Silsila (1981)

Directed and produced by Yash Chopra, Silsila (1981) sparked controversy even before it was released. Rumors regarding the film’s casting spread throughout the industry, as its portrayal of a love triangle between Amitabh Bacchan, his wife Jaya Bacchan, and his alleged mistress Rekha was said to mimic reality. Today, we present the lyrics and English translation of a classic romantic ballad from Silsilaniilaa aasmaa.n so gayaa.

This film depicts a passionate romance between Amit (played by Amitabh Bacchan) and Chandni (played by Rekha) that cannot culminate in marriage due to unfortunate circumstances. After his brother (played by Shashi Kapoor) is killed in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Amit marries his brother’s pregnant fiancee in order to save her honor. Unable to pursue her love with Amit, Chandni marries Dr. Anand (played by Sanjeev Kumar). When Amit and Shobha are involved in a car accident (that causes Shobha to lose her baby), they are hospitalized and treated by Dr. Anand. Chandni sees Amit in the hospital, and this encounter triggers memories of their past love. Amit and Chandni give into their temptations and begin to rekindle their romance through clandestine meetings. The plot thickens when an evening rendezvous goes sour: Amit and Chandni must go to the police station after hitting a pedestrian while driving, and officer assigned to their case turns out to be Shobha’s cousin. How long can Amit and Chandni keep their adultery a secret? Will Amit and Chandni leave their spouses to be together? Silsila is worth a viewing to find out!

Although Silsila is not the first Bollywood film to depict extra-marital love, it is ground-breaking in its concrete portrayal of the consummation of adultery.  Indeed, this film compelled Indian audiences to think about extra-marital affairs and whether they can be cinematically romanticized in a way that appeals to the masses. Silsila offers some justification for the relationship between Amit and Chandni because they were a couple before Amit sacrificed his love to uphold his duty to his brother. However, the film portrays the tumultous decline of their extra-marital romance, eventually depicting Amit and Chandni as disloyal adulterers instead of righteous lovers. The uncomfortable subject matter is presumably the reason why this film failed to be a box office success. Regarding the audience’s reaction to Silsila, Yash Chopra has said:

 “The film had inherent tensions because of the casting coup. If I was confident of the project, it was because all the three artistes had individually assured me that there would be no problems at their end. And they kept their word. It was a film on extra-marital relationships and call it moral and societal pressures, but at the last minute, I developed cold-feet and thought that maybe the hero should come home to his wife. The original ended differently. When and why I changed the ending I don’t know, but I did so because I felt that the audience wasn’t ready. But the audience didn’t accept what we gave them either.”

Although audiences may not have reacted positively to its thematic content, the film has left a legacy of controversy that is still remembered today. The release of Silsila marked the end of the alleged affair between Rekha and Amitabh, but those associated with the Bollywood industry still discuss their love story more than 25 years later. At public events such as award functions, the media is unforgiving in keeping a close eye on how Amitabh, Jaya, and Rekha interact with each other!

Aside from its controversy, this film is also remembered for a number of special debuts. In Silsila, Yash Chopra introduced Shiv (santoor maestro Pt. Shivkumar Sharma) and Hari (flute maestro Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia) for the first time as composers of Hindi film music. Moreover, Javed Akhtar penned his first lyrics for a Hindi film in Silsila. The soundtrack for Silsila has a number of popular hits such as dekhaa ek khvaab and rang barse, but “niilaa aasmaa.n so gayaa is especially noteworthy for its use of Amitabh Bacchan as a playback singer. Amitabh showcases his versatility as a performer by doing his own singing, which defied the conventions that had been established in the industry for years. Although he lacks the refinement of musical training, Mr. Bacchan can certainly hold a tune in his version of this ballad. A little bit past her prime, Lata Mangeshkar also offers a melancholic interpretation of the same song picturized on Rekha. Listen to both as you follow along with our translations, and let us know which version you prefer in the comments! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
AR

The first version of niilaa aasmaa.n showcases the passionate on-screen chemistry shared by Rekha and Amitabh Bacchan in Silsila (1981)

Neela Aasman So Gaya: Lyrics and Translation (Male)

niilaa aasmaa.n so gayaa
The blue sky has fallen into slumber.

os barse.n, raat bhiige, ho.nTh thharraaye.n
Dew falls, the night becomes drenched, and my lips quiver.
dhaDkane.n kuchh kahnaa chaahe.n, kah nahii.n paaye.n
Although my heartbeats desire to say something, they are unable to.
havaa kaa geet maddham hai
The breeze sings softly,
samay kii chaal bhii kam hai
while the time passes slowly.

merii baaho.n me.n sharmaate lajaate aise tum aaye
You came into my arms, shying away in embarassment, 
ki jaise baadalo.n me.n chaa.nd dhiire dhiire aa jaaye
like the Moon cautiously slipping into the clouds.
yah tanhaayii, yah mai.n aur tum
This solitude, you, and me. 
zamii.n bhii ho gayii gumsum
Even the Earth has fallen silent.

niilaa aasmaa.n so gayaa
The blue sky has fallen into slumber.

R

Rekha wallows in sorrow during the second version of niilaa aasmaa.n after Amitabh tells her that they cannot marry each other in Silsila (1981).

Neela Aasman So Gaya: Lyrics and Translation (Female)

niilaa aasmaa.n so gayaa
The blue sky has fallen into slumber. 

aa.nsuuo.n me.n chaa.nd Duubaa, raat murjhaayii
In my tears, the Moon has set and the night has withered. 
zindagii me.n duur tak phailii hai tanhaayii
Solitude has spread far into my life. 
jo guzre ham pe vah kam hai
What has happened to me thus far is a small beginning,
tumhaare gham kaa mausam hai
for I have just entered the season of sorrow for you.

yaad kii vaadii me.n guu.nje biite afsaane
Tales of the past resonate in the valley of memories. 
hamsafar jo kal the ab Thahare ve begaane
Yesterday’s companion is now a stranger. 
muhabbat aaj pyaasii hai
My love remains unquenched today.
baDii gahrii udaasii hai
I am overcome by a very deep sorrow.

niilaa aasmaa.n so gayaa
The blue sky has fallen into slumber.

Glossary

niilaa: blue; aasmaa.n: sky; os: dew; bhiignaa: to become drenched; tharraanaa: to quiver; dhaDkan: heartbeat; havaa: wind, breeze; maddham: dim, soft; samay: time; chaal: movement, passing; sharmaanaa: to shy away; lajaanaa: to be embarrassed; baadal: cloud; dhiire dhiire: cautiously; tanhaayii: solitude; gumsum: silent; murjhaanaa: to wither; phailnaa: to spread; yaad: memories; vaadii: valley; guu.njnaa: to resonate; afsaanaa: tale, story; hamsafar: companion: begaanaa: stranger; pyaasii: unquenched; gahraa: deep; udaasii: sorrow.

AJ

Amitabh Bacchan sacrifices his love for Rekha to marry his late brother’s pregnant fiance Jaya Bacchan in Silsila (1981).

 

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)

Dil Cheez Kya Hai Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rekha stars as a courtesan and poetess in Umrao Jaan (1981), based on an Urdu novel by Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa

Today, we continue our series on Umrao Jaan (1981) by providing the lyrics and English translation to what is arguably the film’s most popular song: dil chiiz kyaa hai?  Based on Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa’s novel Umrao Jaan Ada, this film narrates the tragic tale of a young girl who is kidnapped and forced to become a tawaif (courtesan).

Through the course of this film, we witness the transformation of an innocent young girl Amiran as she becomes Umrao Jaan Ada, one of Lucknow’s most sought after courtesans. At the brothel, young Amiran receives training in classical voice, Kathak dance, and Urdu poetry–a forbidden world of art and education that the average Indian girl of this time period would never get the chance to explore. When the brothel’s madam Khanum feels that she has been sufficiently groomed, Umrao Jaan begins performing and attracting the attention of wealthy patrons all over Lucknow. Umrao’s first public performance as a courtesan is marked by the song dil chiiz kyaa hai?

This gem is considered to be one of Asha Bhonsle’s career-defining songs, and she was awarded a National Film Award for her performance of this ghazal along with the rest of her contributions to this soundtrack. Khayyam bagged a well-deserved National Film Award for his compositions in this film, and Rekha took home the National Film Award for Best Actress. From her performance in this mujra in particular, it is clear that Rekha is worthy of all the critical acclaim she received for her work in Umrao Jaan.  Although she may lack the technical precision of a trained Kathak dancer, she compensates with her compelling on-screen presence and natural elegance. With eyes like hers, would any man in Lucknow be able to resist the charms of Umrao Jaan Ada?

What is your favorite song from the Umrao Jaan soundtrack? Share with us in the comments! Until next time…

-Mr. 55

Rekha’s mujras in this film, especially dil chiiz kyaa hai?, are fan-favorites to this day.

Dil Cheez Kya Hai: Lyrics and Translation

dil chiiz kyaa hai? aap merii jaan liijiye
What is the heart worth? Take my life instead!
bas ek baar meraa kahaa maan lijiye
But just once, please accept what I say.

is a.njuman me.n aap ko aanaa hai baar baar
You must return to this gathering time and time again.
diivaar-o-dar ko ghaur se pahchaan liijiye
So, learn to recognize these surroundings carefully.

maanaa ki dosto.n ko nahii.n dostii kaa paas
I admit that friends may not always hold friendship in high regard.
lekin yah kyaa ki ghair kaa ahsaan liijiye?
Yet, does this mean you should accept kindness from strangers?

kahiye to aasmaa.n ko zamii.n par utaar laaye.n
If you ask for it, I shall bring down the sky to the ground. 
mushkil nahii.n hai kuchh bhii agar Thaan liijiye
No task is difficult if you pursue it firmly.

dil chiiz kyaa hai? aap merii jaan liijiye
What is the heart worth? Take my life instead!
bas ek baar meraa kahaa maan liijiye
But just once, please accept what I say.

Glossary

maan lenaa: to accept; anjuuman: gathering; diivaar-o-dar: walls and doors, surroundings; ghaur se: carefully; pahchaan lenaa: to recognize; dostii: friendship; paas: regard, consideration; ghair: stranger; ahsaan: favor, kindness; utaar laanaa: to bring down; Thaan lenaa: to pursue firmly.

A quick note regarding the word paas. Those of you familiar with its common use in the phrase kisii ke paas (next to someone/something) may be confused by the line “maana ki dosto.n ko nahii.n dostii kaa paas.” Here, a less common use of the word paas is used to mean regard or consideration. So, there is no relation to proximity here; the whole line would be translated as: “I admit that that friends may not always hold friendship in high regard.” Tricky, tricky.

As Umrao Jaan, Rekha seduces wealthy men in Lucknow with her most tempting asset: her eyes!