Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala in Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955)
The epitome of modernity, feisty Madhubala croons poolside in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Thandi Hawa Kali Gata” from our very own namesake Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955). The film follows an unlikely young couple, Madhubala and Guru Dutt, who are forced together by circumstance and end up challenging their own social mores, maturing, and finding love to essentially become an ideal match—a figurative “couple of the year.”

People tend to have strong feelings one way or another for this film. The music is hands-down fantastic, but the plot tends to be divisive, depending on how you view Guru Dutt’s stance on female emancipation in the 1950s. I tend to argue that the film is empowering—his narrative is social criticism of the flaws in patriarchal society, as well as an exploration of non-traditional female roles. While Madhubala’s character does indeed discover many virtues of a conventional Indian housewife, her realization that she would prefer marriage to divorce comes with a refreshing sense of maturity and self-discovery that in no way shackles her independence. Unlike many great heroines of the era, in Mr. and Mrs. ’55, Madhubala is feisty and does exactly what she wants, when she wants! I like that about a woman.

Madhubala in Mr. and Mrs. 55 Thandi Hawa
In the coming-of-age classic “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata,” Madhubala blushes in Mr. and Mrs. 55.

Now let’s take this moment to talk about the ridiculous ribbons and pigtails flying around the set in this song. Don’t be shy, you know precisely what I’m talking about. Mr. and Mrs. 55‘ was not the first film (and certainly not the last) to idealize fully-grown women who did their hair like 5-year old girls. Every actress of Bollywood’s yesteryear from class-act Meena Kumari to joke-a-minute Asha Parekh has played the romantic lead with a hairdo that awkwardly imitates the elementary school kids. Yes, chew on that for a moment. There’s an entire slightly uncomfortable social theory behind the craze. Contrast this lunchbox look to Madhubala’s long flowing locks in the sweet duet “Udhar Tum Haseen Ho” toward the end of the film as she begins to accept her marriage to Guru Dutt. Symbolic, no?

But enough about my beef with pigtails. Sung by Guru Dutt’s own wife Geeta Dutt, there’s plenty to love in this uplifting jingle! Follow along with the video here and enjoy our English translation and lyrics to “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata” below!

Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation:

ThanDii hawaa, kaalii ghaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke
A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

baiThii thii chhup-chhaap yuu.N hii, dil kii kalii chhum ke mai.N
I was sitting quietly, caressing the flower of my heart
dil ne yeh kyaa baat kahii, rah na sakii sun ke mai.N
What my heart said, I could not stay there to listen
mai.N jo chalii dil ne kahaa aur zaraa jhoom ke
As I left, my heart spoke with even more exuberance
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

Aaj to mai.N apnii chhabii dekh ke sharam aa gayii
Today I became shy upon seeing my own reflection
Jaane yeh kyaa soch rahii thii ki ha.Nsii aa gayii
I do not know what I was thinking, but I suddenly laughed
LauT gayii zulf mere honTh meraa chhuum ke
My hair flew back and touched my lips
Pyaar liiye, Dole ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

dil kaa haar iktaar hilaa, chhiDne lagii raginii
The necklace of my heart struck a chord on the iktaar, and it began teasing out a melody
kajraa bhare nain liye, ban ke chaluu.N kaaminii
With kajra-lined eyes, I became a beautiful woman and set out
Keh do koii aaj ghaTaa barse zaraa dhoom se
Someone tell the clouds to rain thunderously today
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

ThanDii hawaa, kaalii ghaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke
A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

Glossary:

ThanDii: cold, hawaa: wind; kaalii: dark; ghaTaa: cloud; jhoom: ebullience, exuberance; Dolna: to sway; ha.Nsii: laughter; naachnaa: to dance; jiiyaa: soul, heart; laughter; ghoomnaa: to swirl; chhup-chhaap: absolutely quietly; chhabii: reflection, image; sharam aanaa: to become embarrassed, to become shy; zulf: hair; honTh: lips; haar: necklace; iktaar: a traditional Hindustani one-stringed instrument, raginii: a small song, kajraa: traditional Indian  eyeliner; nain; eyes; kaaminii: a beautiful, desirable woman; koii: someone; barasnaa: to rain; dhoom se: with noise

Madhubala and friends in Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955).
Madhubala and her girlfriends join hands in a chorus of pigtails and parasols in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).

Don’t you love how this film is just bursting with the tension of modernization? Like many typical “coming-of-age” songs, lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri employs nature-based allegories to describe a girl’s maturation to womanhood and the development of romantic inclinations. However, the song is unexpectedly filmed at the uber urban hangout of Mahatma Gandhi swimming pool in Bombay’s Shivaji Park! Gotta love those modern girls. Producer-director Nasreen Munni Kabir describes Guru Dutt’s cinematographic decision-making process while filming this song in her must-see documentary “In Search of Guru Dutt“!

This brilliant Geeta Dutt hit was requested by loyal fan Sonia! We know we’ve been taking longer than usual to get around to requests, but with Mr. 55 getting swamped in medical school and me getting down to the wire for wedding planning, we’re doing our best! Stay tuned–we love hearing from our fans!

– Mrs. 55

 

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Retro Bollywood Hairstyles from Caravan (1971): Wigs, Teasing, and More Wigs

Asha Parekh sports long side-parted bangs with a girlish ribbon and a bouffant wig in the exciting opening chase scene of Caravan (1971). And please don’t ignore the matching orange lipstick!

In India in the 60s and early 70s, Hindi film heroines were notorious for sporting heavy wig pieces day-to-day that added volume, glamour, and pizazz. Hairdos in India from that time period sought to create works of art atop a woman’s head, from simple teased crown, to elaborate braiding with ornaments, jewelry, and soaring heights. The key was to wear enormous wigs and lots of them (and yes, those wigs are made of REAL hair!)

Big hair was by no means a strictly Indian phenomena. Starting as early back in history as the famous wigs of Marie Antoinette, puffy bouffant styles were sported not just in films, but by First Lady Jackie Kennedy in the 60s and took the musical South by storm when Dolly Parton learned how to tease (a word for the back-combing technique used to bulk up layers of hair). But I’d say, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s  (1961) aside, Indian women like Sharmila Tagore and Asha Parekh were the ones to bring it to new levels.

The overall effect when done correctly can be extremely elegant and beautiful–at some point or another, we’ve all tried to emulate big hair in the hopes of looking fabulous. But, of course as you’ll see, there are always those special moments when wigs go wild and the ‘do takes on an alternate life of its own.

Check out our gallery of fabulous retro Bollywood hairdos sported by Asha Parekh in the 1971 film Caravan (yes, it’s 1971, but the styles are super 60s!). This film is notable for many reasons, from a delightfully ridiculous plot to a magical soundtrack enhanced by Helen’s insane dance moves. But every time I watch it, I am way too distracted by Asha Parekh’s latest ‘do to care for anything else. Haute couture meets gypsy allure, good intentions meet near-lethal doses of hairspray. After all, the higher the hair, the closer to God.

Who is it?? Why, it’s little bo peep. She wants her ribbon back.
Asha’s fabulous ‘do in the opening scene of Caravan has tight long curls, a side-tied white ribbon, and of course, a 4-inch high wig.
Asha goes gypsy! Note the most important touch of all: the little ringlet of hair by her cheek that probably was once a delicate sideburn.
Hair parted in the center is getting slightly more 70s than 60s, but thank goodness you threw in that 3-inch poof, Asha. Otherwise, I don’t think the look had enough crazy going on.
What a pleasant little surprise! The back of the ‘do is as wild as the front! What was the stylist really going for with this ruffled little back-bun? Historians may never know.
Bring on the ribbons! And the back-up dancers.
Oh, just kidding–those aren’t ribbons after all! They are bangles arranged like a pillbox hat at the crown of the coiffe! You can never be too creative with accessories, can you?
I like the “au natural” look of the long sweeps of locks hanging to one side. And look how Asha made the “jhumar” a day-to-day fashion accessory long before it became vogue!
Drooping pigtails with bright yellow flower ties for a much-needed pop of colour.
Great hair aside…I think the most striking aspect of this photo is that Asha is about to have a conniption on-screen.
I love the side-parted pigtail village look. Who cares if you’re pushing 40 years old?!
I could do without the brushed back bangs in the center, while leaving an awkward patch of bangs to the side. But perhaps it’s all part of how distressed she’s supposed to be?
Again with the awkward patch of bangs! I far prefer some Sadhana-fringe.
You get a good sense of the volume of hair involved in the making of this ‘do in this shot.
The forehead to wig-height ratio is borderline criminal.
Asha Parekh in Caravan 48
Classic example of a ‘do taking on it’s own life. It’s like she’s attacking Jeetendra, and her hair is attacking her. The hair wins, of course.
Asha Parekh in Caravan 49
The glamour shot is nice–especially since you can’t see all the little people jumping off the top of her ‘do to commit suicide.
Asha Parekh in Caravan 50
Back to a simple, conservative ribbon with moderate heights. That’s more like it!
Oh, and a little curl too? Sign me up!!
Asha Parekh in Caravan 51a
Love how far back the ribbon is pushed–less of a headband, more an accessory to make room for the beehive.
Asha Parekh in Caravan 52
I don’t know how I feel about pony-tails this short and this puffy.
Asha Parekh in Caravan 54
Very Audrey Hepburn from the front. We’ll take it.
Asha Parekh in Caravan 56
These bangs are classic from this era–the angled part, the bouffant! If only it had been a French twist in the back instead of an incomplete pony.

Now after seeing this gallery, you must be under the mistaken impression that Asha Parekh does nothing but make painfully melodramatic faces in throughout the film. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but just know that in addition to that, she dances occasionally too. Asha Parekh’s hairstyles are so mesmerizing in this film, that you shouldn’t really be looking for much artistic depth.

Now why, you may be asking, am I so invested in retro Bollywood hairdos? I’ve been planning my look for my fiance and my official engagement party and needed some 70s inspiration! I’m probably one of the few brides-to-be these days that are still all about the vintage Bollywood look–from sweeping cat-eyeliner to hair that reaches the ceiling. I went through dozens of old school films to perfect the ‘do I wanted. Here’s the final product!

My attempt at Asha Parekh fabulousness with a retro Bollywood hair do!

It’s a classy mixture of Asha’s best looks in Caravan, complete with flowers! Now although I did not use wigs, my tricks were to use LOTS and LOTS of hairspray, back-combing like my life depended on it, and a puffy headband underneath the bump to give some structural support to the ‘do.

For more galleries of costumes from the great films of the 60s and 70s, check out our earlier post on famed Bollywood costume designer Mani Rabadi!

-Mrs. 55