Sunil Dutt telephone jalte hai jiske liye

Jalte Hain Jiske Liye Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Jalte Hai Jiske Liye Sunil Dutt Sujata
Sunil Dutt sings to Nutan on the telephone in “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye” in Sujata (1959).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Talat Mehmood’s most memorable hits “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye.” A turning point in the controversial film Sujata (1959), “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye” blends the visuals of modern technology with the thematic subtext of an antiquated discrimination system.

Can we admire the film’s brilliant mis-en-scene and editing for a minute? Though connected by telephone wires, the hero and heroine are worlds apart: he is a Brahmin and (unknown to him) she is an “untouchable.” A light flickers in a deliberate rhythmic fashion behind Sunil Dutt, marking the passage of time like a ticking bomb. For a romantic song, every second is filled with tension: Talat Mehmood’s lilting vocals seem to pull us slowly down a staircase, teasing at each step as if a figurative (and literal) cord may snap. The effect is both beautiful and extremely suspenseful.

But, you may be asking, who is Talat Mehmood? A brief digression is warranted because this  critical question is how we distinguish among the three types of classic Bollywood lovers:

The first, a wannabe, has never heard of Talat Mehmood before. You’ve seen Sholay and really liked that Asha remix you heard once at your cousin’s wedding. Welcome to our site, young padawan, and have some chai on us. We cannot express how happy we are that you’re here to learn.

The second knows who Talat Mehmood is for goodness sake, this is insulting.  You feel strangely refreshed by that velvety voice dipping into films that otherwise would belong firmly to Rafi or Mukesh. You’ve probably even wept openly to “Jayen to Jayen Kahan” in a public setting, say while riding the train to work or in the waiting room at your dentist. I’m only speculating.

But the third type of Bollywood lover is a Talat Mehmood believer. You know every song to escape his vocal cords as well as each and every of his unicorn-like film appearances (yes, he was a double threat in the industry)! You go well beyond art appreciation, in fact, you feel a sense of personal victimization when you think of all the squandered songs that were tossed at other playback singers that Talat would have crushed (Mahendra Kapoor, I’m looking directly at you).

Nutan Jalte Hai Jiske Liye Sujata telephone
Nutan is distraught to discover how much Sunil Dutt loves her, knowing she is labeled an “untouchable” in Sujata (1959).

Just kidding, Mahendra, you’ve had shining moments. But “Jalte Hain Jiske Liye” is sure to bring out the third type of Bollywood lover in everyone. It is one of Talat Mehmood’s most accessible songs, buoyed by a lilting composition by S.D. Burman. Follow along with the video here and tell us if we’ve made a Talat believer out of you!

Jalte Hain Jiske Liye Lyrics & Translation

Jalte hai.N jiske liiye terii aakho.N ke diiye, DhuunDh laayaa huu.N wahii giit mai.N tere liiye
I have found those songs for which the lamps of your eyes burn
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Dard ban ke jo mere dil mei.N raahaa Dhal na sakaa
What was in my heart became a pain and did not ease
Jaduu ban ke terii aankho.N mei.N rukaa chal na sakaa …
It became magic in your eyes and stopped, and could not go further
Aaj laayaa huu.N wahii giit mai.N tere liiye
Today I have brought those songs for you
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Dil mei.N rakh lenaa isse haatho.N se yeh chhuuTe na kahii.N
Keep them in your heart, do not let them escape from your hands
Giit nazuk hai meraa shiishe se bhii, TuuTe na kahii.N
My song is even more fragile than glass, let it not shatter
Gungunaau.Ngaa yehii giit mai.N tere liiye
I will hum this song for you
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Jab talak na yeh tere ras ke bhare hoN.To.N se mile
Until this song meets your nectar-filled lips
Yuu.Nhii awaaraa phiregaa yeh terii zulfo.N ke tale
It will wander astray through the shade of your hair
Gaaye jaau.Ngaa yehii giit mai.N tere liiye
I will keep on singing this song for you
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Glossary

jalnaa: to burn; aankhe.N: eyes; Dhuu.NDh laanaa: to find (to search [for something] and bring); giit: song; dard: pain; dil: heart; Dhalnaa: to wane; jaduu: magic; ruknaa: to stop; haath: hands; chhuuTnaa: to escape; nazuk: fragile; shiishaa: glass, mirror; TuuTnaa: to break; gungunaanaa: to hum; ras: nectar; hoN.T: lips; awaaraa: wanderer; phiregaa: to stray; zulfe.N: hair; tale: shade

Sunil Dutt telephone jalte hai jiske liye
Sunil Dutt sings Talat Mehmood’s “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye” across the telephone in Sujata (1959).

I adore this film’s bold attempt to portray the systemic discrimination wrought by a twisted idea of caste. Based on a story by Bengali author Subodh Ghosh, Sujata is not a perfect film by any means. The ending will leave some feeling hallow, but for a mainstream big budget Bollywood film to finally face this pervasive issue head-on was pioneering. It led Bimal Roy, no stranger to socially-conscience films, to win the Filmfare Award for Best Director in 1959! Check out Ankur (1974) on our list of greatest classic Hindi films ever made if this theme piques your vigilant soul!

Lastly, a juicy shout out to fans G Kumaradevan for requesting this lovely song. Strong choice, sir!

– Mrs. 55

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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

Qutab Minar window Tere Ghar Ke Samne nutan dev anand

Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn-Urdu Hindi

Dev Anand and Nutan in Paying guest
Nutan and Dev Anand co-star in the romantic comedy Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

Today we highlight the lyrics and English translation of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” from the romantic-comedy Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

Dev Anand plays an architect who is inadvertently commissioned to work on a home project for a his parent’ rival family. When he meets and falls in love their extremely pretty daughter, he risks the ire of both families’ elders by pursuing her. A free-spirited, independent woman in her own right, Nutan’s wit matches Dev Anand at every turn. Their repartee scripted by Vijay Anand is reminiscent of the Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracey chemistry that audiences universally loved.

S.D. Burman’s soundtrack of Tere Ghar Ke Samne is phenomenal, but few moments in Hindi cinema are more enchanting than the song sequence of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” famously picturised in Delhi’s Qutab Minar. Built in the 12th century by the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, the Qutab Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts hundreds of tourists daily. A narrow tower that ascends five tapering stories, Qutab Minar forces Dev Anand and Nutan into close proximity, each step rippling with amorous opportunity. Unfortunately, because of the bulky film equipment required, a replica set was actually created in order to capture the magic of this site! Each shot emphasizes the intimacy of the space filled by echoes Mohammed Rafi’s lilting melody.

I visited Qutab Minar this winter with my husband and uncle, and was struck by the magnificence of both the tower and the beauty of the surrounding ruins. In any other world, the stone carvings of the Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque within the Qutab Minar complex alone would be the main attraction. I was disappointed to learn that the top of Qutab Minar is no longer open to the public, so my husband narrowly escaped my forcing him to serenade me in broad daylight. Luckily, there was an excellent dosa joint nearby whose buttery goodness made everyone feel that all was right in the world again.

Dev Anand Qutab Minar Paying Guest
Why, hello there! Dev Anand plays a little peekaboo in “Dil Ka Bhanwar” as he descends the Qutab Minar.

Tere Ghar Ke Samne, like many of Dev Anand’s films, was a vision ahead of its time. Its theme of a never-ended struggle between modernity and tradition hints at irony, as many would look upon his films as being antiquated now themselves. There could be no better place to film such a sequence than in the Qutab complex, where the forward slog of time seems to come to a halt. Donning a stylish newsboy cap and flirting unabashedly in public, Dev Anand’s westernized appeal contrasts with his centuries-old surroundings. He knows better than to continue wooing Nutan as elders dressed in traditional clothing pass them by. As he ceases his serenade, the camera captures a perfect tableau of old and new India.

Nutan Dev Anand Qutab Minar
Dev Anand shields Nutan from the disapproving gaze of fellow-tourists at the Qutab Minar in Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

We hope you love our English translation of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” as much as we enjoyed exploring this delightful song with you!

Dil Ka Bhanwar Lyrics and English Translation:

Dil ka bha.Nwar kare pukaar
The bumblebee of my heart has called out
Pyaar ka raagsuno
Hear its love song
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear its love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Phuul tum gulaab ka kyaa jawaab aap kaa
You are a rose flower, you have no comparison
Jo adaa hai woh bahaar hai
The grace you possess is that of Spring
Aaj dil ki bekalii aa gayii zubaan par
Today the restlessness of my heart has reached my tongue
Baat yeh hai tumse pyaar hai
The words are that I love you
Dil tum hii ko diya re
Oh, I have given my heart to you alone
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Chahe tum miTaanaa par na tum giraanaa
If you want, make me disappear, but do not make me fall
Aa.Nsuukii tarah nigaah se
Like tears from your eyes
Pyaar kii uu.Nchaaii, ishq ki gehraii
The height of my love, the depth of my love
Puuchh lo hamaarii aah se
Ask my sighs for these answers
Aasmaa.Nchhuu liyaa re
My love has touched the sky
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Is hasii.N paar pe hum na baiThe.N haar ke
In this beautiful passageway, I will not accept defeat sitting down
Saayaaba.Nkesaath ham chale.N
I will become your shadow and go with you
Aaj mere sang tu, guuNje dil ki aarzuu
Today you are by my side and the desires of my heart echo
Tujhse merii aa.Nkhjab mile
Ever since our eyes met
Jaane kyaa kar diyaa re
I wonder what you have done to me
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song
Ooh ooh ooh…

Aap kaa yeh aa.Nchal, pyaar ka yeh baadal
This saari of yours is like a cloud of love
Phir hame.N zamee.N pe le chalaa
It brings me back to earth again
Ab to haaththaamlo, ek nazar ka jaam lo
Now take my hand, allow me one drink from your gaze
Is naye safar ka waastaa
For the of this new journey
Tum mere saaqiiyaa re
You are what makes me feel intoxicated
Pyaar ka raag suno re
Oh, hear my love song

Glossary:

dil: heart; bhanwar: bumblebee; pukarnaa: to call out; pyaar: love; raagaa: melody [in Hindustani classical music, the framework for a composition]; sunnaa: to listen; phuul: flower; gulaab: rose; jawaab: answer, comparison; adaa: grace, style; bahaar: Spring; bekalii: restlessness; zubaan: tongue, language; baat; matter, words; miTaanaa: to make [something] disappear; giraanaa: to make [something] fall; aa.Nsuu: tears; [kisi ki] taraah: as if [something], like [something]; nigaah: eye; uu.Nchaaii: height; ishq: love; gehraaii: depth; puuchhnaa: to ask; aah: sigh; aasmaa.N: sky; chuunaa: to touch; hasii.N: beautiful; paar: passageway, toward; baiThnaa: to sit; haarnaa: to lose; saayaa: shadow; bannaa: to become; saath: together; aaj: today; [kisi ke] sang: by [someone’s] side; guu.Njnaa: to echo; aarzuu: desire; aa.Nkh: eye; jab: when; milnaa: to meet; aa.Nchal: the end of a saari that typically falls over the shoulder; phir: again; zamee.N: earth; haath thaam lenaa: to take [someone’s] hands; jaam: goblet; nayaa: new; safar: journey; waastaa: sake; saaqiiyaa: [literally] the person who serves wine

Qutab Minar window Paying guest nutan dev anand
Dev Anand and Nutan explore the nooks and crannies of Old Delhi’s famous Qutab Minar in Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963).

Never heard that last stanza before? You’re not alone! Most commercial recordings of “Dil Ka Bhanwar” impiously neglect to include the full version that is present in the actual film. Can you believe your whole life you had missed out on hearing that sweet bliss that is Mohammed Rafi’s “le chalaa-aa-aa-aa“?

– Mrs. 55

Khilte Hain Gul Yahan Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Handsome Shashi Kapoor Sharmilee red turtleneck.png
Handsome Shashi Kapoor gestures romantically with a pink rose in Sharmilee (1971).

Today we showcase the lovely lyrics and English translation of “Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan” from Sharmilee (1971) in honor of beloved actor Shashi Kapoor’s passing this week. “Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan” exemplifies quintessential Bollywood Shashi Kapoor, although film-goers will also remember another very different and talented side of the actor who thrived in independent and cross-over cinema. Born and raised in Bollywood royalty, Shashi Kapoor was 79 years old at the time of his death and had a prolific career of nearly 150 films.

Beautiful Rakhee in Sharmilee (1971).png
Soft-lighting helps Rakhee glow in a glamour close-up from Sharmilee (1971).

Released in 1971, Sharmilee was a commercial and artistic success that launched both Shashi Kapoor and Rakhee’s star status in Bombay. Rakhee plays a dual role in the film–twin sisters, one shy and traditional and one outgoing and Westernized–who both fall for a handsome army officer played by Shashi Kapoor. Even at that time, Bollywood was no stranger to the cliche of the twin storyline–Shashi Kapoor himself had recently starred in his own twin-love-triangle-melodrama Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968). Can you guess which twin our hero ultimately ends up with? Is the name of the film not painfully obvious? I’ll give you another hint…in classic Bollywood, the traditional Indian way of life always wins!

Shashi Kapoor meets Rakhee (as vivacious twin) at a picturesque rest house in Kashmir on his way home from the army where she is traveling with a group of girl friends. Emboldened by Kishore Kumar’s confident vocals, Shashi Kapoor charms the party by crooning “Khilte Hai Gul Yahaan” and by his devastatingly gorgeous crooked smile. With music by S.D. Burman and the unparalleled Kashmiri countryside in the Winter, romance is all but inevitable. There’s also something undeniable about Bollywood actors in red turtlenecks that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Shashi Kapoor gazes at the snowstorm in Sharmilee.png
Shashi Kapoor gazes outward at the ethereal Kashmiri snowstorm in Sharmilee (1971).

Follow along with us below in our English translation to the lyrics of “Khilte Hai Gul Yahan” from Sharmilee (1971). The video of the song is here! Lata Mangeshkar reprises the song later in the film, but unfortunately, her version is sadder and far less popular.

Khilte Hain Gul Yahan Lyrics & English Translation:

Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N, khilke bikharane ko
Here roses bloom, but they bloom only to have their petals disperse
Milte hai.N dil yahaa.N, mil ke bichhaDane ko
Here hearts meet, but they meet only to become separated
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Kal rahe na rahe, mausam yeh pyaar kaa
Tomorrow this season of love may or may not remain
Kal ruke na ruke, Dolaa bahaar kaa…
Tomorrow the swing of Spring may or may not come to a stop
Chaar pal mile jo aaj, pyaar mei.N guzaar de
Let us pass these four moments we meet in love 
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Jhiilo.N ke honTho.N par, megho.N kaa raag hai
On the lips of the lakes is the melody of the clouds
Phuulo.N ke siine mei.N, ThanDii-ThanDii aag hai
In the hearts of the flowers is a cool flame
Dil ke aaiine.N mei.N tuu, yeh samaa utaar de
Let this atmosphere reflect upon the mirror of your heart
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Pyaasaa hai dil, sanam, pyaasii yeh raat hai
There is a yearning in my heart, my beloved, as is a yearning in the night
HonTho.N mei.N dabii-dabii koii miiThii baat hai
Sweet words lay silent on the lips
In lamho.N pe aaj tuu, har khushii nisaar de
Bestow every happiness on these moments today
Khilte hai.N gul yahaa.N…
Here roses bloom…

Glossary:

khilnaa: to bloom; gul: rose; yahaa.N: here; bikharanaa: to disperse; milnaa: to meet; dil: heart; bichhaDnaa: to become separated; kal: tomorrow (or yesterday, depending on context); mausam: season; pyaar: love; ruknaa: to stop; Dolaa: swing; bahaar: Spring; chaar: four; pal: moment; aaj: today; guzaarnaa: to pass; jhiilaa: lake, marsh; ho.NT: lips; meghaa: cloud; raagaa: melody, song; phuul: flowers; siinaa: chest, heart; ThanDii: cold; aag: flame; aaiinaa: mirror; samaa: atmosphere; utaarnaa: to alight, to descend; pyaasaa: thirsty, yearning; sanam: beloved; raat: night; dabii: hidden, silent; miiThii: sweet; baat: words, conversation; lamhaa: moment; har: every; khushii: happiness; nisaar: adornment, bestowment

Did you know that snow is actually extremely difficult to capture on film? Not only could filmmakers not wait around patiently for an actual snowstorm to get their shot, but snow is so fine and iridescent, that traditional film cameras could rarely pick it up. Yesteryear filmmakers often sprayed everything from marble dust, foamite (the fluffy stuff that comes out of fire extinguishers), to cornflakes painted white in order to recreate the magic of a snowstorm. You’ll see what I mean if you take a real close look when Shashi grabs some “snow” from the window sill to throw at the girls in the cabin!

526018_10151173866396681_1498376096_n
A snowy view of my parent’s backyard. It may not be Kashmir, but it ain’t bad! And no, that fluff in the air isn’t cornflakes.

This song translation was requested by fan Swami. Thank you for the excellent request!

If you can’t get enough of Shashi Kapoor this week (or in general), check out another romantic hit “Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe” from the film Kanyadaan (1968). It’s one of my personal favorite songs of all time!

– 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