Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

PK BR

The eternal love story of emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal is presented in Taj Mahal (1963)

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day 2014, we continue our series on Taj Mahal (1963) with the lyrics and English translation to the film’s most popular song: jo vaadaa kiyaaFor our previous posts on this film, please see our translations of khudaa-e-bartar, jurm-e-ulfat pe, and paa.nv chhuu lene do.

As its name suggests, Taj Mahal (1963) directed by M. Sadiq tells one of the greatest love stories in India’s history: how Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (played by Pradeep Kumar) fell in love with his (third!) wife Mumtaz Mahal a.k.a Arjumand Banu Begum (played by Bina Rai) and eventually built the Taj Mahal in her memory following her demise. While the film’s historical — yet often fictional — narrative earned commercial success and critical acclaim, it is mostly remembered today for its soundtrack composed by Roshan and penned by Sahir Ludhianvi.

It is no surprise that this immortal duet sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi earned the well-deserved #1 position in Binaca Geet Mala for the year of 1963. In fact, this song was played for so long on Binaca Geet Mala that the program had to change its rules regarding the maximum number of weeks that a single song could be featured on the list! Ever since, this blockbuster song, tuned to Raga Pahadi, has remained an all-time romantic favorite in Hindi cinema. Although some may consider its charm to be hampered by overexposure, even the most diehard fans may be surprised to learn that this song has two additional versions featuring lyrics that differ from those in the song’s most popular version. Among the three renditions found in the film, my personal favorite is the “sad” version (transcribed as Version 2 below).  I mean, how could you not love that beautiful Lata alaap played as Bina Rai’s spirit descends from the Moon to meet Pradeep Kumar?

Will the romance of this song be enough to charm your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day this year? Share this poetry with that special someone and you’re guaranteed to score some major points from him or her today! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
PK

Pradeep Kumar exudes a regal aura as he plays Shah Jahan in Taj Mahal (1963).

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega (Version 1): Lyrics and Translation

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me. 

tarastii nigaaho.n ne aavaaz dii hai
My pining eyes have called out to you.
muhabbat kii raaho.n ne aavaaz dii hai
The paths of love have called out to you.
jaan-e-hayaa, jaan-e-adaa, chhoDo tarsaana
Oh beloved, please stop tormenting me.
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
You must come to me.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.

yah maanaa hame.n jaa.n se jaanaa paDegaa
I accept that I must leave this life.
par yah samajh lo tum ne jab bhii pukaaraa
But understand this: whenever you call out to me,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made. 

ham apnii vafaa pe na ilzaam le.nge
I will not tolerate accusations concerning my fidelity. 
tumhe.n dil diyaa hai, tumhe.n jaa.n bhii de.nge
I have given you my heart, and I can offer you my life too. 
jab ishq kaa saudaa kiyaa, phir kyaa ghabraanaa?
When I have already bargained with love, what is there to fear?
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made.

chamakte hai.n jab tak yah chaa.nd aur taare.n
As long as the Moon and stars continue to shine,
na TuuTe.nge ahd-o-paimaa.n hamaare
our promises and pledges will not be broken.
ek-duusraa jab de sadaa hoke diivaanaa
When one of us calls the other in the pangs of love,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
we must come to each other.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
We must fulfill the promise that we made.

Moon

Bina Rai’s spirit descends from the heavens to come meet Pradeep Kumar in his old age in Taj Mahal (1963).

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega (Version 2): Lyrics and Translation

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made. 
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me.

sabhii ahal-e-duniyaa yah kahte hai.n ham se
All the people of the world tell me that
ki aataa nahii.n hai koi muD ke adam se
no one returns from the next world.
aaj zaraa shaan-e-vafaa dekhe zamaanaa
Today, let this world see the splendor of faithfulness.
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
You must come to me. 
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.

yah maanaa hame.n jaa.n se jaanaa paDegaa
I accept that I must leave this life.
par yah samajh lo tum ne jab bhii pukaaraa
Yet, understand this: whenever you call out to me,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made.

ham aate rahe hai.n, ham aate rahe.nge
I have been coming to you, and I will continue to do so eternally.
muhabbat kii rasme.n nibhaate rahe.nge
I will continue to fulfill the duties of love.
jaan-e-vafaa, tum do sadaa phir kyaa Thikanaa?
Oh beloved, at which dwelling shall we meet when you call? 
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you. 
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made. 

BR

Bina Rai stars as the elegant Mumtaz Mahal a.k.a Arjumand Banu Begum.

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega (Version 3): Lyrics and Translation

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made. 
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me.

yah maanaa hame.n jaa.n se jaanaa paDegaa
I accept that I must leave this life.
par yah samajh lo tum ne jab bhii pukaaraa
Yet, understand this: whenever you call out to me,
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made to you.

hamarii kahaanii tumhaaraa fasaanaa
My story and your tale
hameshaa hameshaa kahegaa zamaanaa
will be narrated eternally by the world.
kaisii balaa kaisii sazaa, ham ko hai aanaa
Whatever misfortune or punishment falls upon me, I must come.
ham ko aanaa paDegaa
I must come to you.
jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
I must fulfill the promise that I made.

jo vaadaa kiyaa vah nibhaanaa paDegaa
You must fulfill the promise that you made.
roke zamaanaa chaahe, roke khudaayii
Should society or divinity attempt to stop you,
tum ko aanaa paDegaa
you must still come to me.

*Female lines in red are sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Male lines in green are sung by Mohammed Rafi. Lines in black are sung together by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi.  

Glossary

vaadaa nibhaanaa: to fulfill a promise; roknaa: to stop; zamaanaa: society, world; khudaayii: divinity; tarasnaa: to pine; nigaah: eyes; aavaaz denaa: to call out; muhabbat: love; raah: path; jaan-e-hayaa: beloved; jaan-e-adaa: beloved; tarsaanaa: to torment; maanna: to accept; jaha.n: world; samajh lenaa: to understand; pukaarnaa: to call out; vafaa: fidelity, faithfulness; ilzaam: accusations; ishq; love; saudaa karnaa: to bargain; ghabraanaa: to fear; chamaknaa: to shine;  TuuTnaa: to break; ahd-o-paimaa.n: promises and pledges; sadaa denaa: to call; diivaanaa: mad, crazy in love; ahal-e-duniyaa: people of the world; muD ke aanaa: to return; adam: non-existence, the next world; shaan-e-vafaa: splendor of faithfulness; rasm: duty, rule; jaan-e-vafaa: beloved; Thikaanaa: dwelling, place; kahaanii: story; fasaanaa: tale; hameshaa: always, eternally; balaa: misfortune, calamity; sazaa: punishment.

PK BR

Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai remain united in love through both life and death in Taj Mahal (1963).

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Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Neele Gagan Ke Tale 2

Rajkumar gets romantic with his co-star Vimi in “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” from Humraaz (1967)

Next we showcase the lovely lyrics and English translation of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” from Humraaz (1967). Set against a peaceful blue sky, Rajkumar and Vimi express their young love for each other as the voice of Mahendra Kapoor floats above. Because of this, the song carries a timeless quality marked by omniscience, as if everything we see is approved by Heaven. Whether a gentle horseback ride or riverside rendez-vous, “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” focuses just as much attention on the protagonists as it does on the wonder of nature. With an opening number as famously idyllic as this, Humraaz effectively lulls the viewer into a false sense of security. A highly underrated mystery thriller, the film shifts gears radically, filled with exciting turns and unexpected cameos until the shocking, but artistically very satisfying end. But that Elysian paradise of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” where lovers dream and Earth is in bloom will continue to live on forever.

Rajkumar Vimi Neele Gagan ke Tale Humraaz 1967

Mahendra Kapoor’s  “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” is appropriately filmed against a beautiful deep blue sky.

Humraaz is also a rare showcase of Mahendra Kapoor’s talent as a singer. Music director Ravi is often credited as making Kapoor’s career with opportunities and expressiveness that other music directors famously denied him. A devoted Mohammed Rafi disciple, Mahendra Kapoor was often brushed aside by music directors like O.P. Nayyar, who unfairly referred to Kapoor as “besuraa” or “tuneless” in comparison! Ravi, however, believed in Kapoor’s unique talent and freely demonstrated his ability with Sahir Ludhianvi lyrics from the tragic “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se” to the romantic “Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se” also from Humraaz. The evergreen hit “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” won Kapoor the filmfare award for Best Playback Singer in 1967! And indeed, one listen of Kapoor’s resonant, tender vocals in this sweet ballad will quickly quell any dissent (which, coming from myself, a fight-to-the-death Rafi groupie, says a lot)! Paired with the blissfully romantic landscapes of India’s beloved tea estates in Darjeeling, the song is truly one of the most gorgeous classic Bollywood has to offer.

Rajkumar Vimi darjeeling Humraaz

Rajkumar and Vimi enjoy the peaceful Darjeeling landscapes in Humraaz (1967).

We hope you enjoy the full lyrics and English translation of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” below. Follow along with the video and let us know how much you love the escapist fantasy of it all in the comments!

Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation:

Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ka pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms
Aise hii jag mei.N aate hai.N subahe.N
In this place the morning arrives
Aise hii shaam Dhale
In this place the evening falls
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Shabnam kii motii phoolo.N pe bhikre
The pearls of morning dew spread upon the flowers
Dono.N kii aas phale
And both of their desires flourish
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Bhalkaatii bele.N mastii mei.N khele
The sprawling branches play joyfully
PeDo.N se milke gale
And meet the embrace of the trees
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Nadiyaa kaa paanii dariyaa se milke
The water of the stream meets the river
Saagar kii or chale
And travels toward the ocean
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Glossary:

neelaa: blue; gagan: sky; tale: below; dhartii: earth; pyaar: love; phalna: to blossom; jag: place; subaah: morning; shaam: evening; Dhalnaa: to set, to diminish; shabnam: dew; motii: pearl; aas: desire; bhalkaatii: sprawling, winding; bel: branch; mastii: intoxication, joy; peD: tree; gale: embrace; nadiyaa: stream: paanii: river; dariyaa: river; saagar: ocean; or: toward, direction

Rajkumar Vimi Humraaz Neele gagan ke tale

Rajkumar is one heck of a handsome soldier as he bids a tender farewell to Vimi in Humraaz (1967).

Fun fact: “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” also makes our list of favorite “horse songs” found in Bollywood films because of its opening trot!

-Mrs. 55

Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

balraj sahni aye meri zohra jabeen waqt

Balraj Sahni plays a wealthy, family-loving merchant whose good fortune takes a disastrous turn in Waqt (1965).

We now present the lyrics and English translation to “Aye Mere Zohra Jabeen” from Waqt (1965). Young at heart Balraj Sahni plays a loving father of three young children who celebrates his business success with pomp and splendor. So overjoyed by where he believes Fate is taking his family, he dedicates a love song to his wife at a party. The film’s hit opening number “Aye Mere Zohra Jabeen” brims with a sense of carpe diem in the lives of a couple whose youth is coming to an end. Achala Sachdev plays the gentle wife fittingly embarrassed by the attention, but clearly loving the compliments. Their picture-perfect world is too wonderful to last–and before the night is over, tragedy strikes that separates the family. And from there unfolds one of the best Hindi masala films of the 60s!

The well-known opening line carries the Urdu vocabulary lover’s favorite, “zohra jabeen.” The meaning of this term has confused many a Hindi film goer over the ages. Actually a combination of two separate words, zohra and jabeen, the term is used loosely to mean “beautiful one,” but the true definition is far more fascinating. Zohra is the Arabic term for the Roman goddess of beauty, Venus, and also the planet easily identifiable as a shining star in the sky. Jabeen translate literally as forehead, a delicate part of the woman’s face to which praise has been given for centuries of Urdu ghazalry. So when addressing your sweetheart as zohra-jabeen, you are implying that her face shines with the beauty of Venus! Pretty flattering, right?

shy achala sachdev aye meri zohra jabeen

With the coyness of a young bride, Achala Sachdev blushes at her husband’s public display of affection in Waqt (1965).

In an interview on Bangalore’s Radio City in 2005, Manna Dey recalls being requested for the number by music director Ravi with surprise:

“When Ravi called me to sing “Aye meri zohra-jabeen” for Waqt, I asked him, ‘Why me? You use only Rafi or Mahendra Kapoor.’ Ravi said it was Balraj Sahni’s personal request that I sing.”

Although Mahendra Kapoor and Rafi do indeed sing the other fabulous songs of the film, none ever became as famous than this Manna Dey chart-buster. Sung at almost any sangeet or wedding, “Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen” endears listeners across generations with excitement and sentimentality. Although often categorized as a qawwali, the song does not quite fit into the genre–despite its best attempts at synchronized group clapping. Check out the video to see class act Balraj Sahni get into character and witness one of the only Bollywood love songs uniquely targeted at couple of any age! Cutie-pie Achala Sachdev would later play Kajol’s grandmother’s in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge where the song was memorably revived!

We hope you enjoy the evergreen Sahir Ludhianvi lyrics and our full English translation to “Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen” below:

Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen Lyrics and English Translation:

Aye merii zohra-jabeen
Oh, my beautiful one
Tujhe ma’aluum nahii.N
You are not aware
Tuu abhii tak hai hasii.N
that you are still lovely
Aur mai.N jawaa.n!
and I am still young!
Tujhpe qurbaan merii jaan merii jaan!
I would sacrifice my life for you!

Yeh shokhiyaa.N yeh baa.Nkpan jo tujh mei.N hai kahii.N nahii.N
This coyness, this attractiveness of yours is nowhere else
Dilo.N ko jiitne kaa fan jo tujh me hai kahii.N nahii.N
The art of winning hearts that you possess is nowhere else
Mai.N terii! maii.N terii aankho.N mei.N paa gayaa do jahaa.N!
In your eyes, I have found my heaven and earth!
Aye merii zohra jabeen…

Tuu miiThe bol, jaan-e-man, jo muskuraake bol de
If you speak sweet words to me, my love, and smile
To dhaDakano.N mei.N aaj bhii sharaabii ra.Ng ghol de
Then even today, you infuse my heartbeats with an intoxicating colour
O sanam! O sanam mai.N teraa aashiq-e-jaavedaan!
Oh darling, I am your lover for eternity!
Aye merii zohra jabeen…

Glossary:

zohra-jabeen: beautiful (literally zohra: Venus and jabeen: forehead = beautiful one with the face that glows like Venus); ma’aluum: aware, information; hasii.N: beauty; jawaa.N: youth; qurbaan: sacrifice; jaan: life; shokhiyaa.N: coyness; baa.Nkpan: attractiveness; fan: art; do jahaa.N: two worlds, heaven and earth, realm; miiThaa: sweet; bol: words; jaan-eman: beloved; muskuraanaa: to smile; dhaDkan: heartbeat; sharaabii: intoxicating, drunken; ra.Ng: colour; ghol: mixture, infusion; sanam: beloved; aashiq: lover; jaavedaan: eternal, never-ending

handkerchiefs waqt

When the flirty handkerchiefs come out, there’s really no going back. I think we all have uncles who have pulled this flamboyant dance move at parties, much to their wives’ chagrin.

Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen” is actually based on a musical composition by Afghanistan’s Abdul Ghafoor Breshna (1907-1974), a famous painter, poet, director, and musician who also composed the national anthem for the Republic of Afghanistan just before his death. “Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen” was requested by two fans, Kuldip Babbar and Hema Fonseka! Thanks for the fantastic suggestion, and keep those requests coming!

– Mrs. 55

The Art of Urdu in Hindi Films: Losing A Poetic Legacy

Jan Nisar Akhtar and Sahir Ludhianvi

Legendary Bollywood lyricists Jan Nisar Akhtar (far left) and Sahir Ludhianvi (left center) enjoy a birthday celebration.

The language of Hindi films has evolved since the first talkie Alam Ara in 1931, based on a Parsi play.  The Golden Age of Hindi cinema that blossomed with the studio era of the 1950s and ebbed by the late 1970s is one of India’s greatest artistic achievements. During that time, Hindi films could hardly be called Hindi films. Rather, Hindustani, a mixture of Urdu and Hindi, was the lingua franca of the silver-screen—a reflection of a country unified by a fascinatingly diverse heritage with linguistic influences from Sanskrit, Farsi, Bengali, Arabic, Panjabi, and a myriad of others.

To anyone unfamiliar with the distinction between Urdu and Hindi—there are no hard and fast rules. What many call Hindi, others would call Urdu, but most everyone can appreciate their structural and grammatical similarity. Any attempt to divide them is based on the root origins of the vocabulary intermingled with what is generally a highly homologous syntax. “Urdu” vocabulary tends to draw upon words of Farsi or occasionally Arabic and Turkish origin and “Hindi” vocabulary is generally derived from Sanskrit or regional dialects. But don’t be fooled into thinking any word “belongs” to another language (or those of a particular religion)—Hindustani may vary speaker to speaker, community to community, but the language is all-encompassing.

Veteran Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi (left) with his daughter actress Shabhana Azmi (center), who married contemporary lyricist Javed Akhtar, and wife Shaukat Azmi (right).

Veteran Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi (left) with his daughter actress Shabhana Azmi (center), who married contemporary lyricist Javed Akhtar, and wife Shaukat Azmi (right).

The impact of Urdu in the Indian mainstream can be no better summed up by the famous words of our freedom struggle: “Inquilaab zindabaad!” or “Sarfaroshii kii tamanna ab hamaare dil mei.N hai.” Controversial arguments have been made relating the decline in popularity to links with Pakistan, which adopted Urdu as its official language. Yet in Hindi films for decades, the legacy of Urdu poetry continued to flourish in India as the pinnacle of culture and expression.

Indeed, despite enormous gaps in literacy across the country, some of the most popular songs of that era amazingly contain the most complex Urdu-based vocabulary. Perhaps one reason is that the Hindi film song-writers themselves were trained in the art of Urdu poetry. Many of the finest and most successful poets of Hindi film: Sahir Ludhianvi, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Gulzar, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shakeel Badayuni, Kaifi Azmi, Jan Nisar Akhtar, and Majrooh Sultanpuri to name but a few, began their careers in Urdu mushairaas, or poetic symposiums.

Gulzar lyricist

Record-breaking winner of 11 Filmfare awards for best lyrics, poet Gulzar (right) stands with actor Amitabh Bacchan (left) for whom he wrote hits from the dialogue of Anand (1971) to the modern dance number “Kajra Re” from Bunty Aur Babli (2006)

It would seem more than mere coincidence that these artists came to dominate film lyrics. Like many arenas, the Bombay film industry was an old boy network: Sahir Ludhianvi for example was close friends with Jan Nisar Akhtar, who became in-laws with Kaifi Azmi, who was a prominent member of the pre-partition Progressive Writer’s Movement with Majrooh Sultanpuri. And the music directors who often hand-picked their lyricists and made recommendations to film producers were also steeped in similar artistic traditions. Veteran composer Naushad grew up in the heart of Lucknowi culture, and Madan Mohan spent his childhood in the Middle East, eventually getting his break by joining the All India Radio in Lucknow. Yet connections in the film industry account for only part of its success—audiences had to maintain demand as well.

From the epic qawwali “Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai” from Barsaat Ki Raat (1961), the lilting ode, “Aap Ki Nazron Mein Samjha” from Anpadh 1962), to the playful duet “Deewana Hua Badal” from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Urdu in films was remarkably accessible—holding a place for any viewer in every genre. True, it is unlikely the entire audience understood each word in those songs. However, in this manner, film and music could be educational for those who did not–a unique way of preserving the culture they reflected back on. As parallel cinema diva Shabana Azmi aptly quipped,

“If you compare today’s songs with the songs of the 1960s and 1970s, then definitely today’s songs are according to the demand. But if you see, Hindi films used to protect the Urdu language as they used it, but it is slowly dying and I feel bad for it.”

The same extended to the dialogues of films themselves–and I don’t refer only to genre films like Pakeezah (1971) or Mughal-e-Azam (1961). Pure Urdu was ubiquitous in classic Hindi cinema, wafting equally through the sets of an urban crime drama and meandering through a village epic. The importance and sheer beauty of Urdu poetry in dialogues is highlighted in one of the most famous film speech’s of yesteryear. The stirring climax of Daag (1973) culminates in a speech given by Rajesh Khanna’s character for an award bestowed to him by his community. Notice how in this and so many other scripts, Urdu is an inextricable poetic catalyst for the Hindi speech:

Rajesh Khanna’s Speech from Daag (1973):

Aap.
Aap kya jaane mujhko samajhte hai.N kyaa?
Mai.N to kuch bhi nahii.N

“You.
I do not know what you make of me
For I am nothing

Is qadar pyaar itnii baDe bheed ka mai.N rakhuu.Ngaa kya?
Is qadar pyaar rakhne ke qaabil nahii.N
Mera dil, merii jaan…
Mujhko itni mohabbat na do, dosto.
Soch lo dosto…
Is qadar pyaar kaise sambhaaluu.Ngaa mai.N?
Mai.N to kuch bhi nahii.N

How can I carry such love from so great a crowd?
I am not worthy of such great love
My heart, my life…
Do not give me so much love, my friends
Think instead.
How will I bear such great love?
For I am nothing.

Pyaar.
Pyaar ek shakhs ko agar mil sake to badii cheez hai zindagi ke liye
Aadmi ko magar yeh bhi milta nahii.n
Yeh bhi milta nahii.n
Mujhko itni mohabbat milii aap se,
Mujhko itni mohabbat milii aap se…
Yeh mera haq nahii.N, merii taqdiir hai.
Mai.N zamaane ki nazro.N mei.N kuch bhi na thaa.
Merii ankho.N mei.N ab tak woh tasveer hai

Love.
If a man can receive love, it is a great thing in life
Yet many men do not even receive this
They do not even receive this
I have received so much love from you,
I have received so much love from you
This is not my right, it is my fate
I was once nothing in the eyes of the world
And in my eyes, that image remains

Izzate.N, shauharate.N, chaahate.N, ulfate.N, koi cheez duniya mei.N rehtii nahii.N
Aaj mai.N huu.N jahaa.N, kal koi aur thaa.
Yeh bhi ek daur hai, woh bhi ek daur thaa…

Respect, fame, desire, love, nothing remains in the world permanently
Today where I am, yesterday there was someone else
This is one generation, that was another generation…

Aaj itni mohabbat na do dosto.
Ki mere kal kii khatir ka kuch bhi rahe
Aaj ka pyaar thoDa bacha kar rakho
Aaj ka pyaar thoDa bacha kar rakho, mere kal ke liye

Today do not give me so much love, my friends
So that there may be some left for me tomorrow
Today, save some of that love
Today save some of that love for my days ahead

Kal.
Kal jo gumnaam hai
Kal jo sunsaan hai
Kal jo anjaan hai
Kal jo viiraan hai

Tomorrow.
Tomorrow which is anonymous
Tomorrow which is silent
Tomorrow which is unknown
Tomorrow which may be barren

Main to kuch bhi nahii.N huu.N
Mai.N to kuch bhi nahii.n”

I am nothing at all
I am nothing at all.”

With every thoughtfully chosen word, the pervasive Urdu “qaaf” is pronounced as delicately as the gentle “khe,” and the lines are delivered with the poetic overtures of a song lyric. These dialogues were written with poetry in mind, and indeed many song lyricists eventually took to writing entire film scripts (the script of Daag was written by immortal Urdu poet Akhtar ul Iman of Waqt and Gumraah fame).

Immortal lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri (right) with music director R.D. Burman and film director Nasir Hussain at a 1983 recording session.

Famed lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri (right) with music director R.D. Burman (center) and film director Nasir Hussain (left) at a 1983 recording session.

It would be impossible to summarize the incredible work of these poets in one post (hence why we’ve devoted much of our blog to it!). A small sampling of Filmfare award-winning lyrics are below:

“Chaudhvin ka chaand ho, ya aftaab ho? Jo bhi ho tum khudaa ki qasam laa-jawaab ho…” –Shakeel Badayuni (Chaudhvin Ka Chand 1961)

“Chaahuu.Ngaa mai.N tujhe saa.Nj saveN.re. Phir bhi kabhi ab naam ko tere awaaz mai.N na doo.Ngaa…”--Majrooh Sultanpuri (Dosti 1965)

“Bahaaro.N phool barsaao, meraa mehboob aayaa hai. Hawaao.N raagini gaao, meraa mehboob aaya hai…”--Hasrat Jaipuri (Suraj 1967)

“Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai ki jaise tujhko baanaayaa gaya hai mere liye…” –Sahir Ludhianvi (Kabhi Kabhi 1977)

“Aanewaalaa pal jaanewaalaa hai. Ho sake to is mei.N zindagii biTaado pal jo yeh jaanewalaa hai…” — Gulzar (Gol Maal 1980)

I was fortunate to have the chance to learn to read and write in Urdu from my grandparents who moved to New Delhi after the partition of Punjab. But this opportunity is so rare that I found after my grandfather passed away, I know few people to whom I can still write in Nasta’liq. Urdu is a language of romance—more beautiful than French and Italian, and more intricate than superficial political divides. The legacy of Urdu will continue to add to the allure and nostalgia of old films for generations to come. For the loss of Urdu is more than the mere loss of vocabulary. Without Urdu in Hindi films, we have lost our own andaaz–the manner with which we once communicated our thoughts and feelings, our decorum, and a rich, meaningful ornamentation in expressing ourselves that can never be replaced.

-Mrs. 55

Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Dilip Kumar is horrified to learn of his wife Bindu’s betrayal in Dastan (1972).

We now present the lyrics and English translation to the emotional Sahir Ludhianvi ghazalNa Tu Zameen Ke Liye” from Dastan (1972). Sung by Mohammed Rafi as the hero Dilip Kumar reels from the shock of discovering an affair between his wife Bindu and best friend Prem Chopra, “Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye” is a sympathetic voice in a world of disloyalty.

The true magic of the song comes from the lyrics from the pen of Sahir Ludhianvi–but you may be surprised to learn that this song is not entirely original! With the ghazal “Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye” Ludhianvi draws from the beautiful Sir Muhammed Iqbal (1877-1938) poem of the same name and contains the portending line:

Maqaam-e parvarish-e aah wa naalaa hai yeh chaman. Na sair-e gul ke liye hai, na aashiyaan ke liye.” [This garden is a place for you to sigh and see visions. It is neither for taking a leisurely stroll nor building a home.”]

Similarly, Ludhianvi’s lyrics warns the hero of the dangers lurking beneath the surface of circumstances too good to be true. “Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye” is a gleaming lotus of poetry that is well-worth the wait of an otherwise rather lackluster film. Thematically, the song is reminiscent of Ludhianvi’s earlier tragic poem, “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se,” which carries the heavy burden of deception. Thrown from that garden of love into a world of disorder, “Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye” seeks clarity in an hazy, unforgiving world.

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With tears and heartbreak, Dilip Kumar realizes his marriage is a sham in Dastan (1972). But I mean, your wife was played by Bindu…anyone could’ve seen that coming a mile away…

Check out the video of Dilip Kumar’s despair and follow along with our English translation of Sahir Ludhianvi’s gem “Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye” below!

Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye Lyrics and Translation:

Na tuu zameen ke liye hai na aasmaan ke liye
You belong to neither the earth nor the sky
Teraa wajuud hai ab sirf dastaan ke liye
Your existence belongs to legend alone

PalaTke suu-e chaman dekhne se kya hogaa?
What can be gained by looking back toward the garden of love?
Woh shaakh hii na rahii jo thii aashiyaa.N ke liye
For that branch no longer exists, which once belonged to your nest
Na tuu zameen ke liye hai na aasmaan ke liye
You belong to neither the earth nor the sky

Garaz-parast jahaa.N mei.N, wafaa talaash na kar
In this self-centered world, do not search for faithfulness
Yeh shaii banii thii kisii duusre jahaa.N ke liye
For such a thing was designed for a world other than our own
Teraa wajuud hai ab sirf dastaan ke liye
Your existence belongs to legend alone

Na tuu zameen ke liye hai na aasmaan ke liye
You belong to neither the earth nor the sky

Glossary:

zameen: earth; aasmaan: sky; waajuud: existence; sirf: only dastaan: story, legend; palaTnaa: to turn around; soo-e chaman: direction of the garden–a reference to Amir Khusrau ghazal 248 describing an idyllic garden of young lovers; shaakh: branch; aashiaa.N: dream house, nest; garaz-parast: self-centered, selfish; jahaa.N: world; wafaa: faithfulness, loyalty; talaash: search; shaaii: thing, object

Getting teary-eyed? Calm down, there’s a happy ending to this dastaan. Sharmila Tagore adroitly steps in as the patient lover who soothes a haggard Dilip Kumar’s broken heart. Frankly, could any man ask for more?!

Sharmila Tagore Dastaan

Sharmila Tagore selflessly hides her undying love for hero Dilip Kumar in Dastaan (1972).

This Sahir Ludhianvi ghazal was requested by loyal fan muskaan! Hope you enjoyed and keep those requests coming!

Mrs. 55

Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Shashi Kapoor and Rakhee celebrate their wedding night with song in Kabhi Kabhi (1976).

Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of the occasion, we present the lyrics and full English translation to one of the great love poems of Hindi films: “Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein” from the 1976 star-studded mega-hit Kabhi Kabhi.

Penned by that evergreen poet Sahir Ludhianvi, “Kabhi Kabhi” remains on top of any list of Bollywood love songs. The lyrics are written from the heart in adoration of a woman on a couple’s wedding night. The song is reflective and gentle, but bursting with a beautiful excitement of what lies ahead. Kabhi Kabhi revolves around the love affairs of the protagonists and their effects on the next generation. The ageless devotion expressed in this song continues to evolve and evoke new meanings as the film progresses from one revelation to the next.

An interesting aspect of this song is that it is sung from a male perspective by a female heroine (after all, the song was dedicated to her in the first place by Amitabh Bachchan!) Lines like “Suhaag raat hai, ghunghaT uTaa rahaa hoo.N mai.N” evoke tragic irony as Rakhee feels her veil lifted by a man she does not love. Similarly, the final line “Mai.N jaantaa huu.N ki tuu gher hai, magar yuu.N hii” can be interpreted as both as an understanding that husband and wife still must get to know one another, but also as Amitabh Bachhan accepting that Rakhee now belongs to someone else. And just further to wring your heart, blind-to-reality Shashi Kapoor insists to her that if they ever meet the great poet who wrote these words, they must thank him for being with them on their wedding night. (Naturally, they all do meet up somehow–and it’s every bit a circus you can imagine!)

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Rakhee sings from the anthology of poems written by a former lover in Kabhi Kabhi (1976).

You don’t need to know or appreciate the background of this song to fall head over heels for its melody and blissful lyrics. So celebrate the love in your life and enjoy our English translation of “Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein” below!

Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Lyrics and Translation:

Mukesh:

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart

Lata:

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki jaise tujhko banaayaa gaya hai mere liye
That you were created only for me
Tu ab se pehle sitaaro.n mei.N bas rahii thii kahii.N
Before now you lived somewhere among the stars
Tujhe zameen pe bulaayaa gayaa hai mere liye
You were called to earth only for me

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki yeh badan, yeh nigaahe.N merii amaanat hai.N
That this body and these eyes belong to me
Yeh gesuuo.N kii ghanii chaao.N hai.N merii khaatir
These dark shadows of your hair are for me alone
Yeh honTh aur yeh baahe.N meri amaanat hai.N
These lips and these arms belong to me

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki jaise bajatii hai shahanaaiiaa.N sii raaho.N mei.N
As if wedding music is being played in the streets

Mukesh:

Suhaag raat hai, ghunghaT uTaa rahaa huu.N mai.N
It is our wedding night, I am lifting your veil

Lata:

Suhaag raat hai, ghunghaT uTaa rahaa huu.N mai.N
It is our wedding night, I am lifting your veil
SimaT rahii hai tuu sharmaake apne baaho.N mei.N
You shyly blush as I wrap you in my arms

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart
Ki jaise tuu mujhe chaahegii umr bhar yuu.N hii
That you will love me forever like this
UThegii merii taraf pyaar kii nazar yuu.N hii
That you will always lift this loving gaze to me

Mukesh:

Mai.N jaantaa huu.N ki tuu gher hai magar yuu.N hii
I know you are still a stranger, however
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei.N khayaal aataa hai
Sometimes this thought enters my heart

Glossary:

kabhi kabhi: sometimes, from time to time; khayaal: thought; sitaaraa: star; zameen: earth; badan: body; nigaahe.N: glances, eyes; amaanat: property; gesuu: hair; ghanii: dark; chaao.N: shadow; [kisii kii] khatir: [for someone’s] sake; honTh; lips; baahe.N: arms; amaanat: belonging; shahanaaii: a wind instrument usually played at weddings; raah: path, streets; suhaag raat: wedding night; ghunghaT: veil; sharmaanaa: to become shy; umr bhar: whole life; [kisii kii] taraf: [in someone’s] direction; gher: stranger

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By the end of “Kabhi Kabhi”, the already awkward suhaag raat scene inevitably becomes more awkward.

This special Valentine’s day post is dedicated to my fiancé! It’s been two years since we’ve been together and I’ve loved every moment. Thank you for putting up with my singing old Lata songs outside my range while you’re trying to study, and for finally appreciating the epicness that is Mughal-e-Azam!

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My adorable fiancé and I met at as undergrads at Harvard where he was in the class ahead of me. He proposed two years later, and now we’re busy planning the wedding!

– Mrs. 55

Jayen To Jayen Kahan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Dev Anand stares at the lonely beach in “Jayen To Jayen Kahan” from Taxi Driver (1954).

Next we present the full lyrics and English translation of “Jayen To Jayen Kahan” from Taxi Driver (1954). It’s one of yesteryear star Talat Mehmood’s most beloved solo hits. For anyone in the crowd who is unfamiliar with Talat, I’m truly saddened for your sake, but actually not entirely surprised. He’s one of the great unsung heroes of Bollywood who’s place in musical history was undermined with the rise and domination of Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh by the 60s. At least Hemant Kumar wrote his own film compositions and could conveniently cast himself as singer! But Talat was classy. While largely remembered for his legendary mark in ghazal-dom, Talat actually gave Shammi Kapoor his first hits in the 50s before Mohammed Rafi entered the scene. Yes, Talat was edged out of the business like a budding flower before Autumn. And did I mention he was so incredibly good-looking for a playback singer that he also acted in several films?

Dapper Talat Mehmood sings and acts with Suraiya in Waris (1954). Hottie, right?!

I could go on and on about my love for Talat and his velvety smooth voice, but let’s stay focused. Like later Dev Anand hit CID (1956), Taxi Driver is a really wonderful glimpse at chaotic and quaint 1950s Bombay city life. Told through the creative eyes of Chetan Anand (director and Dev Anand’s brother), the film is forever locked in its own charmingly antiquated society and street life of a bygone era. Most importantly, behind-the-scenes, Dev Anand was falling in love with his sensuous on-screen partner, Kalpana Kartik who would become his wife! It’s one of the few times you’ll see the two together (check out Baazi (1951) or Nau Do Gyarah (1957) for more!) and the juiciness of it all makes the film fun for the whole family. As Kalpana (AKA Mona Anand) later recalled:

I still remember our midnight marriage on the sets of “Taxi Driver” in 1954. Dev was a shy, youthful person, very co-operative and sensitive. We passed six decades together amid a lot of thick and thin. Whenever I heard rumours that he would desert me, I laughed my heart out. I knew that nomadic Dev would always be mine.

Cute, right? The hit philosophical song of the film “Jayen To Jayen Kahan” is sung first by Talat and later by Lata in the reprise–adding a touch of melodrama to the action. It’s beautifully picturized–the Talat version feels like an early Ozu film and carries a heavy weight with it. The careful cinematography allows time to pass slowly in a way that removes the viewer from the material world of the film and completely engulfs them in the philosophical queries of the song. Lyrics are, of course, by the great Sahir Ludhianvi. It’s a must-see for fans of early cinema!

Kalpana Karthik Taxi Driver

Gorgeous Kalpana Karthik and wife of Dev Anand, sings with Grace Kelly style in Taxi Driver (1954).

So without further ado, enjoy the lyrics and English translation to “Jayen To Jayen Kahan“! We’ve got you the male and female versions below (click here for the Talat version video!).

Jayen To Jayen Kahan Lyrics and Translation:

Male:

Jaaye.N to jaaye.N kahaa.N?
If I must go, where could I go?
Samjhegaa kaun yahaa.N dard bhare dil ki zubaa.N?
Who here will understand the words of a heart full of pain?

Mayuusiio.N kaa majamaa hai.N jee mei.N
A crowd of disappointments resides in my soul
Kya reh gayaa hai is zindagi mei.n
What is left for me in this life?
Ruuh mei.N gham, dil mei.N dhuuaa.N
In my soul is sadness, in my heart is smoke

Unka bhi gham hai, apna bhi gham hai
She has her sorrows, I have my own
Ab dil ke bachne kii ummiid kam hai
Now there is little hope of saving my heart
Ek kashTii, sau tuufaa.N
For it is like a single boat against a hundred storms

Jaaye.N to jaaye.N kahaa.N?
If I must go, where could I go?
Samjhegaa kaun yahaa.N dard bhare dil ki zubaa.N?
Who here will understand the words of a heart full of pain?

Female:

Jaaye.N to jaaye.N kahaa.N?
If I must go, where could I go?
Samjhegaa kaun yahaa.N dard bhare dil ki zubaa.N?
Who here will understand the words of a heart full of pain?

O jaanewaale daaman chhuDaake
Oh traveler who is leaving my embrace
mushkil hai jeenaa tujhko bhuulaake
Forgetting you and continuing to live is difficult
Is se to hai maut aasaan
Even death is easier than this

Seene.N mei.N shole, saa.Nso.N mei.N aahe.N
In my chest are embers, in my breaths are sighs
Is zindagii se kaise nibhaaye
What is there for me to fulfill in this life?
Har jazabaat hai viiraan
My every emotion is empty

Jaaye.N to jaaye.N kahaa.N?
If I must go, where could I go?
Samjhegaa kaun yahaa.N dard bhare dil ki zubaa.N?
Who here will understand the words of a heart full of pain?

Glossary:

dard: pain; zubaa.N: words, language; mayuusii: disappointment; majamaa: crowd; ruuh: soul; gham: sadness; dhhuuaa.N: smoke; ummiid: hope; kashTii: boat; tuufaa.N: storm; mushkil: difficult; maut: death; ahsaan: easy; seenaa: chest; shole: embers; saans: breath; aah: sigh; jazabaat: emotion; viraan: empty, wasted

I think the most important question here is, who sang it better: Lata or Talat? At the risk of being strangled by Mr. 55, I think it’s pretty clear the answer is Talat. It’s one of the few songs that just was not written for Lata–it sounds a little strained coming from her, if I dare say so. Talat, meanwhile, sounds like an effortless dream as always. A Talat Mehmood hit was requested by reader Suman! Send us a message if you’ve got a request too!

An adorable early rare photograph of Dev Anand with his wife Kalpana Kartik.

An adorable early rare photograph of Dev Anand with his wife Kalpana Kartik.

-Mrs. 55