Khoya Khoya Chand Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

dev anand Khoya Khoya chand kala bazaar
Dapper Dev Anand floats through Ooty with hair that could make Tintin jealous in Kala Bazaar (1960).

Today we highlight the lyrics and English translation to Mohammed Rafi’s “Khoya Khoya Chand” from the film Kala Bazaar (1960). Dev Anand stars as a poor bus conductor with an ailing mother who becomes desperate when he loses his job. He turns to the black market and makes a fortune in underground business dealings. Although he is able to provide well for his mother, he is ashamed when he meets the pure-hearted, but strong-willed Waheeda Rehman who spurns all forms of dishonesty. The strength of Kala Bazaar is in its character study, and though perhaps occasionally heavy-handed, the personalities it portrays are not stereotypic. Both Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman carry flaws as they navigate the grey space of their moral boundaries, adding a welcome warmth to the film.

Like the effortlessly romantic “Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe,” “Khoya Khoya Chand” makes my top three Mohammed Rafi songs of all time (bonus points if you can guess the third!) Set upon the peaceful Ooty landscape and brimming with whimsy, “Khoya Khoya Chand” is Dev Anand’s ode to the woman he loves and the crossroads at which they stand. The camera breezes alongside him, a cinematographic embodiment of the changing winds, and soars left and right as flirtatiousy as Shailendra’s lyrics. “Khoya Khoya Chand” is quite literally a breath of fresh air that will change the characters (and possibly you) forever! With an open sky of possibility above, what’s there not to love?

Waheeda Rehman Khoya Khoya Chand
With bold and unafraid eyebrows that make no excuses, Waheeda Rehman glows in the elegant black-and-white cinematography of Kala Bazaar (1960).

We hope you enjoy our English translation of the playful hit song “Khoya Khoya Chand” below! Follow along with our lyrics to the video here and try not to get dizzy as the camera spins with Dev Anand through the Ooty countryside!

Khoya Khoya Chand Lyrics and Translation:

O ho ho, khoya khoya chaand, khula aasmaan
The lost moon in the open sky
Aankhon mei.N saari raat jaayegi
The whole night will fly before your eyes
Tumko bhi kaise nee.Nd aayegi
How will you be able to sleep?
Oh oh, khoya khoya chaand…
Oh, the lost moon

Mastii bharii hawaa jo chalii
The blowing wind is filled with intoxication
Khil khil gayii yeh dil ki kalii
The flower of my heart has blossomed
Man ki gali mein hai khalbalii
There is an agitation in the alley of my soul
Ke unko to bulaao
For I must call out to her
O ho ho, khoya khoya chaand
Oh, the lost moon…

Taare chale, nazaare chale
Stars go, sights go
Sang sang mere woh saare chale
They all go along with me
Chaaro.N taraf ishaare chale
Signals come from every direction
Kisi ke to ho jaao
That I must become someone else’s
O ho ho, khoya khoya chaand
Oh, the lost moon…

Aisii hii raat, bheegii sii raat
On a rainy night like this
Haatho.N mein haath hote voh saath
If she was beside me, hand in hand
Keh lete unse dil kii yeh baat
I would tell her these words from my heart
Ab to na sataao
Now do not torture me
O ho ho, khoya khoya chaand
Oh, the lost moon…

Hum miT chale jinke liye
The person for whom I would disappear
Bin kuch kahe woh chhup chhup rahe
Without saying a word, she sits quietly
Koi zaraa yeh unse kahe
Someone tell her
Na aise aazmaao
Do not test me like this

O ho ho, khoya khoya chaand, khula aasmaan
The lost moon in the open sky
Aankhon mei.N saari raat jaayegi
The whole night will fly before your eyes
Tumko bhi kaise nee.Nd aayegi
How will you be able to sleep?
Oh oh, khoya khoya chaand…
Oh, the lost moon

Glossary:

chaand: moon; aasmaan: sky; aa.Nkh: eye; raat: night; [kisi ko] nee.Nd aanaa: to fall asleep; mastii: intoxication; hawaa: wind; khilnaa: to bloom; dil: heart; kalii: flower; man: soul; galii: alleyway, street; khalbalii: agitation; bulaanaa: to call; taaraa: star; nazaaraa: sights, vision; sang sang: alongside, together; chaaron taraf se: from 4 directions, from everywhere; ishaaraa: signal, sign; bheegii: rainy, wet; haath: hand; baat; word; sataanaa: to torture; miTnaa: to disappear; chhup: quiet; aazmaanaa: to test; to try

dev anand khoya khoya chand kala bazaar 2
I see you, you sneaky lover of men with vintage hairstyles. Wanna piece of this pompadour?

One of the best moments of Kala Bazaar is earlier in the film when Dev Anand and his posse are selling black market tickets to the premier of the film Mother India (1957)! Real archival footage from the premiere is blended seamlessly into the narrative, giving us a glimpse at the hysteria and excitement of a real-life star-studded movie premiere in the Golden Age of Bollywood. Watch as Mohammed Rafi, Nargis, Lata Mangeshkar, Guru Dutt, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar and many more make unexpected real-life cameos! There are few things I love more than the existential fairyland that is a film about films.

Mohammed Rafi at the Mother India (1957) premier
Famed playback singer Mohammed Rafi smiles at the real-life Mother India (1957) premiere as seen in Kala Bazaar (1960)!

This fun-loving song was requested by two faithful fans, Sudipta Banerjee and Himani Sood! Many thanks for the brilliant request and if you’re trapped in a snowstorm this week like we are, we hope these lyrics remind you of the joys of warm weather soon to come!

– Mrs. 55

Advertisements

Mera Joota Hai Japani Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Raj Kapoor Shree 420 Charlie Chaplin
Raj Kapoor in his famous Charlie Chaplin incarnation from hit film Shree 420 (1955)

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation of “Mera Joota Hai Japani” from Raj Kapoor’s Shree 420 (1955) to mark the occasion of India’s Independence Day! Shree 420 is truly a landmark film in Hindi cinema starring a legendary showman who became known from Bombay to Bulgaria. To understand the film and the ramifications of the enormously popular song of patriotism, “Mera Joota Hai Japani,” we turn to the context of the nation’s not-so-distant past.

When India awakened to independence from British rule in the summer of 1947, the country faced many barriers to united prosperity under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s integrated social programs. While the freedom for which it had fought for generations was now realized, the Partition divided the Northern boundary of the nation between Muslims and Hindus, bolstering a mutual fear and hatred that seeped into the many ethnically diverse major cities. There, in turn, a rapid industrialization ideologically distanced the surrounding villagers from the urbanites, and a booming economy further isolated and redefined the gentry and the working class. While the geographic and cultural bars of much of Southern India allowed for a lesser degree of revolution, the Northern states, especially in the metropolises like Bombay where Bollywood blossomed, underwent a dramatic change that was felt at some level by the majority of inhabitants. Some strove to achieve a balance between the traditions of old and the advantages of Westernization, others the romanticism of rural life versus modern city life, and as always, the penniless lower classes wished to close the widening economic gap between themselves and the teeming wealth of the industrialists. In this maze of contradictions and extremes, Nehru tried nobly to guide the nation into forming a unique identity of its own as it moved into the future.

Raj Kapoor phir bhi dil hair hindustani shree 420
Raj Kapoor famously reminds his audience that “Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani” in Shree 420 (1955).

The elaborate family dramas and mythologicals of pre-independence Bollywood, therefore, no longer completely satisfied the country’s cinematic needs. Raj Kapoor was among the major influential directors and actors that emerged in the early years of independence whose work changed the face of Indian film. With the surfacing of a new middle and lower class audience, he sought to restructure the accessibility and impact of Indian cinema. Raj Kapoor (whose self-proclaimed audience was the underdog and downtrodden) responded to the socio-economic tensions of Nehru’s India through highly stylistic proletariat films that glorified the virtuous poor. His Chaplin-esque comedic appeal and playful optimism made him an iconic figure domestically and across the Middle East and Soviet Union. As a director of many of the era’s greatest hits such as the classic comedy, Shree 420, he established in the 1950s what now seems to be the “formulaic” Bollywood film. His plots mingled wholesome entertainment with social tension, dramatic one-liners, catchy show tunes, and the invariable triumph of Indian purity in the poor over the decadent Westernized ways of the rich.

Shree 420 is the story of a young man, Raju, who wanders from the countryside to find opportunity in city society. With an innocent smile and optimism, he strolls down the street famously singing love for his homeland in “Mera Joota Hai Japani.” His humble cheerfulness and patriotic pride captures the spirit of Nehru’s hopes and ideals for the blooming nation of a newly independent India threatened by corruption. 420, the well-known number from which the film derives its title, is the Indian penal code for fraud and dishonesty, and foreshadows Raju’s discovery of the means to survive in “modern” society.

Raj Kapoor mera joota hai japani
Raj Kapoor hops on a camel with an old guy who doesn’t seem to mind in Shree 420 (1955)

Shree 420 was a milestone production under the R.K. Studios banner that was among the first to be produced, directed, and acted in by Raj Kapoor himself. The son of a widely respected and extremely wealthy actor of the previous era, Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor was nurtured in the film industry and had little difficulty in starting his own company with a very liberal amount of freedom. Formed in 1946, R.K. Studios went on to create some of the most successful films of Indian cinema. With lyrics by Shailendra and the soulful voice of Mukesh, we hope you enjoy our English translation of the lyrics to one of the thespian’s most beloved solos, “Mera Joota Hai Japani!”

Mera Joota Hai Japani Lyrics and Translation:

Meraa juuta hai Japaanii, yeh patluun Englishtaanii
My shoes are Japanese, these pants are British
Sar pe laal topii Ruusi, phir bhi dil hai Hindustanii
On my head is a red Russian hat, nonetheless my heart is Indian

Nikal paDe hai khulii saDak par, apnaa seenaa taane
I set out upon the wide open road confidently
Manzil kahaa.N, kahaa.N ruknaa hai, uparwaalaa jaane
Where is my destination, where must I stop, only God knows
BaDhte jaaye.N hum sailaanii, jaise ek Dariyaa toofanii
We advance forward relentlessly, as if a hurricane in a river
Sar pe laal topi Ruusi phir bhi dil hai Hindustani
On my head is a red Russian hat, nonetheless my heart is Indian
Mera juuta hai Japaanii…

Uupar-niiche niiche-uupar, leher chale jeevan kii
High to low, low to high, the waves of life flow
Nadaa.N hai jo baiThe kinaare, puuchhe raah watan kii
Those who wait by the shore are naive, ask for the path toward the motherland
Chalna jeevan kii kahaanii, rukna maut kii nishaanii
Going is the story of life while stopping is a sign of death
Sar pe laal topi Ruusi phir bhi dil hai Hindustani
On my head is a red Russian hat, nonetheless my heart is Indian
Mera juuta hai Japaanii…

Ho.Nge raaje rajkanwar ham bigaDe dil shehzaade
I will become the prince of fallen hearts
Ham singhaasan par jaa baithe.N jab jab kare.N iraade.N
I will sit upon a throne whenever I desire
Surat hai jaani-pehchaanii, duniyaa walo.N ko hairanii
My face will become familiar, it will be a surprise to the world
Sar pe laal topi Ruusi phir bhi dil hai Hindustani
On my head is a red Russian hat, nonetheless my heart is Indian
Mera juuta hai Japaanii…

Glossary:

juuta: shoe; Japaanii: Japanese; patluun: pants; Englishtani: British; sar: head; laal: red; topii: hat; Ruusii: Russian; phir bhi: nonetheless; however; dil: heart; Hindustani: Indian; nikal paDnaa: to set out; khulii: open; saDak: road; seenaa taannaa: (literally) to puff out the chest with pride, confidently; manzil: destination; ruknaa: to stop; uparwaalaa: God, he who is above; sailaanii: relentlessly; Dariyaa: river; toofaan: hurricane; uupar: high; niiche: low; leher: wave; jeevan: life; nadaa.N: naive; foolish; baiThnaa: to sit; kinaaraa: shore; raah: path; watan: motherland; country; maut: death; nishaanii: sign, symbol; raajaa: king; rajkanwar: prince; bigaDnaa: to fall; shehzaadaa: prince; singhaasan: throne; iraadaa: desire; surat: face; jaan-pehchaan: familiar; hairaani: surprise

Rural India to city transition
Raj Kapoor elegantly transitions with a cross-fade from rural India to a bustling city at the end of “Mera Joota Hai Japani.”

In the 1960s Raj Kapoor would drop his former image of the lovable proletariat and direct movies that resonated as family dramas of the wealthy, an increasing surrender to commercialism. The socio-political atmosphere of India had changed, and with it, the wants of the people. Movies that emphasized the difficulties of the developing period of the nation, or the unforgiving nature of that society were not the sell-outs they once were. The transition to a new era was over.

– Mrs. 55

camel
My fiance and I camel-spotting à la Raj Kapoor on our journey from New Delhi to Agra in a recent trip! Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani, as they say…

Dam Bhar Jo Udhar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Raj Kapoor and Nargis Awara Dum Bhar Jo Udhar
Raj Kapoor and Nargis huddle together on a love-boat in Awaara (1951).

Our next lyrics and English translation is of the great love duet “Dum Bhar Jo Udhar” from the film Awaara (1951). It’s practically impossible to not love this song. Raj Kapoor plays an underworld criminal who falls for the wealthy ward of a rich judge played by his favorite leading lady Nargis. The film launched both of their careers to mega-stardom and for good reason. Packed with musical gems like the evergreen “Awaara Hoon” or “Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi,” the film is a scathing social drama that weaves Raj Kapoor’s own respectable father, Prithviraj Kapoor, into the heart of its scandalous and surprising twist. The film was so well-received and brilliantly made that it was nominated for a Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1953! Propelled by a tempting bad-boy with a tragic past storyline, the film arguably contains the greatest performance of Raj Kapoor’s career. Awaara is a historical and artistic must-see!

Dum Bhar Jo Udhar” is a Mukesh-Lata duet sung on a small boat in the middle of the night. Shailendra’s lyrics embody a theme common in Hindi films, which emphasizes the shyness of the woman and the boldness of the man. Both man and woman address the only other witness to their tryst–the beautiful moon above. However, the woman begs the moon to look away and not make her feel shy, while the man eagerly urges the moon to shine upon him and witness their love blossom. The importance of moon imagery in Urdu-Hindi poetry is legendary–most often taking the form of a feminine metaphor that epitomizes beauty. In this case, however, the playful moon evokes the male gaze as a trusty ally to the hero and a source of embarrassment to the heroine. It’s so adorable I could squirm.

Nargis Awaara Dum Bhar Jo Udhar
The eternally lovely Nargis glows in the moonlight in Awaara (1951).

Here are the full lyrics and English translation to “Dum Bhar jo Udhar” from Awaara (1951). Enjoy our interpretation of the song’s meaning and follow along on youtube with this link!

Dam Bhar Jo Udhar Lyrics and Translation

Lata:

Dam bhar jo udhar muu.N phere, O Chandaa
O Moon, if you would turn your face away for one moment
Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngii
I will make love to him
Baate.N hazaar kar luu.Ngii
I will say a thousand things to him

Dil kartaa hai pyaar ke sajade
My heart has prayed for such love
Aur mai.N bhii unke saath
And now I am with him
Chaand ko chandaa roz hii dekhe
The moon sees moonlight every day
Merii pehlii raat, ho, merii pehlii raat
But this is my first night, oh, this is my first night!
Baadal mei.N ab chhup jaa re! O Chandaa
Now go hide in the clouds, O Moon!
Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngii
For I will make love to him
Baate.N hazaar kar luu.Ngii
I will say a thousand things to him

Mukesh:

Dam bhar jo idhar muu.N phere, O Chandaa
O Moon, if you would turn your face here for one moment
Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngaa
I will make love to her
Nazare.N do-chaar kar luu.Ngaa
I will steal a few glances from her

Mai.N chor hoo.N kaam hai chorii
I am a thief, and my job is to steal
Duniyaa mei.N hoo.N badnaam
I am dishonored in society
Dil ko churaataa aayaa hoo.N mai.N
I have come to steal your heart
Yehii meraa kaam, ho, yehii meraa kaam
This alone is my job
Aanaa tuu gavaahi dene, O Chandaa
You must come and be a witness, O Moon
Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngaa
For I will make love to her
Nazare.N do chaar kar luu.Ngaa
I will steal a few glances from her

Lata:

Dil ko churaake kho mat jaanaa
Do not steal my heart and then become lost
Raah na jaanaa bhool
Do not forget your way back to me
In qadmo.n se kuchal na denaa
Do not crush with your footsteps
Mere dil kaa phool, ho, mere dil kaa phool
The flower of my heart, oh, the flower of my heart!
Yeh baat unhe.N samjhaa de, O Chanda
You make him understand this, O Moon
Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngii
I will make love to him
Baate.N hazaar kar luu.Ngii
I will say a thousand things to him

Glossary:

dam bhar: one full moment; udhar: in that direction; muu.N: face; pherna: to turn; hazaar: a thousand; pehlii; first; baadal: clouds; idhar: in this direction, here; do-chaar: a few; badnaam: a person of ill-repute; gavaahi denaa: to serve as witness; raah: path, way; qadam: footsteps; kuchal dena: to crush; phool: flower; samjhaa denaa: to make [someone] understand

Now before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, let’s just talk briefly about the phrase “Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngii” and what that really means. I have translated it somewhat literally for simplicity’s sake as “I will make love to him,” but that phrase in English carries with it more physical connotations than what it means in this context. Although the verb “pyaar karna” means simply “to love” as in the general English sense, the way it is used in this song carries a more immediate sense of both action and personal gain–by adding the coloring verb “lena” (“to take”), the phrase now implies that the girl is about to do something for her own benefit. We can safely say that these lyrics are not a prelude to actual Victorian “love-making” on that rocky boat of theirs, but rather an expression of desire and courtship. When she says, “Mai.N unse pyaar kar luu.Ngii,” I argue that this means no more than whispering sweet nothings, holding hands, stealing glances, and other forms of expressing tenderness and passion short of actually “making love.” See my point? And don’t let Nargis’ pole dancing throw you off.

Nargis pole dancing awaara
Yeah, no seriously I wasn’t kidding. Nargis takes the phrase “pole-dance” to a whole new level in Awaara (1951).

You know what’s really great about this movie? The fact that ages before women were given anything close to social equality, Nargis plays a powerful lawyer who ends up bringing justice to her lover Raj Kapoor. She stands strong in a court filled with men, and really makes us all proud. Granted, she’s really rich and let’s Raj Kapoor SLAP her in a different scene (kill me now), but we can appreciate what she stood for at least in that regard. It’s one of the best courtroom scenes of the industry! This song was requested by die-hard fan lalten–hope you enjoyed!

– Mrs. 55

Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Two Bharat Ratnas come together: Pt. Ravi Shankar and Lata Mangeshkar

Today, we present a guest blog entry by one of our favorite readers Pothik Chatterjee:

“The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world.”

–Lata Mangeshkar, on the passing of Ravi Shankar

Legendary Indian classical musician and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, passed away recently on December 11, 2012 at the age of 92 near his home in Encinitas, California. Shankar, a winner of the prestigious Bharat Ratna award, was a proponent of  “world music” before the term became fashionable in the field. He is most famous in the West for his collaborations with violin virtuouso Yehudi Menuhin, minimalist composer Phillip Glass, and Beatles singer George Harrison. Shankar’s legacy is a testament to the fact that truly great music can overcome cultural barriers and achieve appreciation on a universal scale.

In 2006, I received the opportunity to hear Pandit-ji and his daughter Anoushka Shankar perform live in Washington D.C.  It was a sublime musical experience that I cherish fondly to this day. Even as a child, I have memories of watching Satyajit Ray’s film, Pather Panchali (1955)  and being moved to tears by the touching story of a Bengali family in rural India. The soundtrack that Shankar composed for Ray’s film and the entire Apu Trilogy was so powerful and emotionally stirring that it could be regarded as one of the film’s major characters in itself. Shankar also composed the soundtrack for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, earning him a coveted Oscar nomination.

Pt. Ravi Shankar teaches George Harrison on the sitar.

It is less well-known that that Pandit-ji also composed a handful of soundtracks in the arena of Bollywood cinema, including Anuradha (1960), Godaan (1963) and Meera (1979). As a tribute to Ravi Shankar’s contributions to Hindi film music, we provide the lyrics and English translation for jaane kaise sapno.n me.n from Anuradha (1960). Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, this film is based on a short story by Sachin Bhowmick that was originally inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary. The film tells the story of  Anuradha (played by Leela Naidu), who goes against her father’s wishes by marrying an idealistic doctor (Balraj Sahni). Anuradha sacrifices her singing career to move to the village with her husband, and the film depicts her ensuing feelings of marginalization and entrapment.

The soundtrack to this film is especially memorable for Ravi Shankar’s collaboration with Lata Mangeshkar. Lata navigates effortlessly through the difficult classical compositions of this soundtrack, matching Shankar’s musical genius every step of the way. In this particular song, Shankar crafts a pleasant melody based on raga Tilak Shyam, a hybrid creation of Pandit-ji himself that fuses the evening ragas Tilak Kamod and Shyam Kalyan. Appropriately enough, the picturization here depicts the beautiful and expressive Leela Naidu walking with Balraj Sahni through a grove of coconut trees in the evening with the sun setting behind them.  As a joyous and exuberant raga, Tilak Shyam is often performed at a fast tempo, evoking a sense of romantic delirium that is also reflected in this song’s lyrics penned by Shailendra.

Leela Naidu makes her debut as a Bollywood heroine in Anuradha (1960)

Even diehard fans of vintage Hindi cinema may not recognize the name Leela Naidu. Born to an Indian father and Irish-French mother, Naidu received an elite education in Switzerland and began her training as an actress under the renowned French director Jean Renoir. In 1954, she was named Miss India and made Vogue magazine’s top ten list of most beautiful women in the world. In 1960, Naidu made her Bollywood debut in Anuradha. However, despite her beauty and competence as an actress, she failed to achieve success in the Bollywood industry. There are some interesting parallels between Shankar and Naidu’s experiences in Hindi cinema: the Western exposure and upbringing of both artists alienated them as outsiders in some ways, and this may have prevented them from reaching their full potential in the industry. Perhaps they could only be fully appreciated by the classes, and not the masses of Bollywood fans.

On the other hand, Ravi Shankar did command immense respect from the music directors and singers in the Hindi film world. Such was his aura that when music director Ravi (of Chaudhvin ka Chand fame) entered the film industry, he happily gave up the last part of his name out of reverence. Initially, he was called Ravi Shankar but he did not want to be confused with Pandit-ji.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with an interesting tidbit of controversy about Ravi Shankar and Lata Mangeshkar that originated from their work together during the recordings for Anuradha. Because Lata had failed to show up to one of her recording sessions for the this film without prior notice, tensions flared between these two legendary artists. Years later, Ravi Shankar returned to mainstream Hindi cinema in 1979 to compose the music of Gulzar’s directorial venture Meera. In place of Bollywood’s reigning playback queen, Vani Jairam sang all the compositions on this soundtrack, and she even received a Filmfare Award for her work! Clearly, it doesn’t always pay to be a diva…

-Pothik Chatterjee (@pothik on Twitter)

Jaane Kaise Sapnon Mein: Lyrics and Translation

jaane kaise sapno.n me.n kho gayii.n a.nkhiiyaa.n?
Who knows in which dreams my eyes have become lost?
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have fallen asleep.

ajab diivaanii bhayii, mose a.njaanii bhayii
My eyes have become wondrously mad and unfamiliar to me.
pal me.n parayii dekho ho gayii.n a.nkhiiyaa.n
in a moment, my own eyes have turned into strangers.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

barsii yah kaisii dhaaraa, kaa.npe tan-man saaraa
Such a torrent has rained upon me that my entire body and soul is quivering.
ra.ng se a.ng bhigo gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
Along with my body, my eyes have become soaked in color.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

man ujiyaaraa chhaayaa, jag ujiyaaraa chhayaa
When my mind was illuminated, the world lit up.
jag-mag diip sanjo gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
The glimmering candles in my eyes have become enshrined.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

koii man bhaa gayaa, jaaduu vah chalaa gayaa
Someone has pleased my mind; he has cast his magic upon me.
man ke do motiyaa.n piro gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
The two pearls of my mind have been joined together as my eyes.
mai.n to huu.n jaagii, morii so gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n
I am awake, yet my eyes have gone to sleep.

jaane kaise sapno.n me.n kho gayii.n a.nkhiyaa.n?
Who knows in which dreams my eyes have become lost?

Glossary:

sapnaa: dream; kho jaanaa: to become lost; a.nkhiiyaa.n: eyes; morii: my, an archaic form of merii; jaagii: awake; so jaanaa: to go to sleep; ajab: strange, wondrous; diivaanaa: mad, crazy; mose: from/to me, an archaic form of mujhse; anjaanii: unknown, unfamiliar; paraayaa: stranger, foreign; barasnaa: to rain; dhaaraa: torrent, tide; kaa.npnaa: to quiver; tan-man: body and soul; a.ng: body; bhigo jaanaa: to become soaked; ujiyaaraa chhanaa: to be illuminated, to light up; jag-mag: glimmering; diip: candle; sanjo jaanaa: to become enshrined; man bhaanaa: to please the mind; jaaduu chalaanaa: to cast magic; motii: pearl; piro jaanaa: to be joined together.

Leela Naidu experiences her first love with Balraj Sahni in Anuradha (1960)
Leela Naidu experiences her first love with Balraj Sahni in Anuradha (1960)

Raat Ke Humsafar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

S
Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor enjoy the magic of Paris at night in An Evening In Paris (1967).

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

This quote by Ernest Hemingway is perhaps my favorite description of Paris, the quintessential city of lights and love. Being in Paris is truly a feast for all senses, but it is an opportunity that the average citizen in 1960s India would never receive. Not in person, at least.

In the 1960s, the advent of a new escapist genre of films allowed Indian audiences to be transported to exotic cosmopolitan locales through cinema. Films like Love in Tokyo (1966) and Night in London (1967) offered Indian movie-goers the chance to catch a glimpse of foreign culture from the comfort of their seats in a movie theater. In these tourist fantasies, consistency in plot and character development was not important; the real star of the show was the international destination being featured in the film.  The lyrics and English translation that we have provided today come from one of this genre’s most well-known examples: Shakti Samanta’s An Evening in Paris (1967) starring Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor.

The soundtrack for this film, composed by Shankar-Jaikishan and penned by Shailendra/Hasrat Jaipuri, contains a number of memorable hits. Yet, in my opinion, “raat ke hamsafar stands out from the rest for its beautiful melody, poetic lyrics, and passionate rendition by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. This romantic duet reflects a strong Western musical influence, which is enhanced by the gorgeous strings-centered orchestration and the non-traditional modulations in Rafi and Asha’s voices.

To bring an interesting perspective that may not be known to all fans of this song, there is a story behind its making that has been narrated by Nandu Chawathe, a musician in Shankar-Jakishan’s troupe. In a tragic turn of events, composer Shankar’s mother died the same morning that a musical sitting was planned for “raat ke hamsafar.”  Jaikishan, Shammi Kapoor, and others were waiting for Shankar, but most of the group left after hearing the news under the assumption that Shankar would like to take the day off. When Shankar arrived late, he asked Nandu Chawathe why everyone had left before the sitting occurred. Shankar was angry when he realized everyone had left and canceled the sitting without telling him when it was his mother who had died. An evening sitting was rescheduled the same day. When Shankar arrived, he turned off all the lights and lit a candle, much to everyone’s surprise. He hummed the opening line of “raat ke hamsafar,” and everyone was stunned instantly. The first line of the mukhDaa was even Shankar’s own words! Shammi Kapoor approved the composition, Shailendra finished out the rest of the lyrics, and a treasured gem of Hindi film music was born.

French onion soup!
Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor snuggle in a Parisian cafe as they enjoy a late-night snack–French onion soup!

Raat Ke Humsafar: Lyrics and Translation

raat ke hamsafar thak ke ghar ko chale.n
Oh companion of the night, let us wander home wearily,
jhuumtii aa rahii hai subaah pyaar kii
as the dawn of love arrives, swaying about.
dekh kar saamne ruup kii raushnii
After encountering the light of your beauty,
phir luTii jaa rahii hai subaah pyaar kii
the dawn of love is being stolen away.

sonevaalo.n ko ha.ns kar jagaanaa bhii hai
Those who are sleeping are to be awakened with a smile.
raat ke jaagato.n ko sulaanaa bhii hai
Those who have stayed awake tonight are to be lulled to sleep.
detii hai jaagne kii sadaa saath hii
Though it also gives the call to awaken,
loriyaa.n gaa rahii hai subaah pyaar kii
this dawn of love evokes calm by singing lullabies.

raat ne pyaar ke jaam bhar kar diiye
The night has filled our wine goblets of love.
aankho.n-aankho.n se jo mai.ne tum ne piiye
You and I drank from them with our eyes.
hosh to ab talak jaa ke lauTe nahii.n
After leaving us, our consciousness has yet to return.
aur kyaa laa rahii hai subaah pyaar kii?
What else does this dawn of love have in store?

kyaa kyaa vaade hue, kis ne khaayii qasam?
What promises were made tonight? Who has sworn to new vows?
is nayii raah par ham ne rakhe qadam
Upon this new path, we have taken our first steps.
chhup sakaa pyaar kab? ham chhupaaye.n to kyaa?
When could our love be hidden? Even if we could, so what?
sab samajh paa rahii hai subaah pyaar kii
This dawn of love is able to understand everything.

raat ke hamsafar thak ke ghar ko chale.n
Oh companion of the night, let us wander home wearily,
jhuumtii aa rahii hai subaah pyaar kii
as the dawn of love arrives, swaying about.

Glossary

hamsafar: companion; thaknaa: to be tired, weary; jhuumnaa: to sway; subaah: dawn; ruup: beauty; raushnii: light; luTaa jaanaa: to be stolen away; jaagat: one who is awake; sulaanaa: to lull to sleep; sadaa: call; saath hii: also; lorii: lullaby; jaam: wine goblet; hosh: consciousness; ab talak: yet; vaadaa: promise; qasam khaanaa: to take a vow; qadam rakhnaa: to take steps; chhupaanaa: to hide; samajh paanaa: to be able to understand.

Seine
Sharmila Tagore and Shammi Kapoor float away into the night on the Seine.

As an aside, I thought that I would say a word about the time that I spent in Paris during the summer of 2011! I was fortunate enough to receive a fellowship to conduct a research internship for three months in a cancer immunology laboratory at the Institut Curie. Besides the academic opportunities presented to me in the lab, my summer in Paris was a formative experience in terms of cultural enrichment and personal growth. I always look back fondly upon the time I spent in Paris, and the memories of that summer have stayed with me ever since. In keeping with the theme of this post, a couple of my pictures of Paris by night are presented below. Enjoy! À bientôt!

-Mr. 55
Seine
An early evening view of the Seine river.
EiffelTower
Enjoying the Eiffel Tower with friends on a Parisian summer night.