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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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Rabindranath Tagore’s Influence on S.D. Burman

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and S.D. Burman (1906-1975)

Due to my upbringing in a Bengali household, I am intimately familiar with Rabindra-sangeet: the genre of songs written and composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. As a composer, artist, novelist, playwright, poet, and philosopher, Tagore has left a lasting legacy on Indian culture through his vast collection of works in a variety of mediums. Although the purism and simplicity of Tagore’s style might suggest that Bollywood is an inappropriate forum to celebrate his art, several music directors from the Golden Age of Hindi cinema have been known to use Tagore songs as inspirations for their musical compositions. The music director who is most well-known for this practice is none other than the illustrious S.D Burman. S.D. Burman is one of the most succesful music directors in the history of the Bollywood industry, and his songs from films such as Bandini (1963), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967), and Aradhana (1969) are still considered all-time classics today. His filmi compositions tend to draw upon inspiration from Bengali folk traditions (e.g. bhatiaalii, saari, etc. ), but here I’d like to draw your attention to a collection of S.D. Burman compositions that are derived from Rabindra-sangeet:

meraa sundar sapnaa biit gayaa (Do Bhai, 1949): From one of S.D. Burman’s first hit scores in the Bollywood industry, this song is considered to be Geeta Dutt’s breakthrough as a playback singer in Hindi films. The mukhDaa of this song is inspired by a Bilaaval-based Tagore composition called “radono bharaa e basonto.” Geeta does an excellent job of expressing the sorrow and pain of this song with her voice, and it is truly unfortunate that the lyrics here would become a reality for her during her tumultuous marriage to Guru Dutt in the next decade.

Playback singer Geeta Dutt (1930-1972) with her husband Guru Dutt (1925-1964)

nain diivaane (Afsar, 1950): This Pilu-based composition is skilfully rendered by Suraiyya, a leading singer/actress who became a huge sensation in Bollywood during the 1940s. Bollywood as we know it today relies on actors and actresses lip-syncing songs sung by playback singers; however, in its very early days, actresses like Suraiyya used to sing their own songs for films. In spite of their dual talents, singer-actresses were not able to survive the onslaught of the Mangeshkar monopoly in the 1950s, and the playback singing paradigm became the standard that is still maintained today in the industry. In any case, this song is based on an extremely popular Tagore composition called “sediin duujane duulechhiinuu bone.” S.D. Burman literally did a copy-paste job here, as the melody of the entire Hindi song is identical to the Bengali original. While loosely basing a mukhDaa on a previous composition is somewhat acceptable, recycling a whole song written by another composer begs the question: should S.D. Burman have given credit to Tagore for this composition?

Singer/actress Suraiyya (1929-2004)

 

 jaaye.n to jaaye.n kahaa.n? (Taxi Driver, 1954): S.D. Burman won his first Filmfare Award for Best Music Director for this song from Taxi Driver in 1954. As is often the case, the male version of the song (sung by Talat Mehmood) is more popular than the female version (sung by Lata Mangeshkar). Although S.D. Burman modified the raga of his composition to more closely resemble Jaunpuri, the first line of the mukhDaa is instantly recognizable as the main phrase from Tagore’s Bhairavi-based classic  “ he khoniiker otiithhii.” Note that the Tagore original that I have provided here is sung by Hemanta Mukherjee (a.k.a Hemant Kumar), who, in addition to achieving fame as a Hindi playback singer/music director, was known for his beautiful renditions of Rabindra-sangeet in Bengali.

jalte hai.n jiske liye: (Sujata, 1959): This probably qualifies as my favorite “telephone song” from a Hindi film. Here, Sunil Dutt woos Nutan over the phone with this gem as he croons to Talat Mehmood’s silky vocals on playback (notice the characteristic quiver that we know and love!). Although this composition is often considered an all-time classic song of romance, fans of this song may be surprised to know that the mukhDaa is taken directly from a Tagore composition named “ekodaa tumii priye.”

Sunil Dutt serenades Nutan over the telephone with “jalte hai.n jiske liye” in Sujata (1959)

meghaa chhaye aadhii raat (Sharmilee, 1971): Out of all the compositions listed here, the inspiration from Tagore is the most difficult to hear in this song because it does not involve the mukhDaa. Rather, S.D. Burman seems to have inserted a small segment of  laho laho tuule laho (0:26-0:40) into the antara of this raga Patdeep-based classic from Sharmilee. What a trickster, huh?

tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa (Abhimaan, 1973): By far, this is the most famous example where  S.D. Burman has been inspired by Rabindra-sangeet.  In his last hit film score (for which he won his second  Filmfare Award for Best Music Director), S.D. Burman recycles the mukhDaa from Tagore’s Mishra Khamaj-based “jodii taare nai chiinii go sekii?” in this evergreen duet of Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. Burman’s antaras are a beautiful addition to the original composition, so we won’t give him too much trouble for his rehashing of Tagore here. Note that the Bengali original that I have linked to here is sung by Kishore Kumar, another Hindi playback singer who was famous for his renditions of Rabindra-sangeet in Bengal.

Amitabh and Jaya Bacchan sing the duet “tere mere milan kii yeh raina” on stage during the climax of Abhimaan (1973).

Although S.D. Burman was often inspired by Tagore in his compositions, he never recorded or sang a single piece of Rabindra-sangeet throughout his career. The reason behind this is, of course, family feuding–an unavoidable staple of all things related to Indian culture. Here’s the story: S.D Burman’s father Nabadwip Chandra Dev Burman was set to be the direct heir to the throne of Tripura when the current king passed away in 1862. However, the crown went to Nabadwip’s paternal uncle Birchandra Dev Burman due to some dirty palace politics. Because Rabindranath Tagore had a very close relationship with Birchandra Dev Burman, S.D. Burman avoided meeting Tagore throughout his lifetime and refused to perform Rabindra-sangeet out of principle. Nevertheless, in spite of this tiff, it is undeniable that S.D. Burman had a great deal of respect for Tagore as a musician given the influence of Rabindra-sangeet on his compositions.

–Mr. 55